Work / Animation

Laura Jayne Hodkin’s new film depicts the tipsy ritual of heading to the chicken shop

Laura Jayne Hodkin’s graduating animation film from the Royal College of Art depicts the details of being, quite literally, blind drunk – but with an unexpected dark twist.

Beginning with two characters, best pals, hiding in an alleyway to have a quick wee (women will particularly relate to the awkwardness of having to get pretty much completely naked to have a wee when wearing a playsuit), the pair then head to the final destination of every British night out: the chicken shop. Inside, the pair are overwhelmed by crispy nugs of chicken, totally oblivious to the fact they’ve walked into a murderous crime scene.

Laura’s work has consistently told the story of friendship and female dynamics, particularly in her previous film Hayley and Joanna for which she animated voice recordings of podcasts. However Hot and Tasty her latest film, offered the opportunity to develop her own narrative, writing a script and hiring and directing actors too.

The idea for this brilliantly relatable but sinister narrative developed from “wanting to make a film that explored a British night from a group of young women’s perspective,” Laura tells It’s Nice That. Drawing upon her own experiences “of going out and getting drunk and then ending the night searching for food,” Laura has managed to pinpoint that exact surreal element of entering a takeaway in the early hours of the morning, “because of the bright florescent lights, kitschy decor and unfortunate vendors having to deal with an intoxicated crowd”.

This idea, although one every one reading this has probably experienced, is executed with humorous nuance which pushes the concept. For instance Laura’s script details drunken mutterings – constantly changing your order from chicken and chips to cheesy chips and back again, and also asking the person behind the counter “has it been busy tonight” – made our team nostalgically cringe with regrettable flash backs of our chicken shop encounters. It’s the voice actors who really hit the nail on the head in this instance too, a result of Laura working directly with them to record the script before planning any of the shots.

The film’s depiction of this tipsy ritual not only grips viewers for its relatability but also the underlying feeling that something just isn’t quite right. “Initially I wanted to push the contrast of showing glamorously dressed girls ending their night in quite a crappy looking place,” Laura explains of Hot and Tasty’s arching narrative. “Which ended up leading to quite an extreme of having the dead body on the counter. I liked the idea of these oblivious drunk girls so focused on their own bullshit that they don’t even notice what’s happening around them.”

Since launching just a few days ago Hot and Tasty has deservedly clocked up impressive viewing numbers and new Hodkin fans. As her graduation film this is excitingly impressive to see, particularly as Laura points out “there can be a lot of pressure when making something you want to be considered ‘funny’ so there was always the fear of overdoing it, or not hitting the right marks,” she tells us. “But the reaction so far has been overwhelmingly positive and a lot of people have told me it’s funny – so I guess I did something right.”

She definitely has and we’re praying for a sequel!

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Laura Jayne Hodkin: Hot & Tasty

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Laura Jayne Hodkin: Hot & Tasty

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Laura Jayne Hodkin: Hot & Tasty

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Laura Jayne Hodkin: Hot & Tasty

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Laura Jayne Hodkin: Hot & Tasty

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Laura Jayne Hodkin: Hot & Tasty

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Laura Jayne Hodkin: Hot & Tasty

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Laura Jayne Hodkin: Hot & Tasty

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Laura Jayne Hodkin: Hot & Tasty