Always full of humour and excellent illustrative work, since graduating from the Royal College of Art animator Laura Jayne Hodkin has been keeping busy creating several shorts. Often driven by narrative, she’s also used to spending a good few months on the lengthy process of storyboarding, illustrating, animating and cleaning up. That was until recently, when she had just four short weeks to create the new music video for The Magic Gang, Make Time for Change.
Pitching for the job through Strange Beast’s Greenhouse studio who produced the video, the animator was given pretty much a blank page to work with, with no narrative in mind just “something that felt textured visually and matched the warm vintage classic sound that the record has,” Laura tells It’s Nice That. The result is a short which hops and bounces along with the band’s single, flipping between different characterful plants with giant smiles, as well as ladybirds dancing, birds chomping down some worms and much more.
Animation-led music videos is a medium we tend to see less and less of now, considering the tighter budgets tied to campaigns that often don't stretch to the larger process of animation – but Laura demonstrates how brilliant it can be. As she describes: “Making a music video can be quite a taxing job in 2D drawn animation, especially working alongside such a small team and with such little time.” Over the course of a month, she adds: “I know I needed to find a way that would save time,” which led her to the decision of looping certain elements of the video. However, due to its frantic speed and detail it’s difficult to even notice that certain elements of the video are repetitions. “I also didn’t want to loose the spontaneous nature of the song,” she adds on this point, “so I made a conscious effort to have the character movements continuously bouncing along and having fun.”
Stylistically these decisions were informed by Laura’s love for 1930s cartoons, pointing out how her work is "often inspired by the rubber hose style of animation” from this period, “where characters can look squishy and playful without conforming to ‘realistic’ movements.” For Make Time for Change in particular, Laura was mostly inspired by Walt Disney’s Silly Symphony films as she loves “the whimsical feeling that these shorts have, especially with the music being the overarching theme to each piece,” she explains. This approach also links to how Laura wanted to loop and duplicate aspects of the video, and allowed her to experiment with taking “characters in and out of sync with each other to match the rhythm of the song, yet stile visually interesting.”
Overall, Laura wanted to “make something that didn’t take itself so seriously” – and, as with all of her work, that was her ultimate aim. “I love that the song itself pushes a feel good attitude, so I wanted to make a video that made you want to smile and have a good time, without being overly cheesy.” We’d agree that she’s done just that.
About the Author
Lucy (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a staff writer in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In January 2019 she was made deputy editor and in November 2021, became a senior editor predominantly working on It’s Nice That's partnerships. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about creative projects for the site or potential partnerships.