Illustrator Kyle Platts’ wry sense of humour and colourful sensibility explodes in animated form in this new film created with skilful animator Andy Baker, which sees the pair explore fume-filled hallucinations with hilarious consequences. It’s Kyle and Andy’s first film together and it sits as part of It’s Nice That’s partnership with Channel 4 Random Acts, where we’ve commissioned a series of films with five of the most exciting filmmakers working in the industry today. As part of Random Act’s expansion it has launched a new TV show for the first time in which our films will feature. You can catch Andy and Kyle’s film in the show’s third episode which aired last night and can be caught up with on All 4 now.
Illustrator Kyle Platts has worked with animator Andy Baker to create a colourful, kaleidoscopic film that takes us on a hallucinatory trip through the park. Toxic Mega Fade starts with a maintenance guy sniffing the paint fumes from his brush and getting high from them. The rest of the film takes us through every stage of his experience, from the utterly joyful to the surreally terrifying. “I was taking a walk through the park and looking at all the different things that are there like the flowers, people walking dogs, dogs pooing, people lying around, the park keepers doing park keeper stuff,” says Kyle. “I knew I wanted to make an animation with a psychedelic sort of flavour and this seemed like the perfect setting.”
To build the narrative, Kyle drew from his own park life experiences: “I saw a big tall man walking with a tiny little Westie dog – the dog was moving its little legs so fast to keep up with this dude’s slow, long strides. I just thought that was so dumb and funny so I made a note of that,” he says.
The illustrator worked on the storyboards, designing the characters and landscapes. Once finalised Andy set to work on adding “all his gooey magic all over it.” As well as animating the film, Andy worked with Kyle to make it work as a complete piece. “Working with Kyle is really very easy,” says Andy. “We like the same kind of things so we’re on the same page most of the time with ideas and what we want to create. A long piece worked for both of us as the collaboration allowed us to combine the different sets of skills we have. I’d been wanting to work with Kyle for a while as his work is perfect for animating.”
The film took around four weeks to complete and Andy was the only animator on the project, which meant a lot of grafting. “We were ambitious with the film we wanted to make, so there was just absolutely loads of animation to do,” explains Andy. For Kyle the challenge for him was maintaining continuity, making sure flowers and other elements of the background were where they should be. “I hate continuity errors, I always end up spotting them in films when I don’t even want to,” Kyle says.
From menacing music notes to a brief appearance from The Matrix’s Morpheus, the film is a well-crafted jaunt through psychedelia. The neighbourhood park provides familiarity for the audience and creates a contrast between the wild and weird things that occur in the relatively mundane setting.
“I probably enjoyed the freakout section the most – from an animation perspective it’s when you get to have the most fun,” says Andy. Kyle adds: “I really enjoyed drawing all the demonic little park creatures when he’s in freakout mode. I wanted them to look at goofy as possible.” Poppy colours, unique characters and wonderfully imaginative, the whole process was “smooth sailing” for the pair. “Andy’s animation style lends itself perfectly to my drawing style so I think we ended up with a really great aesthetic,” says Kyle.
Channel 4 Random Acts showcases three-minute films created by established artists and up-and-coming amateurs, chosen for their bold and original expressions of creativity. To watch weekly Random Acts selections or explore the entire archive, head to the Random Acts website.