Elliot Dear directs BBC Christmas animation The Supporting Act, using stop frame with CGI faces

Date
4 December 2017
Reading Time
2 minute read

Animator Elliot Dear has directed a short film to launch BBC One’s Christmas season, titled The Supporting Act. The two-minute animation created by BBC Creative with Blinkink, uses stop-motion methods combined with facial expressions created in CGI and mapped on to the puppets. This method gives the film “the charming, handmade qualities of stop-motion animation, the tiny imperfections that let you know it’s been done for real,” Elliot says. “The aim was to combine this with CG animation – which we used for the faces – in order to capture the tiny nuances of human facial expressions, enabling the characters to be very emotive without the use of dialogue.”

Elliot co-directed the John Lewis Christmas advert The Bear and the Hare in 2013, together with Yves Geleyn, which also used a different approach to stop motion with 2D cutout characters in real sets. Elliot worked with an esteemed team of collaborators on The Supporting Act including puppet makers MacKinnon & Saunders (Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr Fox and Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride); lead animators Andy Biddle and Dan Gill (Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs and Charlie Kaufman’s Anomalisa ); set builders Clockwork Frog (The Pirates: An Adventure with Scientists by Aardman/Sony); director of photography Toby Howell (Fantastic Mr Fox ); and lead CGI artist Rune Spaans (Trollhunters).

The film sees a young girl obsessed with dancing and keen to gain her father’s attention, though his work sees him increasingly distracted approaching the Christmas season. It culminates in a heart-warming moment at the school talent show, where it’s revealed her dad was noting her talent, and moves, all along.

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Elliot Dear / Blinkink and BBC Creative: The Supporting Act

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Elliot Dear / Blinkink and BBC Creative: The Supporting Act

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Elliot Dear / Blinkink and BBC Creative: The Supporting Act

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Elliot Dear / Blinkink and BBC Creative: The Supporting Act

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Elliot Dear / Blinkink and BBC Creative: The Supporting Act

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Elliot Dear / Blinkink and BBC Creative: The Supporting Act

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About the Author

Jenny Brewer

Jenny joined the editorial team as It’s Nice That’s first news editor in April 2016. Having studied 3D Design, she has spent the last ten years working in design journalism. Contact her with news stories relating to the creative industries on news@itsnicethat.com.

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