It’s Pancake Day, a yearly excuse to eat batter for breakfast, lunch and dinner. No matter whether you’re a savoury or sweet kinda person, the skills behind making the perfect crepe can be appreciated by all, and after making 600 of them for their Pancake Day in Lockdown film, animation directors Wriggles & Robins are surely experts.
Directors Tom Wrigglesworth and Matt Robinson came up with the idea for the film last year, and produced a speculative version for a commercial pitch. That didn’t work out, Wrigglesworth tells It’s Nice That, but they decided to put it on the internet anyway: “Reddit liked it, which was nice!” So when lockdown began, the duo set about making a more refined, crafted version. “It’s one of those ideas you start and soon after, you’re like ‘really, is this worth it?!’” he laughs about the arduous process that ensued from the project.
The team began by creating a simplified 2D version of the animation, with help from illustrator Phil Arthur, and projecting it on to a frying pan. Then, armed with a little bottle of pancake mixture, they poured on the batter to create each frame. This included making characters, explosions, a fight scene, a surfing scene, and a rocket flying through space towards a planet/crepe-shaped final shot; every one a perfect pancake.
Due to the animation being made from fresh ingredients, the team had to work fast, spending two days making and filming the pancakes before they went off. “Then we ate them. Not all of them,” Wrigglesworth adds. The whole film was shot in his kitchen, with the stop frame animation being put together by Matthew Cooper. While most of the short is stop frame, there is a short segment where the pancake is flipped, which was filmed in live action – an area of filmmaking the duo hopes to work in more, going forward.
The animation as a whole is a great example of how Wriggles & Robins works, often creating self-initiated briefs exploring techniques they want to try out, and usually hooked to holidays such as Valentine’s Day to give them a deadline. These are mostly pitched to clients, but this one, he says, felt like it should be shared further, especially during lockdown. “It’s just so much more accessible as you can really see the process that went into making it,” he concludes. It also shows just what can be achieved from the kitchen table, or in this case the hob.