After work on this film is finished I will be concentrating on a sequel to Girls Night Out. The film is at the storyboard and scripting stage at the moment. I have chosen to stick with the same characters, Beryl, Sonia, Beverley and Tracy because I feel I can develop their characters to make them stronger and more convincing.
The film opens with Beryl and her mates doing morning exercises at their factory, which has recently been taken over by a Japanese firm. The women realise just how unhealthy they are, so decide to take up sport after work. I will not give the plot away by saying which sport. However, Beryl thinks she is past all this and refuses to have anything to do with it; but one night when her workmates have an important match on, one of the team falls ill and Beryl is forced to step in. It has a surprise ending.
Throughout the film I will be making direct references to life in South Wales and am building the plot around the various social and political changes that are happening here, i.e.: the Japanese and American influences. Many animated films assume a sort of international language by using noises instead of words and stereotypes instead of individuals. I find this device often alienates people rather than making the film more accessible, so I try to make my characters and their surroundings quite specific.
I will be animating the film but involving other people with the colouring (no under twelve’s this time). The style will be much the same as Girls Night Out except this time, if the budget will stretch that far, I would like to animate onto frosted cell so I can use pencil instead of chinograph, the advantage being that with pencil you are able to have more control over some of the finer lines.
I will be recording the soundtrack first this time and breaking it all down before I start. In this way I will not have any problems with lip sync and I will be able to improve the timing for the animation. The only problem with doing the soundtrack first is that you have to have the money up front to pay for the actresses and production costs. With materials like paper and pencils you can spread the cost and only buy what you need. If all goes to plan the film will be financed by S4C and Channel 4 and finished by the end of 1988.
I choose to work in the independent film sector because I not only enjoy animating and drawing but I also feel something needs to be done about the representation of women in animated films. It is a very male dominated industry and female representation tends to be very negative. Somehow because the sexism is veiled under the guise of humour, it is made acceptable but this does not make it any less offensive. By making films with strong, likable female characters, I hope I am helping to redress the balance. After all, you might spend years slogging over a film, so you might as well do something that you feel strongly about.
Printed in Animator Issue 21 (Winter 1987)