Eight year old Jools and her big brother Mikey escape into a vibrant world of imagination to cope with the reality of domestic abuse they experience at home.
About the Film:
I recently directed and animated a six minute film for children produced by mediaco-op.
CEDAR (Children Experience Domestic Abuse Recovery) commissioned “Mikey and Jools Keep Safe” in September 2010 with an aim to create a fresh resource for 8-12 year old children recovering from domestic abuse. The five minute film will be nationally distributed as part of a larger workshop package and a launch of the film together with evaluation materials and testimonials will be held at the Traverse in early summer. Mikey and Jools artwork will also feature on the CEDAR website and throughout the resource packaging.
This film was very rewarding to create, most of all because of its wonderful collaborative spirit. I was involved from the first draft of the script, bouncing ideas back and forth with Martin McCardie to develop the character design and concept art alongside the story development. The pair of us also worked closely with the amazing women in CEDAR project and Heather Coady, the Children’s Policy Officer for Scottish Women’s Aid. We had several periods in development where the artwork and script were shown to the children in recovery for consideration. “Its like Horrid Henry, but better!” is possibly one of the best compliments I’ve ever received. Alison Peebles did a brilliant job casting and elicited an emotive performance from the very talented Ellie McConnachie and John McGeary, who were completely believable in their roles as sister and brother. Sean Scanlan only has one line but everyone comments on how much they love his character.
Armed with the voices and an approved animatic, I disappeared for about three months into my studio and produced the bulk of the film. All the artwork apart from development sketches and a few crayon scribbles was created digitally in a mix of Photoshop, Flash and After Effects. In early 2011 we brought Emily Scott on board to compose the original score after a long search. She and I worked collaboratively to find the emotional arc for the music and to get the balance right for the age group. The result is a paired down, bittersweet sound that sets the tone for the whole film. In March 2011, I took “Mikey and Jools” to Once Were Farmers for the final edit and grade where Will Adams was instrumental in achieving the polished look of the film. In early April, I worked with Romano Valerio at 422.TV to lay in the foley and added the final creative layer to the film.
I genuinely feel that the collaboration from our varied backgrounds combined with a singular vision to create an effective resource for CEDAR children made “Mikey and Jools Keep Safe” a special project for everyone involved. And last but not least to mention, behind every meeting, decision and deadline is the support and encouragement of an amazing producer, Louise Scott, and the great production company mediaco-op. I hope to take on more projects like this in the future.
Jools – Ellie McConnachie
Mikey – John McGeary
Mum – Carmen Pieraccini
Dad – John Kielty
Mr. Lennox – Sean Scanlan
Mrs. Lennox – Alison Peebles
Production Manager – Lorna Ferguson mediaco-op
Casting & Drama Director – Alison Peebles
Dubbing Mixer – Romano Valerio 422.TV
Edit & Grade – Will Adams Once Were Farmers
Original Music – Emily Scott
Scriptwriter – Martin McCardie
Producer – Louise Scott mediaco-op
Director & Animator – Nikki Godley
CEDAR group – Heather Coady, Emily Dempsey, Sarah Scott, Susan Walker