If you’re crazy about animation, you’ve come to the wrong place.
People often ask us where we get the original, creative and entertaining ideas that make Casual Film’s films so brilliant. The party line is that we’re lucky to be staffed with some of the very best in the business, each of them with that magic spark and unparalleled talent in their field — but the truth is, we copy people.
OK, we don’t actually copy. We are, however, often inspired by the work of others. We’re not alone in this — without Kurosawa, it’s unlikely Tarantino would ever have made a film. Without Battle Royale, there’d be no Hunger Games. And without Breakdance 2: Electric Boogaloo, there’d be no way of crowbarring that reference into this blog. The point is — we’re all standing on the shoulders of giants, and at Casual Films we’ve chosen to embrace that through something called ‘Not Animation Time’, or NAT.
Alex Kirby, our UK Head of Post Production, started NAT in response to the well-established ‘Animation Time’, a bi-weekly team viewing of some of the best animation work across the industry. Alex thought it only fair that non-animated films get their moment too. Every other week, he gathers the team round, hushes them up, dishes out popcorn and shows them work that he’s recently found interesting and inspiring. Half an hour or so whizzes by and they have an ‘animated’ discussion (read: argument) about what they’ve seen.
A film’s inclusion in NAT isn’t necessarily a judgment on quality. While many of the pieces featured are groundbreaking, original and genuinely great, Alex often includes short films whose success has utterly perplexed him. As filmmakers, we need to keep an eye on everything that’s making waves — both the stuff we like and the stuff we don’t — because no matter how accomplished we think we are, we can learn from everything.
So, how do you get a coveted seat at the next NAT? Well, you get a job in our London office. But if you can’t do that, here’s a sneak peek of the sort of films Alex likes to show, and the reasons he chose them – in his own words:
1. Dave Tynan, ‘Heartbreak’ (Short Film)
Spoken word is very ‘en vogue’ at the moment, but rarely executed so well as in this powerful piece. I chose this because videos that promote ‘social change’ are becoming increasingly popular and could help clients come up with new, more engaging ways to promote their corporate social responsibility work.
2. Addict Aide, Louise Delage Campaign
Again, this film promotes ‘social change.’ While simple in execution, it makes its point brilliantly, with a touch of style and a good payoff at the end. It provides us with an alternative to the standard whiny or ‘hard-hitting’ PSA approach, raising awareness of a common problem in an impactful (and unexpected) way.
3. Cassius ft. Cat Power & Pharrell Williams, Go Up
The sheer visual appeal of this video is awe-inspiring — not to mention that half the footage came courtesy of our go-to stock footage website, Pond5. As a company, it’s usually a head-in-hands moment when a client asks us to look into stock footage. This video, love it or hate it, gave generic footage a new lease on life. It’s also (stock aside) a really interesting visual idea and contains some very snazzy editing. More about the project here.
4. Apple iPad Pro 10,5-inch
This video was created by a powerhouse of great advertising. Apple is one of the strongest brands in the world and, as a result, their video output oozes of what they represent (or want to represent) to their target market. The music, photography, clothes, locations, camera techniques, product shots, editing, colour (the list goes on) just stinks of how to execute a product film. It’s simply something to aspire to.