Linda McCarthy is a filmaker specialising in stop motion animated films. She has made and exhibited ceramics, written and preformed marionette shows and is now writing and making animated films. After graduating from Glyndwr University in 2007 she formed her own animation company, Tiny elephants. Linda is currently calibrating with Steven Appleby in making a series of films adapted from Stevens cartoon trip, Small birds singing.
About Tiny elephants – Tiny elephants is a little company which makes animated films in stop motion. It was formed in 2007 by Linda McCarthy, who up to now has made four short films adapted from the cartoon strip small birds singing by Steven appleby, small bird singing is a country state somewhere in england, in which lives a dysfunctional family, their masked butler and a herd of tiny elephants who dust under the furniture. The cartoon strip appeared in the times magazine for eight yard. Loomus, Steve Applebys current cartoon strip can be seen in the family action of the guardian on saturdays.
“I started my animation studies in 2003 as a mature student. Already experienced potter, and a marionette enthuses. I was naturally drawn towards stop motion animation. I enjoy all aspects of the process from the puppet and set making to the filming and post production.
- Small birds singing 2007
- A traditional christmas at small birds singing 2009
- The grand easter egg hunt 2010
- Hinterland 2010
- How to think within Steven Appleby 2011
- Bradford animation festival ident 2011
- The little circus 2006
- The performance 2004
I think for animation Linda ha done very well and her business is growing, the same as with the light designer Linda first studied another subject before getting to her career choice in animation, this is proving to be a very good technique for these designers as it gives them a more open mind. Giving them more creative techniques so that they can stand out in business.Linda was very kind to answer a few questions to help with this post.
1. What inspired you to make animation filmmaking your profession?
I came to animation and film making by a rather circuitous route. Ever since childhood my mother encouraged my sister and I to be creative and make things. Memories of childhood include writing, making and performing puppet shows, particularly during holidays shared with my cousin Steven Appleby. During Foundation Art studies my interests extended to include film-making and ceramics. I then obtained a diploma in studio ceramics, planning a profession as a ‘potter’ and subsequently created a ceramics studio at my home. However, my obsession with marionette performance and film-making resurfaced in 2003, and I went to West Cheshire College and enrolled on a Media Studies Course. I enjoyed the animation module and decided to do a Degree in Animation at Glyndŵr University. With my love of puppetry, I naturally gravitated towards ‘stop- motion’ animation.
2. Please could you describe your work and what inspires your work?
I approached artist Steven Appleby to see if I could animate one of his cartoon strips. He agreed and I chose Small Birds Singing, which had appeared in The Times for eight years and had always been a favourite of mine. It was a challenge to adapt his black and white, line drawn cartoons to a three dimensional environment and maintain the essence of his bizarre world. Steve gave me access to approximately 400 strips from the series. This stimulated many ideas for film stories. The first Small Birds Singing film was made as my graduation film and screened at many festivals worldwide, including Annecy in 2008.
3. Please could you describe the process you follow in creating work.
Once the script is finalised the dialogue is recorded. Kerry Shale is a professional voice artist and speaks for all the characters. The voice is crucial in portraying each personality, and Kerry is a master of his art.
Using the voice recording and storyboard I produce an animatic, which allows me to plan the timing for animation. While the script and storyboard are being resolved, I begin to create the puppets, props and sets. I model the character’s head in clay, make a plaster mould and then reproduce many heads. Then I model an individual mouth shape or expression on each head, which is finished with an oxide wash and high fired in the kiln to 1260˚C. The bodies are made from foam latex, which is baked over an armature. The hands are made from silicone over a wire armature.
Wherever possible, I make props out of clay. This has become my trademark. The ceramic props are also made in a loose and wonky way, to reflect Steven’s style.
I have space in my studio for one set at a time, which is a consideration when deciding on the order of filming. I make and assemble the set and then my colleague Joe Dembinski comes to work his magic with the lighting. As animating progresses, I edit and build the film over the animatic, lining up the voice and adding sound effects. Fortunately, as an independent film maker, I set my own time constraints and can re-animate a shot until I am happy with it. I enjoy this way of working – flaws and gaps can be spotted as the film is growing.
When I have finally finished the edit, I contact the composers, Verbal Vigilante Music, and the music is conceived.