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CITV’s Share A Story Presents “A Marvelous Collection of Underpants”

// Featured, Interviews

With the new series of Share A Story about to air on CITV, I had the opportunity to talk to one of the studios involved, The Character Shop. They were set the task of animating one of the shorts in the age category 5-6, A Marvelous Collection of Underpants. The short written by Malachi Forsyth, follows a young pirate captain and his mission to collect underpants!

Share a Story is an annual competition, which allows children to send in their written stories, with the chance for it to come to life with the help from a few professional animation studios. With over 7000 entries this year and only 8 winners, the contest was extremely difficult.

The Character Shop is now over a decade old, and has an amazing back catalogue of projects they have been involved in. I talk to Mark Vale to share his story on what it is like to work on this competition.


How did you get involved in CITV’s share a story?

We’ve been involved with Share-A-Story since day one.  We produced four films for the first year of the competition in 2010 and have worked on at least one film each year since.  It’s become an highlight on the calendar every year and this year I was lucky enough to help with the first stage of the selection process which involved reading hundreds of stories and whittling them down to twenty contenders per category.

The narrative is so fun and definitely unique to say the least, how did you decide how to visually tell the story, and why did you choose to use 3D animation to do so?

We loved the story, anything with pirates is generally great fun and once we heard Malachi’s voice over we loved it even more!  Most of our work is 3D CGI so it was an easy choice for us to make and we knew we wanted to focus on creating two strong characters and a moody, slightly dark look with desaturated colours and minimal palette.

How long did it take you to complete this animation from start to finish?

It was about a 6 week production.  The design and animation were created by our very talented animation supervisor, Richard Smart.

Capt Jack Pants_02

Is there a different sort of pressure in having a child as your writer, and the need to live up to their expectation of what they imagined the story to look like?

Yes we’re always very conscious that we’re bringing their vision to life.  We produce early stage visuals for them to see during their visit to CITV so they do have some input to the creative process.  It’s always interesting to get their feedback.

Do you remember any stories you made up as a child?

Not really, struggling to remember that far back!

Did you always want to be an animator when you were growing up?

I’m a producer, but no it wasn’t really something that I thought of growing up.  I did love cartoons though and it’s a dream job as a grown up particularly as I have a child of my own now.  She’s a good sounding board for new projects!

What would be your advice be to young children wanting to be writers or work in animation?

Never stop dreaming and being creative.  Oh and watch lots of cartoons to get plenty of ideas in the think tank!

If you were a pirate, whose knickers would you want to add to your collection?

That’s a cheeky question!  I’m going to pass on that one, don’t know who might be reading this!

Capt Jack Pants_01

A Marvelous Collection of Underpants written by Malachi Forsyth and animated by The Character Shop, will air on the CITV channel and ITV Player as part of Share a Story from the 28th October 2013.

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