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CITV’s Share a Story Presents “Flashman”

// Featured, Interviews

All hail Flashman and his revolutionary superhero story! CITV’s Share a Story competition is back this year to dazzle and delight us with more children’s story telling. One of the winning entries, created by seven year-old Archie Rutt, tells the story of Flashman, explaining at long last how superheroes came to wear their underpants on the outside. After Archie’s initial designs and storyboards it was handed over the talented guys at Fettle Animation to bring his story to life. We’ve gotten under the pants of the production and found out what it’s like when children and adults join hands in animation. FLASH_SHOT_17_FINAL
What made you want to be a part of CITV’s Share a Story campaign and was it a kind of project you’d done before?

We made idents for CITV a few years ago and really enjoyed working with the team – we’d kept in touch since. We loved the previous Share a Story and emailed the team to congratulate them on winning the Children’s BAFTA last year and were delighted when they asked us to work on this a few months later. We’d done a mixture of comic animation and animated documentaries and lots of animation workshops throughout the years with kids – so this project was a perfect combination of what we’ve done before!  It’s been lovely working with the CITV team – it’s great to work with a bunch of fellow creatives.  They always offer us the right combination of creative freedom and supportive feedback. Carl Hadley the Series Director sent us lots of emails that made us laugh too!

Citv selection day

Flashman must have been a great story to produce. How pleased were you that Archie’s story had been selected for you to animate?

Kath Shackleton, the producer, was invited to help shortlist the stories alongside the CITV team, some of the other animation companies and the previous winners.  We all had our eye on which stories we liked – we were well chuffed when we found out we’d got Archie’s.


They say never to work with animals or children but surely nothing could be better in the realms of animation. Was it more of a highly creative process working with a child director, due to their active imagination?

Surprisingly – we never have actually met Archie.  The CITV team handled all of that. Kids are awesome though – their ideas never cease to inspire! Archie wrote a cracking story which gave us great material to animate. Flashman pic How much story and creativity did you get the opportunity to add. Did you stay true to Archie’s storyboards or did you have a bit of creative freedom?

We tried to stay true to Archie’s story, sticking with his colours and his storyboard.  We added a few things here and there and brought some of our own animation style to Archie’s ideas. 

Obviously comparing Archie’s original storyboard and the finished film there are a few extra scenes. Did you have to go back and forth with Archie making sure he was happy with what you were coming up with?

The CITV team gave us some feedback from Archie on our initial designs (he asked us to change the colour of Flashman), but generally left us alone to get on with it.  We had to add a few extra shots to extend the piece to 1 minute, but everyone seems to have been happy with what we’ve done!

fettle team

The Fettle Animation team

Fettle have a unique style and animation technique. Did you feel that Flashman sat nicely in your mould or did you have to tweak your formula?

This suited animation director Zane Whittingham’s style and sense of humour perfectly.  It’s been great fun to work on! We were able to work with two new animators on our team, Ryan Jones and Jade Hodgson, for whom this was their first project with Fettle – they are fitting our mould rather nicely!

Is working with child directors and creatives something that you would try again? Maybe making Archie a permanent employee?

More please – bring it on! We love working with crazy kids. And Archie’s inspired us to keep wearing our underpants on the outside in eternal superhero style! FLASH_SHOT_09_FINAL

Sounds as if Fettle Animation, CITV and creator Archie Rutt had a fantastic time producing this film and answering, finally, the big superhero riddle. If Archie’s theory is anything to go by then I will certainly be wearing my pants on the outside, superhero or not. Thanks to everyone at Fettle for this inside sneak peak and you never know, Archie may be flying onto a screen near you in the future, making animations of his own! Fingers crossed.

Flashman written by Archie Ryder Rutt and animated by Fettle Animation will air on the CITV channel and ITV Player as part of Share a Story from the 28th October 2013.

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