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CITV’s Share A Story Presents “Super Dan”

// Featured, Interviews

Super Dan is a film animated by CITVs Frank Mansfield but the real brains behind the outfit was a 9 year old girl. Obviously the complications of animation are best left to adults but the charming story of a Super Hero with one rather wimpy weakness was conceived by Erin Jarvis as part of the Share a Story competition. Super Dan tells the tale of a classic superhero, fearless, bold dynamic who bounds across the screen in true superhero fashion, saving the world from alien invasions, fearsome dragons and even finding time to save Birmingham from a fire. Unfortunately when relaxing after a hard day of super heroics he finds his one weakness waiting for him in the bathtub.

The chunky CGI animation was created in house by CITV, we chatted to Frank Mansfield who gave us a glimpse of his process creating Erin’s super-story.


What makes Share a Story different from any other work you do at CITV?

Share a story is great because it is the one chance a year you really get to dive into something, spend some time with it and make something really nice.


Can you tell us more about your winners involvement in the film?

Erin Jarvis was so into it! Sometimes you get kids who are blown away by the whole experience but then you get kids like Erin who have a vision of the whole thing, when she came around here she got her pen out and drew the logo and told me how to do everything, it was brilliant that she invested so much time into shaping the short.


She sounds like a future producer then!

Exactly that, she will be my boss in ten years time, she did an amazing read too, the voice over she did was so bubbly and full of life.


The film has a really nice style how did you come about it?

It was a bit touch and go, I wanted to do something in that style for quite a while, I’ve been wanting to do a low poly CG film for a while now, kind of like a clunky, chunky, vinyl toy.

Screen shot 2013-10-08 at 14.09.14

How did you find animating such a chunky character? He seems quite an awkward shape.

This was a real concern I went through a couple of options with the body shape, one which was more rounded, brutish kind of build, the original idea was always a squared off classic superhero but obviously I had a real issue thinking about how the arms attach to that and how the shoulders move. In terms of modelling and rigging that you would need to use blendshapes and things to try and fix problems which wouldn’t be worth it, especially because we have this low poly look we don’t have the shapes to use. I did have a go at making him simpler and rounder but he totally lost the superhero look, it worked alright but he looked more like a bouncer or a doorman.

Screen shot 2013-10-08 at 14.01.30

Super Dan, written by Erin Jarvis and animated by Frank Mansfield of CITV will air on the CITV channel and ITV Player as part of Share a Story from the 28th October 2013.

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