Animation film by Historyworks
The Process of Making the Animation described
Historyworks was thrilled to receive an additional commission to make an animation to sum up the Stuart Era, which was funded by the University of Exeter's PI, Professor Andrew McRae using departmental funds, as a supplement to the AHRC funded project. This came about after the core commission was completed by Historyworks of 20 short films showcasing Stuart Era sources, and the advocacy film and biography films from the academic team, and the outline of the Stuarts Online website for the project was disseminated and discussed at two workshops, one at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and another at the Bodliean Library at the University of Oxford. The participant student teachers and sixthformers and accompanying teachers suggested that an overview film to help navigate all the ups and downs of the Stuart era would be super useful to engage those new to the subject of the Stuarts, and to lay out a timeline of constitutiional crises and regime changes.
We decided together that an animation would be a great way to have a stand-out product that would tempt in students and teachers new to the Stuart Era. In keeping with the ethos of the project to showcase original sources, Helen Weinstein worked closely with our graphic designer and film editor at Historyworks, Ross Casswell, to mirror images from the original sources for every scene. We needed to have a script to work from, and spent some time shaping and cutting down the script drafted by Professor Andrew McRae and Joseph Hone from the academic team. The academic team, mostly Joseph Hone, also helped enormously by providing appropriate images for us to copy for the Monty-Python-Syley onscreen graphics and we all enjoyed the discusssions about how best to transition from one scene to another, for example using Buckingham to dance across from the bedroom to the court scene! Our finishing touches on graphics once we had the main scenes mapped out, was to get the speech bubbles right for the crowd scenes and to use our cherubs to announce the timeline, to enrich the experience for the student viewers.
Once we had signed-off on the animation, the last part of the process was sourcing a narrator. We were very lucky that Jon Calver was already booked in the Autumn to be working with the comedian, David Mitchell who studied history at University and is an enthusiast for the past, and we also knew would bring a brilliant ironic tone to carry off the narration to keep students watching to the end! We recorded him in just a couple of takes so that we could play around with the pacing of the narrative, and then Jon and Ross worked closely together to smooth out the sound fx with the voice-over, and we are thrilled to have had many positive reviews of our animation!
If you want to use it for a class yourself, please know that if you go to the vimeo you can download it onto a memory stick and show in class or freely circulate to students using https://vimeo.com/188416653 as the URL - and do watch it here:
The Press & Website Visibility for Launch of Animation
Historyworks collaborated closely with the partner organizations to encourage a launch of the animation film on Friday 4th/Saturday 5th November to mark the commemoration of the Gunpowder plot which is featured in the film and to use this as a hook for press and website and blogs and social media. Historyworks helped support the University of Exeter, the University of Oxford, and in particular the Historical Association to write blogs and features about the project, and to coordinate tweets and retweets with the Ashmolean and Bodliean etc.