For this Movies in Motion, my monthly stop-motion binge, I begin with a confession.
Before my blogging days at imwithgeek.com, I was not a fan of Twitter. Its centre at any social controversy made me very nervous of the site. I imagined a hellhole full of selfies and bigoted comments all accessible at the touch of a button. Although, social media will always have its downsides, I have to admit - I love Twitter.
T.P. (short for Toilet Paper) tells the story of a lovable toilet roll as he seeks to escape his messy fate. Placed in the dark and dank bathroom of a gas station, he realises that he is to be used to mop up poo. Joined by a traumatized older roll as well as a psychotic plunger and a greedy toilet, the young roll must escape before he is used and disposed of.
Just what would you do if every person you met covered you in their poo?
T.P. is the first film by start-up studio WerleyBob Pictures. The studio and film is the brain child of animators Bradley Werley and Bob Blevins. The short film has been a long time in the making, going back as far as 2011. After raising initial funds for a voice actor Bob Bergen, (Porky Pig himself) and materials the pair landed jobs at a major animator who decided to start a stop-motion sister company. Despite employing some of the most talented animators around and having the great Henry Selick as their debut director, the company sadly abandoned the project putting the guys out of work. The loss, although sad, meant that both could return to working on their debut film T.P. Now, despite Werley working for LAIKA, (best studio ever), the pair are promoting their brilliant debut work through festivals and more campaigns to bring it to audiences.
Despite the films protagonists being humans that simple want to use the bathroom, you immediately sympathise and relate to the naïve young roll. You see the effects that wiping has had on his fellow roll and you hope for a different outcome for him. His courage and determination adhere you to him and his outcome in the film feel so fitting for such a hero.
For anyone who knows anything about stop-motion the method of individually building every set, prop and character, then moving them to capture every movement 24 frames at a time is painstaking. On a feature film, a full team may capture as little as three seconds in a week. With their small budget and smaller team, what WerleyBob have accomplished is amazing.
The quality and look of the animation is brilliant. The film captures the Claymation style of Aardman with hints of the static charm of their previous director Henry Selick. Instead of glossy and slick the pair have given their work a textured appeal. Everything seen has a feel to it from the smooth roll to the hairy rough surface of the human bare legs.
To complement the pair’s brilliant animation. the film has a great story filled with interesting characters. The short is led by the naïve and idealistic young toilet roll. His passion and desire to escape the bathroom is the heart of T.P.’s story. Alongside him is an older roll whose distress is apparent throughout. His encouragement of the young roll progresses the story yet his permanent trauma is clear. Opposite the two are a cruel plunger and greedy toilet who taunt the rolls and take pleasure in the pair’s messy demise.
A quirky and imaginative short film by a pair of talented newcomers. Their story is not just one of imagination but what you can do in film with determination. Myself and the I'm With Geek family wish them all the best in the future as we will be watching their careers with interest.
Want To Know More?
For all future news with the films progression follow its creators on twitter:
@WerleyBob and @bradlywerley
Also, check out WerleyBob's website!