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Animation: Igniting a love of reading

Blog date

12.02.2020

Author

Lucie Wood
Content Consultant, _motion,

Did you know that a quarter of 11-year-olds in England, and close to half of all disadvantaged children, are unable to read to the required level when they leave primary school (DfE, 2018)?  

Neither did we until we started work with our official charity partner, Ablaze. The Bristol-based organisation aims to address this important issue with its literacy campaign within primary schools. Schoolchildren who need extra help with reading are paired with a volunteer, called a reading buddy, for a year; receiving vital support to boost their reading skills, unlocking their education and often growing confidence levels too.

Our content mission
Complementing our media relations campaign, motion’s brief was to raise awareness, encourage donations and inspire new volunteers with an arresting piece of content. It was essential that the content worked well on social channels and it also needed to appeal to a diverse audience of children, business owners and potential volunteers.

We developed an animation idea that we believed encapsulated the passion and creativity of the charity and its Reading Buddy programme, while showing the magic and joy that reading can bring. CEO at Ablaze, Sally Melvin loved the concept and so with the green light we fleshed out the script, scene by scene.

Scripting
The story pivots around a central idea of Ablaze ‘filling in the gaps’ in reading and preventing children from falling into illiteracy. We see a primary school-age child, reading with an Ablaze buddy, who frustratingly see gaps in the sentences; the words she doesn’t understand.

With her buddy’s help, the child enters the magical worlds of storybooks, meeting a bunch of fun characters along the way. As she is launched into space, encounters the three pigs and a witch, she finds the missing words that place themselves into the gaps in the book so that, by the end, it finally makes sense.

Finding our animation partners
We knew that the team at Sun & Moon studios at Bristol’s Paintworks would be an ideal fit for this project. They came with a light-hearted and fun approach, as well as solid experience in making animated programmes for CBeebies, BBC, Aardman and nickeloden.

Live action by _motion
To show the contrast between ‘real life’ and the imaginative world found in story books, we decided to book-end the animated story with live action segments, filmed by _motion’s full production video unit and weaved in with some clever transitions.

Casting
We needed a suitable real-life star who soon appeared as Nancy, a nine-year old who attends a Bristol primary school. Photographs of Nancy were sent to Sun & Moon who promptly recreated her as an animated character standing on the moon with a painterly storybook background. 

Bringing the story to life
The client loved this initial concept and with this style frame signed off, animators could get going in plotting the action, figuring out movement and drawing the other characters in a static storyboard. From here they moved onto the black and white animatic where the characters move, and the action is timed out to the length of the film.

_motion sourced the music from our library of stock tracks while Sun & Moon designed, drew and animated the beautiful detailed backgrounds that make the fantasy world come alive in movement and colour.

The final mix
Sun & Moon took our edited live action footage and cleverly added the graphics that put the words on the page and made them magically rise up from Nancy’s hands like fairy dust. With a final mix of music and sound effects, our final film was finished: 

The stats
Hot off the press, the social results for the hero animation post to date:

32, 796 total video views

56, 617 reach (Facebook)

29,076 impressions (Twitter & LinkedIn)

5,048 engagements

Think animation might be the content solution you’re looking for? Contact _motion and we’ll be happy to show you other animations we’ve commissioned and discuss what would work best for you.

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