We’ve worked on some very varied films over the last few years – covering subjects from Car Insurance to Heavy Menstrual Bleeding. We pride ourselves on making subjects that maybe aren’t that inherently interesting in to enjoyable films that people want to watch.
However, when the British Council approached us to do 10 films about British Myths and Legends, we knew straight away that we weren’t going to have to worry about making these subjects more exciting than they already were: here was an opportunity to tell stories about larger-than life-characters like Robin Hood, Boudica, and one of my own personal heroines, Emmeline Pankhurst.
The films were created to help foreign children learn English as a second language, so they’d be learning about the country and culture while they absorbed the language.
We began by establishing a visual style. We wanted something that we could adapt subtly to suit the tone of each story, while remaining consistent with each other as a series of films, and we also wanted a rich image that allowed us to put a lot of detail in to the background so that we could provide secondary information that we didn’t have time for in the narration or animation.
The below image is of George and the Dragon, and was created as an initial style frame.
Once we’d established the style, the real work could begin!
These were the films that we made, with links to the ones available on the LearnEnglish Kids website (the others are available on the LearnEnglish Kids app):
- George and the Dragon
- Emmeline Pankhurst
- Florence Nightingale
- Beatrix Potter
- Isaac Newton
- Loch Ness Monster
- Elizabeth 1
- Robin Hood
- Dick Whittington
Each of the films offered it’s own unique challenges and lent itself to a different tone. The mythological nature of George and the Dragon and the Loch Ness Monster, for example, suggested quite a light-hearted and humorous treatment, whereas the difficult lives and constant sacrifices of more recent characters like Emmeline Pankhurst or Florence Nightingale demanded a slightly more respectful tone.
Here are some of the comments from the British Council:
Thank you so much for being so great to work with – I had lots of fun with this project and I am really pleased with and proud of these films.
I love the films and I’m sure they’ll be really popular.
More details about the project can be found here – LearnEnglish Kids British Myths and Legends Animations