We were recently commissioned to create a short animated film for the charity ‘Voicing Child Sexual Abuse’, with Coronation Street actor Chris Harper and the charity’s director Phillip Lafferty.
The first step for any project is to gather the team together. As the budget for charity films is significantly less than it would be on a commercial film, we’re going to have to find a lot of creative solutions throughout the production, and one of the first things to think about is sound.
Like many studios, we don’t have a sound designer as part of our in-house team. Instead, we have a network of sound designers, voice artists, musicians and technicians that cover a wide range of skill sets, and we hire them in as per the requirements of each film. On this film however, that would quickly ravage the budget for the film, and so we turned to Collage Arts…
Collage Arts is a leading arts development, training and creative regeneration charity that has created opportunities for greater participation in the arts and creative industries for the whole community through a range of learning programmes, enterprise and support services, facilities and resources.
They seek to provide greater access and support to under-represented sections of the community including: black and minority ethnic communities, women, people with disabilities, young people leaving care and ex-offenders, by offering skills, experience and opportunities in music. media, film, photography, performing arts and visual arts, which can lead onto progression routes in further and higher education, employment and entrepreneurship.
This film sounded right up their street, and we’ve wanted to work with them for a while, so we made the introduction and are delighted to have been put in contact with Llamar King, who will be working with Chris Harper on all the vocal parts of the film (we’re pretty lucky to have an actor on board – especially one who has spent the last year getting in the head of an abuser. Just listen to how dark the man can go:)
What we want to do with the sound
Sound is going to be a really important element in this film, because it’s all about the abused victim finding the courage to speak out – to stop the voice of the abuser and to make themselves heard.
For the first half of the film, I want the abuser talking. I want the audience to get sucked in to a nice, friendly sounding voice, just as the victim does. Soon, the voice will become darker. Harsher. It will slowly dawn on the audience that the main character is being abused by the voice, and shortly afterwards, it will dawn on him too. At this point there will be a cacophony of voices echoing around his head, some giving advice, others offering further abuse. Although terrified, he will eventually find the courage to roar – and that roar will deafen and silence the abuser for good, leaving the victim alone at the beginning of his journey to the truth project. Only then will we hear the victim’s voice.