Animating The Great Hip Hop Hoax
Jon Burgerman, who created the artwork, and Will Anderson and Ainslie Henderson, who animated it, talk about bringing the characters of Silibil n’ Brains to life.
It was a great joy to draw the 'characters' of Silibil n' Brains and the skewed, hyper-technicolour, barfed-up world they created around themselves.
I particularly enjoyed describing, with my pen, the often grotesque supporting cast. I tried to capture the brilliance and crumminess of the duos' Great Hip Hop Hoax.
WILL and AINSLIE
The process of making the animated sequences for 'The Great Hip Hop Hoax' was a unique one. Ainslie Henderson and I were approached early on to work with artist Jon Burgerman's fantastic artwork, to bring it to life to help tell the story of two Scottish lads cheating the music industry.
It became clear very quickly, through director Jeanie Finlay, that animation was the perfect medium to include in her film, as the boys in the story took on alter egos, and almost became cartoon characters of themselves, amplifying their personas into arrogant American hip hop stars.
We started by looking at Jon's drawings of the boys, and began to rig them in the computer, to see what kind of performance we could get out of them. We deliberately worked with 2D puppet animation software, which allows us to prepare all the elements we needed and make digital puppets of all the characters. This was essential, as the nature of producing animation often requires many revisions before everyone is happy with the performances.
After Jeanie giving us timed scenes where she wanted animation, we began storyboarding the sequences, thinking carefully about the action and performance. These boards were shared with all the team, with details of all the elements we needed, so Jon could illustrate them out in Brooklyn. We took his artwork and began manipulating it, to realise the scenes as best we could.
This process of working was exciting, and anchored by Jeanie having a clear vision of what the film needed. We particularly enjoy how animation not only provides another visual style to the picture, but includes everyone involved to realise it fully. Inspired by the life that Gavin and Billy led, Jon's artwork, our animation, and the directors overall say, we found the process insightful and fulfilling.