Sweet Tooth (2017)
"A doodle's colourful appetite leads to a vibrant transformation..."
Sweet Tooth is an animated Micro Short, with a runtime of just under 90 seconds. It features a peculiar doodle nicknamed Crescent the Cat, whose first action, upon being drawn to life, is to devour a large jar of multicoloured candy.
Sweet Tooth was awarded a Special Mention from the Children's Jury at Encounters 2018, and was then invited to screen at dozens of Children's Film Festivals across the world!
Music: "Amazing Plan" by Kevin Macleod
Sound effects: Hannah Anastasi & freesound.org
The concept for 'Sweet Tooth' initially came from some doodles of a cat-like creature with a crescent-shaped head that I drew inside one of my old notebooks. In one drawing, the cat was juggling coloured balls. When I found the drawing a few years later, the oddness of the image stuck with me so I decided to use that image as a starting point for a hand-drawn animated short. I had wanted to give myself a project that would involve animating an original character, with lots of short scenes and lively movement, so it seemed like a perfect fit.
But the main stipulation was that the film must be under 90 seconds long. For someone with little film-making experience at that time, I thought that these guidelines would keep the project manageable. It would force me to learn where my strengths and weaknesses lie as an Animator, as well as a Director.
Because the runtime was so important, I selected the music first. Taking inspiration from early Disney shorts that were led heavily by their scores, and Independent films like Micheal Ducok De Wit's 'The Monk and the Fish', I completed a storyboard that matched the tempo of the song I had chosen. It wasn't long before I had a simple story of a doodle springing to life and undergoing a transformation to become a finished drawing after consuming a jar of multicoloured candy.
The scenes remained mostly unchanged from the original storyboards, so I started producing finished background art, using photographs of sweets thrown about on the floor of my garage for reference.
Unfortunately, about mid-way through production I began to suffer from mysterious musculoskeletal pains. I was misdiagnosed with elbow injuries and spent the year in and out of physiotherapy and Chiropractor offices, with little success, so I had to take a break from both animating and freelance contracts for a while.
By mid-2017, I was on the road to a more accurate diagnosis for my pain flares: Fibromyalgia. Within a few months, the pain became easier to manage via Hydrotherapy and I was able to steadily return to drawing more frequently. Thankfully, it didn't take long to complete the shots of Crescent in his doodle-form and I was then able to comfortably complete the ending scene that featured Crescent sporting his final furry look!
Crescent's final design carries over some elements of the original "skeleton" look, particularly in the eyes and the shape of the head, but with a real mouth and big ol' chunky paws to match his new textures. The pattern on Crescent's fur is made up of randomly sized circles, hoops and sickle shapes, which I hoped would look as if a child had been asked to colour him.
In the end, this short was supposed to be nothing more than an animation exersise that I hoped would make people smile. But behind the scenes it ended up becoming a bizarre Pinocchio-esque story of a scrappy cat doodle finally becoming "a real character" once I had regained my ability to draw!
'Sweet Tooth' was officially selected to screen at multiple Film Festivals between 2018 and 2019, proving to be very popular with younger audiences:
* Special Mention, Children's Jury: Encounters Film Festival, UK. 2018
IPAF Seoul, South Korea. 2019
Norwich Film Festival, UK. 2019
Martha's Vineyard Film Festival, USA. 2019
PLAY - Lisbon's International Kids Film Festival. Portugal. 2019
Guro Kids International Film Festival, South Korea. 2019
Chicago International Children's Film Festival. USA 2018
Paris International Animation Film Festival, France. 2018
CINANIMA, Portugal. 2018
Imaginaria Kids, Italy. 2018
Fest Anča, Slovakia. 2018
Athens ANIMFEST, Greece. 2018