Tiny Elephants presents

Bob Bobbin and the Christmas Stocking

(Press kit)

A film by
Linda McCarthy
Written by
Steven Appleby
2021
United Kingdom
English
11.52 minutes
16/9
Colour

copyright (c) Tiny Elephants 2021 All rights reserved

Photogram from the film

Synopsis

Another Christmas at Small Birds Singing and another disappointment for Spandisman. Join the fun with Consommé, Delphinium and Hurtle as Spandisman attempts to make next Yuletide the best one ever!

Director Statement

Bob Bobbin and the Christmas Stocking was conceived as a 5 minute film, but it grew to 11.52 minutes and took over 5 years to complete. It was a delight to return and collaborate with Steven Appleby on another surreal story adapted from his comic strip Small Birds Singing.

Biography

Since 2007 Linda McCarthy has been making stop-motion films at her Tiny Elephants studio in Chester, England. She has collaborated with Steven Appleby making films adapted from his comic strip, Small Birds Singing, and has also made music videos. Linda gives lectures on her work, focusing on her unique style, which combines ceramics with traditional puppet making techniques.

Why did you become a stop-motion animator?

I have collected and constructed marionettes and performed puppet shows since I was a child. It was therefore natural I was drawn to stop-motion animation. I began studying animation in 2003 as a mature student and love all aspects of the process – making the puppets, sets and props, and filming, editing and post-production.

Can you tell me about the use of ceramics in your films?

Before becoming an animator, I was a potter and my experience with clay dictated my unique style. Early experiments making heads out of modelling materials or foam were disappointing. But I loved the texture I could achieve with my high fired ceramics, so I developed a process making identical clay heads in a plaster mold and then giving each a different expression or mouth shape. So when the heads are exchanged during filming the characters come to life and talk! And of course most of the props and furniture are also ceramic.

How did your collaboration with Cartoonist and Author Steven Appleby begin?

Steven and I are cousins, and for my Graduation Film he allowed me to choose and adapt a few of his comic strips from Small Birds Singing (which had run in The Times for 8 years). It was a challenge to make puppets from 2D drawings, whilst maintaining the essence of his characters. We had great fun collaborating, which continued for 4 more films, the latest, Bob Bobbin and the Christmas Stocking!

Scan

What did you enjoy most about Bob Bobbin?

I loved making the laboratory. Spandisman is an inventor and when I started making the furniture and props, I wasn’t sure what he might need down in the cellar. As the story unfolded, I would stop filming to make some crazy invention which would help Spandisman reach his goal. I also loved the knitting scene. I researched other puppets’ knitting styles. I referred to Pingu and Granny from the Clangers, and then worked out a style which would suit my puppets. It was great fun! I enjoy the practical challenges posed by a stop motion scenario, for example how to make Bob Bobbin credible as a giant, remembering I have to make his ear big enough to fit his father inside.

Have you any highlights you would like to share?

It was particularly exciting in 2012 when Hinterland won the award for Best Eco Film at Golden Kuker – Sofia International Animation Festival. Unfortunately I wasn’t there to receive it in person. Attending a festival screening is a joyful experience, sharing the audience reaction. And if I have to choose a few highlights, my Graduation film, Small Birds Singing, screening at Annecy 2008 (the biggest animation festival in the world) was an amazing experience. Of course A Traditional Christmas at Small Birds Singing (2009) and Hinterland (2011) both had their Premieres at Edinburgh International Film Festival, which I was fortunate to attend. Collaborating on the Bradford Animation Festival Ident in 2011 with Steven was an honour. More recently, in May 2022, Bob Bobbin and the Christmas Stocking screened at Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film, as part of Steven Appleby’s ‘In persona’ presentation and it was a fabulous event!