Last week we had a workshop with Sue Tong, an art director working in the Industry. I really enjoyed her workshop about art direction that we had in first year. This year the workshop was based on layout and how the layout of your shot can determine how the audience will feel. It was really helpful to get Sues feedback on my animatic, I was struggling with the camera angles and she really helped me to think a little deeper into what would work well alongside the poem.

I found a very helpful book by Mike Fowler ‘Animation Background Layout’, in which he goes into depth about composition, layout and background design. The book helped me to understand the importance of how you stage your shot and how important it is to stage your background in a way that doesn’t distract away from the main character. For example, the placement of the character in relationship to the pole in the background. The picture on the right is much more appealing and less distracting.

Better composition Room to act.

My research into Layout has made me realise that I had’t spent enough time planning layouts in my previous animation projects. I have come to realise that its an important factor in determining how the scene will come across to an audience. I intend on spending extra time planning the layout for my graduation film.

Besides Layout,  I have also been trying to work on art direction. I have been considering what look and feel I want to achieve. Due to the emotional nature of the narrative, I want the camera movement and overall look to help to enhance the sensitive theme of the film.

In the early stages of making a film I always make a mood board of images, so that I have a rough idea how I want the film to look. I also find it helpful to find films and animations that have the same feeling and movement that I would like to capture in my own film. After watching numerous documentaries and films about horses, It was really useful for me to save specific moments to refer back to whilst I animate.

Here are a few images off my mood board:


Image result for wild horses prairie sunset

Image result for wild horses on prairie sunset

There is a recurring theme throughout all of my photos, Wild horses surrounded by vast backdrops of prairies that go on endlessly for miles. I also am drawn to the pastel colours of the sunset and landscape that radiates a sense of calmness. The vast landscape that is never ending makes you realise that there is no limit to their freedom, there is plenty of space for them all to roam. I believe that if I can recreate this feeling of endless liberation within my film, it will make the issue of mankind not letting horses roam free, even more tragic.

Alongside the look and feel of the film, I have had to consider how the horse will behave throughout the animation. I have been considering the emotional arc of the poem and how I could tie in the horses behaviour. So that there is a connection to the emotion in the poem and the movement of the horse.

Emotional Arc in the Poem

In the beginning, the poem is about freedom. The first paragraph is a rich description setting the scene of the film perfectly. It gives me the opportunity to visually show the vastness of the landscape in relationship to the horse.

Wild horses belong to wind and rain
And to the earth and sky
Where prairie country stretches wide
Out there where eagles fly;
Yonder where the sagebrush blooms
And where dust-devil’s king
Where canyons are shaded pink and red
And desert winds sing;

The first section of the poem is about how horses belong to be free and their fighting spirit. In this section, I intend on animating the horse in a state of happiness. I want the movement to portray freedom with no boundaries. Perhaps the horse will canter, romp and play.

The second section of the poem hi lights the issue of mankind not allowing horses to be free. The clear change of tonality in the poem is something that I can reflect in the horses movement. I can picture the horse stopping and hesitating, turning around and escaping in the other direction, as if it is running away from the issue of mankind.

Finally, the last section of the poem has a lighter tonality stating how horses don’t belong to any man. I would like the horse to have escaped mankind and be free again. I can picture the horse acting calm and slowing down to a walk.

I really want to capture the emotional arc throughout the film, using both the poem and the horses movement. I intend on having music to go along with the voice over. I think that light piano music would go well, soft music to enhance the emotion of the piece.

I recently saw the Lloyds Bank advert ‘The Running of the Horses’. Using music and imagery, they have created an incredibly moving advert. It is so simple, the movement of the horses, the camera angles and the music make the piece so powerful. As an audience you can’t help but feel emotional watching it, and its supposed to be a bank advert! If I can recreate this feeling for my audience then I will be very pleased.



Running With Horses. (2018). [DVD] Directed by S. Pilling.

Limited, A. (2019). Alamy – Stock Photos, Stock Images & Vectors. [online] Available at: [Accessed 31 Jan. 2019].

IMDb. (2019). Sue Tong. [online] Available at: [Accessed 31 Jan. 2019].

Fowler, M. (2002). Animation background layout. Caistor Centre, Ont.: Fowler Cartooning Ink Pub.

Animation World Network. (2019). Animation Layout: Element Placement. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Jan. 2019].



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