Kevin Griffith, BAFTA award winning Animation Director

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1. Old Bear Stories.

 

My name was put forward to Ealing Animation/ Optomen Television for interview. They were looking for an animation director. I took along my show-reel and on the strength of my Magic Roundabout adult spoof, Producer Richard Randolph asked me to direct Jane Hissey's Old Bear Stories. The company had never done any 3D model animation before so I was in a position to crew in people I knew - animator and lighting cameraman Humphrey Leadbitter, as well as set builders and puppet makers; I set up a model animation department then spent nine months Directing the first series. One year later the Old Bear Stories received a B.A.F.T.A award and Carlton TV commissioned another two series and 2 half hour Christmas specials.

 

IN A NUTSHELL:

Children's picture book writer Jane Hissey produced a series of books through Random House- the largest book publishing company in Great Britain about a group of soft toys, Little Bear the main character who has all sorts of adventures with his friends in their playroom. It became so popular that it was commissioned as an animation series for Carlton TV.

 OLD BEAR STORIES

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2. Bob the Builder.


HIT International required Ealing Animations to produce a 90 second pilot for Bob the Builder to pitch the idea to MIP C.O.M. We had a tight schedule of three months. I could see the idea had a lot of potential but the script was too long. The Script was re-written and production started. The designs for Bob the builder took some time to crack but once they too were finalized the puppet was made in Bristol by a company called The Puppet Factory. The one vehicle featured was produced and engineered by John Wright, also based in Bristol. He was highly recommended and had done lots of work on the Wallace and Grommit films. The sets, props and animation was done in-house. We delivered the goods and HIT presented their proposal which was swept up very quickly.

IN A NUTSHELL:

Bob the builder created by Chris Chapman. A 90 second pilot starts with Bob early one morning exercising in the builders yard with one of his vehicle friends called Dig. They notice the gutter is blocked so Bob climbs up the ladder to fix it - and slips. Luckily for him Dig manages to catch him- perish the thought if he hadn't.

 

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3. El-Nombre.

 

 

Richard Randolph of Ealing Animation asked me in to work on a new project called El-Nombre. (3 minute inserts for Rat-a-Tat-Tat). On the strength of the programmes popularity it was developed into a full series. It was a good feeling knowing that I had been involved in the initial stages of this project working with Humphrey Leadbitter, setting the style and look of the characters and making the puppets and sets ( a good team effort).. I had the opportunity to animate four of the episodes.

IN A NUTSHELL:

Mouse House is a series of five minute episodes that slot into a half hour kids BBC educational programme called Hotch Potch House. They are introduced by a puppet narrator as the family that live behind the skirting board and each week have some sort of adventure.

 

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 4. Mouse House.

 

Richard the producer of Ealing Animation offered me 'Mouse House' a new project the BBC were developing for a kids TV series. Myself and Humphrey Leadbitter designed the Mice characters and made the puppets. Then I directed and animated the first two episodes 'Mice Trains and Dinosaurs' and 'The Show'. In these two stories the mice characters had to dance, sing and clown about. It was all good fun.

 

IN A NUTSHELL:

Mouse House is a series of five minute episodes that slot into a half hour kids BBC educational programme called Hotch Potch House. They are introduced by a puppet narrator as the family that live behind the skirting board and each week have some sort of adventure.

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5. Captain Grimy.

 

Captain Grimy was devised by Gren and Juliet who invited me to work on this rod puppet show and team up with Kate Middleton. The show was packed with lots of action, complicated routines and tricky handovers. It was hard work but great fun. The show was booked into schools and Art-centres all over London. We preformed at the little Angel Marionette Theatre and made trips to puppet festivals in north Wales and Oxford. But the best trip was one week funded by the British Council to do a whole run of shows at a puppet festival in Jerusalem.

 

 IN A NUTSHELL:

This is a tale about a captain who loses his leg when attacked by a sea serpent.

Other fishermen mocked him and he becomes the butt of peg leg jokes. Unhappy about this he takes revenge and pollutes the sea. The fishermen get a good telling off by a dolphin and decide to make up with captain grimy in a very unexpected way. 

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 6. The Magic Roundabout.

 

 

Back in 1990 I suggested to my house mates the idea of putting together a super 8 film night. The first one was a success, so much so that we decided to continue to do them with a theme for each event. One of these themes was the twilight zone. I decided to do a spoof of the magic roundabout. I teamed up with my good friend Mac who wrote an excellent script. Neil Conrich recorded the voices and did an excellent impersonation of Eric Thompson. When I set about making the characters the snails shell was my first ever attempt at sculpting. It worked out well and a significant turning point for me. Basically this kick started me into puppet making and I waved goodbye to the drawn animation.

It took me three days to animate the six minute film which was very similar to the original version! So much so that a copy was eventually sent to Serge Danot and he was so impressed he invited me to go and work on a new series of The Magic Roundabout he was about to embark on in France, unfortunately and sadly not long after this invitation Serge Danot died.

 IN A NUTSHELL:

This adult spoof starts with Dougal who has come across a vending machine and is trying hard to figure out what's inside. Eventually Brian and Dylan turn up, they too try to work it out, but cannot read and are therefore none the wiser, Brian gets upset and Dylan falls asleep. Then, just in the nick of time Florence arrives and enlightens them and as expected at the end Zebadee drops in suggesting its time for bed. Much to Florence's delight.

 

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ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL
Splash!

(example picture x4 to come)

Worked with 10 schools to produce an art and musical performance at the Royal Festival Hall. 

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TATE MODERN
Gifted by Nature
Working with refugee kids   ( example pictures x 4 to come)
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YOUNG VISIONS
Southwark Schools
Teaching shadow puppetry. ( example pictures x 4 to come)
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COURTYARD THEATRE

Mistero Buffo by Dario Fo

Shadow Puppeteer for multimedia theatre performance

produced by Think Tank Theatre, directed by Jud Charlton

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