Assisting with Animation Film

by Beauchamp Art

Acting for Kevin Smy and Georgina Chapman’s Animated Tattoo Short Film


After hearing about my assistance with previous peer projects (primarily modelling for my friend’s photography, and documentary on masculinity in the media), I was asked to help out with a short animation film; to be one of the main characters with animated tattoos. Given this previous knowledge by the animators of my willingness to help out in front of a camera, and having some experience of performance, I believed I would be able to make a positive contribution to my peers’ work.


The part involved a small amount of physical action, mostly looking, short movements, and still shots, that would allow for the animators to map the 2D moving images onto the 3D body.

The shooting was done in two parts, the first day featuring myself and one other character, and on the second this primarily involved my part; going through shooting the clips needed; limb by limb. Though there was a small amount of filming of another person’s face, to be rotoscoped into on of the tattoo animations, as far as I am aware. I had to follow rather direct instruction as to what to do with my body, given that the animators had already started their drawn parts, and to be able to match the animatic sequence already made, following instruction of one of the animators, who had also taken on a directorial role, and the camera and lighting man, whilst the other animator also offered direction and suggestions as to what would work best for their film. (Since I also had to shave my legs for this part so that they could animate onto them more easily, I should hope that it works well indeed.)

The collaboration involved a cross-course selection of individuals, featuring Animation, Film, and Fine Art students. Inter-course and cross-discipline collaboration is a useful skill, and a paramount example of the advantage of networking; and expanding one’s contacts beyond one’s immediate peers for mutually beneficial purposes.


I believe that this project serves as a fine example of mutual reciprocity in action; I assisted my peers with their work by acting for them, and I got two very nice dinners; one cannot complain.

Moreover, this experience is also useful for me as it serves as a rehearsal for group work in the future, where people take on different roles within a small collection of people. Also, as I plan on doing works that may involve some level of basic animation, it is useful to have contacts with knowledge of the software so could either teach me how do use the software and do what must be done when the time comes for myself (give me another skill; tool) or more directly assist me in future projects. In addition to working with a narrative within a creative venture; when so much of Fine Art seems abstract (especially within films, non-linear seems to be the default) understanding the process of working towards a cohesive continuum is beneficial, whether used explicitly or otherwise (this also came through discussing the use of narrative with a friend studying Illustration at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge this week; who is interested in visual story telling, but self-admittedly struggles with the written side of things – a problem that is also recurrent in Fine Art practice when attempting to describe one’s way of working, process and ideas in an clear and understandable way that also leaves room for personal interpretation).


The animation will not be completed for some time, but hopefully I will have provided a useful role in my peers’ project, and shall continue with such collaborations in the future, as they are often fruitful on both behalves.