Recently picking up the Audience Award for Best Humour at the Babelgum Animation Film Festival 2010 for his stop-motion animated, viral short – The History of Denim, Drew Roper runs the appropriately Black Country-coined Yamination Studiosfrom his studio at Light House, Wolverhampton.
The History of Denim features the vocal talents of Mark Williams from the Harry Potter films, as Black Country foundry worker Johnny Roper tells us 'The TRUTH about denim.'Graduating from Southampton Solent University in November 2009, Drew chats about his recent festival win, bagging an all-star comic hero for the voice-over, and how his first professional commission evolved with Animation Forum West Midlands.
How did the History Of Denim come about and evolve into the finished short?
This time last year, I was approached by LUKE 1977 – the Midlands-based fashion brand, asking if I'd be interested in helping them out by creating an animation for their website.
The wanted to tell the story of where denim came from; the Wild West Midlands! I was delighted to be on-board as the base of the story was there already thanks to all at LUKE; I just had to add a few tweaks to make it more suitable for screen.
View the short here:
How did you manage to get Mark Williams (The Fast Show, Harry Potter) to provide the voice-over?
After discussing with LUKE what to do for voice artists, they insisted we go for Mark Williams, as LUKE are huge fans and so am I. They wanted someone famous, of local origin and funny, who's voice would be recognised by all. Mark was the perfect bloke for the job, as I hope you all agree.
When I first approached his agent, he was very busy with the new Harry Potter films. I thought we were going to be chasing a lost cause as it was against the clock to get things rolling, and I never dreamed that someone of Mark's stature would be interested.
LUKE insisted they only wanted to use Mark, and although time was ticking away, we waited until he was available and it all worked out perfectly in the end. Particularly as 1) Mark was a true gent and fantastic and 2) I was behind schedule, so that extra few weeks delay really helped me get back on track.
What was your initial reaction to the Babelgum Animation Festival win?
Shock! I couldn't believe I'd won something! It was like winning a nice amount on the Lottery! I was extremely overwhelmed and flattered by the outcome, I just want to thank all the people and businesses for their help, I couldn't have done it without them, in particular Light House. I just hope I can achieve this again soon on other productions I'm involved with; it's a 'bostin' feeling!
What plans do you have for Yamination Studios now?
Well, we're open for commissions if anyone's interested?! At the moment, I am at the very early stages of project development on a couple of ideas that I have. As a result, I already have meetings setup for possible collaborations with a number of fantastic, well-established industry pro's. It's flattering as they all seem to be just as keen as me (which is a bonus), but it's very early stages yet.