Alastair Taylor’s Fridge D’or

Alastair Taylor tells how he made The Fridge D’or at Bath Academy of Art. The film was a big hit at the Cambridge Animation Festival 1983.

“The Fridge D’or’ was made in rather makeshift style during my final year as an illustration student at Bath Academy of Art. It is concerned with destiny, the foreknowledge of doom, presented in the meagre story of a man getting out of bed, washing, dressing and going to the fridge. It becomes gradually apparent that death awaits him in the fridge, and its image becomes increasingly menacing as his very ordinary morning routine brings him nearer to his Nemesis.

For the most part the drawings were done in pencil and then photocopied to toughen up the lines – a process not half as laborious as was re-registering the copies on cels when I found that they came out inconsistent in size! It was necessary to mount them on cel rather than on paper because I wished to both top-light and back-light the scene in order to create the effect of a lighted window; by using a mask with a rectangle cut out of it underneath the drawings and putting a photoflood beneath the (glass) rostrum table, a “whiter than white” rectangle was produced on the film. I believe this bright window helped by adding depth to a film which would otherwise have been too simple, too much like mere drawings on flat paper. The photocopied drawings were finished with ink washes, loosely applied and of suitably sombre colour.

Having discovered backlighting, I made a short sequence in which the man’s figure, in bright outline against a black background, walks towards camera. His image is multiplied in different colours, first with many figures following each other forward, and then with three diverging so that they approached side by side. To do this I needed transparent cels with a dark ground on them through which I could scratch the drawings. Maybe such things exist somewhere, but all I had to hand were clear cels and black ink! The cels had to be roughened first with emery paper to provide a key and then two coats of ink applied: there must be an easier way.

Animation drawings from The Fudge D’or.

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