Our award-winning animator, James Merry

Many of you know that William Mager and I have worked as a filmmaking partnership for several years now – on Hands Solo, The Fingerspellers and My Song – with William directing while I get to write the scripts!

What you may not know is that across all three films, there’s been another constant – our excellent animator, James Merry.

Last weekend, William and I were invited to Reims, France for their prestigious Clin d’Oeil (‘wink’) Festival, the biggest deaf arts festival in Europe. There, we had the pleasure of bringing home a special effects award for James – for his animation work on Hands Solo!

So I thought it’d be a good opportunity to show you a few examples of his work…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Starting with Hands Solo, James’ animations showed visually just how incredible our hero’s dexterity was… (above) and got a laugh all of its own by suggesting a kind of visual scientific formula for his talents (below).

 

 

 

 

 

For My Song, he created our title sequence with a neat spinning CD with the title written on it (below) – which neatly linked to our main character being about to perform her favourite song in sign language. He also created some great Facebook-style social networking images for crucial points in the film.

 

 

 

 

 

 

But best of all, for our mini-series The Fingerspellers, about a gang of signing gangsters, James’ opening credits gave the series an instant comic-book feel (it was a ridiculous comedy), along with an immediate sense of dramatic urgency…

 

 

 

 

 

…they also went on to suggest a whole world outside the gangster’s deaf club – of ‘Metro City’ by panning through high rise buildings before ending up at the deaf club (below).

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sequence lasted just 10 seconds or so, but it set the series up perfectly – and truth be told, we got more compliments about this opening sequence than about anything else! (damn him!)

As well as being an animator, James is an illustrator and many other things besides! You can check out more of his work and find out more about him at his website, here.