War Child's Armistice. 'You Play So That Every Child Can'
An animated short film produced and created by MadeWithUs to promote War Child UK's annual event that encourages peaceful gameplay to support children affected by conflict across the world.
We follow a group of 20th century mercenaries battling it out with Medieval Knights, Vikings, Samurai and Robots through a narrative and musical composition that changes over time from war to peace.
Winner of The 2017 National Fund Raising Awards - Most Innovative Fundraising Campaign. War Child UK's Armistice raised $130,000 in just 8 weeks in 2016. In its second year it is running from November 6 until mid-December 2017. Read why they won.
The Brief was to create a versatile short that introduces Armistice and explains the concept. The animation should act as a teaser trailer and will need to have longevity rather than specifically focusing on the content for 2017’s campaign. It should also build the clear link that Armistice is a War Child product. Viewers would need to understand: What Armistice is, When it takes place, War Child is a charity and Armistice is raising money to support children whose lives have been torn apart by conflict.
Written by James and Nik, this was all about changing the mood, tone and the minds of the audience and gamers through a shift in narrative, visuals and sound. We start off in war-torn areas and scenes of battle and in slow-motion we travel through time to reveal the guns and missiles changing into playful and peaceful water bombs, snowballs and colourful fireworks. Fun from sadness, peace from war.
Directed by James, the beautiful illustration by Zoe Potaka was animated in slow-mo to add the suspense at the start and dropped back into real time for the fun party section. It had a full VFX treatment with a cracking musical composition and sound effects added by Leo Crossing.
MadeWithUs was delighted for the opportunity to produce this animated film with War Child UK, for their Armistice initiative. The 45 second trailer and 15 second cut down were to be released to coincide with their Armistice which happens every year to promote non-violent gaming.
With a 2 week deadline we hit the ground running. We pitched three scripts, all loved, developed the third and got cracking on the boards with Zoe. We wanted to create a style of our own although as this was for predominantly gaming viewers we wanted it to have a games-trailer/ comic book tone.
Characters and their Scenes
We had to develop characters that showed diversity, didn't have any connection with any actual games and were from different eras and gaming genres. So Lady Vikings, Fighting Mechanical Robots and 20th Century Mercenaries pitched battle against Samurai and Medieval Knights on horseback. Scenes based on war torn areas and battlefields needed to turn neutral over time. Changing the sets to a snowy playground was the answer and they all travelled through their own scenes to reach one shared playground - once again showing the change in tone towards a non-violent setting.
Ten days to illustrate, animate, composite, add VFX, music and sound effects - we knew it would be tight!
We also knew we wanted to give War Child the best possible film they could have for their promotion.
A heavy VFX/ slow-mo/ bullet-time style was agreed on and this was achieved by using After Effects puppet tool for the character animation. A touch of 3D was added to the 2D with Maxon C4D for the bullet and bullet casings. Numerous stock layers of smoke, debris and fire were coupled with Trapcode Particular for the cartoon smoke, snow, dust and visual effects. Special techniques to bring the animation and characters to life were used. A hand held camera effect, light-wrapping and edge blurring of characters were few just things used to give the characters and film that extra realism. Have a look at these FX breakdowns.
The End Result
And what a result. The War Child team were absolutely delighted with the final trailer as were we. We put in late nights and weekend shifts, had a lot of fun with some talented and passionate people all for a good cause. That's what we call a result.
Client War Child UK
Produced by MadeWithUs
Directed by James Cook
Written by James Cook & Nik Huggins
Illustrated by Zoe Potaka
Animation, VFX, composite and edit by James Cook
Sound & Music by Leo Crossing
Read More: www.warchildarmistice.org
The 15 Seconds Cut-down
Finally. Here's the little cut down we did that the gaming companies will use to promote their non-violent games and the Armistice.