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Updated: Aug 19, 2018

At an animation festival years ago, I saw a film in which all the characters were solid objects - cubes, spheres etc. I don't remember the name of the film or the director but it won a prize, and the person presenting it recalled something once said by a famous animator - that if you can animate a square and a give it life and personality, you can animate anything. I thought at the time that this film wasn't a perfect example of that principle because the characters had eyes, with eyelids and eyebrows, so they could show life and expression through those. I made a mental note to make a more pure example of that principle one day. Animation being a time-consuming occupation, and with lots of ideas for films scribbled down in notebooks over the years, it was some time before I got round to it. A few years ago I pitched the idea to Collingwood Productions as a series idea. I thought there could be many stories you could tell about simple shapes. Because the design would be so simple - just shapes against a black background - you could play with their world in all sorts of ways. Gravity could suddenly change direction, or act differently on different shapes, or according to which shapes were interacting with each other. A shape's edge could change from a solid edge to a flexible one, or a liquid boundary. Two shapes could combine to form a third, with its own third personality, then divide again into two new shapes. I wanted a simple name to accompany the simple subject. After searching for the word "shapes" in various languages, decided on "Fom", which is "shapes" in Haitian Creole, and also, fittingly, an acronym for "friends of mine". Collingwood's agreed to produce the film, and I was delighted that they were able to get Adrian Rhodes, master sound editor for all the Wallace and Gromit films, to create the soundtrack. Sadly it never found enough interest from networks and distributors to allow us to develop it into a series. It would have been nice to have made more films to show the variety of possibilities, but as I said, it's a time-consuming occupation. Perhaps I'll come back to it one day.


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