The first Animation I am going to discuss will be the disturbing, yet somehow amusing tales of the character "Salad fingers". This strange character concept comes from a man named David Firth, known for a large list of small animated series broadcast online.
I shall discuss one episode in particular, this being entitled "Shore leave". This short animation is graphic and reaches into the psyche of the viewer, you feel somewhat alone even if watching with other participants. There is a strong unease created around the "story" depicted throughout the Salad fingers series: each tale is random and constantly steps away from its original direction. This really shows the schizophrenic mindset of the character "Salad fingers" and keeps you on edge to try to figure out what is going to happen next. There are tension builders in places, where you can tell what is going to happen next. In effect, these moments can become very uncanny and some people may find it difficult to continue viewing due to a sense of unease.
In "Shore leave" we see Salad fingers come across the rotting remains of a man who he claims to be his long lost Brother from the War. Seemingly unaware (or not, being the key to the disturbance in this episode) of his "Brother" being a corpse, he drags him in for tea. Salad fingers is a very lonely character, in some senses it appears that his solitude has created his madness, in another way we see in other episodes how scared of other living beings he really is. The only beings he communicates with are either dead, self perceived fictional characters or a little girl who he has a picnic with. The only other living characters asides from the girl we see in the series are presumably male in gender, one of which appears to feel some form of love towards Salad fingers, trapping him in a cage yet still Salad finding a way to escape. Salad appears playfull with characters that resemble children, or flirtatious with the dead, thus creating the depressing notion that this is the only way he can feel comfortable communicating with another being.
Salad fingers enjoys his meal with his long lost Brother from the War, who he has missed dearly and proclaims his jealousy as to why they left him behind on his own. In many respects, through the madness of this Cartoon many moral statements are to be found. This goes to show you can have a storyline, be as quirky as you like, yet underneath confide a deep meaningful storyline which makes you read between the lines to understand. All within a short animation, many statements are layed out before the audience, in some respects I feel that people dont understand why they find this animation so uncanny, yet it may be because it relates to them more than they realise.
In an animation point of view, this is built up in a similar way to that of the traditional animatic. There is text helping to exagerate the diologue in the story, helping you to "feel" what Salad fingers is saying more. In respect this also creates the film to be more creepy, as if something sinister is mentioned you may also see it in the font colour, a small almost subliminal change which changes the atmosphere in an instant. There are arrows used, strong appliance of lines being used to force the concept of movement or intensity. There is different camera angles used, frequent use of close ups to show a characters expression. The animation itself gives more of an illusion of movement in a sense as there is less real animation going on than first thought. Pans, zooms, flashing transitions and effects, repeated scenes are all used to save development time.
Its one of those things thats creepy when you first see it, or if you dont understand it. Afterwards you actually feel quite sorry for Salad fingers when you start understanding his Character more. However the way it is created gives strong ideas for how I could design my own Animated short.
Watch "Shore leave" here.