Motion graphic designer Steve Kirby has kept us smirking for days with his short film, ‘If The Cuckoo Don’t Crow’. The film was adapted from a phone call by Brian from Melton into a BBC radio show hosted by Nick Pandolfi.
The subject of that phone call? Brian’s mother, Doris, predicting a hurricane in 1987, even after the weatherman had reassured viewers a hurricane was not in the forecast.
Taken with this short film’s graphics (and the subject matter, of course), we asked Steve about what led to him making it, and what we can expect from him in the future.
Tell us how you got into animation and filmmaking. Did you go to school for it? Did you have a natural flair for it or did you have to work hard at creating things?
‘At art school I studied painting and then I got into motion graphics after I left. I think I always wanted to do something at the confluence of art, design and technology – I like hybrids and things that crossover: forms that are subtly new.
‘My dad worked as a TV engineer and my mum a teaching assistant, but both my parents were quite creative in their spare time, always making some hand-crafted thing or other, and I guess that kind of can-do spirit rubbed off on me, but I’m not sure I would call it natural flair! I think everyone who makes things has to work hard’.
‘If The Cuckoo Don’t Crow’ is based on a call from a BBC radio show. What prompted you to animate this call?
‘I wanted to make an independent film but I felt a lot of pressure about how it could represent me. I figured if I could find an audio recording that I really liked, it would lessen the amount of “me” in the animation and take some of the pressure off. Also, I’d gotten used to working for clients and feeling responsible to them, and I thought that I might never finish something with no external deadline. I loved this recording so much that I felt a similar responsibility towards doing it justice and showing it to people’.
Did you hear back from radio announcer Nick Pandolfi and the caller, Brian, after the film was made?
‘I would never have released the film publicly without asking them for permission. I contacted Nick when about half of the animation was done and he and Brian very graciously agreed to let me use the audio. I’ve kept in touch with them, although we’ve yet to meet up’.
Do you make short films for a living or is it just a hobby of yours?
‘I have worked as a motion graphic designer for about ten years now but this is my first independent short’.
What else can we expect from you in the future?
‘Hopefully I’ll get the chance to make similar stuff in my commercial motion graphics work as well as self-funded pieces like this.
‘I’ve had so much fun and success with this film that I’m definitely keen to make more, and next time I hope I’ll be able to face the pressure of writing something myself!’