Motion designer Amanda Nedermeijer had the ambition to animate in the old fashioned way again. As Walt Disney once it did- 25 drawings per second, drawn by hand. Singersongwriter Odylle – the alias of in60seconds’ copywriter Fleur van Wijck – seemed interested in composing a song for animation. Thus, the birth of Manfred was a fact. Wondering how Manfred came about? Check the carousel below!
step 1: CONCEPTThe meaning behind the storyWe started off with the idea of making a fable - a seeamingly childlike narration in which an animal projects his wisdom onto the human life. The meaning behind Manfred? We all seem to be looking for some good advice, whether we try to find it at zen meditation courses, on happiness blogs, in overcrowded yoga schools... But doesn't all this lead us away from the actual truth we could find within; that you can only learn to just "be" from yourself? Manfred is the wise and happy guru of this story. Society is the green field. We ask Manfred for some counseling, but we end up disappointed. Because in the end, we all have to figure it out ourself. With, or without a tail.
step 2: LYRICS The storyManfred the monkey, enlighten me. How come you are that happy, energetic and free? Manfred the monkey, tell me, what's the key to being jolly, jumpy, jazzy? You know what I mean! Shake off the chains of expectations! In Plato’s Cave, we’re all just animations. Respect all that lives (apart from that mosquito). Be the one that always gives, and do it incognito. Never start a fight too complex and always always always have a lot of… fruit. Chase whatever you’re dreaming of. And love love love love! Yet, you’re doomed to fail without a tail!
step 3: MUSIC Lyrics, chords, recordingsManfred's not a song, it's an animation on music. In other words, the story is leading, not the music. That means, for instance, that we adjusted the pace on how fast we can 'read' the images. The first take was faster, and some of the lyrics were different. Manfred was recorded with the full Odylle band in the Gevrec Studios in Istanbul.
step 4: STORYBOARD What are Manfred's moves?We've put Manfred's moves on post-it notes, every step he takes. With red arrows we showed the direction of the movement. This way, we could changes the storyline easily, and work on the transitions in between two shots.
step 5: VISUAL DESIGN What does Manfred look like?We had a rough picture of Manfred in our head from the beginning. For instance, we knew we wanted his tail to be made of little blocks. Then we tried out different colours and styles, and chose bright and modern colours.
step 6: ANIMATIONDelete, add, editThen we started animating. From hand-drawn shots on a first take, to roughly animated sketches, to full-colour and detailed style on the final recordings. The full process took us about two years.
MANFRED GOES GLOBAL
Manfred the Monkey has been well received and is now running worldwide in various film and animation festivals.