Michael Driver has created a short animation with Emma Ehrling for Penguin Random House publishing house Vintage, summarising the content of 20 books in under two minutes. The film is to promote Vintage Minis, a series of short books on big topics, with single-word titles such as Desire by Haruki Murakami, Liberty by Virginia Woolf, and Death by Julian Barnes.
“The books cover everything from life to death,” explains Michael. “The premise for the animation was to create a lighthearted narrative that covers all the themes, and the brief asked that all the titles appear in the animation, so it was up to us how to do this. We decided the best way was to take a few of the book titles and use them as a springboard to design characters, interactions and then develop a narrative.”
Starting with an innocent bookshop and its shoppers, the animation soon becomes “a little odd” describes Michael, with surreal elements from the books seeping in. The shop floods with water and ink bleeds from the book pages, before the Grim Reaper turns up with unclear intentions.
“We wanted the bookshop to feel fun and vibrant, and not too old fashioned, and the film to be quite experimental, while still representing the series,” says Michael. “Some of the book titles were challenging to incorporate into a short narrative, so we made a point of making sure every single book jacket in the series was displayed in the background in bookcases or as posters. That way the whole series is represented in the film in some way or other.”
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