Matt Frodsham - 2 inches to the right

2:20, 2010, Animation
A bit about the poem from Mat Lloyd:
"I wrote the poem on a canvas with a marker pen the morning after I was attacked.

The night before I was in my local park on the opening day of the skate park Id helped get built, it was nearly midnight. Wed organised a DJ to play the day out in a marquee and I just popped out to take a leak. In my drunken state I was stumbling to find a bush when I heard, and felt, a sort of boink sound. I knew Id been hit on the back of the head, and I knew it wasn’t with a fist. I dont remember much else other than being back at the marquee with a bleeding head.

I was very lucky as a number of my friends and other revellers had spotted me being kicked on the floor and ran over to drag me out. For that I am very grateful.

Living near London, the poem has never been retired and still appears in my performance sets. With youth violence seemingly growing year on year, the poem is as relevant now as it was when I wrote it. People blame hip hop culture, movies, video games, parents, the education system, unemployment, the list goes on. I don’t have the answer.

The saddest thing about "2 Inches to the Right" is all to often, someone from the crowd comes to speak to me after I leave the stage and tells me of their friend who died in a similar situation. The poem gives them hope that some may listen, and think twice." - Mat Lloyd

DirectorMatt FrodshamWriterMat LloydCrewAnimation: Matt Frodsham
Narrated: Mat Lloyd

CountryUKEdition2010 ScreeningsFACT Liverpool 14/05/2010

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Who are Matt Frodsham and Mat Lloyd?
MF: I’m a motion designer & animator from Warrington UK (Near Manchester/Liverpool).
I just graduated this month.
ML: Performance Poet/Spoken Word Artist, are cool names for what I do, but really I’m a Poet.

How did you start with film, and do you have an educational background in film?
MF: My education is in graphic design but for the last couple of years I’ve been focusing solely on motion graphics and as a result started to study more film based techniques by myself and took a couple of extra courses looking at editing and camera work. "2 Inches" is a pretty short film but compared to what I’d call my regular work it is fairly long form. Motion graphics is always about story telling whether its 10, 30 or 60 second spots but something like this allowed me to explore a wider range of techniques while portraying Mat’s words, while still keeping it concise.

What is 2 Inches to the Right about?
ML: Random acts of violence and the consequences.

Where did you get the idea for 2 Inches to the Right from?
ML: I wrote the piece the night after being attacked. I was sat on my couch and I had a blank canvas holding the kitchen door open and a marker pen on the coffee table. I was really effected mentally by the attack it really shook me up and if am honest... Scared the crap out of me with thoughts of "what ifs"! It just came out on the canvas and was a very cathartic experience. The only thing that has really changed since I wrote it is the title, on the canvas I wrote it as "two inches to the left".

Two inches to the right - a critical look on society, a warning or something else?
ML: For me it is a statement, a message, a warning!  It’s also a bit of a "fuck you" to the people who attacked me.

The film was released half May 2010, so it’s really new. How do you look at it now after the audience had a chance to comment on it?
ML: Crazy and was a little taken back. Not too much though, I know Matt is a very talented graphic artist and I know the piece (poem) is strong.
MF: I was blown away with the audience response just from posting it on my vimeo page. I knew Mats poem was good, and its not the first time we worked together on something similar but this time I think something struck a nerve with a lot of people. I guess its the reality of it and the fact it relates directly to many people living in the UK and around the world. As a creator there’s always going to be things that you think could be improved but the response is reassuring that although it was completed in a couple of months with no budget by a single animator then the message at the core of it is still conveyed.

How important is the reaction of the audience?
MF: In this case I think its very important. The main purpose is to get through to people and make them think which is only going to happen by people sharing it with their peers, which rely’s heavily on them liking the film and feeling strongly enough about it. Looking through the list of blogs that posted the film I’m thrilled with the range of people who have been annoying it and passing it on both within the industry but also in schools and colleges where the message relates more directly.
ML: Audience for me is key, I have always been a very visual poet, spoken word artist.  My poetry is written to be heard by an Audience, its not really for the page.

How do you experience working together?
ML: Great, Matt’s great and I have total faith in his ability.
MF: In turn that confidence Mat has to give me as much control as I want is a nice change from more ’client’ led design work where often creativity and the final result is compromised.

Were you involved in each others creative process?
MF: I certainly can’t accept any credit for the writing of the piece!...
ML: Most of the look of the video for "Two Inches" was discussed over beer at the Camden Eye and the rest was down to Matt and his patience. We would regularly chat, text and tweet, but once he got going, the process really was in Matt’s hands. When I saw the final product, it really met my very high expectations and I felt the audio let it down.  A call to Matt and a day delay I was back in the studio re recording.  I shot it over to Matt and he did his thing. Thank god for the internet!

Could you explain how you work, your method or style, and what’s important to you?
MF: Being a graphic designer first and foremost, the communication of the message is the most important aspect. Especially when the message is so strong I try not to over crowd it with visuals and fight for attention, its about trying to create animation that just reinforces and helps to visualise the poem. In terms of technique 95% of the work was hand rotoscoped footage and the backgrounds were rendered in 3D to fit the style. I looked at a few government campaigns aimed at young people about knife, gun and other violent crime and something didn’t seem convincing. I thought if we take the actors out of the picture in the traditional sense it leaves a certain room for interpretation and encourages the viewer to put themselves in the position of the character.

Did you improvise a lot during the work process?
MF: No, because of the schedule and low budget it was important for me to strictly storyboard this one. (Boards available on the project blog). More so than I usually do, luckily due to the narrative already being set in stone it made it very easy to visualise each shot early on in the process. Even down to getting the edit of the footage fairly tight before the rotoscoping began, I couldn’t afford the time to trace too many excess frames that would later be cut so it was a very linear workflow.

How do you finance your projects?
MF: I usually make shorter form motion graphic work for studios and clients, for this one I used the time put aside for my final project at university. Absolutely zero budget.

What is your next project about?
MF:I have a lot of exciting things lined up, I’m trying to concentrate on shorter projects and getting myself into some studios this year around the world so keep an eye out!

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