LAIKA: Behind the Scenes of the Studio’s Valentine’s Day Campaign (EXCLUSIVE)

Jazz Tangcay
·2 min read

Laika Studios is celebrating Valentine’s Day with a special short-form video featuring duos from its films. The content will be posted out on Valentine’s Day across its social media channel to bridge the gap between providing content while fans wait for the next big studio release.

David Burke, chief marketing officer and SVP of operations says, “Laika has an incredible fan base and there’s enormous fan appetite for new material from the studio.”

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The creative marketing team at the studio partnered with Laika’s production departments to develop custom and bespoke social media content celebrating each of their films including “Coraline,” “Kubo and the Two Strings” and “ParaNorman.” Burke notes it was a fun way for the leading animators to “produce content both from home during the initial days of COVID and since then, safely, in the studio.”

Adds Tim Garbutt, creative marketing lead: “This post was crafted to celebrate all our fans and the shared loves of friendships, families, as well as special someone.”

The content revisits the neighborly and awkward friendship of Coraline and Wybie, the “love” of siblings shared between Norman and Courtney in “ParaNorman;” the hilarity of the large family dynamic of “The Boxtrolls;” the poetic family relationships in “Kubo and the Two Strings,” and the pursuit of love and romantic sentiment with Lionel and Adelina from “Missing Link.”

The Valentine’s Day project was shot over two weeks on three separate stages. Garbutt breaks down the process taking “four days to fabricate and rig the props and puppets, plus another three to four days of concept art and refinement, the whole production was around three weeks total.”

Putting together this Valentine’s gift did not come without its challenges. “The challenges of shooting these pieces required careful composition and orientation of our characters to assure that the photograph, a still, was a clear read without the benefit of a moving image,” Garbutt said. “How do you fit nine Boxtroll arms plus Eggs and Winnie in the shot to convey the ravenous excitement of a family of boxtrolls?”

He continues, “Additionally, animators traditionally use a face or full bodies to convey a performance that is in motion, so careful poses needed to be considered to convey personality through these still images so that the character acts and reacts to these situations as they would naturally in our films.”

The solution was to use one prop per shot and just show the hands and arms of the characters. “Animators are actors who convey emotions through a puppet,” he notes. “So although it would be a challenge to only use the hands and arms of the puppets, they were up for the task and delivered some compelling sentiment to celebrate this holiday.”

Watch the behind-the-scenes video below.

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