Are you hiring staff or willing to take ‘work experience’ placements?
Who are you?
Spite Your Face Productions.
What is Spite Your Face Productions?
Spite Your Face Productions offer animation and video services to commercial and business clients, creating comedy shorts, comms films, music videos and more. We are based in London and work with leading brand clients internationally. With a specialty in animation and effects driven live work, we offer full production service from concept to delivery, or content provider freelance services.
What can you do?
We are a versatile creative unit experienced in all manner of animation and video productions; from stop-motion to traditional, motion graphics to character animation, web to theatrical. We also offer applied illustrative, design, and photography skills. If you like what you’ve seen here and have a project in mind, please contact us.
What don’t you do?
We are not coders, not a web design company, nor are we a studio accepting screenplays.
Can my company hire your individual members in a freelance capacity?
Please do, we offer a full outsource service. Tony Mines can be contacted for remote or in-house work in motionography, animation, videography or a host of other roles. Tony is UK VAT registered. Or contact Tim Drage about his availability as an animator and compositor.
What’s all this about LEGO?
SYF have produced a number of well received stop-motion animated shorts for The LEGO Group and affiliated license holders. These films helped pioneer the now globally popular ‘Brickfilm’ hobby, and have been featured in commercial DVD, broadcast, in exhibition and in print the world over. You can watch the best of these films on this site, along with information about their production and history.
Can you make a LEGO film for my organisation?
Yes. Our working relationship with The LEGO Group may incline us to turn down certain material, but the matter is an open dialogue and most such projects are welcome.
How much do you charge for animation, LEGO or otherwise?
If you come to us with a detailed overview of your prospective project we can respond with a case specific budget. We offer competitive professional rates with budgets calculated by person days. Digitally executed animation has few or no additional overheads, but stop-motion and other photography-based processes will likely include studio and equipment fees etc. Audio content where required is budgeted seperately.
And LEGO animation, how much is that?
LEGO stop-motion is a studio process with material overheads, so may be more costly than more common digital processes like CG or traditional/2D styles etc. But SYF are unequaled in their ability to bring a professional, theatrical quality to your LEGO or similarly themed project at a competitive cost.
How long will a project take you to complete?
This depends on the minute-count and complexity of the project, and the man-power your budget allocates. A clear brief outline from you will enable us to propose a realistic catered schedule upon request.
I am not prepared to give you any money, can I still have some animation?
Ummmmm… No. We are working professionals with working professional overheads, and are quite unprepared to work as a charity.
Can I share your work at my festival/workshop/website/blog etc.?
Our work is featured in all sorts of places all of the time, so it is probable we can arrange something. Broadcast quality materials are available on request. If you choose to distribute our work without our permission, you will be acting in breach of our copyrights and of those of our clients, and we will follow accordingly.
Will you consider my screenplay for production?
No, but please do keep sending us your unintelligible, poorly formatted ramblings. We need something to read on the toilet…
Are you hiring?
And do you take on work experience placements?
– Film Making FAQ –
I am a film maker and have a technical question about an effect in one of your films, may I ask you about it?
We prefer not to receive such questions, because we are mean. You can find ‘Behind the Scenes’ videos and articles across the site and on our Youtube channel. If you do not find your solution there, we probably want to keep the answers secret.
In ONE: A Space Odyssey, how did you animate the faces?
What camera do I need for stop-motion animation?
At time of writing we may not be the people to ask. We ourselves use the top range Canon DSLR’s since these remain the best available tool. If you have such a camera you can rest assured that you are already using the same technology as most of your favorite stop-motion theatrical feature films. It has been more than a decade since anyone at SYF had cause to explore lesser or semi-pro options, so we do not have much insight as to the current market in this regard. However we do know that more and cheaper quality options make themselves available all the time.
For the longest time, the now discontinued and superseded Canon 5D MKII was the only model which provided all the optimum technical requirements for stop-motion. Other models merely offered most or few of the necessary functions. The rule of thumb though is that you require a camera with the maximum possible manual control over every possible variable. The challenge of stop-motion, from the technical standpoint, lies not in moving things one frame at a time. The challenge lies in capturing an identical image hundreds of times over, without time-lapse style changes in light properties. If you can be confident that your stage will not betray the process with fluctuating frame properties, then the magic-trick of bringing objects to life remains the easy and fun part.
If you are less concerned with image control and just want to play around, then your options are pretty open; a webcam, a camcorder, phone; basically any device that will let you capture a live-video feed into your computer.
Exactly what software/hardware/camera should I use?
We ourselves use Dragonframe and are not immediately acquainted with any competitive or semi-pro alternatives to offer experienced advise. We can tell you that ‘onion skin’ or ‘ghosting’ functions to help you compare previous and current frames are an essential, but ultimately it’s creativity and lateral thinking will help you get the best out of any cheaper alternative software.
Have you any special tips on shooting stop-motion? Can I shoot just anywhere?
These are the lyrics to Batman’s song from The LEGO Movie (2014). Coincidentally, or perhaps otherwise, they are also a comprehensive outline of the requirements for making stop-motion animation:
DARKNESS. NO PARENTS. CONTINUED DARKNESS. MORE DARKNESS. GET IT? THE OPPOSITE OF LIGHT! BLACK HOLE. CURTAINS DRAWN. IN THE BASEMENT. MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. BLACKED OUT WINDOWS. BLACK SUIT. BLACK COFFEE. DARKNESS. NO PARENTS. SUPER RICH. KINDA MAKES IT BETTER!
The no parents part is because you want to wait until nobody else is in the house, because the people moving around downstairs will totally make your floor boards wobble more than you think they do and ruin everything. Or wait until the middle of the night. A black outfit will prevent the light from bouncing off your own person back onto the set. And yeah, being super rich would kinda make it better…
What are the PC requirements for stop-motion?
According to us, a Mac.
In the Python Movie, where did you get Bedevere’s helmet from?
If you even know what this question means, you will know that our Monty Python and the Holy Grail in LEGO was an official commission from The LEGO Group.
To fully understand the story surrounding Bedevere’s helmet (if you really care that much) you need to understand something about how The LEGO Group works. All of the retail sets are designed in a high-security super-structure in an extinct volcano in Denmark, which is full of cupboards and draws and vaults lined with LEGO, where futuristic golf-carts full of LEGO drive down silver LEGO corridors. Said LEGO consists of every single brick or element currently available, or available in the past three years only, in every single color they have the current facilities to produce. There are no bricks older than three or four years old. All old lego is melted down and recycled. There is no one place in the world where all the LEGO ever can be found; no Eldorado, no Avalon and no Santa Claus. Even the people at Legoland have to scour the yard sales like the rest of us for older parts. Sorry to be the ones to tell you this.
Subsequently, the place is littered with random parts just lying around in draws. Mostly new, some in non-retail colors, some that have never (and will never) be released, and even a few random old parts that people have horded from previous ‘purges’.
It is from this source that the props for the Python movie were gathered, including Bedevere’s helmet. We at SYF do not have an encyclopedic knowledge of every brick ever produced, and assumed (if we even though about it at all) that this visor (which was just in our pile of stuff) was from an old old Castle set. A theory supported by the fact that it fits an old discontinued helmet and not the current ones. Perhaps it is from an old range. Maybe it was never released. Maybe it never will be. We have it, so we used it.
In the Python Movie, where is Bedevere’s helmet from?
In the Python Movie, where did you get the mace?
In the Python Movie, where did you get the helmets for the dancers?
“Doesn’t anyone want to know how the drug works chemically?”
Those are the bat winged knights helmets with the wings cut off. Shocking isn’t it. We understand that only black versions of this helmet were ever released, and yet ours are grey. But then we work for LEGO and you don’t.
I am a competent and experienced film maker who understands the basic principles of film production and I have a very specific and well informed question about one particular aspect of your films. Can I ask you about it or will you just shout at me?
All perfectly sensible questions are very welcome. Just don’t ask us how we did the faces in ONE: A Space Odyssey, or where that helmet came from.
How do I become an animator?
You have to be born with a sinister sociopathic disease that makes spending a long period alone in a dark room, moving stuff very very slowly or drawing the same thing hundreds and hundreds of times seem to you not only like an excellent career choice, but like an absolute necessity to your very being, a valuable use of your time and of great importance to humanity. If these symptoms sound familiar then you are already an animator. If you are not already an animator you will come to realise this for yourself within hours of giving it a try. Becoming a director or film producer is something you can learn and achieve. Animators are just born that way.
If you have survived the rigors of our FAQ and still feel your question hasn’t been answered, then please do not hesitate to contact us. We look forward to hearing from you. No honestly, we do!