'Foil' is our latest Film of the Month

19 Aug 2022 in Film of the Month

8 mins
'Foil' is our latest Film of the Month

We are delighted to reveal that our latest Film of the Month winner is stop-motion animation Foil, which was made by teenage filmmaker Jacob, from Cheshire.

Foil (engaging for ages 5+) sees a small man created from foil causing trouble as he adjusts to his newfound surroundings. Watch the film above!

This film is genius! One of the best animations I have seen in ages. The animation is so smooth and flawless.

Film of the Month judge on 'Foil'

We got in touch with Jacob to find out more about his film.

Congratulations on winning Film of the Month. How did you get into filmmaking?

I started making films when I was 8 or 9, with my friend Alex. We made a LEGO stop-motion of a car crashing that was about 5 seconds long, then we made one of some people walking that was 3 seconds. Then we made one that was about a second long, with a yeti where I'm not actually sure what is supposed to be happening. I think we ran out of time. 

Later, I was very inspired by a LEGO stop-motion YouTuber called Michael Hickox. I copied a few of his videos before deciding to make my own original 'clay-motion' film for a competition about a Viking called Victor. I won the competition, which was nice.

After that I started a YouTube channel where I would post videos every few months. After a few years I realised that I had made a lot of films but none of them were very good. I decided to stop stalling and put everything I had learned over the years to use, resulting in Foil

I think my love of film developed over time. At the start I think I just liked making LEGO movies, but after a while I started to also appreciate the storytelling and cinematography aspects of filmmaking.

How long did it take to make Foil, and how did you keep yourself motivated?

It took ages.

It was only supposed to take me a few months, but it ended up taking over a year. I worked pretty slowly though, sometimes only taking a few pictures a week. I spent most of the project thinking that I would never get it finished. Then when I had finally completed the filming, I had the editing and sound effects to do, which was just as tedious.

Another thing that slowed down production is that when I was about halfway through adding sound effects, all of the sounds corrupted and I had to start again.

I think I would not have finished it if it weren't for my Mum. She was very encouraging and motivating. Also she wanted the table back.

How did you manage to get so much personality into your characters just through their movement?

I never really thought that much about it while I was animating. I knew that I didn't want to go over the top with the movement because a lot of animations do that and I think it is often unnecessary. I would sometimes act out a scene myself to try and see what the most natural way for the character to move would be. I never really thought "the character is feeling this now, so I should make him do this, otherwise the audience won't know what's going on." I knew what the emotion of the moment had to be and I would just do whatever felt most natural, and I think it worked out pretty well.

Foil has been getting a lot of views on YouTube. What impact has that had on you?

It is nice. For some reason, I showed the finished animation to a test audience before I had written the music. Of course, the people I showed it to didn't really understand what was going on without the musical cues, so I decided that it wasn't very good. I uploaded it to YouTube with very low expectations and I forgot about it. It was only about 2 years later when all of a sudden it blew up. Seeing so many nice comments made me realise that maybe the film wasn't so bad after all. It has given me a lot more confidence in my filmmaking abilities and a slightly bigger budget for my next film.

Are there any films or filmmakers which were an influence on Foil?

I always try to steer away from other influences and just try to make something original, but whenever I look back on a finished product, it is pretty clear what I have subconsciously taken ideas from. I think most people would be able to tell that a big influence on this film was Morph. I haven't even seen much of Morph, but there are a lot of similarities, like the hand and the table top and the small mischievous characters.

If you could make Foil again, is there anything you would do differently?

If I could make Foil again, I would spend a lot more time on the story and planning. Every time I start a new project, I spend more time planning, and every time I finish a project, I wish I had spent longer planning.

When I started making Foil, I had a very rough storyboard with about ten pictures on it, which I lost within about the first month of filming. I think if I had planned out the film better and written more storyboards, it could have helped the film flow a bit better and shown me what I should have kept, and what I should have cut out. There were many scenes that I spent hours animating, only to cut out later to improve pacing. 

If I were to make Foil again I would also probably try to simplify the film even more, or just make it longer because I think it all goes a bit too fast.

Do you have any upcoming filmmaking projects?

I have made one live action film since Foil, and I am currently working on a new stop motion about a postman who drives a submarine. I don't want to get anyone's hopes up, but I have contacted foil man's agent and he seems pretty interested. It will be on my channel when it is finished, and then people can watch it if they want, I guess, I mean they don't have to, but it would be nice if they could?

What top tips would you give to someone about to make their first animated short?

1. Make sure your lighting is consistent and the camera is steady
No matter how smooth the motion of your characters is, if the picture is flickery or jittery, it will look bad. Make sure to use electric lights instead of light from a window, and make sure that your camera is fixed in place.

2. Be adventurous
If you are just starting out, then it's good to try and make a few 5 second clips to get the hang of things, but after that, try and commit to telling a whole story. It might be a bit more tedious than making a short video, and you might not be very good at first, but you will learn more trying to make a 3 minute video than a 3 second video.

3. Keep going
Stop motion takes a very long time and it can often feel like the ending is very far away. Keep going, and one day it will be finished. Don't try to rush it, either, because it will show. Take your time.

I would add "have fun" as a tip but a lot of the time stop motion is not very fun. However, having an epic stop motion film to show your friends is pretty fun. And remember, people love stop motion, even the less good ones. There will always be something fascinating about an inanimate object that someone has taken the time and effort to bring to life.

Jacob's film will now be showcased to over 300,000 film club members online and all of our Film of the Month films are now on the Into Film YouTube channel, and he has also secured a £100 Amazon voucher to help further develop his future films. Think you could win Film of the Month? Find out more about how you can enter our ongoing Film of the Month competition.

If you've been inspired by Foil then make sure to check out the following films:

  • Even Mice Belong in Heaven (2021, U, 88 mins) Engaging for ages 5-11
    After an unfortunate accident, a determined little mouse and a nervous fox find themselves journeying through animal heaven.
  • Rebooted (2019, Unclassified, 12 mins) Engaging for ages 11+
    A stop-motion skeleton, desperate for work, sets out to reclaim the golden age of special effects.
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009, PG, 85 mins) Engaging for ages 7-16
    A stop-motion animation version of Roald Dahl's woodland tale that combines a beautiful old-fashioned aesthetic with Wes Anderson's trademark dialogue.
  • Fishwitch (2016, Unclassified, 10 mins) Engaging for ages 7-11
    An unlikely friendship blossoms between a miserable sea witch and a merman with a very annoying singing voice.

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