Today is the first day of the end of your life.
Channel 4 – Monday 5th August 2013, 11.05pm
Awards & Achievements
Vimeo Staff Pick (2013)
Sao Paulo SFF – Sao Paulo, Brazil – 19-30/8/2015
Spike & Mike’s, Stan Lee’s ComiKaze – Los Angeles, USA – 31/10-2/11/2014
July 2013 | 3:03min | Colour | Stereo | 2D Drawn | Comedy
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Director – Louis Hudson
Writer – Ian Ravenscroft
Producer – Ian Ravenscroft & Louis Hudson
Associate Producer – Ed Bye
Music – Rob Connor
Sound Design – Mark Ashworth
Animation Assistant – Alex Joliffe
A fast-paced comedy arguing the joys of being dead, aided by a montage of corpses and a dance-crazed Grim Reaper.
Long Synopsis (Spoilers):
A narrator cheerily argues the benefits of being dead, aided by a montage of corpses in everyday situations and a dance-crazed Grim Reaper. After delivering his positive spin, it is revealed that the narrator is in fact an airline pilot addressing his doomed passengers on a plummeting jet.
Disappointed with their lack of support, the pilot gives up and hypocritically jumps from the plane with the only parachute. The passengers will just have to find out for themselves.
Don’t Fear Death was commissioned as part of Channel 4’s Random Acts strand and stars the voice of comedy legend Rik Mayall (Young Ones, Bottom, Blackadder)
Ed Bye, director of Red Dwarf and Bottom, was also the Associate Producer on the film.
*Edit June 2014: The sudden and tragic death of Rik Mayall has been a loss for generations of comedy fans and has robbed the world of one it’s most irreplaceable humans. The morbidly ironic fact that this film is now one of his last projects thankfully hasn’t been lost. It’s nice of people to think that this would have been a fitting two-fingers to the world on the way out. From my point of view it’s hard to tell if the humour of the film’s been tainted as Ian and I felt quite close to him. But maybe everyone else can just see his vast body of hilarious work and incredible life for what it is. I just keep hoping that he faked it and has been in on the joke the whole time.
The aim of this film was to twist the connotation of death in an absurdly positive way, while still making a rich, layered film that rewarded multiple viewings. Hopefully we’ve created a 3 minute film that you could happily watch on a loop for 15 minutes.
Starting with Ian’s great script, we weaved in as many jokes, visual gags and plot twists as we could. When Rik Mayall came aboard and added his glorious performance the ambition of all aspects of the production were raised. A lot of attention to detail was spent on the character animation, music and sound design to heighten every laugh and to bolster Rik’s voice at the forefront of the film.
Over 50 characters were created to make the film feel like it was exploring different aspects of a world, rather than just a series of isolated events. Using a brightly lit ‘90s throwback world full of lumpy worn people gave the film a grubby kitsch which felt right for a cast that are being eyed up as potential corpses.
While the film is a series of vignettes with a punchline, the actual plot is non-linear. When put in order it is about a criminally insane butcher who poses as a pilot so he can crash a plane. Although partly told in the real world, most of the scenes occur within the pilot’s imagination. Plane passengers are addressed to as he places them in scenes, and he envisions himself as the Figure of Death.
Rik Mayall was a British comedy icon and pioneer of the alternative comedy scene. In 2014 he suddenly and tragically did, leaving a legacy that has inspired generations of British comedians. He starred in shows such as The Young Ones, The Comic Strip, Blackadder, and Bottom, and he was the title character of the film Drop Dead Fred. Don’t Fear Death was, in true distasteful form, one of his last projects.
Louis Hudson – Director
Louis Hudson is a 2D animation director and co-founder of comedy collective Dice Productions. He has created work for UK Film Council, Channel 4, BBC Comedy, Warner Entertainment and Oxfam, having created an established YouTube channel with millions of views. He is also a steering member of local support network, Animation Forum West Midlands.
Ian Ravenscroft – Writer/Producer
Ian Ravenscroft has written for UK Film Council, Channel 4, and BBC Radio 4 Extra and is currently producing short films for Channel 4. Ian is developing concepts with independent production companies and was recently selected for the Cofilmic Comedy Lab to develop a comedy feature film.
Mark Ashworth – Sound Designer
Mark Ashworth is also known as ZnO Sound Design. His first piece of sound design was for BAFTA nominated Robert Morgan on he Cat With Hands and has since worked on all of Rob’s films. He has recently finished the horror feature, Entity. Mark’s music, including free downloads, can be found at: www.z-no.org.
Rob Connor – Musician/Composer
Rob Connor is a recent graduate of the Birmingham Conservatoire in Piano. He is now Head of Music at Birmingham based film production company Little Bad Wolf. His work can be heard on his personal site, robconnormusic.com
Ed Bye – Associate Producer