This animation was produced to promote Melanie Challenger’s book “How to Be Animal: A New History of What it Means to Be Human.” The animation explores and develops several themes within the book, such as challenging the long-held belief in human superiority. Like the book, the animation argues that by acknowledging our animal nature, we can foster a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

This was my first time producing an animation to promote a book, and the project was a delight to work on. Animation proved to be a wonderful resource for bringing some of the complex and thought-provoking themes to life. The voiceover takes the audience on a gentle journey, and combined with the beautiful hand-drawn animation, it conveys the message effectively. The animation invites readers to reevaluate their relationship with the natural world.

Animation offers a unique medium to illustrate abstract concepts visually and emotionally. It allows for creative representation of ideas, making them more accessible and engaging. In this project, animation was instrumental in highlighting the interconnectedness of humans and animals, emphasizing the book’s core message. The fluidity and expressiveness of animation helped depict the dynamic nature of these themes, making them resonate deeply with the audience.

Furthermore, animation can transcend language barriers, reaching a broader audience and creating a lasting impact. Its visual appeal and ability to simplify complex subjects make it an ideal tool for promoting literature that deals with profound philosophical questions. By using animation, we were able to capture the essence of Challenger’s book in a way that is both captivating and informative.

In summary, the animation for “How to Be Animal” not only promotes the book but also enhances its themes, making the ideas more relatable and compelling. The project exemplifies the power of animation in conveying intricate concepts and fostering a deeper connection with the audience.

Benefits of animation

  • Animation is accessible, especially via social media, and completely free to air for people who require it (via mobile phones).
  • Animation can reach cohorts who struggle to read and write, eg those with a neurodivergence (20% of the population) and/or SEND (15% of the population).
  • Animation can be translated to reach people for whom English is not the first language.
  • Waiting times for CAMHS and community mental health services is typically months – from script to screen, an animation can be created in two weeks, making it ideal for ‘disaster’ work.
  • Animation voiceovers can be quickly translated and revoiced in any language at a rough cost of only £1000.
  • While the initial animation can cost about £10k, subsequent digital copies are completely free (unlike print). Small amendments to ‘end slates’ to, for example, localise helpline numbers cost very little, so one trauma video can be used 10,000 times nationally at pretty much no extra cost. • Animation works brilliantly across all social media channels so it’s instantly and freely accessible and provides a ‘language’ for the person and their caregivers to understand what’s going on.
  • Still images can be taken from the animation and used within other collateral. For example, a dozen still images can be laid out in front of a child, enabling them to choose which image from the animation spoke to them (a good way to introduce tricky subjects, eg sexual abuse).