Jackie Cockle Talks Timmy Time
Jackie Cockle (Bob the Builder: Project Build It) knew the instant she started developing Timmy Time that she needed to get the lovable youngster out of the adult environment of Shaun of the Sheep, so "he didn't get into any trouble." She didn't require much research, relying on her own memories of preschool, and discussed her experiences with Timmy, which currently airs on Playhouse Disney.
Bill Desowitz: How would you characterize Timmy Time?
Jackie Cockle: Whereas Shaun is very much a silent comedy with slapstick, Timmy is very funny and very relatable and all about growing up. What it's like going to nursery and leaving home for the first time and making new friends. I think it's also really nice for kids to know that while they're going to nursery, Timmy is doing exactly the same with all this animal friends. It's also nice that parents can sit and watch Timmy because, of course, we've all been through that growing up thing.
BD: What's the biggest challenge?
JC: I guess one of the biggest challenges in terms of the animation was making it very bouncy, as kids are at that age. The characters tend not to walk anywhere but bounce and jump and run, which means a lot of rigging in the animation. But I think it really pays off because it's a lot of fun to see the energy of the characters, which is a really big part of Timmy. And when I was designing it, I wanted it to be very bright and very colorful and quite stylized in the way that kid's drawings are when they paint suns and trees and flowers. There's a nice naïve quality to that and I wanted to echo that in the whole design of the sets and the characters.
BD: What kind of rigging do you do for the puppets?
JC: Well, we tend to use metal rods and ball and socket joints and heavy-weighted stands. So it's a challenge in terms of making sure you rig things properly on set, so that it's not too much of a nightmare when you're in your online suit painting those rigs out. You need to make sure that you don't have them crossing in front of characters and are behind.
JC: Approximately six inches. And obviously the smaller the character, the harder it is to animate. The Timmy in Shaun was a lot smaller than the Timmy that we're using but that's because he's the main character now and he's very energetic and got a lot to do and a lot of emotions to portray.
BD: How many Timmy's are there?
JC: We have a cast of 13 characters and we have nine Timmy's and four of each of the other characters. We've got a crew seven animators that work across 14 different sets. So you need a lot of characters to keep the animators working.
BD: And how's it working out shooting digitally?