The American version of CREATURE COMFORTS, the hit British television series, premieres tonight, (June 4, 2007) at 8:00-8:30 pm on the CBS. Based on the original Academy Award-winning short film of the same name created by Nick Park and Aardman Animations Ltd., the stop-motion animated series employs a unique format that culls excerpts from real person interviews in the U.S. and places them in the mouths of a wide variety of animated animals to produce humorous, charming and insightful commentaries on everyday life.
In the upcoming seven episodes, interviews with ordinary Americans will cover a variety of subjects, such as the trials and tribulations of doctor's visits and being sick, what animal magnetism is and what they look for in a mate, as well as the truth about lies and what it takes to keep a secret. Told through the mouths of animated animals, insects and other un-human species, they reveal their thoughts in a new and distinct way.
Before CREATURE COMFORTS became a hit on Sunday nights on the U.K.'s ITV1 network, the characters appeared in a series of enormously successful commercials. CREATURE COMFORTS was awarded the prestigious Rose d'Or for Best Comedy and Cristal Award for Best TV Production at the Annecy Animation Festival, as well as the Audience Award at the New York International Children's Film Festival. A full list of CREATURE COMFORTS awards can be found at www.aardman.com/html/awards.asp.
Aardman Animations also produced the critically acclaimed box office hit film, WALLACE & GROMIT: THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT, as well as the 2000 theatrical release, CHICKEN RUN, one of the most successful U.K. feature films ever released.
Exec producers for CREATURE COMFORTS are Kit Boss, Miles Bullough, The Gotham Group's Ellen Goldsmith-Vein and Aardman's Park, David Sproxton and Peter Lord. Richard Goleszowski, the U.K. director of CREATURE COMFORTS, is supervising director of the American version.
Production facts & figures:
* The series took one year to make -- the first field interview took place in February 06 and the last footage was filmed in February 07.
* More than 750 individuals were interviewed.
* A production crew of 109 was involved in the U.K., and 13 in the U.S. over course of production.
* The animation team were made up of Animators from: Finland (1); India (1); USA (4); France (1); U.K. (19); Spain (3); Holland (1); Italy (1); Canada (1); Portugal (1); - other crew also from Poland & Iceland
* About 420 seconds of footage was approved each week across all sets (that's 12.4 seconds per set, which is 2.5 seconds on each set each day).
* There were 175 character setups drawn up by four different character designers with 130 setups making the final show (representing both ongoing characters and one-offs) -- 85 single character setups, 39 pairs, five triplets & one quad.
* About 161 minutes of animation was shot for the series, which equals 241 500 frames in total.
* At peak, 34 filming units were used to make the series.
* There were 13 model makers were involved over the course of the production.
* The models are made from a special blend of plasticine (or modeling clay) called "Aard Mix."
* Exactly 14 base colors are represented in the series
* There were124 boxes of plasticine were used over course of production, which is equal to 1240kg in total.
* The eyes on the characters for this production are a mixture of molded eyeball and milled and filled pupils, which are then drilled for pinholes.
* Usually only one copy of each character is made. On occasion, if a character has a lot of lines, the sculpts are doubled up for two set ups to run at the same time.
* On average, each puppet uses around 13 mouth pieces, but this may stretch to as many as 18 for extreme mouth movements; and down to just one mouth, which would be sculpted through for the entire shot.
* The art department is made up of eight in-house prop makers, three outside set builders, a sky painter, a graphic artist, an art department assistant and an art director. The prop makers also construct and decorate the sets, paint and texture the sets and dress them in the studio ready for the animator.
* More than 620 drawings were made for the sets.
* There are two different studios involved in CCUS, one in Culver City, California, and the other in Bristol, U.K. The distance between these two is 5,375 miles
* If you look closely, there are subtle references to different things on the sets. The book in the Toucan shot is named after a prop maker's niece and the pet help books on the shelf in the pet shop have old CREATURE COMFORTS animals on.
* Among other things, the series pays visual homage to the famous painting "American Gothic," the Groundhog Day holiday, the space program and a Minuteman statue. There are also several icons of the American landscape in the background of shots, including the Empire State Building, Mt. Rushmore, the Golden Gate Bridge and Monument Valley.