Animating Greenpeace's Ocean Action

Jens Blank and AnimateMe's web short highlights the over-fishing crisis

Jens Blank of AnimateMe! has directed a new web animation for Greenpeace UK to highlight the issue of illegal over-fishing in a simple, memorable way. Featuring a mix of stop motion and computer-generated animation, the 75-second clip for Greenpeace's homepage illustrates how EU-subsidised Spanish fleets are flouting the current laws and devastating fish stocks.

The first version of the video contained a couple of shots referencing paella: after angry reactions from Spanish viewers, these were removed for the final version

Blank worked closely with producer Charly Stanfield of Navarone, production designers Anne Gry and Skodval Pederson, fellow animators Anna Benner and Sergei Shabarov, and sound and music designers Jay Price and Paul Lambert. "My main goal was to keep things light, playful and easy to digest. I didn't want the visual side to be too literal either, so it was a case of finding interesting ways of reinforcing what the voiceover says."

Despite the tight schedule, Jens Blank experimented with a few alternate ideas during production, including a group of pirates, and some cats running into shot to eat all the fish

Once copywriter Ruth Quayle's script was finalised and the spot's voiceover had been recorded, the team had a two-day shoot for the stop-frame and live action elements, which used children's toys and readymade objects. "It's the contrast between stop frame and CG that makes the design work," Blank says. "One element visually reinforces the other and the constant change keeps it interesting."