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Adam Elliot on the importance of story

By ACMI, 2010 2:54 minutes

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Adam Elliot coined the term ‘clayography’ in order to emphasise the integral connection between the careful hands-on craftsmanship of his formal technique and the stories that he tells and characters that he brings to life. He describes his desire for a physical, tactile connection with the animation process and the pleasure of working collaboratively with a team of like-minded artists to bring a story to life.

Collection Screen Worlds


Discussion Points

Adam Elliot stresses that his distinctive style of animation is secondary to the storytelling process. However, his handcrafted style of animation undoubtedly enhances both the human dimension of his stories and the pathos of his characters’ struggle to live their lives.

The animated world of Mary and Max is a bit wonky, with no straight lines or perfect finishes.

  • How does this formal imperfection contribute to both the film’s story and its mood?
  • Try to imagine what a computer-animated version of Mary and Max might look like. How might such a change in the animation form affect the story being told?

As well as delighting in the tactile physical connection that the claymation process offers, Adam Elliot also relishes the opportunity to work with other animators.

  • What would be some of the advantages and disadvantages of working collaboratively over a long period of time on such a painstaking process?
  • What systems and working practices would you need to have in place for such a project to run smoothly?