My National Film and Television School graduation film My Face is in Space was born out of the idea that humans are brilliant but insignificant. I wanted to make a film about this somber but wonderful thought. I stumbled across the Golden Record, a time capsule burnt onto a video disc sent into space in 1977 by NASA. This seemed absolutely incredible, we were offering our hellos to the universe, but on a 12-inch record going in no particular direction. It summed up our brilliance, and our insignificance perfectly.
I decided to base the story around one of the people whose photo was sent into space on the record. If it was my 12-year-old self that had his face sent into space I would hope that it would soon lead to alien encounters. And so a story was born.
The era of the Golden Record suggested a 70s style. I also wanted to use a zoetrope made on top of a spinning record. From that I built the film in sections using multiple techniques that I thought helped illustrate the narrative, using transitions as a way of unifying the techniques and dragging people further into the story.
The film was a blast to make and I had a great crew. The mixed techniques meant we were never affected by tedium, which I can see as one of the drawbacks of animation. With so many techniques and a crazy narrative, the film could have lost its underlying emotion, but it didn’t, I have to thank my incredible crew for that! They were supportive, skilled and ultra-creative.
The record is still out there travelling through space and and the only man-made object to reach the edge of our solar system. Here’s a Guardian article about it.