The Highest Tea Plantation in India

I wasn’t in last week. I was instead running Easter animation workshops for young people in Southgate. We had less young people than expected and so I did my own short animation.

When Jimmy came in today he showed me what he had competed last week. He had worked on the interior of a building at the tea plantation. The building included machinery for processing the tea.

Jimmy brought in a photo that Homeless International sent him of his India trip. It showed all the walkers outside the tea plantation.


I started building a small scale model of the tea plantation. I created tea growing areas in the foreground. Behind them I placed tea processing buildings on a small hill.


Jimmy started building a model of the house that they had stayed in one night. Whilst he was in India it was monsoon season. That year it hwas late. By the time they arrived the monsoons  should have finished.

One night they needed somewhere to shelter from the rain. They found a building where they could light fires and dry off their boots and sleep in the dry.


We got to film the different scenes we made today. When we filmed the interior of the plantation building Jimmy remembered more of what it had been like. He remembered a sifting floor above the ground level. So he mocked this up and we filmed it. This shot is quite abstract. It breaks with the more straightforward documentary style what we have be using so far.


I would like to recreate the classic PG Tips image of a woman picking tea. Jimmy said that is how the tea was being picked. PG Tips don’t use this image anymore. Nobody wants to see images of people from developing countries toiling on our behalf. Can you imagine  iPhone packaging, showing a Foxcon employee working in a factory.

Jimmy wasn’t his usual self when he came in today. After he’d  settled he told me that he had been coughing a lot lately.  When he’d gone to the doctor they had sent him for an X-ray and there was a shadow on one of his lungs.

It could just be an infection so he has antibiotics to take and then go back for another X-ray.

“I only started smoking to take the taste of the glue away…”

Choosing scales

I continued building scenes from the mountain side trip today. It is difficult to know to what scale to build things to at the moment.

We spent the morning building and filming a coach driving along a mountain path. This led us to decide to build things in two scales.  One to match the main Jimmy puppet size: 1 foot is 1 inch. One a smaller scale which will enable us to create expansive vistas.

I built a mountain side pathway. Having not been to India, my reference for this model is the French Alps. I have driven through them in s small car. Another reference is the end scenes of the original Italian Job movie.

When we filmed a test for the coach scene I filmed the coach disappearing from view. For pacing it may be good to let the vehicle go off behind the scenery and then come back on after a delay .

Starting a Sequel

Today we started making a sequel or continuation of a film we made in 2008/9. That film was Jimmy Then and Now. The new film is a continuation of that film.We have a rough outline of the direction that the film is going to go in. It pretty much picks up where the previous one ended and follows what happened after the first film. There is a lot to include.

IMG_3651_3To start we are going to develop rough and ready versions of the sets and models that we need to build. These we will film them and  build an animatic of the whole film.

We are only working a few hours a week – on Tuesday mornings in Edmonton, North London. We have no funding at the moment for this project. But Art Start has kindly given us a space to work in. Art Start a community arts organisation who do fabulous arts, parade and theatre projects.

This project will I think take quite a long time.

Today I worked on building the interior of an aeroplane. This model will be used to show the journey at the beginning of the film.


Jimmy worked on building the aeroplane which will begin the film. This opening shot will mirror the beginning of the first film. In that film trains rushed back and forth across the screen. Between the carriages you could make out glimpses of Jimmy as he started to narrate his story.

IMG_3656_3We worked till one todays then packed up everything. This film is going to be harder than the first one. It will also be more ambitious in scope and ambiguous in the story it tells.