The Line is an animation collective comprised of 6 directors, Bjorn-Erik Aschim, Wesley Louis, Sam Taylor, Tim McCourt, Max Taylor, and James Duveen. Based in London they create short films, adverts, music videos, and games.
The Line was formed in 2013 when the 6 directors, all previously friends or colleagues with shared interests, had an urge to make “good stuff” together. Their first foray as a collective was for the short film Everything I Can See From Here. The personal project gathered lots of attention online, as well as a BAFTA nomination. It has since been screened at various film festivals.
I think I first noticed their work with the animation Wallflowers. Another self-initiated short, it a collection of nightclub scenes showcasing the various urban tribesmen and women drinking, dancing, holding up the wall, letting loose and letting it all hang out. Most of which you will undoubtedly recognise from your nights out.
The Line’s body of work is of a ludicrously high standard and they are just getting better and better, with their most recent efforts raising the bar. Super Turbo Atomic Ninja Rabbit is a project that spawned from an old comic Wesley Louis drew in 1991, when he was 13 years old. He found it in an old folder and brought it into the studio to show the others. They all agree there was something special about it. They started to talk about and imagine it as if it were a cartoon series from the 90s. That buzz of excitement quickly turned into storyboards for an intro sequence. In love with the project and wishing it were actually a real cartoon from the 90s, they decided to release it as such. They wanted so much to fool others that is was a bygone cartoon that they planted backdated blog posts, uploaded badly photocopied model sheets to forums, they painted a cel from the film and even sold a Ninja Rabbit lunchbox and flask on Japanese Ebay. Furthermore, they created a VHS version of the intro to put on Youtube and went as far as to make it a UK censored version. It swapped the word “Ninja” for “Mega” and removed the references to Wyatt’s (the frog) nunchukas, all as nod to 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. The Line are currently selling a “radical” 108-page digital art book of ‘Super Turbo Atomic Ninja Rabbit on Gumroad that contains animation sequences, storyboards, character designs, model sheets, sketches and background art, as well as the original 1991 comic.
Most recently, The Line worked with Electric Theatre Collective, on a series of animated adverts promoting Freeview’s new on-demand service. Freeview Play – “Set Yourself Free” is a monumental undertaking, especially for the 6-man collective, and so they boosted their numbers and ended up working with a team of over 45 artists to bring the city and its residents to life. The team created 25 unique characters and employed the artistry of Manddy Wyckens to design “The Girl”. This collaboration with Electric Theatre Collective went so well that The Line decided to permanently move into their central London studio and work closer together sharing resources and know-how.
You can find more animations and information on The Line’s website. Also, be sure to check out their animation podcast The Pegbar and Grill podcast, each episode they discuss animation-related topics with top animators and filmmakers.