A new animated short film called “Hiccups” was released Oct. 13 on YouTube. The film is about a little video game console called Heart that is in a not-so-nice relationship.
Their partner is very dismissive, rude and stand-offish. This causes Heart to get hiccups that drain their power source. They “lose their willingness to hold on” as specified in the description of the film. However, hope comes back when a new friend steps in and shows Heart how to move to a new beat.
In an email interview with film writer and director Elliot Gough, he explained that this was very much a personal project to him. Gough put himself in the shoes of the protagonist and created a solution. The film became a catharsis for him.
“Writing the protagonist into my situation and then solving that problem for them gave me hope in a really crappy time,” Gough said. “Everything I wrote in that time ended up becoming therapy.”
The animation style of the film, which was originally meant to be called “Out of Love,” is beautiful in a nostalgic and comforting way. The animation is similar to a flip-book sketch animation, and the light color scheme gives the viewers a gentle feeling. It is genuinely cute and the warm, fuzzy feeling the style gives is sure to make viewers feel at home while watching. Gough also said animating was the longest part of the project, taking three and a half years.
The film won the award for Excellence in Music, Sound, and Score at Buffer Festival, an international film festival held in Toronto, Ontario. And rightfully so, the music and sound are light and heartwarming. The film consists of zero dialogue at all, so getting the score and expression sounds correct was important. The music allowed the emotions of the film to come through without ever speaking a word, which can be one of the most difficult things to do when it comes to making films. As difficult as it was, it was executed beautifully in “Hiccups.”
“All I’ve ever wanted to do is tell stories and hopefully have those stories make a positive change in people’s lives,” Gough said. “I was about to give up on that dream. It’s a privilege to be able to make things for yourself because it takes a lot of time and money. When you don’t have a lot of those things, it’s a big sacrifice.”
This project was definitely a labor of love. Gough said the project took around four years to complete. However, the time allowed more detail and care to be put into the film. Some of the locations in “Hiccups” are real locations that Gough went to. The museum is in the Natural History Museum of London, which Gough said has since replaced the dinosaur skeleton with a blue whale and it is lame. He also said that creating things can sometimes be like “trekking through a snowstorm,” but he said he will be able to die happy knowing he made something that people enjoy.
“I think like every few months I doubted if this was even worth it,” Gough said. “I was putting a lot of my paycheck into this thing for years, and I was consistently on the edge of just scrapping it, but you can’t just curl up and let the snow win. You got to keep going.”
All of the hard work paid off in the end. All of the different aspects of the people who worked on this project came together to create a project that is sure to make any viewer smile. Hiccups is a beautiful film filled with emotion without ever using a word in it. You can find “Hiccups” on YouTube now.