The Global Search for Education: Director Emily Low Nichols on Respecting the Outdoors
This month, audiences can screen A Not So Grand Day Out, directed by Emily Low Nicholas, on the Planet Classroom Network. The film is a delightful stop motion animated short about a curious girl taking a walk in the woods that goes awry. Indeed, the flowers in this short story aren’t ordinary flowers. They are characters who use their body language to display their emotions. The message of the tale is all about learning to follow rules.
The Global Search for Education is pleased to welcome Emily Low Nicholas
Emily, I love the use of stop motion animation, what made you choose this style of animation over another?
Thank you. For a short little film like this, I think stop motion sucks you in faster than other types of animation. It is so tangible. You feel like you can reach out and touch the puppets and kind of step right into the film.
What made you think of the idea of a living patch of roses with a giant mother there for protection? I found the idea to be very creative and fun!
Thank you! It’s funny how ideas form. They usually don’t pop into your head as finished ideas. You start with a vague idea and then think what if this happened, and then what if this happened and then this. I actually started with the idea of an old woman picking flowers and one of them won’t pull up, but as the idea evolved with “what if’s,” I didn’t really want anything bad to happen to her, so I switched to the little girl, who in my head was a bit spoiled.
Is there any message you want young people to take away from your animated short?
I love the outdoors: trails, forests, wildflowers; and it always surprises me how some otherwise conscientious people will take or destroy things with no regard for the impact it leaves behind. They seem to think that they are exceptions to the rules, without considering that if everyone behaved that way, the consequences would be alarming. So I guess the message would be that the world is bigger than you and me, so respect the outdoors, obey the rules, and leave no trace (or a giant flower might take you out
How long have you been working in animation, and what’s your favorite form of animation to work with? What tips would you give a filmmaker staring out in animation today?
I’ve always been more interested in stop motion above other types of animation, ever since I was little and watching Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. But I never tried it more than small attempts here and there because I didn’t think there was a place for me in the industry. I’ve always done art and design in some form, and over the years, I’ve realized more and more that the people who make it in an industry are the people who stop making excuses and just start doing it. It has more to do with that than with talent. So I’m pretty new to it. Like only a couple of years in. The tip would be to just start doing it. No matter your goal, just start.
C.M. Rubin and Emily Low Nichols
Don’t Miss A Not so Grand Day Out, directed by Emily Low Nicholas, now screening on the Planet Classroom Network.