High hopes for Worthing's Ghostboy!

Worthing-based film-maker Jonathan Brooks is hoping 2017 will prove the year his short film Ghostboy takes strides towards becoming a series.


The film is currently available to view on Youtube – his best hope of gaining exposure. But on the back of film-festival success, Jonathan his hoping that this year might just be its year.

“In 2014, we crowd-funded funds for the film through Kickstarter, and we raised just under £6,000. That was quite challenging. I had a month to do it. You can set the time limit yourself, but sometimes the shorter, the better for getting people to decide.”

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And then, through his United Magic Studios in Worthing, Jonathan and the team set about making the film in January 2015, a process which took up the rest of the year.

“Ghostboy is a stop-motion animated film similar to Wallace & Gromit, taking photographs and stitching them together. That’s why it took nearly a year to do. But we also did some computer animation, and we had it ready in December when the children were off school. It is aimed at children aged five to 11. It is a short film, but also a pilot to get interest in turning it into a series. The main character is Alfie. He has a mother and a grandmother and a pet goldfish and is moving into a new house. He sees it as a little bit spooky, but his mum sees it as very exciting. She is all sunshine and lollipops. He is dark clouds and lightning.

“But she gives him the duty to choose his room. He travels around the house checking out the different rooms, and he finds some existing dwellers there… I would say it is a mini-adventure. It is full of fun and mystery and a little bit spooky, something the children will enjoy watching, but also the adults have been enjoying it. I think it resonated with them because stop-motion is not used so much now.

“It’s online now, on Youtube. Anyone can see it. I don’t see it as a stand-alone film. It is a pilot to go on to more exciting adventures. It has won two international film festivals for best animation, and it has been nominated for four others. It has been screened in about 12 other festivals around the world ranging from Bali to Toronto, and it has also been shown in Southampton and Winchester closer to home.

“I am trying right now to get as much feedback as possible. That’s the reason it is online so that people can watch it for free. I want to get as much exposure as possible so that people can see that it is viable as a possible series. It is important to get it out there as much as possible.”

And the good news is that, with the film-festival success, Jonathan feels it is all heading in the right direction, with realistic hopes of something happening in 2017: “It has won awards and been nominated, and it is good to remind people that it is fun, and hopefully the feedback gives me confidence to push it out.”

www.unitedmagic.co.uk; www.facebook.com/unitedmagicstudios; www.youtube.com/umfilmstudios. To see the film, search for Ghostboy on Youtube.

As for the company: “At United Magic Studios our goal is to produce creative video content for businesses and push the limits of online viewing.

“At our modern studios in Worthing, we work with a wide range of different clients in producing unique and visually-stunning video content. It’s important to us to produce the highest-quality shots possible whilst keeping each project focussed on the key message.”

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