Cat Little may have started her career as an animator, but it was the Dublin, Ireland native’s storytelling ability that turned heads at this year’s Cartoon Forum in Kolding, Denmark. Usually a fidgety bunch, programming execs were enraptured during Brown Bag Film’s presentation of Wobbly Land, and sat like quiet kindergarten kids as creator Little walked up to a soft, blue blanket with a stitched-on map of the town the series is about, and demonstrated a plot line using felt cut-outs of the characters.
Centered around Wobbly Red Man – who, in a misguided attempt to help the fairies change the season into spring, planted grass seeds on the sun and now has to mow it every Saturday morning – the episode outline and broader show concept won effusive praise from both Nickelodeon UK and HIT Entertainment.
Like a lot of great toons, Wobbly Land originated as a doodle and was quickly developed into Little’s final project at the National Film School of Ireland. ‘I made this sketch on a piece of fabric and then stitched over the lines with a sewing machine to show the teachers that I wanted the film to be on a blanket,’ she says, remembering that her college classmates thought she was a bit barmy at the time.
The Flash- and fabric-animated project won Galway Film Fleadh’s award for Best First Irish Animated Short in 2003, but it also beat out projects from veteran animators to take first prize for Best Irish Animated Short. Brown Bag producer Cathal Gaffney immediately approached Little to develop the short into a 26 x five-minute series, and she’s played a key role in developing the US$1.2-million show that features 2-D animation on fabric backgrounds since hooking up with the studio in March 2004.
Creating the series and learning the ins and outs of development from Brown Bag has definitely sparked Little’s writing drive. She’s since worked up a short Flash film intended for an older audience called Dreams, which will premiere at the Cork Film Festival this month. In the meantime, she’s keeping her animation skills limber with freelance work, having just finished a contract on Monster Animation’s second season of Roobard & Custard Too.