The Gospel through live animation

Curious Willesden Church members intently watched some images projected on to a large screen on Sabbath 15th June.*

The only ‘problem’ with the animation that was unfolding before them was that there wasn’t any sound. At least, not yet.

“This is what we’re going to do. I’d like us all to try and come up with some impromptu songs, poems, readings, etc., for the animation, so that we can get some ideas of what we can do with media. Don’t be shy or worried if it’s not fully polished,” said Lee White Samuels from Croydon Church.

Lee is the brainchild of Christian Daydream, which is an animated bible study.

In his introduction he explained that if cartoons can be used to entice children to eat junk food, then why can’t it be used to explain Christianity?

People chuckled nervously as it slowly dawned on them that they were asked to produce a live audio recording for the animation and that the entire project would be on display for all to see, forever immortalised. Talk about pressure!

The church was separated into groups, and each group focused on a particular topic on the theme of the end times in Matthew 24.

After an initial reluctance to get involved, people really started to get into the task, and what was produced was something priceless.

It was great to see improvisation in action and to see people’s creative juices flowing.

Thought-provoking lyrical poems were produced, and original songs were sung with gusto. Voiceovers were eloquently delivered by the very young to the older members. Willesden definitely has talent.

One person even managed to play a sci-fi tune from his phone as a backing track to a speech about deception, to the amusement of the audience.

There were a couple of ‘unruly’ audience members as well, who kept shouting out during the live recording, which then made everyone erupt in laughter.

“I think it was alright,” said 15-year-old Justin Francis-McLeish modestly, who stepped up to the microphone to perform his poem. “I’d take part in something like this again.”

Melody Brooks, 15, who was one of the narrators, said: “I think the project was quite good. I liked the idea of it, to make an animation. It was quite cool.”

Lee said that the aim of the programme was to create a discussion around Matthew 24, and to see what people can do through media. “I think I achieved my aim – I would definitely do this again.”

He added: “With media stuff, you always need time to do things, but the audience was really good, they weren’t too shy. We got a nice song and we heard a funny joke. It’s nice to have an AY where you have good memories.”

People really seemed to love it.

Clive Johnson said: “It was refreshing to see something different – to get people interested in the topic. It shows creativity and that’s what I like to see and I’m glad I took part in it. I really liked the cleverness of it and I was very impressed by it. This project can lead to greater things.”

It took a long while to merge the audio with the visual together though, due to technical difficulties, but people were more than willing to stay behind a little later to see the fruits of their labour.

Many people sat in the dark at church to watch the global premiere of the untitled animation project, and for a number of participant’s it was their debut performance.

Unfortunately there were some more technical difficulties with the synching of the sound and the audio, but the show rolled on – that’s show business for you.

You could tell that people watched it back with pride. And there were other parts that were, shall we say, entertaining. It wasn’t perfect, but the project was no small feat and it turned out to be a nice little experiment.

Desita Broderick watched the animation as a non-participant. She said: “It was a good idea, it’s just a shame that it didn’t come together in the end. I am looking forward to seeing the final version of the video.”

Well, never fear. The animation should be screened at Willesden sometime in the very near future, and if you miss that then it will be available on our website soon. Well, that’s a wrap, folks!

*If you want to see the photos, then click here

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