RUN. HIDE. TELL. Educational Explainer Animation - Fred & Eric

RUN. HIDE. TELL.

A short educational awareness film teaching 11 to 16-year-olds how to react if caught up in a gun or knife terror attack. Using "run, hide, tell" and a comic book style illustration style to illustrate the key messaging.

Run. Hide. Tell. is a short film produced in collaboration with Embolden and Counter-Terrorism Policing. The film is an educational awareness tool teaching 11 to 16-year-olds how to react if caught up in a gun or knife terror attack. This teaching guide uses "run, hide, tell" as the key messaging.

The 6 minute film combines live action with our animated sequences. These “flashback” sections follow three teenagers, Nur, Edih and Llet as they relive a terrorist incident in conversation with each other.

Run. Hide. Tell. Character Design

We felt a graphic novel style would hit the right tone with the young audience. Our initial brief was to create slightly more cartoony illustrations:

RUN. HIDE. TELL. Educational film.  Our initial illustrated style frames.
Run. Hide. Tell. Educational Explainer: Initial illustrated style frames.

However, it soon became clear that realism was going to be key in setting a serious tone. This is how we moved on to develop a more realistic graphic novel illustration approach. This style would allow us to accurately depict complex and emotionally charged scenarios. With the film's main characters cast, we began by transforming the live-action actors into illustrated characters:

Character designs were created in a graphic novel illustration style
Our graphic novel style of illustration depicts the lead characters

Storyboarding

The next step was storyboarding where we designed the action for every moment in the narrative. Starting with a hand-drawn storyboard to finalise the poses and direct the action for each line of the script. This image shows a page from our initial line drawn storyboards. Once our clients were happy with these, we moved on to full-colour illustrations, which formed the base for our final animated sequences:

Storyboarding for run hide tell explainer film. Showing hand drawn and full colour storyboard stages.
Storyboard development: from hand drawn boards, to full colour final illustrations.

Animation

When illustrating, we were mindful to keep each illustration "layered". This technique is vital to animating the scenes, building up planes of imagery. Simple movement is then easily added to these separated layers, creating a feeling of 3D movement (parallax), and allowing for subtle focus shifts.

This example taken from the film's final animated sequence shows how layers within the illustrations add a filmic depth. Transforming flat designs into atmospheric motion sequences.

Staying true to the graphic novel format, key character reaction shots create realistic performances; breathing life into the stills and building tension through simple movement.

Animation complete, it was back to Embolden who added atmospheric sound design and edited our animated sequences into the final live-action film.

Combined with a lesson plan, Run, Hide, Tell, was used as a teaching aid in secondary schools. Engaging a young audience with the film’s urgent and essential messaging.

Further information: https://www.npcc.police.uk/CounterTerrorism/actforyouth.aspx