Direction, animation and sound design Matilda Tristram
Voices Tony Guilfoyle and Tom Duxbury
Voice Recording Tim Fairplay
An Animate Projects commission supported by Jerwood Charitable Foundation and National Lottery through Arts Council England


Five Year Plan is an abstract comedy for devices such as iPhones or iPads, using emoji (Japanese text message character pictures) as material with which to draw. It is an appreciation of the arbitrary nature of symbols found in emoji mobile applications, where you can find such things as an egg, a shit, a syringe, a sun, a puppy, an old man, a palm tree or a saxophone in one category to punctuate text message conversations. The script is based on a selection of symbols; it is an attempt to connect them, and to celebrate the unpredictable, hilarious, moving and complicated nature of communication and understanding.

Technical Details

Actors read an informal script based on the emoji. I made a rough audio edit then drew scenes and characters to go with it using corresponding emoji as digital paintbrushes. After animating the shape of the characters on an iPad app called Animation Creation HD, I traced over each frame on the iPad screen using cellophane and a china marker. Then, I retraced that using emoji in an iPad app called Sticker Doodle, taking a screengrab each time to use for the final animation, which was put together in After Effects.