RvR loves… TXT Island

In the second of our Ross v Ross loves… series, we check out a great video using pegs. Yes, pegs!


What do you see when you look at the peg board in the pub that has the price list? Do you just see the prices of drinks? Well, you are not alone. But one man saw something different – he saw tiny little men, crocodiles, helicopters and, uh, a funfair. Chris Gavin decided to take a peg board and its letters and make it into a movie. The result, TXT Island, is three minutes and 30 seconds of pure animated fun.

The 39-year-old director from Enfield in London has created a short stop-motion classic that is fast-becoming a YouTube hit – almost 100,000 people have viewed the clip so far. It features pegs depicting a squad of letters as they parachute into unknown territory. Think Predator, but with pegs.

‘About five years ago I found the pegboard and plastic letters in an Islington charity shop,’ Chris told RvR.

‘I knew I’d use them to make some kind of artwork but last year I started experimenting with using them to make stop-frame animation. I became fascinated by this technique and worked out that I could use these little plastic letters as characters to tell a larger story.’

Chris, who works for animation studio Tandem in Islington, used a digital camera connected to his PC and some software to move and replace the letters on the board and record the results. The entire process took eight months and the video’s soundtrack and sound effects were provided by Russell Pay from Shrooty.

Chris said: ‘I already had the overall story idea of men coming to an island and building a city, but lots of the details came through working with the letters. I realised that the technique worked well for crowd scenes and other things that would normally be too big and expensive to make a film about. With a few extra letters I could make really grandiose scenes on an epic scale. I could have a jungle, helicopters and soldiers so I really went for it and built those things into the story.’

The video has been shown at film festivals in the US, Canada, Spain, Italy and France. It is a finalist for best animated short at this year’s British Animation Awards, which will be held in April. It’s been shown in cinemas around the UK as it is also in the Public Choice category of the awards.

For more information go to the TXT Island website or visit Chris’s own website HERE.

Watch the video here…



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3 Responses to “RvR loves… TXT Island”

  1. That’s possibly the best thing you have ever posted. You may remember me saying how much I hate animation. Let me rephrase that, I hate 3D, CGI singing animals and the like. This sort of quirky animation is genius.

  2. That must have taken such a long time to put together. Great dedication. I enjoyed it.

  3. That’s crazy, man. I’d lose my effing mind putting that thing together. Very cool.

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