Before summer

Trip to Ghibli Museum in Tokyo
Trip to Ghibli museum 2015

Above you can see my first museum trip, in Tokyo, Japan! Studio Ghibli will be featuring in my dissertation along side Hayao Miyazaki himself. It was a really amazing museum, with a lot of information of how the films were produced, it also showed the beauty and imaginations of the films. I want to continue reading about Ghibli. Below are some GIFS I created in order to show the variation of Ghibli films which are complex, imaginative and always different! This was one of the reasons I wanted to look into this topic, why is there not more films like this in the mainstream for children?

(Hover mouse over pictures for film name and release year.)

Here was my first progress map I created with some added notes over summer. I decided I wanted to create a blog where I could add my own thoughts and ideas more like a journal, over just having a timeline. I found this more useful than just dates of things I did.

January (The month of exploring ideas)

In January, I had the First Dissertation planning sessions. For DISS PREP. Met with tutor and dissertation group. Presented three main ideas which I am interested in investigating. After developing these ideas, I created spider diagrams seen above in timeline at the beginning I have decided on “Risks in Animation.”

Narrowed down a rough question as:

“Is the west too scared of taking risks in animation?”

I created a more in depth presentation to show my research strategy and plans for this question. Which you can see below. This was the beginning stages of the pr

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This presentation was really useful in putting down initial ideas, I still use this when I want to see how far I have come from the end of the dissertation. It reminds me of the essence of my question.

Identified 7 books to begin to read.

I identified seven books that I would get out again over summer and read. I used the study zone for all of these other than the Hayao Miyazaki book which I brought, these biographies are really useful.

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Theories I want to look into to support my hypothesis: Globalisation, cultural theories, americanisation and more story theories.

I wanted to generate ideas for some theories that already exist above are several of these. Especially cultural theories. I want to push the idea that culture and stories are very much very important to how we interpret stories to this day.


Have decided some of my primary research I would like to carry out. Basis for my research strategy. I have also starting to conduct a list of contacts to begin sending out emails.

Invested in a folder to keep all my findings together, trying to make sure all my research is organised to help me when it comes to referencing and writing my dissertation.

Read more into theories.

Have thought about doing a visual dissertation, however I think a written dissertation would allow me to create a clearer argument for my argument. I have decided here that I want to do a written dissertation.



Created synopsis for my dissertation where I have explained that I would like create a written dissertation and commented my research strategy in order to carry out such a dissertation.

Main keywords are: Culture, risks, storytelling

Submitted my Synopsis early.

Briefly allowed time for the rest of March and the beginning of April to work on my Animation unit.

Saw Zootopia in cinema, the film tackled themes like diversity and acceptance. It seems Disney are reacting to updating the stories they tell.



Identified several films to begin analysing.

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I want to re-watch several of these films again, to re- analyse but have been able to watch these listed here. May decide to look at some more films, consider this and update progress map.

I will go to Ireland and visit the Book of Kells

Was unable to make time to visit Ireland, however I will think of an alternative to this trip. Maybe making contact with someone at the museum, about the book itself.

Have begun watching Documentaries, such as the making of Princess Kaguya, Roahl Dahl, Beatrix Potter and C.S Lewis documentaries.

May + June

Have taken out 19 books from the Study zone, over summer I read 13 of these, need to continue reading especially theory books which I somehow left till the end!

Used this time to create a contact list with contact information, get ready to begin to send out emails when I go back to university.

I have watched the following films and written notes, I am filmaholic so it was a pleasure to re-watch some of these films! I will mark any riskful content and summarise the story to compare to the different

Cinderella (2014)


Cinderella is one of the many retellings that Disney is re-releasing, I want to see how different the story is to the original Disney film. As one of my points is how riskful Disney are being with the stories they are telling. Is there any new angles? I noted this down ready to analyse.

Spirited Away(2001)


I want to talk about Studio Ghibli, therefore I wanted to re-watch it’s Oscar winning Spirited Away. It’s story is very epic and different to stories told in the west.

“Spirited Away may be a fairytale, but I don’t want to make it a western-style one, with lots of easy outs…but I instead, like to think of it as the direct descendant of Japanese folktales like Suzume no oyado.” (P.199)  Turning Point 1997-2008  Hayao Miyazaki  

Princess Mononoke 


I wanted to re-watch Princess Mononoke because Hayao Miyazaki has a whole section of his work about the violence and complexity of this story. This story has indeed a lot of violence from amputation and hatred. It challenges the themes we can show children.

Making of Princess Kaguya (2014) / The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness (2014)


These two films, were documentaries that showed how Ghibli created two of his films (Isao Takahata and Hayao Miyazaki.) It was really great to see the process, and the work that goes into the two films discussed (Princess Kaygua – Below and The wind rises).

Princess Kaguya


Priness Kaguya directed by Isao Takahata is a japanese film that pushes the style of the animation in Ghibli films. The story is based on Japanese folklore and because of this is very different to a western storytale. It is agains sophisticated in themes and subject matter.


Went to Cornwall for a week 

Cornwall – Week break from Dissertation research

Continued reading book list. Have discovered some amazing points of view on several articles online.

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Visited the National Gallery this week, it was interesting to see how artist from the same time period differed and were very similar in there storytelling. As there was so many paintings that were similar it was hard to look at every painting. Maybe come back and retry experiment if I had time. When I did look round however what I noticed was Vincent Van Goghs work. It broke conventions at the time it was painted and subsequently only one painting was sold. Many people believe it was because it was different to the paintings being created it broke the style. Similar to how there is one style currently and it is hard to get recognition for any other type.

This is the apparant painting which sold in Van Gogh’s lifetime (The Red Vineyard – 1888)

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“Vincent had to find people in the art world whom others trusted, and this was difficult. At the time, the way Vincent painted was so bizarre and offensive that people didn’t know what to do with it. It looked like child’s play. But when he met a group of French painters, everything changed. He realized that his dense paint and broad brushstrokes full of bright, vibrant colors had a name: Impressionism.”

Find people who resonate with your work. Even if that means seeking out other outcasts, as it often does for creative individuals, you need a collective. The French Impressionists were in many cases banned from art galleries and their work was censored for years. But they banded together to create something new and fresh. And over time, people began to understand it. But until that happened, they had each other, which was enough encouragement to keep going. (West, website, 2016)

The idea that Van Gogh struggled in a world which did not except his style, the impressionist movement.



Started a alongside Dissertation Journal which was an advice I found in one of the books I got out from the study zone. It told me to write in it a little bit every time I researched. I thought this was a really good thing to do over summer. Below is some of the pages I write in July time once coming back. I begin to look at why I chose the question. It is more opinion based than my dissertation will be, more like a research journal.

Have started to look into visiting the v&a archive to look at Beatrice Potter illustrations. I want to understand the relationship between storyteller and culture. Beatrice Potter was inspired by the country. This fed in to her stories. I think it would be an interesting angle to how the culture can influence stories. It was


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I also write any interesting ideas I get from reading a book.

I have watched the following films over this month, watching several films a month will help me when it comes to decided which ones best prove my points. I am trying to choose films from the West in mainstream animation and ones which are not. I will be using the next couple of months to organise the films to discuss. As I watch each film I am measuring risk and summarising the story in notes.

James and the Giant Peach (1996)


I wanted to watch James and the Giant Peach as I have been exploring Roahl Dahl and his many stories which he lovingly crafted. This was the animation that was created for James and the giant Peach. Oddly I always thought it was an English film when it fact it is American! Later on, when doing my survey many other people made this mistake too.

“Some larger changes, however, cause problems. Young James’ desire to get to New York City—a place he and his parents dreamed of visiting—gives the film an oddly pro-American and nearly anti-British tinge, which I suppose is to be expected in an American-produced film, but still feels a bit odd. The change in some of the insect accents is also a bit disconcerting. In the book, after all, these are British insects, and hearing a vamped out Spider and a New York Centipede somewhat threw me out of the story, even if I suppose Miss Spider could have been reared in a very vampiric family and Centipede could have picked up his accent from listening to the radio. A lot. (Not to mention a distinctly Scottish Earthworm—hello, Remus Lupin!—although that’s a bit easier to fanwank—he’s either from Scotland himself, or from a Scottish family, and in either case has spent far too long beneath the earth to have that original accent distorted by more southern tones).” 

Beauty and the Beast(1991)


Beauty and the Beast is one of the animations that brought back Disney after the 80s in its decline. It is a fairtyale classic and started the process of adding an animated feature category in the Oscars.

My Neighbour Totoro(1988)


My neighbour Totoro is another Ghibli film which is very different to many Disney films. It seem much slower in pacing and focuses on children and family. The film is very japanese inspired, but is one of the films most linked to Ghibli. Totoro being the face of Ghibli as Mickey Mouse is for Disney.

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Inside out is one of the newest Pixar films, it shows some of the diversity in the new themes. Exploring the humans emotions it breaks the story traditions of the west, and is something to comment on in my dissertation!


Went to Dorset for a week

A week break from Dissertation work.

Continued reading from book list.

I continued reading my books trying to make my way through the 18 I took out. I carried on writing the personal journal. I am reading the Arthur Rackham fairy book, analysing the different stories. One story which I come across is : Jack and the Beanstalk. I don’t know what the moral is? Jack climbs up a beanstalk and stealks the egg, the chicken and the gold and then murders the giant who he steals from… Interesting to analyse the stories with cultural significants in the West.


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I have also began to watch videos about different storytellers, mostly English looking at Roahl Dahl, Beatrice Potter and C.S.Lewis. They have actually been so interesting to watch and makes the research feel like fun! (But I am a passionate storyteller so this could also contribute to it hehe!)

I like here that Roahl Dahl emphasises how writing for Children is harder than writing for adults. Hayao Miyazaki says something really similar in his book. I watched lots of Roahl Dahl documentaries as well because what he does in storytelling is different to what we see in Disney. He makes the ordinary wonderful, he can take simply a child going to school overcoming her fears (Maltilda). I hope to talk about Dahl in my dissertation!

I have watched these films this month, I am able to dedicate several films a month! At this point I’m not sure what films I will be discussing in my dissertation but it allows me to consider a greater scope on some of the studios I am talking about. A.K.A Disney, Ghibli, Pixar. : 



Ponyo was a film created by Ghibli, it is a story that received great exposure in the West and received a lot of results on Rotton Tomatoes, Reported a 92% “Certified Fresh” out of the reviews. It is nice to see how Ghibli tackled a smaller less epic fairytale esk film.

Secret of Kells(2009)


Secret of Kells by Cartoon Saloon was a film I wanted to re-watch, heavily influenced by the culture of Ireland it allowed me to explore the culture, and how culture can enrich a story. Similar to how Ghibli use there Japanese culture to enrich their stories.

Ernest and Celestine(2012)


I wanted to watch Ernest and Celestine because it was made from a smaller studio in France. I wanted to see how stories other than Disney present stories. I had never seen this before so it was great  and very beautiful! The story was about friendship and acceptance so in some areas it was similar to stories we had seen before.

Prince of Egypt (1997)


Prince of Egypt is a momentous biblical epic, directed by Steven Spielberg. With strong moral and historical illustrated. It has “biblical violence” on the DVD case so it does show violence of murder and disease. It is an animation that challenged the animations that was out at this time.


Went to Devon for a week

A week away to Devon break from dissertation work. Took two books for dissertation to read in the evenings and journeys. and read both!

Spent a lot of this month catching up with my Animation summer projects as I spent a lot of time on dissertation on the previous months, but continue to read books and write quotes when I have spare time.



After Summer

After summer we had 10 weeks to finish off and submit the dissertation. I tried to create a schedule, but as we also has another unit for Animation I found it hard to balance between doing the too.


Week Commencing 3rd October

-First week back at University. I had my first lecture for Contextual studies meeting my tutor Richard Manning. It was great to see how every one is progressing. I had to dedicate some of my week finishing off some summer work for Animation Portfolio Unit.

I used this week to organise my books, I need to renew all of them next week.

After this, I organised which books I still need to write up quotes for, which to continue reading. There are still several which I need to read so trying to break up the reading time by using the hour and half it takes to get to university to read.

I chose to re-watch Watership Down, analyse it and break it down. I need to think of a way to record and analyse the risks. As an animation from the late 70s it is still strong in its messages, but its not hard to see why so many people openly declare it being traumatising when they watched it.


I also watched Kubo and the two strings at the cinema. Both proved good primary research for me to delve into further. Laika create really unique stories as an American studio this is something really cool to look at. I would like to develop my research at Laika. The story was very much influenced from Japanese culture as well. Beautiful animation as you can see below from the Gifs.


Richard Manning my tutor suggested using RefMe to begin doing Bibliography early and not leave it till the end. Used the remainder of my week to get up to date and re-read all my sources. Found this really useful to refresh and evaluate my sources. Took longer than I thought to be up to date with my bibliography but thankfully I just need to add to it now. Some of the sources I deleted, as I felt they were not good sources. Others are very opinion based such as a comment on YouTube. I love RefMe, my favourite tool throughout this dissertation process!! It’s a great place to always have the Bibliography backed up. Next time I will split the different source types into their own folders to see where I am lacking research.

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Also I have agreed I need to polish my question this will be ongoing as I research, hopefully after formative I can consider a finalised question.


Finished updating my Bibliography this week. Researched into creating effective questionnaires, started considering what questions and whether they link to my question.

Created a really rough email template, which needs to be updated for every one I email. However I have pinned down the questions I would like to ask. I have also simply summarised my question and other formal elements of the email. This has motivated me to keep sending out emails.

I have continued to read some of my book list. Including “Paul Wells animation and America” which has been really impactful. I have highlighted several quotes which I need to record and look into further.

I have made and began to fill out a film spreadsheet which I have created to analyse this primary research. This should help me have a compare and scrutinise the several films I have begun to look into.

*Spoilers in Storyline section please skip past if you would like to see the film* Below you can see the beginning analyse. It was useful breaking down the films, having the information researched in this formats will help me write my dissertation. I will continue writing this as I re-watch the films I want to analyse.

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Renewed following books:

Ravensbourne Study Zone.

1  call number:791.43340973 WEL                          ID:080634
Animation and America / by Paul Wells.
Wells, Paul

2  call number:823 RAC                                   ID:068914
Arthur Rackham fairy book
Rackham, Arthur

3  call number:791.4334 CRA                              ID:081235
Before Mickey : the animated film 1898-1928 / Donald Crafton ; with a new
Crafton, Donald.

4  call number:306 BAR                                   ID:095587
Cultural studies: theory and practice
Barker, Chris

5  call number:302.23 DEW                                ID:099516
De-Westernizing media studies / edited by James Curran and Myung-Jin
Curran, James, 1945-

6  call number:823 AND                                   ID:074433
Fairy tales vol.1

7  call number:823 AND                                   ID:074434
Fairy tales vol.2

8  call number:301 ROB                                   ID:043756
Globalization /Social theory and global culture
Robertson, Roland

9  call number:306.03 BRO                                ID:089876
A glossary of cultural theory / Peter Brooker.
Brooker, Peter

10  call number:302.23083 SIN                             ID:088509
Handbook of children and the media / by Dorothy G. Singer [ editor]
Singer, Dorothy G.

11  call number:371.3 GRE                                 ID:095288
How to write your undergraduate dissertation / Bryan Greetham.
Greetham, Bryan.

12  call number:155.4 PIA                                 ID:068359
Moral judgement of the child
Piaget, Jean

13  call number:809.923 COB                               ID:080755
Narrative / Paul Cobley.
Cobley, Paul

14  call number:801.92 BOY                                ID:111340
On the origin of stories : evolution, cognition, and fiction / Brian
Boyd, Brian,

15  call number:306 DAN                                   ID:095657
Popular culture : introductory perspectives / Marcel Danesi.
Danesi, Marcel, 1946-

16  call number:823 BRI                                   ID:074478
Briggs, Raymond

17  call number:778.5347 CAN                              ID:081645
Walt Disney’s nine old men and the art of animation / by John Canemaker.
Canemaker, John

18  call number:294.3 SUZ                                 ID:069339
Zen & Japanese culture new ed
Suzuki, Daisaetz

I have had these books over summer, but I need to write out the quotes, I need to dedicate some time each week to reading/writing out quotes to argue and support my point.

I watched this TEDS talk as well as Elizabeth: Lindsay Curating humanity’s heritage and Suzanne Duncan: The dark side of storytelling. The TEDS talk are really good sources and mentions so many amazing points. Below you can see the notes I made. I think what was really informative about the above was the idea we should investigate the stories with no incentive to tell.




The start of the week me and my sister was in Belfast promoting the university, this meant I needed to keep on top of my work at the weekend. However I did feel a bit bit behind when we got back as I also had a busy weekend!

Created a survey, gave it too several people for feedback before sending out for final intake. Need to reword some of the elements, send out beginning of next week. Read extensively on most popular time people are on Facebook (Wednesday 3pm and evenings at 8pm) will aim to refresh my response he14858786_10155308078873265_2071888597_ore weekly at these times. I aiming for around 50 responses. See below for analyse.

Had to spend some time working on a competition for my Animation work.

Started a Chapter outline, still feel like it is too vague, try to break down further. Using “How to write your undergraduate dissertation -Palgrave study skills”, to work out how to plan the dissertation. Really useful!

Was not able to get into uni to see Richard Manning as there was a bomb scare at the o2 and all buses and tubes were not available. Had to turn home after an hour journey *nearly* to uni.



I emailed Ransom Riggs, child book author of “Miss peregrine’s home for peculiar children”. Wanted to get a take on how he goes about writing stories for children. I asked several questions about storytelling and experimental storytelling. I also sent out emails to Sarah Smith director and establisher of Locksmith an animation studio in London.First of its kind. Loves creating stories and very passionate. Developed such stories as Arthur Christmas.


Tried to get contact information for a lot of people however I could not find any contact information. Searched quite a few people and it took a lot of time. Bit disappointed but I will continue to search and identify more contacts.

My Questionnaire Analyse and reasons behind each question.

Q1. What country was you brought up in? (As a child)

I wanted to look at how I was going to analyse the audience The way I was going to record the audience was the country in which they were raised in.

I ended up with predominately English people, but also people from Italy, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Lithuania, Australia, France, Singapore, Philippines, Ireland, Venezuela/Spain and Scotland. It was fantastic to get such a range of people from different countries!

Q2. What was your favourite story as a child, why? (This could be fable/fairytale/book/folktale)

I wanted here to discover what was people’s favourite stories were. I was hoping to determine whether in Britain all the people who were brought up in Britain read or liked English tales but their favourite animation was American. This was to see how much America influence people’s favourite animation. I asked this question in Japanese too! It was great to see what stories as children they interacted with.

Q3. What is your favourite animated film and why?

I asked this question to see what animated films people connected with. All apart from 3 respondents (Out of 56) liked an American animated film. The three others people: 2 people – Spirited Away (Ghibli) and The Snowman (English Raymond Briggs)

Q4. Do you think that mainstream animation (Disney, Pixar, etc) take risks in the stories they show? (Content, diverse story lines…) Why do you think this?

I wanted to see if people liked the stories in mainstream animation, if they think about this. A lot of people think Disney did and some did not. I think there was a greater amount of people thought Disney do. This makes me want to argue the point further, many may not be exposed to other story sources like Ghibli.

Q5. What do you think about Disney re-releasing the same films? (Cinderella, Jungle book, beauty and the beast etc.)

I asked this question next, not to influence the above. I asked this question to see whether people liked the idea of Disney retelling the same story. The majority of the people did not like the idea that Disney were releasing the same films again, some people even referred to it as lazy. Others didn’t mind and thought it was a good idea to let new generations have a different perspective.

Q6. Do you think it is right to show children violence/death/anger? Why?

I asked this as including these themes are usually regarded as a risk. I wanted to see whether people thought it was right to allow these. The majority of people said it was right. “Why would you not expose a child to the real world? I personally don’t agree with censorship because they will become too sensitive to topics that are deemed normal for example killing animals for food. To understand that there are other people who are suffering is an important aspect however if we compare violence in terms of a multiplayer action video game or Kill Bill style animation then no that should be age restricted.”

On the flip side some people thought that watching this content would brush off on children.

Q7. What animated film scared you or made you feel uneasy as a child? (What bit?)

I loved this question! It was great to see how films affected children at the times. I discuss this question in greater detail in the next post. There is controversy in what we show children, so it was great to see whether any films did leave children “traumatised”. This question led me to discover that everyone who was brought up in Asia/East said they couldn’t think of an animated film that scared them. This led me to doing a focus group to discover more about this and whether it was only in the west where we are sensitive about the topics we show.

Q8. What is your favourite British animated film? (Is there a lack of British animation in mainstream?)

I wanted to see what everyone’s favourite british animation was for my chapter 2 – culture. I want to prove there is a lack of British animation, almost everyone said there was a lack. There was lots of people who said “ I don’t know any”

Q9. Summarise British animation in three words. Summarise American animation in three words.

This was a great experiment to determine how the public viewed the different industries. Was there differences? The british animation summarised words was the only place where two people skipped a question. As well as many people say “I don’t know”. It goes to show there is a real lack of misunderstanding of animation in Britain.

British Animation:

Wallace and Gromit

2D, Stop-Motion, Fun

Witty. Funny. Enjoyable.

dark melancholy grey

American Animation: 

Pervasive, well known, well funded

3D, Disney, Evolving

happy adventurous colourful

unnecessary, high-budget, repetition



Worked hard on finishing off stardust competition for my Animation portfolio unit, allow brief time to get on top of the unit.


Sent out my final survey, trying to get around 50+ responses to inform my dissertation. I am looking forward to finding out what everyone’s opinions are.


I hand write a letter to Raymond Briggs and illustrated the envelope and letter, I wanted my questions to be interesting in the hope of getting a response. Briggs is nearing 82 so I am not sure whether I will be getting a response but hopefully the questions I sent will see a response.

Front of the Envelope on the Drafts.
Back of the Envelope on the letter drafts

I have translated two questions in Japanese. I would have done more but I decided if I had two questions, I could get more detailed questions. Also translating the answers and translating the questions takes quite a long time as I am not fluent in Japanese. I had help from my sister who is learning Japanese as well. I used the website Lang8 to get any corrections for my questionnaire. I asked them to answer if they could as well. After I get final corrections I will be sending out to my three Japanese contacts for them to share.



Using the website Lang8 I was able to get corrections to make the questions sound more natural. Furthermore I asked responses from the many Japanese people who use this website. The next stage is translating it all back into English.

You can see here the extensive responses I got back from some of the recipients to my two questions. I am glad I only chose two questions now as it would be a lot of work in the short time to work on translating. I have used google translate here, I will dedicate some time to work on translating these quickly.screen-shot-2016-11-18-at-00-58-58




When we was in Japan we made friends with some Japanese people. I sent out the surveys to these people as well in the hope that they will share and I get more responses!


I needed the end of this week to work on my Animation work so I didn’t do as much as I would like for the end of the week.

I submitted my work for formative at the beginning and write around 2000 words, bibliography up to date and content pages.


I watched a documentary on channel 4 not thinking about my dissertation but as it usually does it began to relate. It was nice to gain the child’s perspective. The secret lives of four year old  Channel 4

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Watched Song of the Sea again and write it into my Film Analyse sheet. This film is a beautiful example of a small Animation studio who is gaining a lot of recognition of their stories.

I also watched Frozen again, one of the newest films Disney released it is good too measure the risks they take in this rather than an older film which is not as relevant in the present day. I also looked at Tangled because of the same reason!

I used some of the time this week to also input some of the films I write notes and re-watched over summer.

Week 6

Target: I will write chapter 2/3

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I will leave the rest of this week to catch up on Animation work for my formative

Received a reply from Raymond Briggs!!

img_20161114_0001img_20161114_0002I received I reply from Raymond Briggs!! Although he wasn’t able to answer any of the questions it was so nice of him to reply and what it does suggest is he dosen’t theorise the stories to much he makes them! He work’s and dosen’t think. I think this is true to a lot of other British writers I have been looking into who have also clarified that they don’t think about morals they just want to tell a tale about bunnies (In the instance of Richard Adams and Watership Down.)

I am not ashamed to admit I framed it within a week. Briggs is such a legend, so happy to get any response!
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Trying to breakdown questions into greater researched and analysed. Using spreadsheets I can research and understand the answers further. This specific breakdown is of the recipient favourite British animated film. I wanted to understand when these were released if they were really British and other information to grasp the understanding.

I had to push through several books I have had but yet to get round to finishing reading. These being the theory book. I struggled getting into them at the beginning of the research. I read these four books (broke down the sections I needed)

Children and the media was a very comprehensive book with lots of information. One being.

Hunchback of Notre Dame = Most risky 

I re watched the Hunchback of Notre Dame, to review the story. I have to admit it seems to be one of the most contrasted film to any of Disney film. I want to maybe discuss this film in my dissertation. It would also be nice to investigate why Disney did not recreate any other films with different themes. It seemed they reverted back to the “Disney” style after this one.

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Lust, sin, religion, prejudice, disability, bravery, unrequited love and judgement.

These are the themes in one Disney film, I think it is one of the most testing animation Disney have ever made. But also one of the most beautiful visually!


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Watched an amazing documentary on Aardman (Available on Netflix) Was so informative and discussed several times several points which I am arguing for my dissertation. Will watch again to write down the statements made.
I read my last two books from the original 19 *silent yay!* These were actually really useful and I have used some very interesting points in them. Feels good I am on top of the research now as I have now written all the quotes I may want to review as I finish writing.

I am still trying to reach out to more people in my survey. As I do try to get some more responses I wanted to review one of my questions:

What animated film scared you or made you feel uneasy as a child? (What bit?)”

I wanted to ask this to see if elements in children’s film do scare or upset children. It will also help me to determine if riskful or dark elements scared children. Here are some of the responses.

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“The Black Cauldron, the bit with the Skeleton King when he raises the dead. I think it was quite a lot darker than other disney animated film of the time, which is probably why it is hidden and brushed under the rug by them. “

“The black cauldron, all the skeletons and especially the king”

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“Pinocchio when the boy turns into the donkey and he is yelling ‘mama’ and he doesn’t want to turn into a donkey. Its very distressing and scary.”


“Lion king, Mufasas death.”


Monster house, when the house comes alive.


Coraline as I watched it with 3D glasses and the effect made me feel sick due to visual stress


Dumbo. Pink elephants on parade…


Definitely the scene in Pinocchio where Monstro the whale chases after Pinocchio, his father and Jiminy Cricket on the raft. I was terrified of Monstro’s roar and the way he almost galloped across the waves towards the raft which was being pedalled so slowly. I don’t think I really knew what whales even were when I was that young and was just horrified by the leviathon.


When Snow White was running through the forest and the trees had faces and tried to trap her.


The octopus lady (think her name was Ursula) in The Little Mermaid. Her whole character scared me so when her introduction came was a bit frightening.


Spirited Away, because of the unusual characters.


“Watership down when the rabbits are trying to escape the burrow and the visuals are very distressing to view. And the weird rabbit because the atmosphere in that scene is like ‘what the hell’.”

“Watership Down. It’s very direct and addresses very real themes. I’d say it’s not suitable for children realistically as the themes may be too mature for them to appreciate.”


“Fantasia. Found it very creepy as a child however as an adult, I appreciate all the animation and the music in the movie- it’s a masterpiece.”


“Toy story. The part with that creepy kid and his creepy sewn back together dolls ??”


I can’t seem to remember many right now but Snow White was always creepy when the queen visited Snow White in her evil witchy form.


“Page master Dr jekyll and Mr Hyde – very scary atmosphere.”

“The Jekyll and Hyde part in the film Page Master.”



“The Corpse Bride, very creepy and freaks me out, unsure why.”

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“Secret of Nimh was scary to watch because of the dark characters.”

One of the scenes that distressed me and also someone else also agreed was in the Prince of Eqypt, when moses in sent in his basket down the river and crocodiles and hippos try to eat the baby. This still brings me distress and whenever I dream about water there always seem to be crocodiles larking in the water or hippos. Literally had a dream of water last night and when people were swimming they felt something rub against there limbs… Horrific.


What have I gotten out this question? Well it proves that the way people interpret things are all different from young age. As the case in most thing, every individual reacts differently. These elements some of them as simple as the way a character has been created to look created uneasy. Many people also said, “None that I can remember”. These films had an effect to an extent, but much of showing these risks opened children to recognising emotions, opening the world of happiness to cracks of darkness.

One of the reasons, I was really looking forward to discovering peoples interpretations, was because I was often freaked out by elements in animated films. But looking back on I wouldn’t want these elements gone, it was when I was taken to the point of fear that I appreciated the journey of the characters and the danger in the world. Just appreciate the moments above and they sort of make the film in many cases.

I discovered that all recipients who said they were of Eastern descent had nothing that made them feel uneasy. Highlights a different sense of sensitivity; investigate this further, maybe do a focus group to discuss.

*As I am writing I still feel I am lacking evidence in certain areas, need to find more arguments and support for my points to strengthen my dissertation.*


Begin formatting Appendice


Had a talk with Jellyfish who are working on Dennis the Menace for BBC

They spoke about it being a British heritage piece and how it is sensitive because it is a national treasure. This works in a point I have been reading. It is interesting how British animation is so apparent in children TV and not so much in feature film.



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The weeks seem to be going quicker now the deadline is on the horizon! I have finished chapter 2 working on chapter 3 this week as well.

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Received a response from Jez Stewart curator for the animation at the BFI. His responses were very informative and explained why perhaps there is such a lack of British animation in mainstream cinema. I particularly liked his response to his favourite story as a child. I looked at the url:  Below is the cover of it and it is a story written by a 5 year old and published!! It is actually marvellous!!

I also ordered “Watership Down” to read, to and from uni to help me inform my 3rd chapter, where I will be analysing this animated film. Dubbed one as the scariest animations by many people I have come across when describing the film.


I will write conclusion and introduction

I wanted to do another quick comparison between an American advertised trailer and a British advertised trailer because this is the only change when it comes to our common english language.

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I added two more columns to analyse which was what films showed blood and if there was magical elements. This will help me in chapter 3.
I am discussing Watership down in chapter 3 therefore I decided to buy and read it to further analyse it. I will use my travelling time to uni and back to do this.

Week 9



I will use this week to make any changes after I proof read this, and give to several other people to proof read. I will also make sure my progress map is fully up to date and my bibliography.

I carried out a focus group to get a greater understanding about different elements  of my research. It allowed me to ask some focalise questions. I was able to discover whether in the East children are less sensitive to animation films. I was also able to see whether they

Focus Group Recorded 

30th November 2016

Geary, Victoria (2016) Risk in Animation and culture diversity, ‘6’, London, Greenwich, 30.11.16. Alice Geary – English, Jake Preedy – English, Pang Fong Mei – Malaysian, Giullia Russo – Italian, Lisa Cooper – English, Andrew Benedetti – English, Brazilian parents.

05:24 minutes.

Me: So, Hello my question is about storytelling in the west and investigating in the west if they take risks, comparing it to the East. In my survey which I think you all did I ask, One of my questions “Q7: What animated film scared you or made you feel uneasy as a child? (What bit?). My results showed that everyone who stated they were from the East couldn’t think of any?

Jake: Really

Alice: There must be one? What about the scene in Pinnocio when he turns into a Donkey?

Me: Do you think it is the stories in the east that prepared you for these scenes, were you already exposed to it? (To Mei who is from the East.)

Mei: Yeah, I would say that, Yes.

Me: I remember my friend from the Phillipines said that growing up she was taught folklore that her and her family believe strongly? Do you think that is the case for you?

Mei: I do.

Me: Do you think the west is to sensitive?

Mei: I’m not to sure about the west, as you grow up with different beliefs and superstitious stuff when we’re kids.

Alice: Do you think its about religion as well? Like Christianity taught to be more scared of God and Buddhist feel contented.

Me: Yes, that is what Hayao Miyazaki says in his book, something like, “Jesus you are meant to be scared of, but Buddha is meant to be laughing with you.”

Mei: Yeah.

Giullia: You know its actually true because about religion stuff, she always tells me story I wouldn’t sleep at night.

Mei: But I’m not scared of it

Me: Also Ryan, I know your religious as well; You know in the bible your taught crucifiction, slaying goliath, the destruction of creatures in Noah’s ark. Do you think it is right to teach children violence similar to the way christians teach children about violence? For instance in Watership Down it is shown and a lot of people don’t like this.

Ryan: I’d say even as I answered in your survey, certain things would be beneficial to teach children, I guess emotional things, to  prepare them in later stages in life. For example main characters who loose a parents or looses a child something like that because those sort of experiences may come out later in life. And having you think about it now, at a certain age or in above in certain ages.

Also in your first question about the the uneasy movie…… (thinking)

Mei:  What makes you uneasy? I don’t understand.

Alice: You know the film Coraline, when I watch it, it has a creepy feeling.

Me: It makes me feel sick to the stomach watching it.

Mei: Really?

Alice: Yeah, I don’t like it. Don’t you get that?

Mei: I don’t get that.

Ryan: The Page Master! It was a 2D animation where Macaulay Culkin starts out in Live action and goes into a book and turns into animation…

Jake: Oh my god, I have seen it!

Me: Oh My god me too, my whole family felt that! The Dr.Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Ryan: Yes the Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde bit scared me too! 

Giullia: Fantasia, that was my scariest film. And another one, it was the witch, no wait the evil witch in snow white where she turns old in it.

Me: But do you think, if you were scared by a film would you want those bits taken out? Or do you think they make the film.

Jake: They make the story!

Ryan, Andrew, Giullia, Lisa : Yeah ( In agreement.)

Alice: I think you need a villian that is scary not funny. I felt the scary ones made you feel you can really beat them.

Me: One of the ideas I looked into, is similar to that – You need to have the scary bits to appreciate the triumph. Being scared of it..

Jake: I watched like tons of horror films as a kid, now I’m just not scared of a lot.

Me: Would you want those bits taken a way?

Jake: No, because now I’m not really scared of things anymore now…

Alice: I was scared of Jurassic park when I was younger, I thought a dinosaur was going to eat me!

Jake: I was terrified of Jurrasic park! I think it was the first one actually, when it escapes the big cage…

Alice: Yeah! And it eats that guy on the toilet…That traumatised me every time I went to the toilet.

Jake: Yeah, I think it was the banging on the cage was scary…

Lisa: See, I think it depends like in terms of what things are scary. It depends what age you are.

Giullia: Yeah!

Lisa: For example I watched Watership down when I was younger i don’t think i could do without it, because i didn’t understand what was going on. 

Alice: Yeah they don’t understand…

Lisa: I didn’t take anything away from it, but i think if I watched it when I was older I would value it more.

Ryan: That’s True…

Giullia: Yeah…

Lisa: So it really depends what age you are:

Me: My last question, Do you think America do you think they tone down the majority of their films…

Jake: Yeah

Me: Or water them down in comparison to England or where you are from?

Gilluia: Yes

Mei, Ryan, Alice, Lisa: Yes

Andrew: Just in general? In films?

Me:Yeah and in Animation

Gilluia: Yeah

Andrew: I mean just look at the Avenger’s and stuff theres not violence in it.

Everyone: Yeah

Me: Thank you everyone, thats the end of the Focus group.


Part 2  Culture and violence  6:03minutes

Geary, Victoria (2016) Risk in Animation and culture diversity, ‘4’, London, Greenwich, 30.11.16. Alice Geary – English, Jake Preedy – English, Pang Fong Mei – Malaysian, Giullia Russo – Italian,

Mei:  “As a child actually when we’re growing up actually our parent’s used to scare us if you do something wrong, there may be a ghost that punishes you. Thats why we grow up with folktales. If you cut your nails in the evening it may ruin your life…

Everyone: What ruin your life?

Me: Do you think everyone in Malaysia was brought up like that?

Mei: Eveyone was brought up like that, We have a book “pantanram” something you shouldn’t do because something will happen. They scare you with ghosts and stuff. In real life its because its bad for you. In the evenings you shouldn’t cut your nails because you may hurt yourself…

Everyone: Ohh!

Mei:  In other stories, behind that, let the children stop to do it.. Like what else can I think of?Let me think…

We do have a black cat if it jumps over a coffin its…

Alice: Thats similar to black cats shouldn’t walk past you.

Gilliua: (In the east) I think they are really spirited oriented. For example, It has a demon that if I was a kid I wouldn’t watch it.

Mei: I know, Let’s say you were eating with your family and everything, your eating dinner, after you eat you can’t say your going to the toilet.

Me: Why?

Mei: They say if you go to the toilet your wealth, will be gone.

Alice: When do you go to the toilet?

Mei: I always go to the toilet, yeah but my mum told me you shouldn’t go to the toilet straight after your eat dinner.

Jake: You let it settle?

Mei: No, they tell you a different story, it means your wealth/ fortune will be gone..

Gilliua: in the toilet..

Mei: Yeah your fortune goes in the toilet.  But actually its good for you as you stay and chat with your family.

Everyone: Oh!

Me: So they scare on purpose?

Alice: Did they do this here?

Me: Not really, all I can think of is Father Christmas?

Mei: And also when you eat your rice, you have to eat every rice.

Jake and Alice: Every grain?!

Mei: Yeah, they tell you if you leave a grain of rice your husband or boyfriend or whatever will get pimples of spots

Everyone: Laughs

Mei: So they tell you this stuff to make sure you don’t do it. But actually infact its for your good health.

Me: Thats interesting, its like they scare you on purpose, in this culture is more like you shouldn’t scare children, or there very sensitive.

Alice: I don’t know did they ever scare you as children?

Me: Well not really, they were just like “Father Christmas won’t come, on christmas day.”

Jake: Yeah

Alice: Oh yeah or the easter bunny.

Jake: Less scary and more negative consequences…

Mei:  We usually have a negative one to preserve the positive. So you don’t do the negative.

Giullia: Actually my mum is a kids teacher, they are doing new research on this, they say its wrong to tell your children to say don’t do that the wolfman its going to get you because it teaches children to be scared rather to see it through it.

Me: Thank you for participating in this focus group you have given me a lot to look into.

I will read through my brief to ensure all criteria has been met. I will finalise my question.

My Finalised question:

Is the West scared of taking risks in storytelling in mainstream animation?   

I have decided to change my question to emphasise the idea of risks and storytelling. These were both keywords I felt needed to remain in my question. I will emphasise in my introduction that I will be predominately focusing on America as this is the power of  the West in animated film in Animation. Risks in a running theme throughout my dissertation as well as storytelling so it was pinnacle these words were in my question. Some of the other question I created were too complex and therefore I felt it was important to be clear with what I was investigating.

Week 10

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I did not upload my dissertation this early in the end*.
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One of the way I check through my dissertation or writings I do is put it into google translate so that I can here someone else reading it. This makes it easier to see if it flows, if there are any mistakes and whether I need to cut anything. 

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I will get bibliography alphabetically input into my dissertation. I will prepare image reference, acknowledgements, cover letter ready for submissions. I will be aiming to submit 2 days early.

I have passed my dissertation over to two people to proof read which allowed me to cut out and reword sections which were not clear enough.