https://iiiimag.com/articles/the-500-br-sara-procter-hyslop-office-supplies
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The 500
Sara Procter - Hyslop Office Supplies

Chris Samuel

01.08.18

ON INSPIRATION
There are a lot of references in my work to popular culture, but I wanted people to be able to enjoy the narrative without recognising them — not unlike The Simpsons, I suppose. The Simpsons are a huge inspiration, I learnt lots about culture through the clever scripts; and in the show, outside of the narrative, there is that strange sense of familiarity with broader culture — a kind of pre-made familiarity — which I try to use to get my own ideas across using ones already pre-mixed.

ON PUPPETS
If my characters were actors it would be cheesy and horrible to watch. And everyone loves penguins. The main reason I started using costumes was that when I was studying at Lancaster University, there were no good actors around. How do you get around there being no good actors? You cover their faces. The costumes remove the problem: they don’t have facial expressions; they have this deadpan expression all the time, and all the actor can do is move their bodies to convey the character.

ON ANIMALS
There’s no overarching political idea. I’ve just loved penguins since I was a year old, and I have a huge collection of five-hundred or so stuffed penguins at home. Penguins don’t have life partners, their relationships normally last a year or so. They are actually pretty naughty, some species have prostitution, they trade each other for rocks, they’re quite strange creatures in that respect. But part of 'Hyslop Office Supplies' was just a general interest in office culture, mundaneness, and suits.

I have made a panda film before, but it involved a lot of exhaustive research into the panda's form during my last year of university. My film 'Efishiency' was supposed to be against the monopolization of ‘things’ generally.

ON NORTHERN ACCENTS
Northern accents are more characteristic of a place. When I made Hyslop Office Supplies, I didn’t know how to present it as an artwork, so I wanted it to be in a real place — that way I didn’t have to make it authentic. And these office-spaces are simply the workplace reality up north. The other reason I chose northern accents a was practical consideration, in that the best voice actors I could get my hands on were northern, very northern, and they had that slightly richer, warmer tone. (Think Wallace and Gromit).

ON SCENE-SETTING
Most of the job is preparing the set. It’s important to create the sense of a universe: everything has to be a penguin pun or a variation on the theme. The most elaborate example I can give is that we made a newspaper specifically for the film, and I got friends to write various penguin articles — which didn’t end up making it into the film! It’s small things that you might not notice on a conscious level straight away, but it’s really important when creating a coherent universe.

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