No Words

Sometimes a story stops you in your tracks. Renders you speechless. Breaks your heart. And sometimes it takes not a single word to tell that story.

In the first 5 minutes of the animated film UP, you see the journey of how the old man began as a young boy, met the girl of his dreams, married her, how they dreamt together of visiting faraway lands, never made it there, and then she passed away, leaving him alone and forever looking through the scrapbook of his past. I nearly wept when I saw it. I couldn’t believe that an animation could do this to me. I would have been embarrassed if I were a more self-conscious person. But then again, everyone was in tears. And no one was talking.

And more recently, I was in a creative brainstorm at Radke Films, one of Canada’s largest advertising production companies. I was in the office of their CEO with a few senior creative advisors, talking about an animation script our agency had written, and complained aloud that I didn’t know how to bring this story to life. And one of the attendees, Martin Shewchuk, the Creative Director at JWT, told us about a short animated film from, of all places, Chipotle. “Chipotle?” I said. “You mean the Mexican food chain?” “Yes,” Martin said, as Mark, one of our account guys, found it on YouTube. I won’t describe it to you, as words cannot do it justice. Look for “Chipotle Scarecrow” and you can watch for yourself. There’s another one as well, called “Chipotle Back to the Start”, which is equally moving.

What these 3 pieces have in common is this: A genuinely meaningful story to tell; a sympathetic character through whom we see a world; beautiful animation that envelops the mind; and music that is perfectly married to the story. I encourage you to watch them more than once, as there’s more there than one viewing can take in. Enjoy.