Indoor is the pair’s third short and follows the story of an eleven-year-old boy struggling to fly his kite on a windy beach and a young girl who can’t leave her caravan. Eventually, the pair become friends – we won’t spoil the plot, but it’s a charming look at friendship that involves an ingenious use of a goldfish bowl.
In the decade they’ve spent working together, Si&Ad have produced some brilliant shorts and commercials, including the award-winning Match.com ‘Piano’ video and Think Box’s Harvey & Rabbit (below) – a funny, sweet and memorable ad highlighting the power of TV advertising through the story of a dog and his favourite toy rabbit.
The duo shot Indoor to showcase their commercial talents and their ability to work on features. “We wanted to show that we’re serious about storytelling,” says Ad.
The film is based on a short story written by Si about a woman whose moods change with the weather. The pair decided to adapt the tale two years ago and have since been working on Indoor in between projects. “It always takes a long time to work on a short because everyone has to do it for free,” he says. “It took a few months to write and about a year to make.”
Indoor was shot in Jaywick – a seaside town in Essex that is just 60 miles from London but was recently named most deprived in the UK. It was developed as a holiday resort in the 1920s and 30s but has since fallen into disrepair: a lack of jobs means around one third of young residents are unemployed, and council funding cuts have left some areas without roads or streetlights.
Si&Ad’s film captures the poignant beauty of the town and the contrast between its picturesque sandy beaches and crumbling streets. Scenes following the young boy past boarded up ‘chalets’, discarded shopping trolleys and overgrown weeds are incredibly atmospheric, as are shots of his friend’s shabby caravan.
“It’s had a lot of negative press but Jaywick is a really beautiful place. We were going to shoot the film in a caravan park, and must have visited around 50, but decided on Jaywick as soon as we saw it,” says Ad. “It’s a sad place but photographically, very pretty – the beach is amazing, and every house is different as it’s been adapted by the owners over the years,” he adds.
The motion graphics and advertising posters for Indoor were created by design agency Planning Unit. Co-founder Jeff Knowles has known Si since university, and collaborated with the duo on their 2012 Morrisons Christmas ads.
Both the posters and title sequence use faded wooden lettering instead of digital type, which captures Jaywick’s faded grandeur.
“Si&Ad were pretty open about what they wanted, so we tried a few different ideas. When we came across some old wood block type, we scanned it in, made a title card and they were really happy with it,” says Knowles. The title sequence uses a grid structure and credits appear in different sized lettering – which Knowles says was a “happy accident”.
“When we were designing the credits in InDesign, the images of each letter came out a different size. We made a straight version, but the oddly sized lettering just worked,” he says.
In the posters, a ring around the title and lines of z’s reference key points in the film without giving too much away, and the word Indoor is deliberately juxtaposed with an image of the boy on a wide expanse of beach, says Knowles.
Since its release earlier this year, Indoor has won four awards at film festivals in the UK, Cleveland, Bermuda and Berlin, and made the official selection at this year’s SXSW and Brooklyn Film Festivals. “It’s hugely rewarding – and really, we’re just pleased that we’ve made it and that people are enjoying it,” says Si.
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The July issue of Creative Review is a type special, with features on the Hamilton Wood Type Museum, the new Whitney identity and the resurgence of type-only design. Plus the Logo Lounge Trend Report, how Ideas Foundation is encouraging diversity in advertising and more.