In winter it gets dark early. That is why mother forbids me to walk home along the graveyard, because of the Black Hand. That is where it lives in the undergrowth and waits until I pass by. It’ll grab hold of my collar to scratch the skin off my back, drawing blood. And then it will order me not to tell anyone of the incident, otherwise it will come to my home at night and strangle me. I give the Black Hand a silent promise, I will obey it, but I am very afraid. I know that my mother will want to give me a bath this evening, When the time arrives I feel ill, even for those three days afterwards. Then my mother wants to call a doctor. I have no choice but to share my secret with her. My heart beats much too fast, salty tears stream down my once rosy cheeked children’s face, now pale with worry. With quivering lips and a voice that can hardly be heard, I shyly show my mother my injured back. She closely looks at every single scratch, until the kitchen clock strikes dinner time. And now? At midnight the Black Hand will arrive, search all the beds, find me and throttle me. A terrible thought. Now again it becomes clear to me why my mother warned me of the path along the graveyard. I clutch my doll all the harder, but my mother resolutely takes it from me. She puts the doll into my bed and draws up the bedding to cover the doll’s face. Everyone would think that I was sleeping there. Then my mother opens both doors of our large family wardrobe, empties it and makes a bed for me there. I lie down and my mother tucks me in under 20 covers. In fearful anticipation of what is about to happen, I lie under a colourful pile of feathers, wool and material, concealing the movement of my breathing rib-cage.
At midnight I hear the wind blow open the living room window. I hear the door to my room open. I hear the rustle of the bedding. I hear my doll falling to the floor, saying “Mummy” in the process. Noises in the living room. The squeaking wardrobe door is slowly opened. Nothing happens. Now the door of my mother’s room is opening. My mother pretends to be asleep. The door of the store-room is opened. The toilet door is opened. The door to the pantry is opened. The kitchen door is opened. The clock strikes a quarter to one. The Black Hand is reminded that it has only a quarter of an hour left. It can only live for an hour without its body before it suffocates. It is in a hurry. Now it knows that I am lying under the pile of covers in the wardrobe. It picks up the first cover, It picks up the second cover. It lifts the third cover, It lifts the 4th, 5th, 10th, 19th cover. It also still manages to lift the 20th cover, when it sees me, my eyes wide open, my terrified face, my hands on my own throat. The Black Hand is running out of time. It moves away my hand and presses hard with a stranglehold when at last I hear the kitchen clock striking. A breath of relief.
The Black Hand falls to the floor in spastic jerks while my mother and I embrace reassuringly. Later my mother destroys the Black Hand in the kitchen oven. She is wearing red rubber gloves.
Going Interactive, a creative digital agency, created this short piece as a overview B2B benefits video which would live online. The "glove" is the star (and the product). Original concept was hand drawn (pen and ink), design in Illustrator, then shot on green screen, then animated in After Effects to match up with sound, VO, etc.
My name's Michael Abreu, and this is my thesis animation for the 2 year bachelors program at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Computer Animation and Interactive Media produced in Soft Image 2014 using Redshift and Mental Ray as the render engines and After Effects for compositing.
Spent one year learning how to use the program and learning how to animate, another year doing this. Needless to say, I'm exhausted.