The Snowman and the Snowdog
|The Snowman and The Snowdog|
|Directed by||Hilary Audus|
|Written by||Joanna Harrison and Hilary Audus (story)
Raymond Briggs (characters)
|Music by||Ilan Eshkeri and Andy Burrows|
|Production company||Lupus Films (Original)|
|Original channel||Channel 4|
|Running time||24 minutes|
The Snowman and The Snowdog is a 2012 animated short film. It is the sequel to The Snowman, and was created to mark the 30th anniversary of the original short film. The Snowman and The Snowdog is dedicated to John Coates (the film's producer who died in September 2012) and features a new song called "Light the Night" by former Razorlight drummer Andy Burrows. The Snowman and The Snowdog won the Televisual Bulldog Award 2013 in the Best Children's category.
The story begins similarly to The Snowman, at the house where James, the boy from The Snowman, used to live. Once situated in open countryside, it is now located in a bustling housing estate.
On a summer's day a young boy named Billy and his widowed mother arrive at the house, which they have just moved into. Billy helps his elderly dog from the removal van and they enter the property. As autumn arrives it becomes apparent that Billy's dog has died and one can see the family burying him in the back garden. With Christmas approaching Billy writes to Father Christmas in the form of a hand-drawn picture; the one and only thing he asks for is another dog. In his excitement, at the prospect of posting the letter, he stumbles over a loose floorboard in his bedroom and beneath it discovers some toys and a small box tied with tinsel. Within the box he finds a photo of James and the Snowman along with the original scarf, hat, coal lumps and a dried orange (once the Snowman's nose).
As Billy realises his discovery he peers out of the window and it has begun to snow. He rushes out to build the Snowman, portrayed in the photo, but after barely completing his lower body he realises not enough snow has fallen to complete the task, having already used the entire covering of snow in the garden. He hurriedly runs around the yard salvaging every last flake of snow he can find. Adding the final touches to his creation he decides that the original dried orange is long past its usefulness so, discarding it in the garden, he claims a fresh one from a fruit bowl in the kitchen. He finally completes the Snowman and in memory of his own dog uses the remaining snow to build a little snowdog, next to the Snowman, with mismatching socks for ears, gloves for spots and the discarded orange as the little dog's nose.
Nighttime approaches and Billy goes to bed and drifts into sleep. As midnight arrives, he is awoken by the barking of a dog in the garden. Billy looks out of his bedroom window, and is astonished to notice the Snowdog waggle an ear at him. As Billy rushes downstairs he finds, to his surprise, that his cold companions have miraculously come to life. The Snowdog, sniffing around in the snow, uncovers the ball that had once belonged to Billy's dog and starts to play with it. The ball bounces into the house and both the Snowman and the Snowdog enter the abode. The Snowman sees the photo of James and his former self on the fridge and smiles. Before too long Billy realises that the Snowdog has started to melt after sitting too close to the fireplace in the kitchen. The party thus ventures outside and explores the garden shed where the motorbike, which the Snowman rode in the first film, can still be seen along with some other mementos from James's family home.
It isn't long before the three of them are off into the air to visit the annual snowman party in the frozen north. However, whilst flying, the Snowman loses his nose and as they land to search for it they come across an old style single engined plane that they use for the rest of their journey. During the flying sequence, like in the original, a number of famous English landmarks can be seen, such as The Shard, London Eye, Big Ben, The Gherkin and even the Crystal Palace transmitting station, as the three of them fly over London.
By the time the Snowman, Snowdog and Billy reach the gathering the party is in full swing with many familiar faces from the original. During the partying the three of them decide to enter a downhill race against numerous snowmen competitors and a rather determined and skilled skiing penguin. As they descend the course many of the participating snowmen, including the titular snowman, end up embedded in snow drifts but Billy and the Snowdog manage to stay hot on the penguin's tail, and the duo win the race by a nose, to be congratulated on their victory by Father Christmas himself.
As the sun starts to rise, and the Snowman signals their departure, another snowman discovers the letter from Billy and whispers into Father Christmas's ear. From his sleigh Father Christmas reveals a small present which he gives to Billy. Whilst another snowman takes the plane back to where it came from, Billy, the Snowman and the Snowdog return home.
Upon arriving home, Billy opens his present. It is a collar, which he puts on the Snowdog. The Snowdog turns into a real dog that matches the one that Billy asked for. They both bid the Snowman a fond farewell and retire for the night.
The next morning, Billy awakes to find his bed empty, and worriedly searches for the dog. His search ends in the kitchen, where his dog is alive and well, attempting to get outside. As the two go out together they discover that the Snowman has once again melted. Beside the remains in the melted snow, the dog places his ball and the two kneel together in silent contemplation, mourning for their lost friend.
The 24 minute film, taking nearly two years to complete, cost £2 million to produce and, like the original movie, was created from over 200,000 hand drawn images. While the film was primarily hand drawn, CGI was used to add digital falling snow and lighting effects.
The composer Howard Blake, who composed the soundtrack to the original 1982 film was one of the few crew members not asked to return and after expressing an interest in returning was allegedly asked to "send a demo", which he refused citing the success of the original orchestral production score. The film instead features a largely pop-music orientated soundtrack featuring a song called "Light the Night" by former Razorlight drummer Andy Burrows and incidental music by Ilan Eshkeri.
Being drawn by hand was a laborious process that employed a crew of 94, 77 of which were artists and animators. Each second of the film was made up of 12 animated frames, each taking up to 30 hours to complete.
Reluctant to have the original The Snowman produced into a short film Raymond Briggs was quoted to have said that "it took a lot of persuasion to allow the sequel to be made." Although Briggs was not himself responsible for the story of the new animation the sequel could not have taken place without his permission as he owns the rights to the original characters and premise.
The Snowman and the Snowdog was heavily promoted in the weeks leading to its original broadcast, mostly by Channel 4, but also by other companies such as Nationwide. An official videogame based on the film's flying sequence was released for iOS and Android devices. A novelization of the story is available as an e-book from both Apple's iBookstore service and Amazon's Kindle store. Also, the soundtrack for the film, featuring the theme song "Light the Night", is available digitally from iTunes and Amazon and a single version of "Light the Night" is available from both iTunes and the Google Play Music store. The film was released on home media on 3 November 2013, as a DVD, Blu-ray or a double pack with the original film. The soundtrack was released on CD format around the same time.
When the film was broadcast on Channel 4, on 24 December 2012, it drew nearly six million viewers: one of the channel's highest of the year and the biggest audience on Christmas Eve for more than a decade. Writing in The Guardian, Sam Wollaston praised the animation, but criticised the numerous plot similarities with the original. Online movie database IMDb rates the short at 7.3 out of 10.
A smartphone game was released by Channel 4 on 9 December 2012 for iOS and Android. The game was developed by Crash Lab. It reached number 1 in the iPhone and iPad game charts and was downloaded over 1 million times in the UK and Ireland.
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- Tom Kelly, Send a demo! What Walking In The Air composer was told when he offered to help with Snowman sequel, Daily Mail 12 December 2012
- Andy Burrows Announces Music Soundtrack To Channel 4'S The Snowman And The Snowdog, Contact Music
- Snowman and the Snowdog: Programme drew one of Channel 4's biggest audiences of the year | Mail Online
- The Snowman Competition - Your Nationwide
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- The Snowman and The Snowdog for iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad on the iTunes App Store
- The Snowman and The Snowdog - Android Apps on Google Play
- iTunes - Books - The Snowman and The Snowdog by Penguin Books Ltd
- The Snowman and The Snowdog eBook: Raymond Briggs: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store
- iTunes - Music - The Snowman & the Snowdog (Original Soundtrack) by Ilan Eshkeri & Andy Burrows
- The Snowman & The Snowdog - Original Soundtrack: Ilan Eshkeri and Andy Burrows: Amazon.co.uk: MP3 Downloads
- iTunes - Music - Light the Night - Single by Andy Burrows
- Andy Burrows: Light The Night - Music on Google Play
- Daily Mail: Snowman and the Snowdog melts hearts of six million
- The Guardian: TV Review: The Snowman and the Snowdog
- "The Snowman and The Snowdog game - Channel 4 - Info - Press". Channel4.
- "The Snowman and The Snowdog hits over 1m downloads". Channel 4. Retrieved 14 October 2013.