Archive for May, 2007

The Cats

Crooners who shone in the moonlight mimicry of the spotlight
Jazz singers Hip cats that went scat
Black cats who sang the blues
Buskers with opened mouthed hats, hungry for a feed

Here’s a taste of the poem that forms the screenplay for The Cat Piano. Along the journey we will post some more extracts from the poem to get people in the mood for the film.

Today we’re going to show you some of the characters from the world of The Cat Piano. The main character and narrator is The Poet, a tortured romantic in a city of singing cats.

After countless cat designs one charismatic cat caught our eye…


From this design grew the final incarnation of The Poet, seen below. We felt a wiry cat-like build would be perfect for the noir beat setting. Furthermore this graphic angular design works beautifully in 2D animation.


The second main character in the film and the object of his affections, is a beautiful white female cat singer. We wanted her to look ethereal and innocent with an Egyptian/Arabian streak. Unlike The Poet, her final look came about quickly.

The background characters who fill the jazz clubs, bars and concert halls were the next addition to the cast. We had to make sure that they were interesting, but not so eye catching as to draw attention from the main characters. Below are some of Ed’s raw designs, ripped straight from his sketch-pad.


Here are some more stand-alone designs by Ari.



Over the next week we’ll be developing a background style. At the moment we’re picturing something bold and minimal, utilizing strong single colours.

Please come and visit us again soon for updates on the film.


The Prelude


Hey Cats

Welcome to the making of THE CAT PIANO a short animated film by Eddie White and Ari Gibson of The People’s Republic Of Animation.

You may have seen some of The PRA’s past animated films CARNIVORE REFLUX (2006) and SWEET & SOUR (2007). Here we will give you a glimpse at the making of our latest film. You will see how the idea evolves and eventually becomes a living, breathing piece of animation.

THE CAT PIANO began as poem in the style of beat poets such as Jack Kerouac mixed with the romantic poems of Edgar Allen Poe. The subject matter was inspired by an old instrument that actually existed in the 17th century called The Cat Piano. It was an incredibly cruel instrument that poked a different cat’s tail with each key struck. It was for the twisted entertainment of a decadent German Prince and dubbed KATZENKLAVIER in Germany. This horrific instrument has been forever banished from music history.


I’m Eddie White and I am the writer of the poem. I am Creative Director at The PRA. I co-directed CARNIVORE REFLUX with James Calvert and then directed SWEET & SOUR. I’ll be designing and co-directing this short. I’m not a cat lover nor a cat-hater.

Hey people, I’m Ari and I’ll be the animator, designer and co-director of this short. I am the Art Director here at the PRA and, do actually really like cats.

Due to the lack of budget and limited team (the two of us) we knew this film had to be short, sharp and have a bold visual style to match the subject matter. To this end this short will be entirely 2D animation utlising traditional animation techniques. The films aesthetic is inspired by vintage jazz albums covers, art-deco posters, the photography of Brassai, Bruce Timm’s Batman: The Animated Series and japanese anime, namely that of Kazuhiko Kato, Osamu Tezuka and Hiroshi Masumura. There’s also a strong film noir flavour.

If there are any questions you wish to ask of us, or comments you’d like to make, please email us at
We look forward to your company and comments throughout this journey.

Stay Tuned
Same Cat Time. Same Cat Channel.