Lung Cancer – The movie


A Traut Alexander animations Production

Our project is a Flash based cartoon which involves a cigarette called “Killer” and a stick of dynamite named “Dino” who has a smoking problem. The cigarette springs to life while Dino tries to smoke him, and he then pursues Dino with the intention of lighting his fuse. (For a more detailed description refer to the Treatment and Synopsis)

This is a specific project that involves a Public Service Announcement addressing the dangers of smoking. We want to create awareness concerning the risk of long term smoking, but ultimately discourage the youth from taking up this habit.  The way that we are going about this, is taking advantage of television and using the paradigm of an advertisement to convey our message.

We recognised that an advertisement is short and punchy, and in this way we would be able to catch the viewer’s attention. Especially if broadcasters can define when these announcements can be screened, for example during”Take Five” or other television programs that are meant for teenagers especially those between the ages of thirteen and fifteen. The advertisement will take the form of a trailer for a film because they usually have crisp editing techniques (much like music videos) and this is the sort of ‘instantaneous’ entertainment that the modern teenager is accustomed to.

The story’s development

The nature of a cartoon is to parody and estrange that which we think is the norm. This cartoon parodies the idea that smoking has become a tolerated habit even though everyone is aware of the risks involved when you smoke. By placing a stick of dynamite in the role of the smoker we highlight how fragile the smoker can be, and further how their lack of caution could result in self destruction i.e. the dynamite blowing up.

The final product includes the first half of the original storyboard until Dino runs into the “No Smoking” area we then applied our ending instead of the original where Dino wakes up on an island (included in the Storyboard chapter).

When we finally decided on the movie trailer, it was to get the attention of the viewer, and in a way also parodying the technique that films use to get viewers’ attention e.g. using the “Spring 2005” in the beginning of the trailer. People have accepted this to be standard when new films are advertised.

A shorter trailer proved to be more effective, thus we omitted the explosion in the playground. It seemed more characteristic of a trailer not to have a specific ending and made the parody feel more authentic. Contributing to how effective the slogan in the end “Lung cancer…coming soon” would be.

This projects aims are to:

  • Produce an informative yet entertaining text
  • Get the product showcased (published)
  • Maintain the attention of our target audience by appealing to them
  • Consequently discourage teens of 13 to 15 from commencing the habit
  • Gain a better understanding of viewer behaviour

Target Audience (Early teens 13- 15 years)

The reason why we considered the early teens is that it is the time when teenagers are most influenced by media, in terms of the interest they start showing in specific texts for example: whether they like Punk Rock or Reggae music. Therefore we believe that we can influence them not to smoke.

Animation is a popular choice when organisations/advertisers want to grab the attention of an audience between the ages of thirteen and fifteen. A campaign should also encourage active participation besides relating to the audience, this is why we used other devices besides animation to appeal our trailer with the audience: we used a humorous, instead of an ironic view, to highlight the dangers of smoking and more importantly disguise the message as a trendy trailer with a fast paced acoustic Rock soundtrack that would appeal to a younger audience.


Our company consists of two working members:

  • Darryl Alexander – visual concepts and principle animator
  • Myles Traut – technical expertise and background artist

The project attained its shape as a result of the availability of labour. An idea for a trailer came about because of the amount of footage that we generated, but that we felt did not form a coherent whole. The clips looked more like snippets of a full length feature and thus the fragmented narrative became our subject and worked out better than the original story.

The steps involved in the production of this project were:

  1. Drawing the frames of the animation by hand
  2. Scanning those drawings into digital images
  3. Redrawing and stylising them in flash (colour)
  4. Tweening and ordering the frames on the root timeline of the program

Software and Prototyping

The software that we utilised was:

  • Adobe Photoshop (Treatment of the background pictures)
  • Macromedia Flash (Edit and finalising the full animation)
  • Cool Edit Pro (optimization and recording sound)

We had to improvise to make our animation appropriate for television because the software had its limitations in terms of exporting. The following was taken into consideration:

  • We had to compensate for a television screen’s dimensions and used the aspect ratio of 768pi x 576pi for the standard PAL/NTSC system
  • When testing the animation we realised that Flash’s AVI exporting capabilities were limited and that frame by frame animations embedded within a movie clip symbol would not export effectively unless the frames themselves were on the root timeline of the animation

This shows our versatility and technical knowledge when it comes to planning and implementing the complex strategies that are involved in the production of a digitally based cartoon.




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