Khalidah McLarty is a 2D animator and director. Although they have made multiple films with varying tones, their most recent films are character driven and contain bold colours and comical elements.
Please Clap follows Miket the Clown who after being suddenly fired from his job, Mikey must confront the complex feelings he has regarding his persona.
Please introduce yourself …
Hello. My name is Khalidah, I’m a 2D animator and director from Bristol.
Why PLEASE CLAP?
I’ve been thinking a lot about why I chose to tell this story in particular. At first, it just felt like a culmination of a bunch of visual and metaphorical ideas that had been in my head for a while – I thought I could just tap into them for my graduate film in a very “means to an end” way. But upon further reflection, it was really a manifestation of my fears and frustrations around change and failure. Both internal and external.
Tell us about your team …
Besides the voice work and one piece of music, this was pretty much a solo venture. I did all the concept art, storyboarding, animation, sound design, editing etc. However, I do consider “my team” to be my friends. I couldn’t have made Please Clap without them; pretty much all of the voices in it, from the main role to the crew talking in the credits, are them. They’re some of the most supportive people I’ve met and I can’t thank them enough.
What does the story of PLEASE CLAP mean to you personally?
Please Clap is about accepting that your identity can and will change. I left secondary school knowing exactly who I was, what I was good at and why I acted the way I did. Then lockdown happened in my second year of university, my childhood home was sold, and various other personal things happened. Suddenly, I was finding new parts of myself and letting go of others in a way I never expected. The picture I’d created of who I was shifting and even though I wanted to hold on to what was there before, I had to accept that I can’t be the same thing forever.
Tell us a memorable moment from idea to final edit?
Using a proper sound studio and directing someone in the booth was quite memorable. It was the first moment I felt like a real director since all the other recordings I’d done before this were made with a little zoom mic in someone’s wardrobe. It might sound a bit cheesy, but I had a few moments whilst doing those recordings where I thought “wow, I could see myself doing this forever.”
Which scene best defines what you love about this project?
I love the scene where Mikey is talking about how he became a clown and the camera zooms in on a picture of him as a baby. It’s just very silly and encapsulates the funnier aspects of the film. Even though I made it at an emotionally turbulent point in my life and the tone does get a bit serious towards the end, it is nice to have the film be so unserious at points. At the end of the day, Mikey is just a weird guy trying to make his way in the world and that manifests in many different ways.
I’ve been writing a lot. It’s very early days but I’m trying to get a TV pilot together which is a huge step up from a 3-4 minute short in terms of difficulty. It’s a personal challenge and I’m taking it seriously – I want it to be good. I eventually want to get it made and show off what adult animation can be. Other than that, there might be some documentary stuff on the way. But, again, early days. I’m very much in an “it could happen? maybe?” place with a lot of the stuff I’m working on. But rest assured there will be more stuff.
How do we keep up to date with you and your work?
You can follow me @khalidah.animation on Instagram! I post a lot of work-in-progress animations and illustrations on my stories (and also just bits of my life in case you’re just interested in me as a person). I also have a website that you can look at: www.khalidahmclarty.com