Whiling away

‘Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried.’ This caption proudly written on the site of Procrastinators Anonymous gloriously captures the true meaning of what it is to pass one’s time doing nothing in particular — or what one’s not really supposed to be doing anyway. The group which hosts a successful forum on the topic implements a twelve-step programme and additionally holds motivational meetings for those who can actually manage to bring themselves to attend. Because when it comes to deadlines, it generally seems that there’s always something better to do when you’re meant to be doing something else, though you’re never exactly too sure what that ‘better something’ is. And yet it still happily gets in the way, and before you know it it’s already halfway through the week and that empty page of whatever is still as empty as it’s ever going to be. Some idlers even have it down to an art-form: author John Perry, founder of Structured Procrastination, goes so far as to suggest that it’s an approach more derived out of one’s desire for perfectionism rather than a tendency towards excuse-ridden vegetation. But despite the various self-help groups abound in universities and community centres nationwide, there is certainly something about it that society (very much in denial) likes to deem as shameful, as though the need to help tame this habit of delay rather implies some sort of guilty addiction requiring anonymity should word get out and affect one’s stellar work reputation and caffeine-driven ethos of inspiration.

Now I promise I’m not procrastinating, but if I had been, the film above would be precisely the thing I would watch in said unlikely state of hypothetical procrastination. A perfect antidote for the deferring conscience extraordinaire, this short animated number titled Procrastination (case in point) is the graduation film of Irish artist Johnny Kelly, completed for his MA at the Royal College of Art back in 2007. It was also one of three winning entries receiving a Jerwood Moving Image award early last year, and well-deserved at that. Because as it’s described as an ‘investigative and exploratory hands–on, gloves-off study into the practice of putting things off’, it beautifully crafts the procrastinator’s thought process in one seamless progression of highly stylized illustration and dynamically coloured stop-motion brought to full form by an engagingly human expository voiceover by Bryan Quinn alongside the brilliant sound accents of Foley artist Sue Harding. Naturally due to an overwhelmingly positive reception for the film since its release, Kelly (who also happens to be on the same Nexus directors’ roster as another favourite of mine, animator and FilmTecknarna co-founder Jonas Odell) has since gone on to produce promotional output for The Guardian Student Media Awards and Adobe. And since equally deserving the latter material is of a post of its own, more on the topic will be coming soon (well, eventually), so do stay tuned.

Sarah Badr © MMIX

See also: Mickey and Johnny

BBC Film Network


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