Humdrum is a 1999 British animated comedy short film directed by Peter Peake. It was released in 1998 and produced by Aardman Animations and received an Oscar nomination for Animated Short Film and a BAFTA nomination in the same category.
The film features two anonymous Scottish-accented Shadow Puppets (voiced by Jack Docherty and Moray Hunter) who are sitting around a table with nothing to do. They explore and reject several options including watching television (the only thing on is 'some weird animation thing'), listening to the radio (but 'it's all the same rubbish these days' - in this case La Cucaracha) and playing chess (the white pieces have been eaten due to a bet). This is briefly interrupted when the doorbell rings and one character answers it to find a pesky dog (who is, in fact, a double-glazing salesman) before the other persuades him to enter into a game of shadow puppets. The first character is frustrated by his acquaintance's appalling representation of a cow and later his failure to recognise a rather fantastic rabbit (His misled guesses include a 'fireman chasing an igloo' and an 'Otter with two sausage strapped to his head'). After an amusing outburst from the poor fellow, his annoying partner accuses him of being 'shirty'. This leads him to explode, furiously crying "I'm stuck indoors playing 'Guess the misshapen beast' with someone who clearly wouldn't recognise a rabbit if it came to his house for tea, said 'What's up Doc?' and started burrowing into his head! There are blind people with no fingers who are better at shadow puppets than you! No wonder I'm a tad miffed!" An awkward silence follows this, until the doorbell rings and the first character goes to answer it, and finds the second character's 'cow' shadow puppet, which moos. Despite being disappointed with being wrong about a cow's appearance, he simply responds to this with a cheery "Not today, thank you." and closes the door in front of the camera, thus ending the animation.
The film employs a distinctive stop motion cutout animation technique to animate the shadow puppets, making them move in ways that traditional shadow puppets cannot but retaining the impression of being projected onto every day backgrounds.
Lighting Camera: Andy MacCormack, Jeremy Hogg, Toby Howell
Design: Peter Peake
Music: Andy Price
Editor: Nick Upton
Script Doctor: Richard Goleszowski
Dubbing Editors: James Mather, Ben Jones
Dialogue Editor: Tamsin Parry
Sparks: John Bradley, John Truckle
Technical Boffs: Janet Legg, Alan Yates
Titles: Marc Day
Cutting Room Assistant: Maggie O'Connor
Production Assistants: Lisa Pavitt, Margaret House-Hayes
Heap Big Thanks to: The Puppet Factory, Big Fat Studios, Pete Atkin, Maxine Guest, Claire Jennings, Terry Krejzl, Helen Nabarro, Lynda Ware