New Dorset safety initiative Coastwise encourages younger explorers to enjoy the Jurassic beaches more safely, thanks to an invitation from Love Love Films to local songwriting character Timo Peach.
If there’s one thing that leaps to mind when visitors and locals alike think of Dorset, it is the coast line – the county’s portion of the famous ‘Jurassic Coast’. But such a dramatic stretch of beaches, cliffs, marine life and geological history can harbour its hazzards for careless visitors. So, as avid champions of local creative and social life, when the team at Bournemouth production company Love Love were approached by Dorset Coast Forum about creating a new film to help children remember the essentials of coastal play, they jumped at the chance to get involved.
Bridget Betts, Dorset Coast Forum Coordinator explained “The Dorset coast is a fantastic place to visit and explore but unfortunately there can be dangers at the beach and along our coastline. We see news headlines where parts of the Jurassic coast have come down, people have got stuck by avoiding signs or children have been taken out to sea on inflatables. We therefore decided to produce an animated film that would deliver safety messages together in a fun and different way”
The team’s response was to design a cast of characters to lead youngsters around the points to remember.
Lead animator Sunny Clarke states: “It was really fun creating the different characters. They all have their own personalities and individuality. Creating different animations for them all was really interesting – so the lobster moves differently to the dog and the seagull is always getting into scrapes before finding a way out of trouble by following the advice of the song, we really hope the children enjoy the characters as much as we enjoyed creating them”
STRIKING THE RIGHT NOTE, FINDING A RIGHT SILLY SONGWRITER
To bring this to life musically, the team thought of Momo:tempo, and the voice characterisations of Mr Peach.
“As a Dorset boy, I felt I couldn’t turn down the chance to be involved,” says Timo. “Working with the Love Love gang is always super fun and they invited me in at an early stage to consider first the 20 key messages to get across in the songwriting and also the key characters who would be singing it, as it were. Probably not something all composers and producers would expect to be asked to do, but it didn’t seem an odd request between Love Love and Momo” he grins.
From a panama-sporting posh octopus to a starfish that sounds like one of the Mitchell brothers, the bloke from Momo created voices to help differenciate the colourful characters on screen that the creative team had come up with. And that was before getting to the music itself.
“Sitting around in the writers room working out scenarios from the team’s initial character designs and storyboard was immense fun. How we managed to keep in the starfish farting is still a marvel of creative conviction I feel” laughs Timo, “but then I had to go away and come up with an actual tune. And one that could somehow carry twenty different safety messages.”
Timo’s inspiration came from a week on a Dorset beach of his own.
“The lovely first lady of Momo and I were celebrating a rather special anniversary with a week in a beach hut at Christchurch last year, and the weather happened to be glorious. So I sat on the sand in the twinkling sunshine and tried to picture these marine characters communicating something of the life all around me there that summer. Once I’d come up with a basic hook I couldn’t stop humming, and an idea of something inclusive to the songwriting approach, I just had to craft in all the information as rhythmically and entertainingly as possible. Before going back to the studio and working out how the production and voices would really sound all together.”
“It was just the sort of three minute colourfully daft challenge I can’t resist” he adds.
The full results of his and the team’s work were unveiled to key partners and schoolchildren at a launch event in June 2017. The children were tested on the safety messages and the song seemed to help cement the key safety messages to remember when visiting the coat and seaside. The animation will be shown in coastal visitor centers around the UK, schools and numerous educational training platforms and programmes.
Rhiannon Jones from the Dorset Coast Forum said: “We LOVE it!!! It’s sooooo good – really brilliant work. It’s so catchy and the animation is really funny. I can’t wait to get it out there.”
The Dorset Coast Forum coordinated the project, working with organisations including National Trust, RNLI, Litter Free Coast & Sea, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, The Jurassic Coast Trust, Dorset Wildlife Trust and SafeWise, with Visit Dorset, the official tourism site for Dorset, helping them all to promote safety on the coast.
Watch Love Love and Momo:tempo being Coastwise >
And if you’d like to learn the song, to be ready for a test on coastal safety at a moment’s notice, here are the lyrics:
Let’s go! (let’s go)
And be (and be)
Where the squiggly line of the land
Meets the sea.
We’ll be your hosts
In this environment we like to call The Coast!
Wonderful life we can see
If we share it safely.
We leave (we leave)
We always check to see just what
The weather will be.
Sunscreen and shoes (and food!)
And a hat, a mac, a rucksack…
What we choose will
Help us prepare for a great day, in every way.
There may be rockpools,
There may be sand,
Between the shoreline and the land.
So here’s what to make sure you understand
Before we rush out and explore:
If you have eyes, then look!
Look where you tread –
Don’t touch anything dead!
Look at the cliffs and rocks –
Don’t go having your nosh
Where you’ll likely get squashed.
Look at the waves and tide –
If it’s blowing a gale,
Jumping in is a fail!
Look at the whole world a while –
And in an emergency,
999’s what you dial.
It’s always what you dial.
Stay sun safe (sun safe!)
Enjoy the surf, but
Always swim with a mate
In sight of the lifegaurd.
And don’t fight a rip current,
That’s, like, way too hard.
A world of adventure there’ll be
If we explore it safely.
Wear a lifevest; watch for drift.
Don’t follow stray pets off a cliff.
In your wellies or on a skiff,
Don’t ignore what you need to explore:
If you have eyes, then look!
Fossils and history –
Look for the landscape clues –
Don’t sink like lead
And don’t dig over your head.
Watch how the wildlife lives –
But don’t get a jellyfish caught
In your hair or your shorts…
Look for the safety signs!
And in an emergency,
999’s what you dial –
Always dial 999.
Written, performed and produced by
Timo Peach, the bloke from Momo:tempo
And if you’d like to download the track for free, to drive your family mad in the car on the way to the beach, you can find it right here: