Kaotican Alphabet

Interview with Paul O’Brien (Lost? video contest winner)

We find out more about the man behind the winning vid

Last week, Coldplay fan Paul O’Brien came to London to see the band at The O2, as his prize for winning the Lost? video competition. We gave him a shout to find out more about his triumphant video and his London trip.

Hi Paul. Congratulations on your win. How did you hear about the competition?

I heard about it through The Coldplay Messenger, the email newsletter.

What made you want to enter?
I’m a huge Coldplay fan! Almost to the point of being obsessive! But when I saw the details for the contest I thought I had to make the film. I thought the acoustic version of Lost? was a great base to start an idea from and I pretty much had 101 ideas from the very start.

How long have you been doing animation? Is it a hobby or a profession?
I’m actually a model maker and did a year of animation just recently. So it is both a hobby and a profession.

How did you come up with the idea for your Lost? video?
Listening to the song gave me lots of feelings, but mostly drew me towards the idea of people trying to find each other. I had played with the idea of a couple who had been forced apart, but then felt it was all a bit complex. Stop-Motion lends itself to simpler stories and I thought a dog wandering away from his owner was a lot less complicated, yet still could bring viewers the same kind of emotions.
How long did it take to make it?
I started work on the models pretty much as soon as the competition was announced as I knew the deadline was tight for what I wanted to achieve. The sets and characters took roughly two weeks to get ready and from that point the animation took probably another two weeks of sleepless nights! Everything went very well through the whole process, I always had it in the back of my mind that I didn’t really have time to make mistakes!

Do you still have the models?
Yup, mostly all the models have gone up into the attic now except for Seamus who actually came to London for the trip! But yeah all the models would be ready to go for "Lost? Part Deux"!

What’s this we’ve heard about a sizable Pink Floyd influence on the film?
Yeah, I’m a huge Pink Floyd fan. Pretty much the only two bands I listen to are Coldplay and Pink Floyd! While writing up the storyline I saw that there was a couple of things I could relate back to Pink Floyd and by the end of it I was having fun and ended up putting in a lot more references along the way! I’m really glad people noticed it. I also had read that Coldplay are Pink Floyd fans themselves so I thought it would all work well with the Coldplay references…

Were you pleased with the finished video? Did you have high hopes for it?
I was delighted with the way the video turned out and I hoped it might get shown on Coldplay’s YouTube for maybe a day or so, but I never could have imagined that it would win the competition! There were some really great videos uploaded and I had almost given up hope when I saw the quality of them!
How did you feel when you found out you’d won?
My girlfriend actually rang me to tell me the news and I really just passed it off as a horrible prank… then I got online myself and realised it was true. It must have taken me two days to actually let myself believe that I would be jetting off to London to see the band! It really is the kind of thing that I could only dream of!

How was your the trip to London?
It was the most amazing night of my life! We were treated so well in London from the amazing hotel to the party before and after the show. As we were being shown to our seats I kept thinking "Okay, we’re gonna be sitting here, these seats are great!" but the usher just kept walking all the way up to the front of the stage. I couldn’t believe how lucky we were! It really was a night I’ll never forget.

They showed your winning film to the 02 crowd. How was that?
That was another dream come true. Seeing the video on the screens was one of the weirdest things ever! I’m guessing that about 20,000 people watched my film that night and it even got a great reception. It’s all been very surreal.

So what’s next for you?
Well, at the moment I’m working as a model maker but there’s another film in the pipeline. Animation is something I love to do and I want to go on to make bigger and better films.

And what’s next for Seamus the dog?!
Well after his trip to London he was exhausted, but he’s had a nap in his kennel and he’s ready to make a trip to Belfast on the 23rd! He’s a big Coldplay fan too!