Axolotl's Aren't Real!

Two friends board their tram ride home one evening after work and start a conversation over the old conspiracy that axolotls are real. Arby believes they are being followed by an axolotl, but Ric is adamant they aren’t real. Caren boards the tram with her baby. The three of them spot an axolotl man outside the tram door trying to get inside. Arby calls the police to protect him and his friends from the axolotl, but the operator doesn’t believe him, and the call cuts off just as they arrive at their stop. Caren steps up as the doors open, pushing the axolotl over with her pram and rolling him across the floor. Caren stops and the axolotl stands up to explain that he is the tram driver of an out of service tram they boarded. The three of them leave the axolotl at the tram stop. Arby turns around to take another look at the axolotl, but he vanishes.

  • Josie Hopkinson
  • Josie Hopkinson
  • Josie Hopkinson
  • Alex Fryer
    Key Cast
  • Luke Van Coot
    Key Cast
  • Anju Somu
    Key Cast
  • Elijah Crowther
    Key Cast
  • Josh Christie
  • Adrianna Michalska
    Character Design
  • Leslie Kara
  • Mohammed Ahmed
  • Tilly Britton
  • Max Simpson
  • Mahamid Javed
  • Project Type:
    Animation, Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    2 minutes 6 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 28, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    0 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - University of Salford
Director Biography - Josie Hopkinson

I’m Josie and I am a 2d animator and storyboard artist. I specialise in Toon Boom Harmony and Storyboard Pro where I produce both frame-by-frame and rigged animation. I have created my own rigs and edited others for other projects. As a final year bachelors’ student at the University of Salford I have a portfolio of student projects including working alongside the BBC and Mustard Tree, local scriptwriters and collaborating with other students within my university.

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Director Statement

'Axolotl's Aren't Real!' is set in an anthropomorphic universe with its own wild and dangerous conspiracies. Similar to our world, the characters face conflicting thoughts and opinions about their beliefs. Perhaps the most famous idea is that axolotls don't exist. This belief leaves characters Arby, Ric and Caren in a tricky situation when they get stalked by one.

I created this animation as I was inspired by a storyboard I worked on with scriptwriter Andrew Burrell and some comedies that were popular at the time like BoJack Horseman and Bob's Burgers. My aim was to create something equally fun and light hearted. However through writing the dialogue I added a timeless twist about conspiracies that set the project in motion.

At this stage in the production I hoped the animation would shed some light on how conflicting beliefs can separate people from reality and share the weird experiences of public transport that many of us are subjected to.

The target audience for this animation is family whilst leaning somewhat towards an older audience in some aspects. Whilst I wouldn't expect this to be primarily targeted towards children, the comedic part and the storyline of the animation is perfect for children whilst the conspiracies are targeted towards an older audience.

This animation was created using Storyboard Pro, Photoshop and Toon Boom Harmony.