10 February 2014
For further information Derek Masterton
Contact number 0141 891 4016 or 07818 457589
An astonishing film made by a young Scots schoolboy in his tiny bedroom ‘studio’ is about to be released nationwide.
Fourteen-year-old Morgan Spence made the interactive film, Disaster Island, for the British Red Cross – using Lego characters, a basic webcam and a laptop.
Now the animated film is destined to become an internet sensation when it goes live on the humanitarian organisation’s website on Monday (Feb 10).
The film is the centrepiece of a Red Cross campaign to help people understand the importance of resilience – the ability to withstand and recover from disasters at home and abroad.
To take the Disaster Island challenge, go to: http://www.redcross.org.uk/What-we-do/Preparing-for-disasters/Resilience
At his home in Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire, young Red Cross supporter Morgan said: “I developed an interest in making animated films about three years ago but I’ve been a fan of Lego since I was about four years old.
“This project was a great opportunity to combine two of my big interests and do something worthwhile at the same time. I’ve learned a huge amount in the process and I hope Disaster Island will help others understand the importance of resilience. The terrible flooding in parts of the UK at the moment shows that disasters don’t just happen on the other side of the world.”
Disaster Island is a game which uses Lego to depict scenarios for players to choose where they’d like to live - whether a farmer, a city dweller or a fisherman. But in the game, disaster is lurking, highlighting the dangers of communities not being ready.
The game highlights the dangers communities face when not properly prepared. It aims to show how the Red Cross works through its local volunteers and staff with communities to find practical solutions to be ready when crisis strikes. In reality, this work enables people to better prepare for, withstand and recover from disasters - saving many lives and livelihoods in the process.
Paul Jenkins, Red Cross head of partnership development, said: “Disaster Island highlights the importance of resilience in a simple way. It illustrates the need to work with communities to take action beforehand to make sure that the impact of disasters is drastically reduced.
“Our work to build resilience with communities has been guiding what we do for decades and is now as important as ever.”
Morgan, a third year pupil at Johnstone High School, became involved with the Red Cross campaign after hearing his aunt, who works for the organisation, talking about it.
He said: “I knew about resilience and what the word meant because of topics we’d covered in my modern studies class at school. When I heard the Red Cross was planning to do something with Lego, I was keen to get involved. I let them see some of the films I’d done and I was really happy when they said I could help.
“Making Disaster Island has taught me a lot about the Red Cross and the work they do at home and abroad. I understand how important resilience is - being properly prepared can save lives. If my film helps other people understand that and makes them think, then I’ll be very proud. It’s a film with a serious message but I had a lot of fun making it and I’m sure people will have fun playing the game.”
Morgan is a keen member of his local Scout group – whose motto, co-incidentally, is Be Prepared – and is also planning to use his work on Disaster Island to help him achieve his Duke of Edinburgh’s Bronze Award.
He added: “People are a bit surprised when they find out that I make animated films with Lego but all my pals think it’s really cool. I’m pretty excited about my film being shown on the website of a big organisation like the Red Cross because it will be seen by a huge number of people. I’m hoping to make animation my career so Disaster Island was a great experience and will be good to have in my work catalogue.”