Thank you so much for the kind responses, everyone. Before releasing this, I was really unsure about how it would be received, so I am delighted and grateful to have received so much positive feedback. I'd like to draw attention to the Innocuous Reviews review, which I think is insightful and wonderfully written.
I want to talk about some of the influences that played a part in shaping my vision of this film. Not that I had a particularly concrete vision as the whole thing was improvised without any planning (which is one of the reasons it took so long to make), but I drew as much as possible on experiences I was either living through or could remember.
Some of these were real. After finishing school without any plans for what to do next, I watched a summer roll by almost without leaving my bedroom, with only the warm orange light through the blinds reminding me of the outside world. On a trip to the US, I spent a day wandering alone around Baltimore, enjoying the sense of freedom and feeling the city melt away into brightness. When I was lacking all self-confidence, I would just stare at myself in the bathroom mirror, watching it all come out.
Some of them were in my head. I wanted to leap out of the window and fly away above it all, but I knew I would fall. I felt like my head was full of black goop, preventing me from thinking or changing my ways. My mind was being tossed back and forth by invisible forces and I battled with myself in an effort to regain control of my mental state. These all became images in the film, and by harnessing them I felt I was able to overcome them.
It's probably necessary to give a shout-out to the most influential piece of media that inspired me during production: the final episodes of the anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion, and its follow-up movie End of Evangelion. This show deals with the same psychological issues I was desperately trying to understand at the time in a way that I deeply empathised with. If you watch some clips, you'll probably see the resemblance to Campaign:
It helped me to realise what animation really is capable of, and I wanted to try it myself using all the new film knowledge I was picking up while studying animation at university. I probably wouldn't have finished this film had I not discovered Eva at just the right time, because it gave me the tools I needed to say what I wanted to say.
I graduated from university this year with a graduation film to be proud of, but as it wasn't a particularly meaningful work it didn't feel like the culmination of anything. Looking into the future with the prospects of having to get a job and a life and stuff, I don't know how where I'm going to be or how many more brickfilms I'll be able to make. I can feel happy knowing that with Campaign, I have graduated from this era of my life, and I can move on without regrets. (That's not to say this is my last brickfilm, as I've just been commissioned to make another. )
Finally, I know I've talked about some very dark emotions and states of mind while discussing this film, but please don't worry because I'm feeling much better now. Dealing with those emotions by turning them into something I can be proud of has taught me so much about myself, the value of creativity and the attitude necessary to achieve things while avoiding slipping back into the darkness. The wonderful reception the film has received is part of that story, and it's something I will remember forever. Once again, thank you.