Eat Your Carrots is a short film about a girl who finds an eyeball growing on her arm.

Did you have to read that twice? Wondering if you need your eyes checked, or maybe you need to eat more carrots yourself? This is what happens when the super creative are locked away for too long without an outlet.

The creative must create. So Laura Stewart did just that. “At the beginning of the pandemic when my animation contracts were either postponed or cancelled, I found myself going a bit mad, so I decided to make a film,” Stewart told us. “I needed an idea that was feasible to create in my apartment using mostly leftover materials from previous projects, so I consulted my little list of ideas I keep in my phone and chose the one that seemed most doable: ‘There is an eyeball growing on your arm. You can’t see out of it. What do you do?’”

Good question Laura, and one we didn’t really have a ready answer for…until now.

“I had a lot of fun building the furniture and props,” she went on. “It was mostly modelled after my own living room furniture. The puppets are needle felted with pretty basic aluminum wire armatures. The most complex part of the armature was adding an extra bit of wire to the girl’s arm so the arm eye could open and close.”

For the walls of the sets, Stewart used thick styrofoam boards usually used for insulation. “I like working with that instead of wood,” she said, singing the material’s praises, “because it is light and easy to cut but still quite sturdy when screwed together. The puppet heads and base of the couch are also made of that foam now that I think of it. It is a great material for stop motion. I also use stacks of it to prop up my sets for access to tie downs…This is turning into an ad for insulation foam.”

We don’t mind, sounds like a useful tip!

With her “insulation ad” coming to a close, we asked Stewart about any bumps in the production process. “The biggest challenge for me was choreographing an absurd dance scene,” she replied.

“I scoured TikTok for cool dance moves but ended up making my own for the most part. I have a lot of embarrassing reference footage of myself doing silly dances that I cut together to a consistent beat so that the animation would flow well when I eventually had music written for it. I also strategically only did dance moves that had at least one foot on the ground at all times so I wouldn’t have to deal with rigs and rig removal.”

Finishing up its festival run right now, Eat Your Carrots had an online premiere a couple of months ago on Short of the Week. “I suppose the next step for the film is to happily inhabit the internet and hopefully brighten people’s days,” Stewart concluded. Here’s to hoping it brightens yours.