Philly couple goes viral with Eagles stop-motion animation

Matteo Iadonisi Image
Saturday, August 7, 2021
Philly couple goes viral with Eagles stop-motion animation
Look behind the scenes to see how local animators made the magic happen.

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (WPVI) -- Peter Heacock and Marie Hart live in a house full of toys. And though many belong to their two young sons, the others are set pieces in their stop-motion animation studio.

"You have to be willing to work really hard and to spend the hours to get good at the craft," said Peter Heacock. "But the fact that, when it is time to get down to work, you get to play with little figurines and and work with people like the Eagles, that's so cool."

Heacock and Hart, co-founders of unPOP Now, teamed up with the Philadelphia Eagles to create an animated short titled, "Merrill's Memories." It depicts longtime Eagles announcer, Merrill Reese, recounting the 1995 play against the Dallas Cowboys in which he famously invoked the film, "Groundhog Day."

"I didn't know that anyone would even know what I was talking about, but it became one of my most famous calls of all time," Reese says at the end of the narrated video.

The animation style required roughly 4,000 photographs displayed at 24 frames per second to make the magic happen. It has gone viral on Twitter, receiving more than 122,000 views and many positive reactions.

The weeks-long project was worth it to Heacock, who says it was a dream come true.

"First, the goal was ,well can we have our own company and make it work? Now, can we work with some really great brands to tell stories?" he said. "Yeah, we did it with this one, and then eventually one day we'll tell our own, and that's an exciting goal to have for sure."

Heacock and Hart keep a strong working relationship despite the chaos that comes with an in-home studio.

"This was my bedroom, and it is not my bedroom anymore," she said. "We've worked really hard. We work all the time. But at the same time, like, you tell people what you do and you're like, my job's really pretty awesome."

Click here to learn more about unPOP Now or to watch the original video.

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