Stage Fright

Synopsis: A vaudevillian's act involving the juggling of dogs is no longer a hit. He and his partner must face a brutal villain and assorted obstacles in order to secure their future.
Genre: Animation, Short
Director(s): Steve Box
  Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 nominations.
12 min

[pigeons cooing]


[growling, barking]



Oh! Ah!

You bugger!


- [audience chattering]

- [man] All right, come here then.

Haven't got one, have you?

Oh, that's better.

- Hmm.

- [barking]


[clears throat]

- He'll turn up, Tiny.

- Huh?

He'll turn up, I know he will.

He's been gone so long.

Oh, chin up. Got your

audience to think of now.

On you go, duck.

Oh, Daphne,

they don't like me anymore.

They hate me!

Oh, Tiny, come on.

What do we always say?

"The show must go on."

All right... yes... right.


[Daphne] They used to come just

to see Tiny and his dogs...

...but times were changin'.

[audience booing]

The audience had only

one thing on their minds.


The latest film.


- [organ music plays]

- [cheering]

[dog barks]

- Come on.

- [barking]

[clears throat]

[man] And cut.

- Was I good, Mr. Hugh?

- You were all right.

Not as good

as the dog, though.

- Can I return him now?

- No! I'll take him back.

There's money to be made

out of these things.

I want a word with this dog man.

- But Mr. Hugh?

- What?!

Be gentle with him. He's having a hard

time at the moment, what with film...

- Listen!

- [gasping]

If you want any more parts

in my pictures...

More than anything,

Mr. Hugh. I...

...then you'll keep your

mouth shut! All right, my love?

- Oh!

- [Hugh chuckling]

[Daphne] But it wasn't the end.

It was only the beginning.

I was leaving the theater for

my glamorous new film career.

I had to move on.

It's safe in the basket.

[Daphne] Arnold Hugh

went from success to success.

Everyone loved

his canine capers.


All the while, I knew it

was Tiny training the dogs,

but I never said a word.

Year after year, Arnold

Hugh took all the credit.

- [barking]

- Until we did the musical.

? Let's stroll

down the riverbank?

? Let's take our time?

? When everything

is said and done?

? And you want

to have some fun?

? There's only one thing to do?

- ? As the sun becomes the moon?

- Have lunch!

? Stroll down

the riverbank with you?

[Tiny] OK, boy.

Just one more time.


- Oh, good boy, clever boy...

- [Hugh] Stand up!

- ? Roll down the riverbank?

- ? Fall down the riverbank?

- ? Stroll down the riverbank with you?

- [howling]

Oh my, looks like

we almost forgot Bonzo.

- [barking]

- [Hugh] Looks like we almost forgot my hat.

[both] Good old Bonzo.

- You're only half my height, you fool.

- [moaning]

How do you expect the animal

to reach my head, eh?

That's more like it.

But I don't know

if he can jump that high.

You bloody well

make him jump that high.


Or I'll bring a red-hot poker

with me next time.

[Hugh laughing]


Who says you can't teach

an old dog new tricks?

Ready, Bonzo?


Ah! Cut! Cut!

- Let go!

- [growling]


What's going on?

You great bully!

Right, bloody dog man.

That's it, I've had enough.

[Daphne] If it meant my film

career was over, I didn't care.

The bullying had to stop.

So, you've turned on me

after all these years.

- You drove me to it!

- Drove you to it?

I've looked after ya!

Looked after him, Arnold, you?

You've kept him a prisoner.

- Oof!

- Tiny!

Oh, Tiny, I'm so sorry.

It's all my fault.


What are you doing here?

If I'd never been

so ambitious, I'd...

- Oh, you treacherous minx!

- No!

- [growling]

- [grunting]

Tiny, no!

- [Hugh] You whelp!

- [Daphne] Tiny!

Tiny, help!

[Hugh growling]


- Huh?

- [barking]

Call 'em off.

Call 'em off, dog man.

Get back.

Get back, I say!

Typical. Bite the hand

that's fed you all these years.

All those boxes

of sausages I bought ya.

I must have spent a fortune!

Can't you see how

I've looked after ya?

- [barking] - You

ungrateful, bug-eyed weevils.

- Ha-ha!

- Ah!

- No!

- Right.

- No!

- Now, I'll show ya! All of ya!

[dogs whimpering]


Oh, Tiny!

- [dogs whimpering]

- [Daphne sobbing]

- [organ playing]

- Oh!



[both gasp]

[echoing] Going down.

[organ music]


Hurry, Tiny. Quickly.

C'mon, hurry!

But Daphne,

what if they still

hate me out there?

- Oh, come on, Tiny.

- But...

I want to end

back in my basket.

Oh, Tiny, you can't stay here.

You have to face them now.

Don't you see, Tiny, this will

be the performance of your life!

And I'll be

with ya this time.

After all...

[both] The show must go on!

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Steve Box

Steven "Steve" Box (born 23 January 1967) is an English animator and director who works for Aardman Animations. His early work in animation included the popular British claymation television series The Trap Door for Bristol-based animation studio CMTB Animation. Box joined Aardman Animations in 1990. He directed the video for the Spice Girls' "Viva Forever" in 1998. He won a BAFTA Award in 1998 for his 11-minute animated film Stage Fright which he wrote, directed and produced. He also provided the voice for the character of Vince in the TV series Rex the Runt. He was the key animator for Aardman's film Chicken Run and was an animator for the Wallace and Gromit films The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave, before co-writing and co-directing the feature film Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit with Nick Park. The film scooped his second BAFTA and his first Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. The film has also collected another 22 international awards and 12 other nominations for other awards. The film was a massive success at the Annie Awards where it won 10 Annie awards out of its 16 nominations. Box was most recently announced as the director behind the upcoming TV series, Moominvalley, based on the Moomins series. After a successful crowdfunding campaign, the series was announced to debut in 2019. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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