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Killing Time at Home — Neil Coslett, 2003

Isolated from the outside world, all that’s left to do is kill time. For some, the only way to make friends is to grow them. A hypochondriac living in isolation orders a ‘disposable friend’, Zinc Dude, from an online service. The creature is initially frightened, but as they play Zinc Dude grows to trust the man, but is his trust misplaced…?

There is an unusual amount of detail in this 2D drawn animation, much of which can only be seen when the film is paused.

Classroom Activities

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  • How does the opening shot help establish the location and our character? Think about techniques used and think about what you see.
  • Describe our main character. How does his design explain his personality? Think about specifically what you see.
  • The main character is a hypochondriac – how is this established in the film? Think about techniques and what you see.
  • How does the filmmaker portray the impact that Zinc Dude has on our main character? Think about techniques used.
  • Explain how the filmmaker delivers that final twist at the end of the film. Think about techniques used.


Even though this film was released in 2003, the film feels very relevant today.

  • The main character is isolated by his own fear of germs, infections etc. Explain the impact of Lockdown had on you and your family. What did you do to pass the time? Explain how you felt during lockdown.
  • Do you remember how COVID-19 was portrayed in the media? What do you remember? What were the highlights? The low points?
  • Another impact lockdown had on our society was the rise of online shopping. Amazon, Deliveroo all became immensely popular and, in some cases, essential. Your task is to discuss this impact while also creating your own delivery service. What service would you provide that you feel would be essential during lockdown?
  • Focusing on the main character, research and discuss the attitudes of different countries towards mental health. Are they similar? Different? How do they deal with this rising crisis?



  • Write a creative piece of writing describing your time during lockdown. This could be a short-story or even a poem.


  • Create a video diary and try to recreate your experiences during Lockdown. This can be used as a time capsule and allow you to remember this time in your life. You can use your smartphone, camera, audio or any other recording equipment.


  • You have been commissioned to create a poster advertising the film. You are to give the audience an idea of what the film is about and to include images/information that will make them want to watch it.
  • Create your own “disposable friend”. You must think of your friend’s name, size, physical description, habitat and behaviour much like the details given on the website “”. Once you have your idea you are to draw your friend and bring them to life.


  • Using one room as your setting, you are going to write and perform a drama piece depicting isolation. You may use as many characters as you wish.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-002-000-035-C
Resource Rights Holder Nicola Black
Project Ref MVS-01
Year of Production 2003
Genre Drama, Animation
Curriculum Areas Expressive Arts, Health and Wellbeing, Literacy and English, Religious and Moral Education
Director Neil Coslett
Country of Origin UK
Medium / Content 2D Animation, Fiction, Colour, Sound
Themes Relationships, Danger / Fear, Culture / Society, Work / Ambition, Identity / Self
Clip Length 03:00
Clip Length 03:00
Age Group P5-P7, S1-S3, S4-S6