Research: Annecy

Annecy was a week of inspiration. Everyday there was something different, a different style, different animation, different story, and different kind of inspiration. It was an overwhelming amount of animation. It’s difficult to name all the things that inspired me as in probably every film there was something – sometimes small, sometimes big – that inspired me to start creating my own stories and animating, and sometimes even inspiring me to just make something better than what I was watching. Yes, there were films that were not to my liking, but they also inspired me, but in a different way.

If I had to name the films and/or people that inspired me the most or the ones I could relate to and loved, then I would have to name Pixar’s presentation of The Good Dinosaur and Sanjay’s Super Team presented by Peter Sohn and Sanjay Patel, Cartoon Network’s From Short to Series with Elizabeth Ito, George Gendi and Daniel Chong, Long Way North, and the Commissioned Films. Of course there were many other films and people who inspired me, but these are the ones I immediately think of and the ones I’m so happy I saw.

Pixar’s presentation of the Good Dinosaur and Sanjay’s Super Team was the first screening I saw in Annecy and it made my day and week. It was so inspiring to see how Peter Sohn and Sanjay Patel created such touching stories and kept it close to themselves by using elements from their own lives. That’s something I also believe I will want to do. I love making my work personal. Maybe this is why I find commissioned projects less fun to work on. However, as I will mention later commissioned projects can also be fun and personal.

Not only were Peter Sohn and Sanjay Patel’s inspiring and touching, the work they produced was amazing, especially Sanjay’s Super Team! The colors used, the movements of the characters, the camera positions, everything was amazing. It was especially cool to see the research that Sanjay and his team did for this project. He really went deep into his story and the reason why he’s telling this story which is also how I like to do research: I like to really go in deep into my story and character and figure out why I’m making this film/story, why my character is the way they are etc.

Pixar works with 3D animation. I couldn’t see myself working with 3D, but after seeing this presentation and working with 3D some more, and doing some research on 3D, there is so much possible with 3D. I’m not saying that 3D is what I want to work with from now on, I only know that 3D is also an option. (At the festival 2D animations were visually the most inspiring for me anyway.)

Cartoon Network’s From Short to Series was amazing! At this presentation were three amazing artists who made/are making shorts for Cartoon Network. After hearing about how they came to work in the animation industry and at Cartoon Network we got to see their work and there motivation behind it, and it was so awesome. I really, really loved Elizabeth Ito and Daniel Chong’s style, story, and motivation. They both spoke of stories they way I think of them as well, as the most important part of a project, and strong if you keep it personal. Of course the one thing that really made me love their shorts and almost want to immediately strive to work at Cartoon Network was humor. Humor plays a role in everything Cartoon Network does and Ito, Gendi and Chong always want in their stories. This is exactly how I feel about humor as well. I want humor to always be a part in my work. I could relate to everything that was said at the Cartoon Network presentation, and everything shown was so beautiful. After the presentation I also started thinking about storyboards and if being a storyboard artist and focusing on the story is more for me than animating… I’ll still be thinking about it in the future.

Long Way North was my favorite feature film I saw at Annecy. Visually the movie was amazing, the story was okay, not amazing, but after the story-based presentations I saw of Pixar and Cartoon Network, I didn’t mind. Music is also something I find extremely important and the soundtrack of Long Way North was really nice, apart from a random song that popped up near the beginning.  Visually this movie really inspired me: the colors were amazing, the movements, the style. Everything was really nice and soft, and that got me thinking about my own style and how I’d want my style to be. I love soft colors and soft images, so it was really nice to see this movie that had a style and color-scheme that I really love. I know it’ll be a couple years before I find a style that suits me. Until then I can be inspired by movies like Long Way North.

The final thing that I loved from Annecy were the Commissioned Films. It was really nice to see these films and the different ways you can approach a commercial project. I’ve been shying away from anything commercial, because I have the feeling that my own style and input gets drowned out by the client’s wishes. I had this feeling with the Metropolis assignment. We were bound to certain things from Metropolis, and it felt like we couldn’t really get our own input into the project for a while. However, after seeing these commissioned films, I see that you can approach a commercial project in so many ways – if the client is willing to let you do that. It seemed that ever commissioned film had a personal touch from the artist and had an autonomous approach to it. It made me think that for any commissioned project you receive certain building blocks that you need to use, but you can use them in any way you want and add to them. If I think about Metropolis again, we weren’t bound to anything. We had building blocks to work with and we had the opportunity to add to them as freely as we wanted. I think differently about commercial animation now. Maybe commercial is a path for me? Who knows?

Annecy. Such an incredible week. It has inspired me so much. I want to start my own projects and create worlds, stories and characters. I want to experiment with colors and styles. I want to do so much and Peter Sohn, Sanjay Patel, Elizabeth Ito, Daniel Chong, Long Way North, and all the Commissioned Films have inspired me to do so. Of course there were many others, but these were my favorites. They may actually have an effect on my future path. We’ll see…

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