Tuesday 28 June 2011

Arthurnal and Emanuel Interviews

Hello guys and gals,
This post brings you interviews from the winners of May's competition. This month, not only do you get to read the story and thoughts from animator Arthurnal, but we have invited composer Emanuel Parment to share some words too.

Before we start I wish to thank both Arthurnal and Emanual for your time. Its been a fascinating few weeks talking to you both.

And to the rest of you, its a long read. So grab a cuppa, a biscuit and of course a comfy cushion. Hope you all enjoy!

Arthurnal Interview
1.Tell us about some of your hobbies in your free time. I understand you are a musician?
I always watch animation movies or clips from many different websites such as 11 secondclub and spungella.com. I prefer to watch comedy clips because I'm funny guy. Believe it or not I can laugh all day!
If I have a free time I love to play both the piano and guitar. I also play the mouth organ. The piano I started playing about a year ago and I have played the the guitar for about 10 years. Those are my two favourite music instruments.

2.When did you first realise you wanted to become an animator?
Actually I graduated in Physics but I love animation so much. During my free time, I take every opportunity to practice animation further.
I realised I wanted to become an animator when I saw Veerapatra Jinanavin's work. It inspired me to become an animator also.
To view the first link I saw of his work, please click here

3.You work at The Monk Studios in Thailand, what is your country's animation community like there?
It's a growing community, with many young people wanting to become animators. Many are studying animation classes in university.

4.What is your typical day at the studio?
I prefer to animate action or comedy shots rather than acting shots.  My supervisor likes to assign the action shots to me.

I always learn from my work and co-workers. If I have free time I like to walk around the studios to relax and take a look at another person's work. Its give me many good perspectives because we can share ideas all the time.

5.What were your first thought's upon hearing Emmanuel's audio clip?
At first I fell in love with his sound, it's a good and beautiful melody.When I first heard his music I pictured someone running around to find something in the funny way.

A toilet idea come from my real life, I've experienced something like this. I believe the toilet story can make the people laugh easier becuase when you want to use a toilet everything in your life is a rush.

6.Tell us about your animation process.
At first I want to put a rough outline of the idea. I do it to find timing and ensuring that the story is what I want to do and that it flows with the music.When I have a simple polygon to animate, it's easy to fix and change everything.

These are the other stages my animation went through. Between the third Blocking and the Blocking Plus movie clips, a little of the stage is changed and Joe goes from just knocking on doors to also pulling the door, which I found helped to add more force. This is a change recommended by my mentor.

7.The style of the environment really adds to the story, creating a world the audience can believe in. It really is a beautiful render.What influenced the staging of Joe's story?
I would like to show something simple in this movie because it's an easy way to understand what action is happening.
Also the simple scene really pushes Joe's appeal.
8.Your animation has lots of really beautiful animation tricks. For instance on frame 52 the head pops off and on frame 367, Joe spouts a second pair of legs. When initially creating your story idea, was this something you wanted to include from an early stage?
 Yes, it was. However, I think that this is my first time to do animation in this style. When I started working on the piece, I didn't feel like the actions were really happening yet, so I found new inspiration by watching Tom and Jerry and Looney Tune movies. This really helped get that 2D cartoony classic style into my work.

9.Would you like to talk a little bit about some of those tricks?
On frame 52 the head pops off because Joe's head look like a ping-pong ball.When I finished animating that. I felt that it looked quite funny, so I added Joe's full body stretch.
On frame 367 or some frame similar you can see Joe has 4 legs. I imported a second version of the rig to my scene and then I offset the keys, hiding the whole body except the legs.

10.As Joe steps around the screen, he squashes and stretches through some beautifully-appealing arcs. Talk a bit about how you think about arcs in your animation.
I like to play with clear and beautiful arcs as a means to entertain the audience.
Inbetween frame 160-170 Joe steps with a big arc because I have so few frames to move Joe from the first door to the third door to fit the music. If I do not do it I would not have enough time make that action happen.

11.What are you most proud of in this shot?
I think I'm proud most of the first shot where Joe runs into the scene. Its cartoony style really stands out and sets the scene.

12.Talk about one or two parts of the e-Critique that enhanced/expanded on the ideas you had originally set out to animate.
Big thanks to Wayne Gilbert, I found his Critique really useful to me to improve my work. In particular, I found enjoyed his notes on storytelling

13.On the 11 second club forum, you note Veerapatra Jinanavin as your mentor. Please share with the community two pieces of advice he gave to you.
Veerapatra Jinanavin (or KEKO as everyone in Thailand knows him)
He is my inspiration. Currently, Veerapatra is one the best animator in Thailand. He has a good attitude and very friendly. He hopes to drive the animation industry of Thailand to step up to international level, so he shares everything he knows with people who are interested. He taught me everything about animation and showed me how to become a good animator.

The three big influences he had on this clip were
1. He helped me with the staging,
2. Including the camera movement to add make the shot look more dynamic
3. Helped me to make a bigger action on Joe in certain parts.

You can see Veerapatra Jinanavin's 2010 demoreel here

14. Do you have any advice of your own you would like to share with the community?
Animation is something we need to learn all the time. Try to do the best as you can.
Practice and learn from professional or from your own inspiration. The main thing you have is to remain optimistic and should have a positive attitude and then accept the opinions of others.
It is an easy way to help you become a good animator.

Emanuel Parment Interview
As many of you are of course aware, for May's audio clip, the 11 second team did something pretty special. They teamed up with Hooked in 60 Seconds , to create a collaboration between composer and animator. Emanuel Parment's was the winning composer. He joins us to share his thoughts.

Thank you for joining us Emanuel. First I would like to ask if you have a favourite animation film or series and why? 
I don’t think I have any favourite series. But I love all the Disney classics with Donald Duck. It has a lot of good music that really get the show going. They integrate the sound made by the character’s (like a bee) into the music. And it’s just awesome.

I do love Ice Age. The film is great, the music is good and the characters are fantastic. I love Sid!

Please tell us about your history in music so far
I think my history of music started when I was born. My father play’s the flute and is a composer of both classical and electro-acoustic music. At home my father always played the flute, and if he wasn’t, there were some classical music playing at the turntable.

When I was five years old. I started playing the violin. One year later. I played at the Concert Hall in Växjö, Sweden. When I was nine, I found the drums. I soon began playing almost everything you can call percussion. It came clear to me, that the xylophone was my thing. I continued with the xylophone and when I was fifteen, I bought my marimba.

At the age of sixteen, I began studying film and television at the local High School, and like everyone else, I wanted to become a director. I also had the option to study some music, which I did. During my second year I saw Gladiator, and I founded myself not looking at the movie, but listening to the music. And I said to myself; “Hey! This is awesome.” I got the CD with the Gladiator soundtrack, (compost by Hans Zimmer) and I listened to it day and night. I got more soundtracks, and one day when some random people asked me what I wanted to do. I said, without thinking; “I want to compose music for films!” Later that week I tried. I it was hard. But many days later, I finally had one song ready. Since I didn’t wrote the song to anything, so I simply called it “Unknown Soundtrack 1”. You can listen at my website.

In the past two years, I’ve studied Music-production and rock- pop ensemble at the Linnaeus University.

Today I’ve got seventeen songs called Unknown Soundtrack. You can listen to some of them at my website. I strongly recommend Unknown Soundtrack 5, 9, 11 and 15. Those are my favourites, but I have a lot of other music as well.

Are there any animation soundtracks you find particularly inspiring to your own practice?
I do really like the old Disney soundtrack. And also Looney Tunes. I love Looney Tunes. But I can’t say any specific soundtrack. I found my inspiration from everything I do. Everything I listens to, a thunderstorm, people walking on the street and the sound from everyone’s step makes a good rhytm.  

I have also found a lot of inspiration in Du Levande, a film made by the Swedish director Roy Andersson.

Upon receiving the competition details from 'Hooked in 60 Seconds', what were your early thoughts?
I actually thought it would be easy, “making cartoon-music can’t be that hard”. I was totally wrong. I worked 6 hours a day. I had a very good idea of how I wanted it to be. The hardest part was to get it on paper. Two hours before the deadline I realized; “This sounds awesome. If I work more I will destroy the magic”. I took a one-hour brake and listened to the song. From my point of view, it was brilliant. It sounded even better then what I thought one hour earlier.

The 11 second club competition celebrates upon having many individual interpretations of the same audio clip. What was your own interpretation?
I actually don't got a beginning. But I see a cowboy running from the right and after him there is a really angry horse chasing him over a dessert. The horse takes a bit from a cactus and blows some sharp spikes that hit's the cowboy in his butt.
In the end they come to a precipice. The cowboy jumps and grabs a rope that hangs from heaven (don't ask me why or how). The horse jumps after the man, but falls down. And last note in the music, the rope torn apart, and the cowboy follows his horse down into the depths.

Can you talk a bit through your choice of instrumentation
Yes! First of all I checked out a lot of cartoon music to find out what sort of instruments they were using. Almost everyone used piano, a standup-bass, trombones and of course, the xylophone. So I had to use these, otherwise it wouldn’t be cartoon. I chose the piano to play the melody and the main chords.
I start with the piano because it's very easy listening to and I can easy hear if something isn't right. It's also easy to record. When I get an idea I don't want to record a lots of tracks just to remember it. All I need is the melody (my right hand) and the chords (left hand). When I'm sure I won't forget the idea I can start working. And if I need, I can simply go back and listen to my first record. The piano sounds good, easy listening, and I can play it.

Next the standup-bass plays the bass (of course). I had to have a quick start because I only had 13 seconds of music. It had to begin and finish quickly. Everything must be interesting and no replays of anything. That’s why I added a flute to sometimes play the same thing as the xylophone, just to make it more interesting.

To get the real speed and get people to hear the rhythms I made. I let the snare drum play backbeat and sometimes follow the rhythms of the xylophone and the flute. I didn’t get the “chase”-feeling. I wanted something that made me think of a cowboy being chased by his own horse. So I chose to play picking chords in some kind of backbeat by a banjo and some violins the play straight up.

What did you think of 'Toilet Please', Arthurnal's winning entry for May's competition?
It’s brilliant. It’s a really good idea. The animation is beautiful and the story is amazing. This is not an animation. This is a short film. Watch it without the music and it’s still marvelous. Great timing and… I don’t know were to continue.

I understand you followed animators' progress on the main site. Other than 'Toilet Please', if you had to name one or two other works that stood out for you, which would they be?
I must say “The Bacteries”. Very funny, cute character’s, good timing. I love the part in the end, when the one playing the tuba falls died.

Character Design

(the Bacteries by animator roulik)

Lastly, what advice would you give to anyone writing music for animation?
Find out what kind of animation your writing for. Search for similar sounds and songs if you need some inspiration. Keep it simple and don’t work to much. Get a deadline, maybe fifteen days. When your reach your deadline. Go away from your music, maybe one or two days, listen to other kind of music, another genre. Then go back and listen to your song. Now you really know how it sounds.

If you got an idea but you can’t get it out of your head, go to the instrument you play, and record the melody. The melody is always simple to get out. The almost impossible part is the arrangement.

Listen to your record. Now grab your instrument and play along. You will find other – or new – ways to get your composing going.

Emanuel has expressed his interest in working on further collaborations. To contact, please visit his website.

Thank you
Interview conducted by Steven Hawthorne