An unfinished short animation titled ‘Flats’ that the studio did recently for a project (that unfortunately have been put on hold). It’s a visual piece on the ubiquitous HDB flats in Singapore through the eyes of a little boy and his kid sister. It’s pretty self explanatory and the team did great work particularly on the art direction. It is just a few minutes of a viewer’s attention but it was blood, sweat and toil working on it… from deciding the mood, colors, right down to the character design and of course animation. Singapore’s flats are a fecund ground for inspiration!
Music composed by Tenmon and taken from ‘Voices of a Distant Star’ (2002) directed by Makoto Shinkai.
The ‘savage beast’ in this case probably refers to the merciless and unrelenting production schedule for a certain animated TV show starring a rabbit – hardly a beast, but tell that to the horde of animators working long and arduous hours in the studio, through weekends sometimes, to complete the production on time.
It’s not an easy sight to digest (staff working overtime everyday), and often one comes dangerously close to taking it for granted. But these troopers are the gears and levers that keep the studio functioning – like a machine, which is what’s needed for a production to run as planned. Invariably, there will be kinks, need for maintenance, and sometimes even an overhaul of the engine to keep the machine at peak performance. Sometimes parts need to be changed, joints need to be greased, and when push comes to shove, the machine is cranked into overdrive.
Our guys and girls in the studio are of course not machines (despite the annoying overuse of metaphors previously). If they are then they are self-aware, which would make Scrawl like…Skynet! The upside of an overworked studio, if one can call it an ‘upside’, is the inevitable development of a certain positive culture and support system that helps sustain morale and perhaps make the long hours just a bit more bearable – be it a duet with a couple of guitars, or a late night order of McDonald’s, or sharing a few minutes’ cigarette break and chit-chat beneath the pale moonlight.
Granted, we all wish everyone goes home on time and live a proper life outside of making cartoons. It’s not always possible, such is the inexorable nature of deadlines and broadcast commitments. But we’re trying guys, we really are.