You need big imagination to make short films

We chat to some of the animators from #DiscoveryFilmFest

23 October 2015

From a fox losing his tail to a cat and dog swapping bodies, there's nothing more fun than the adventure of an animated short film! We sat down with two of the animators from this year's selection of Shorts for Wee Ones to chat drawing, telling stories and making animations - here's what Vera Lalyko (animator of Frenemy) and Doosun Shin (animator of Fox Tale) had to say...

Q. We love short films at Discovery Film Festival! Can you tell us a little bit about yours?

"When I get a story worth telling I start to choose the music."

 Vera Lalyko (animator of Frenemy)

Vera (Frenemy): I always loved animation. The idea to do it myself came up quite late when I was 22 and already studying sound and vision, but since then it didn’t let me go. I especially love short films because they provide the maximum freedom for stories, characters and style. When I choose to make a new short film there has to be a glimpse I’d just love to see on screen. In this case I thought of a cat barking and a dog miawing. This was the signal to go and the story developed.

When I get a story worth telling I start to choose the music. For Frenemy I was lucky to get a famous german Nu-jazz musician. After I asked him for a score he passed over a tiny piece of an idea and >bang< in my head all the animation started immediately. This is what I definitely need for inspiration - with the music in mind I can do all the rest of the film.

Frenemy sketch

Doosun (Fox Tale): Fox Tale is a story for families with children. As a director, I always wanted to make a short that was entertaining and educational for both adults and children. Basically, it's from the concept that "you reap what you sow". As a director, I wanted to make it fun for audiences and leave a message to think about. I hope that message is well delivered.

Fox Tale

Q. Did you always draw and doodle growing up?

Doosun (Fox Tale): When I was young, I would always draw and doodle. But, what I loved most was to make up stories. So, I drew and made comic strips and I let my classmates have fun with them. I think I love storytelling by nature. 

Vera (Frenemy): No, actually not. I always did music and drawing was ok, but not a passion. I treat animation rather more as music in motion than moving pictures. But I seemed to like drawing little characters as far as there are lots of to be found in my old school notebooks!

Frenemy work in progress

Q. Have you got any tips for the budding animators among us?

Vera (Frenemy): To encourage all of you who do not draw like a professional, yet: you can learn drawing like someone can learn playing the piano - it takes practice and time, that’s it.
The spirit of animation lays between the drawings. It is all about the timing. Try to feel the music of your movement - the speed, the acceleration, the breaks and the fading out. Dance your movement. A true animation master can tell complex stories like love stories or crime stories just by sliding geometrical objects like squares or circles. Pick your favourite piece of music and push some objects around. You will be surprised what can already be achieved before drawing like a professional.

Doosun (Fox Tale): I would say it is great to experience real life and explore new worlds. There are always new things to learn and a lot of great inspiration comes from our experiences. Plus, it is definitely helpful to watch movies and try to understand why things works or don't work from a critical perspective. It helps us understand storytelling. 

Fox Tale work in progress

Q. And finally, what's your favourite animation or short film and why?

Doosun (Fox Tale): I love all animations which have great story points. I love Monsters, Inc. from Pixar, Ice Age from Bluesky, but I also appreciate independent animated shorts such as My Little Friend and Bert - those have great stories and also some messages from the directors.

Vera (Frenemy): My favourite animation short is Father and Daughter by Michael Dudok de Wit. It still blows me away although I have watched it many times. The mood, the style, the story touches me deep inside.

Want to see the animators creations on the big screen? You can enjoy Fox Tale and Frenemy as part of Shorts for Wee Ones at #DiscoveryFilmFest on Sun 25 October, Sat 31 October and Sat 7 November.