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Creator Q&A: Andrea Sparacio

1. What is your name, what do you do, and which film did you make?

I’m Andrea Sparacio, Illustrator & Designer, and my film is an adaptation of Brothers Grimm The Goose Girl. 2. What experience do you have creating art and animation?

For a long time I felt like my ideas were always in motion, there was movement to how I saw things in my head, yet I was creating still imagery. I started a personal project called #100illustratedtruths – designed to be quick & easy – but all I wanted to do was to tell animated stories in each one, which takes more time. I’ve been an illustrator for many years, but animation feels like the next step, a meeting ground where my passion & skills truly merge together.

3. What inspired you to pick the story you chose?

First thing that drew me in was the decapitated horse head – which is super metal! In the original Brothers Grimm The Goose Girl, one of (rare) happier-ending Grimm tales, the handmaid dies a brutal death by the last page (happy!). It got me thinking...what if I could flip the narrative so that the women end up as friends, helping each other in some way, and nix the prince (who is clearly a dud in both the original & adapted versions). I also think there will always be a little piece of 90’s riot grrrl in me who wants women to get along & make art together, start a band. We need to be allies.

4. What was your process for making your film?

Since I am new to executing animation, my process was all over the place. I started with the story scripted (practically in scribble) on post-it notes, then I used pencil, gouache, Procreate, Photoshop, and iMovie for the art. I’m in love with early 20th century fairytale filmmaker Lotte Reiniger – a total badass pioneer of silhouette animation – which she created with paper dolls, cutouts & stop motion. I used her as my inspiration, adding my own style & manic spin on it (ie. the sun is intentionally all over the place, the princess’s hat is constantly moving, etc). I wasn’t able to accomplish everything I hoped for, and the timing is whack, but I had to let a lot of imperfections just be what they are. What I learned making this film informed how I want to move forward with my work.

5. How long did it take to make?

A few months in total: first concepting it on post-its all the way back in March 3rd, to hyper-focusing on the illustrations around end of May through late June for submission.

6. How experienced were you with narrative and story-based projects before making your altered fairytale? I had previous experience writing & drawing comics, though only having one comic published (in an anthology). Narrative work feels like a voice that has been there for decades, finally coming out into the world. I have so many animated ideas in the works! 7. What was the easiest part? Broad strokes & big ideas are easy, but sitting to actually do the nitty gritty work is always the hardest. Illustrating should have been the easiest, but because I was merging the two worlds of painterly illustration & animation, it was a long process. Creating the character designs was the easiest part for me. I knew that the amount of illustrating I wanted would be challenging, but also that finishing would be worth it. I just kept trusting the process. 8. What was the hardest part? Anything technical! I also left the animating part to the end because I thought I could do it quickly, and I was totally & completely wrong. I learned so many lessons though, but you can’t get better if you don’t try at all. 9. What was your favorite part? I love the overall look, an aesthetic that combines my illustration style with motion. I kept feeling in my gut “there’s something to this.” I’m also a fan of the eye-play between my characters – expression over dialogue. 10. Do you have words of wisdom for anyone who might want to create an animated short of their own? No matter where you are in life, or what you’re experienced in, you can always learn how to do new things. Pool your skills & resources and see what you can do – right now, in the present place you are in – and try not focus on the perfection you seek for later. Show up, then keep showing up – which is the hardest part. Commit to the process & trust yourself. Getting better will always follow.

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