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Creator Q&A: Veronica Tolentino

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

My name is Veronica. By day, I am a 2D designer and animator at Quidd, a digital collectibles app for licenses such as Marvel, Disney, and Sanrio. By night, I am a freelance illustrator and character animator. I made the film titled "2,500 Years Later". 2. What experience do you have creating art and animation?

In general, I have always been creating. Professionally, I started my career doing design and editorial illustration work, and just two years ago, I started doing some animation work. Most of the animation work I have done so far has been short-form (like GIFs and animated messaging stickers for apps), rather than longer-form, like "2,500 Years Later". My film is the longest animated project that I have created so far.

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

I actually had the idea to animate characters from Greek mythology for a personal project before I saw this year's prompt for Things Took A Turn. Instead of exploring how the immortal Greek gods/goddesses of old lived in the past, I wanted to explore how they would live in our modern society. Hopefully my ideas made most of you laugh. :)

4. What was your process for making your film?

My preliminary brainstorming processes always start in my sketchbook rather than on the computer– first, I made a list of Greek gods/goddesses I wanted to animate, gave them a story, and chose the ones I wanted to further explore with sketches. After I refined their design and story, I brought my sketches to finalize on Photoshop. I also separated the parts of each character that I wanted to animate in Photoshop. After separating their body parts into layers, I imported my files into Adobe After Effects, where I rigged and animated them with DUIK.

5. How long did it take to make?

I started my project back in March and submitted it in June. However, I wanted to animate one more character, so I actually got everything done in July. So it took 4-5 months. It took some time because I worked on my project in-between my full-time schedule and the weekends.

6. How experienced were you with narrative and story-based projects before making your altered fairytale? This film was the first longer-form animation I had created, and over a longer period of time. I hadn't created any narrative projects before this one. It was a challenge to work on this film in-between my busy schedule, but I am really proud to have made my project for the anthology. The entire process was a learning experience. I am eager to do more narrative projects really soon! 7. What was the easiest part? The easiest part for me was the initial sketching, character design, and final illustration process. 8. What was the hardest part? The hardest part was time management. Although I started my project months before the project submission date, I had to factor in which weekdays I would be available during the week to work on my film, and reserve weekends when I could work on my film since they are the only days I could dedicate more hours of my time to my project. In the end, I needed extra time to finish my animation, but I learned from the entire process. 9. What was your favorite part? My favorite part is the sketching/brainstorming phase and illustrating my characters. My background is that of an illustrator, so anything that involves drawing is always my favorite part. Oh, and seeing your puppet rigs work. (It's the most satisfying thing to see them working.) 10. Do you have words of wisdom for anyone who might want to create an animated short of their own? We're usually tempted to start something ambitious, but I say to start with a small idea first. Sometimes we get excited to start a grandiose project in the beginning, like I did. But once I actually got to the final planning stages of my idea, I had to simplify it because of time constraints. You will be more proud of finishing a simple project than attempting an ambitious project that you may not be motivated to pick up again if you stop half-way. :)

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