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Creator Q&A: Andrea Sparacio

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

Andrea Sparacio. I’m an illustrator & designer. I made Nosferatu.

2. What experience do you have creating art and animation?

This is my second year joining Things Took A Turn. For the previous anthology I created The Goose Girl which was my first attempt at narrative animation. By the time I created Nosferatu, I had a better understanding of things, although I’m still not super tech savvy as I used iMovie to create the final output!

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

I had been creating mini Nosferatu shorts on Instagram and he suddenly became a favorite. The idea was planted years ago I watched the 1922 silent film, Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror. I loved this classic horror movie, but I also thought Nosferatu was kinda goofy-looking. I started drawing him taking the NYC subway (as I currently was) and called it A Subway of Horror. My version of Nosferatu is a misunderstood performance artist who just can’t catch a break.

Since the TTAT theme for 2019 was myths & legends, I wanted to explore the myth that Max Schreck (who played 1922’s Nosferatu) portrayed the character so well that he was actually rumored to be a real-life vampire. This myth even prompted the 2000 movie, Shadow of the Vampire, played creepily by William Defoe. After my research, I learned that Schreck did some “obscure comedy” afterward, so I combined these elements to create his twisted origin story.

4. What was your process for making your film?

I started with thumbnail sketches and character sketches, which I already had from my previous comedy series, Nosferatu: A Lifetime of Horror [#nosferatuLOH]. I cleaned him up a bunch and began drawing him from different angles. I got lucky because Nosferatu is expressionless & floats, which helped a lot with animation. His blank stare is so funny, it's what drew me to illustrate him in the first place.

5. How long did it take to make?

A few months over the summer of 2019, right until the very last second of the anthology premiere in August, as Andrea [Schmitz] can attest! There was so much more I wanted to do with his vaudeville dance at the audition, but had to slim it down for time.

6. How experienced were you with narrative and story-based projects before making your altered fairytale?

I made The Goose Girl and some animated gifs for both myself & clients. Working on an illustrated & animated promo for BBC’s Doctor Who [S9] kicked off a real thirst for it. I see my illustrations as moving, and I want music and sound effects; it’s how I envision nearly everything these days. After watching the Oscar-nominated animated shorts I realized, wow, I really need a team. I can’t do this alone!

7. What was the easiest part?

Sets & character—anything illustrated for me because it’s also my profession—but the actual animation, well...

8. What was the hardest part?

Animating! Making things move the way I see them in my head. Because I didn’t study animation, I struggle with the technical execution, but it’s also a great reason to keep at it & practice.

9. What was your favorite part?

I always crack up when I think about Nosferatu dancing & swinging his legs all around. My favorite part is the victrola frowning at the end tho—he was also hoping to catch a big break!

10. Do you have words of wisdom for anyone who might want to create an animated short of their own?

If I can do it, so can you. Artists use what they have in front of them. In time, we can harness our animation skills, but in the meantime, just have fun with it.

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