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Creator Q&A: Anne Saint-Louis

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

Anne Saint-Louis - SCION the Trailer

2. Give a brief history of your experience creating art and animation.

From painting, printmaking, to desktop design, art production, illustration, to motion design and animation… It has been a long sinuous road for me working in several aspects of the visual arts. I now freelance as an illustrator and motion designer. I have created and co-created two previous short animation videos for TTAT.

3. What inspired you to pick the story you chose? Was it original or an adaptation?

I’ve been wanting to flesh out this original science fiction story for a few years now, with the help of my co-creator Sara Wade.

4. What was your process for making your film?

Sara and I started by each sketching freely first to find an interesting story idea by trying to place these images together in certain orders. This didn’t quite work but gave us a feel of what the visual style and colour palette could be (we have a very inspiring moodboard!). I took that style and those colours, and created a story from scratch: an epic five minute space journey for a small alien creature seeking “home”, an extra-terrestrial cycle of life story. I drew a storyboard (so many versions!) and afterwards put together an animatic to figure out the timing and feel. I then proceeded painting the design boards in Photoshop. Sara, along with two other motion artists Shea Lord and Megan Toenyes, agreed to help out animating the film. This project turned out to be quite ambitious and inspiration did not flow freely for me, every aspect felt hard. We ended up deciding to create a way shorter 30 secs film using some assets that were already created, a “trailer” for the final movie. In this way, we were able to submit in time for TTAT.

5. How long did it take to make?

From the birth of this idea, I would say a couple of years. We are all busy with work and life, so it was difficult to gain momentum. 

6. How experienced were you with narrative and story-based projects before

making your short?

Quite experienced, but this was my first time working with a “hero’s journey” narrative. 

7. What was the easiest part?

Trusting that my collaborators would animate beautifully!

8. What was the hardest part?

Really nailing the story and the rhythm of it. The main character’s design kept changing, I felt I didn’t quite get that look of weird but cute that I was going for. This is partly why we ended up animating a way shorter version of the film.

9. What was your favorite part?

Editing and choosing music and sound effects for the trailer was quite fun. Megan did a great job polishing my rough edit. At last, an exciting finished product came out of all that work!

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

Sometimes it’s really hard and sometimes everything flows freely. Why? I have no idea. In a middle of an animation project, it’s really easy to quit. Don’t. Push on. But sometimes…. It can be good to take a break. I am taking a break of working on the long version of this film and I am not sure if it will be finished soon or ever. After making it over the difficult bumps, the excitement and passion has to re-appear during the process. Otherwise what’s the point?

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