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Creator Q&A: Anne Saint-Louis and Sara Wade

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

Anne Saint-Louis: Freelance Illustrator, Animator - "Monkey’s Paw"

Sara Wade: Motion Designer, Code-savvy Animator, Illustrator, Educator - "Monkey’s Paw"

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

Anne: I have a bachelor's degree in Visual Arts from Université du Québec à Montréal, for painting and printmaking. I ended up working lots of different jobs after that: painting backgrounds for animation, working in art production for graphic design studios, freelancing in illustration and motion design, to mention a few. I still get super excited every time I see my drawings come to life in animation! It’s truly like magic.

Sara: I started my grown-up life in architecture and quickly made my way to 3D animation and building interactive game and experiences on the internet. I spent most of my pre-freelance career in advertising agencies, so I have been able to work on a wide variety of projects and with a lot of different software. I really enjoy projects where the visual and technical come together to form unique solutions.

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

Anne: My son had to read the classic horror short story “The Monkey’s Paw” by American author W.W. Jacobs in English class a few years back. In the story, three wishes are granted to the owner of the titular paw, but the wishes comes with an enormous price for interfering with fate. This inspired me to try to adapt this tale into a super short film.

4. What was your process for making your film?

Anne: Sara and I live in separate countries (Canada & USA) so we had to setup some online ways to share ideas easily. We mainly used Milanote to do this. We hopped on regular video calls to check in on progress and give us goals and deadlines. Sara worked mainly on the 3D and effects parts of the film, I worked on 2D and story. We both worked on developing ideas and solutions. It was a truly well-balanced partnership.

5. How long did it take to make?

Anne: It took a year and a half!! On and off, of course. Sara and I had to work on this personal project in our spare time and 2021 was a busy year for both of us so it was tricky to put time aside. Also, the story/concept changed several times, this was truly experimental!

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

Anne: I create explainer videos and short animations for TV for work, so I had some experience. But this is the first time I worked on something like this for myself.

Sara: I have made personal short films in the past, but this one has been the most fun. I think collaboration can produce some really interesting ideas and creative methods. It’s much more fun than working solo!

7. What was the easiest part?

Anne: Drawing monkeys.

Sara: Creative coding shape patterns with expressions.

8. What was the hardest part?

Anne: We could not keep the original narrative, it was too long with too many characters! The challenge was to communicate the jump scare creepy vibe of the original story in a more abstract way. This is why we pretended to create a trailer for an imaginary "Monkey’s Paw" film.

9. What was your favorite part?

Anne: Bringing all of Sara’s and my assets together and composite everything in After Effects to create a unified look!

Sara: The creative coding is always my favorite part of any project.

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

Let your dreaming brain do work for you. Think about a visual/story problem you want to solve before bed. Make sure you have a sketchbook on hand to jot down those fresh morning ideas!

Also, very important to be patient and not give up. Guaranteed there will be times you will want to quit. Working with creative partners really help stay on track and create deadlines to follow and encourage each other.

Be very flexible and welcome creative “accidents”. Don’t be too attached to a specific visual model in your head.

Have fun and please don’t worry about creating something “ugly” or “imperfect”. Just do it, dammit!

Follow Anne:

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