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Creator Q&A: Zoë Soriano

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

My name is Zoë Soriano and I'm a Freelance Motion Designer + Art Director. I worked on "There Will Come Soft Rains," an adaptation of a short story from Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles.

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

Growing up, I loved to draw. I was always doodling Disney princesses in the margin of my notebooks at school, but at the time I didn't really see it as anything more than just a hobby. I went on to pursue a degree in Mathematics during my undergrad at the University of Maryland, where I realized I actually hated math. During this time, I was still doodling a lot in my spare time, so I decided to transfer to MICA in Baltimore, where I ultimately decided to specialize in animation. From there, I got to experience a lot of different kinds of animation – from hand-drawn frame by frame animation, to motion graphics, to 3d animation.

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

My sister, Skyler, lent me her copy of The Martian Chronicles to read over the pandemic. She told me her favorite short story was "There Will Come Soft Rains," and once I read it, I immediately knew why – something about the animatronic smart house panicking to save itself was so gut-wrenching. When I saw that the theme of this year's TTAT was SciFi, I knew that I had to adapt "There Will Come Soft Rains," as it's truly one of my favorite stories, and it also makes me feel closer to my sister.

4. What was your process for making your film?

I honestly didn't really have a set process for this – I was working on this between projects and did the most "animator" thing and just thought of the direction, style, and story in more of a "straight-ahead" way, instead of a more planned, thought-out process.

5. How long did it take to make?

It took me way longer than I expected, and I ended up graciously receiving a deadline extension. I was going through a tough grieving period after the loss of my mom, so I am thankful that I at least was able to submit something. If I had to quantify a time in days/ probably took me a total of 6-8 days of actual work but spanning over the course of multiple months.

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

making your short?

Coming from art school, I did my share of short animated stories for projects – but other than that, I mostly gravitated towards non-linear storytelling, abstract animations, and animated poetry (which isn't necessarily narrative).

7. What was the easiest part?

The easiest parts were the ideation and coming up with the designs.

8. What was the hardest part?

The hardest part was actually animating while also dealing with my grief. It was a lot to overcome, and I still don't feel completely satisfied with the work I put out, but I've come to terms with the fact that I tried my best with the emotional bandwidth I had present.

9. What was your favorite part?

Finishing the animation. It felt very gratifying to finally be done and to put my work out into the world! I also really enjoy the design process and exploring space motifs and galaxy art.

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

Have fun with it! The best part of making a short outside of client work is that you can literally make it look however you want. Take the time to experiment with colors or textures that are out of your wheelhouse, or really push your style and make something cool.

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