Gary film interview

Could you explain a little about your story, it is very different from
your ordinary coming of age short and it is certainly very tense with sexual imagery towards the middle. What inspired you to write this particular story?

This story is about a young boy who falls in love with a girl who is much older
than him. He wants to create a other part of him to seduce her, someone older, stronger…But, this part of him began to be independant and act without control from Gary. Emile “the other side of Gary” manage to seduce the girl but he hasn’t got the same vision of love, he’s more violent and sexual than Gary.
Gary is a child with dream, Emile is just his “physic part”.

We wanted to make a story, with illustrated feelings, but not in a classic narrative way. We wanted the visuals to manage to convey even more this feelings. We wanted to have a metaphoric way of storytelling. There is a whole sequence in the inside of the giant, a kind of retrospection and a way to show that Gary has to destruct or manage a part of himself in order to grow up. We wanted to show the vision of love from his childish point of view, with magic moments, imagination…The film is a metaphore of the adolescence, the first strong feelings, the first physic desire…

There are many beautifully stylized shots in this animation, especially for a 3d short. Could you describe a bit of your production?

The short was made in year two. The first year is focus on learning 3D with exercices meanwhile developing our story at the same time. All came from a pitch from Clement, the pitch was something so different from the short we finally did, but it was the foundation of our final story. The first idea was inspired by the story of Romain Gary, a writer who won the “prix goncourt” twice ( It’s a french literature prize that you can only win once ine your life ), while using a fake identity. Then when the public didn’t know the two of them was the same person they started comparing them. That’s where the idea of a double of the principal character came from.

Romain Gary has got a strong visual and oneiric way of telling story. Serge Gainsbourg, a french singer & poet, has also influenced our work. He’s got a universe full of sensuality & subtility. He influenced us for the ambience & the music. We worked on the story the first year and had to make our storyboard and 2d animatic in the first year as well. Finally, we get far from Romain Gary, but we hope that the spirit is still here.

The second year was focused on the short…
We spent the first six month in making the 3D animatic and concept art. Clement & Yann made a lot of research for the colors, the designs…We were huge fan of old cartoons and illustration for children like Jon Klassen, Mary Blair, Tim Biskup, Walt Peregoy and Cody Hudson. As soon as we found our design and fixed our artwork, we decided to do our best to stay close to our 2d concept art. We didn’t want to make a 3d short, we wanted to make it the way we wanted, and use our media to manage our goal. That’s why we mixed 2d/3d a lot. We tried to make our 3d look less 3D than usual.

We’ve got a strong reference for the 2d render made from 3D with the PEARCE SISTER from AARDMAN studio. We wanted that if you make a “pause” on our film, it looks like an illustration.

We found some techniques to help us on making 2d rendering ( 12 fps, rotoscoping, additional 2d animation, 2D sets, contour vibrating…). The flat look on the character was made by calculating a reference shadow in 3d and retouching it in 2d frame by frame. From this decision came another one, to make the film in 12 frames per second.

What software did you use for the animation and what role did music take in your production?

We used Maya for the 3D animation & Photoshop for the textures and the sets.

We spent a long time on animation and 2D works and compositing, in order to see our shots as soon as possible, and be able to retake them if there wasn’t good. We had the luck to work with a musician for the music of the short, we gave him our animatic, and showed him at each step how thing were looking, and he developed his music the same time as our short. The animation & the music were very close.

What were each of your roles for this project?

We had separate tasks during the production: Clement created the designs and most of the sets Yann worked on the animation and some sets. Sebastien worked on all the technical parts and animation and finally, Quentin worked on the compositing.

Thank you for your time guys, I appreciate you answering these questions. As an update, these guys are already on a list of festivals including:

Festival Animac , Spain (Winner of Ciutat de Palma Awards 2008)
PISAF, Korea (Winner of Yuhan College Dean Prize)
PIFF Festival, India (Winner Second Prize)
Paris ACM Siggraph, Paris
Festival Court Devant, Paris
Festival de Clermont Ferrand 2009, France
Future Film Festival Turin, Italy
Web Animation Festival (WAF), Korea