Annecy Interviews—Production of the Stop-Motion Adult Movie

Q: Question; M:Mike; R:Robot

Q: Mike, how long did it take to make this movie?
M: The production of this film took a total of 4 years. We set up a studio in 2014. It has been 4 years since the establishment of the studio and pre-production of the film, but the actual shooting time is 3 years. However, I started conceiving roles when I was 15 years old, so actually it began as I was at school, and after that I’ve been making short films all the time, so it can be said to be 30 years.

Q: Who made the characters in the film? Did you design them in the studio?

M: Yes, we have an automation team. I design the character first, then the team designs with me. I used to study automation at school. Film production begins with the Puppet Design.

Q: Why did you step into this industry?

R: Five or six years ago, we met Mike. We were making short films then, and didn’t have a big studio or budget. In 2014, we decided to enter the film industry, so we set up a studio and started making visual effects, sound production and so on.

Q: How much CG did you use in making the movie?
M: Most of them are stop-motion animation and automation. Except that a flying lens uses CGI production, the rest are all stop-motion animation and automation models.
Q: You are doing something similar to Dine art. Except companies in Eastern Europe, few companies have done this.
M: Yes, it is very special, especially popular in Eastern Europe with a regional characteristic, yet it is very difficult and differs a lot from CGI. With CGI, the images can be modified, withdrawn, and edited after being shot; once you start to shoot with the stop motion, it can only be made directly into a completed product.

Q: Few companies now specially set up studios to do this. Why did you establish a studio to do such a big project?

M: My professional background is stop-motion animation. I have been working in the fields of TV drama and advertising for 25 years and doing CGI for a long time, yet it is not suitable for me. I started doing this because I really liked it. Then I met my partners, specifically Robot. Robot is a big fan of stop-motion animation.

Q: I think that if you do something, do something different so that you can make achievements. Some Romanian companies and Eastern European companies have also done this, yet they cover only a small area.
R: Yes, we want to make a movie like this: to bring joy to a wide range of people, and they can see the huge investment in the film production. If you want to produce stop-motion animation, you must set a goal and make it big.

Q: How about the advertising and evaluation of the film?

R: To produce the advertisement, we raised $20 million, which cannot be a commercial success. Then there is the exhibition. We hope to promote the movie 3 months before the completion of its production.

Q: How about the subject matter of toy and High-tech?
M: We decided to start the promotion after the film was released. We have many roles. And there have been too many works on toys. We would go to the International Toy Fair or the toy market for promotion.

Q: You have to do things that others have not done, and only you have done.

Q: How did you first develop this idea and make it into a movie?

R: At the beginning we had 2 thoughts about children, 2 thoughts about family, an adventure story and an adult story. The adult field is very new, which can attract audiences from different groups. So we chose it.

Q: What is the prospect of stop-motion animation?
M: I hope that its prospects are good. We will continue to make such movies. Its prospects really depend on the outcome of this film. We want to do best in adult animation, and make a work of superior quality and a unique one that no one has ever done.
Q: Is the budget of your next movie the same as this one?
R: It is too early to talk about this now. Maybe bigger than this one.

Q: You said that the next movie can reuse the resources of this movie. How many can be reused?

M: It depends. if the characters are similar, we’ll repeat the character models such as Nora and John, which saves a lot of time; if the plot changes considerably, we will just reuse the previous geometric models; If the plot is almost the same, we add new  shapes and movements for the characters instead of simply copying them.
We used manually-shaped characters and found an animation company to help us with this. Making a character requires a combination of various techniques.
Q: Did you establish a college to cultivate talents?
M: We have our own studio to train them.

Q: Are there Chinese people who want to join your studio to learn something?
M: If they have skills, we’d like to train them after they join our studio. It would be better if they had skills in related fields, but we are also willing to train beginners.

Q: What kind of skills do you want them to have?

M: It’s of vital importance to shape characters, making them unique and of high quality. It’s important throughout the animation process.

Q: This is a pretty new field. No one has ever made a movie in this field. Do you have confidence to earn the cost back?

R: This is not a matter of earning back the capital, but a matter of gaining more profit. Therefore we are very confident.

Q: Where are your major markets? In the United States or the United Kingdom?

R: The United States is the major one, followed by North America – Canada, the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe.

Q: What about the Chinese market? Have you ever held an exhibition in China?

M: Not yet. Due to some content in the film, its distribution in China is restricted. For example, the content of sex, but not much. Maybe we need to cut out some of its content and then send it to the Chinese market, but we are not sure if it can pass the examination.




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