Talking Stone Film

Film Reviews & Headlines

Hello I’m Harry I’m Henry and we’re both known as the Zhuang Brothers We started playing a lot of video games and what actually I think in the very early stage we actually used a VHS tape recorder to record Sonic because we enjoy playing Sonic a lot. We will actually playback the running animation we just slow motioned it and we were pretty amazed how a series of images can create an animation subsequently we watched other films like Beauty and the Beast Tarzan I think Beauty and the Beast was what got us started into an interest in Animation but Tarzan was the triggering point for us to join NYP At that point it was called DMD Digital Media Design So at that time we were very uncertain about our future Digital Media Design is a new course for Harry he, was actually in Singapore Poly learning Engineering Electronic Engineering but he applied through Special Admission to get into DMD (Digital Media Design) At that time our senior actually told us that in DMD there is only good or lousy there is no in between so we had to work very very hard we treat every assignment seriously like even the dotting assignment I remember we like dot for three days without sleep they now call it stippling I was like dotting in the MRT station on my way to school but all that foundation actually helped us be more sensitive more attuned towards shading with a strong foundation, you can grow even further. We are more like directors and possibly writers because recently we start writing and we got some grants and I would say that we are more like a storyteller we enjoy telling stories and we also do producer pretty much everything even animating. we are more like artists artist director So, I think we like the idea of directing and shaping the content of the story because there are many ways to tell stories we get to choose, shape the content, decide how to portray the story I guess that is what we like about it and as when the audience watches the movie/short film we did they have their perspectives slightly different I guess that’s what we like about storytelling Initially when we set up this company Before that we were actually working at Sparky Animation and they were doing 3D animation its feels like kind of a production, there is a production pipeline everything is already fixed We think that there is a lot more to explore so that is why we set up this company and we want to tailor make animation style for different content because we strongly believe that animation is a new medium there’s a lot ways to play with it like stopmotion, 2D animation you can combine both at a very early stage we were actually very selective of the projects we take on so basicly we only take on projects that are narrative based because its sort of a belief we think that stories help help make the content more relatable and we also want to improve our storytelling skills that is also one of the reasons but as we go along we we are more open but we are still pretty much geared towards projects involves stories so even if there are projects that doesn’t really involve story we will try to incorporate stories into the project I think the Tiger of 142B which was commissioned by Singapore Writers’ Festival so it was an adaptation of Dave Chua’s Short story the reason why we like it is because from the start to the end there was a lot of room to explore although it was based on a short story we were given alot of room to explore, write the script create the new art style animate it, tell the story so far the response is pretty good because we brought it to secondary schools to show like Jurong Secondary School Nanyang Girls’ School and everytime when the audience watches it the response is them wondering what does the tiger mean looking at them think about the story the characters and laugh at the comedic moments I think its pretty rewarding and so far it has been quite well received in festivals like it got into 26th Animafest Zagreb (Croatia) – Grand competition recently got into Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (South Korea) – Fantastic Short Film I think it was the only Singaporean film selected this year it also won an award in China and KL The KL one was quite a surprise because we got Best Film we were competing with all the other live action films so for an animation to be considered as a live action and then winning the Best Film I think its quite rare quite surprised by what the jury thought My advice is to work first I think for fresh grads the most important thing is not pay but the things that you learn and going into a company not only will you learn what to do you will also learn what not to do I think through working at different studios you get to know learn the different cultures and what are the things not to do what are the things to do and you will also learn skills that is more updated and more relevant to the industry and also get to know yourself better some people are more suited to work in big companies some people are more suited to work in small companies so through working in small and big companies you know which type of environment suits you the most So actually home studio, the good thing about it is You will save time traveling. So in the past when we were working at Sparky and also working in NTU we actually spend about one and a half hour traveling there and another hour and a half travelling back So it’s about three hours a day. You add up to one year.. / that time you calculated right? Yea so if you calculate It’s like you spend two months of waking hours on a train So working at a home studio has its benefit not just yeah and you know You can work longer hours πŸ˜› I think you have to work very very hard because like our senior mentioned there is only good and lousy. There is no in between. My advice is that uh, I think I Think at the very early stage, right? For me I or for us, we were searching what we, what we want to do. So initially He thought he wanted to be a 3D modeller. I thought I wanted to be an animator Actually, I thought I wanted to be a storyboard artist. Oh, yeah, Storyboard artist. Yeah. Yeah. Oh no illustrator. Yeah, I wanted to be a concept artist and all that so The thing is that we keep just diving into that area and then keep trying out and then By exposing ourselves to different aspects we realize that and actually we have in the beginning he thought he wanted to be a 3D modeller, I thought I wanted to be a concept is but as we Try like making working on one whole short film We actually realized that we are more geared towards storytelling and not just that specific area So I think my advice is that Learn as much as possible To me I think We have we share a strong similar strong belief that you know animation is something that can be explored and I think especially the animation industry currently needs a lot of exploration and to me that is the thing that actually, and then we have the same taste of films Some times we think that the animation can be can be done in much more ways but nobody’s doing it so we HAVE to do it If we don’t do it nobody is going to do it. And to us it is a problem For me, it’s also ability is motivating the two of us. I think For me I, this might be a bit exaggerated, but I see it I put my goal beyond ourselves. Like I believe that what we are doing is not only for ourselves We were travelling to a different festivals and we talked to different animators from the youth groups in Other countries, right? The animation culture is very different. It is very common to be hired as a Director there while in Singapore it is not common at one of the reason why we we keep making short films is to not only put Singapore in the Global Map in the Animation Global Map but also to sort of Hopefully to motivate young animators to start making, or become Animation Directors. So like when we hire Celia and Maryam We also had that intention to train them as Animation directors So like we have a few projects that they each take on the role as a Director so we hope that through this whole experience that they will become more confident as a animation director and grow We have so we’re going to school to conduct animation workshop. We also like we don’t treat them as animators but we treat them as authors and Storytellers, so that is one of the reasons. Something to give talks, sometimes to like give talks to share our experience (we went to SOTA) Sometimes we conduct animation workshops like stop motion or 2D animation workshop. Yeah, but our workshops and talks we are more geared towards not the technique but the storytelling so we will show film and discuss why the director cut from here to here so it’s a different approach I would say. One point of our lives we were actually considering alternative Industry. So I applied for teaching in NIE and then he applied for the police. We both got into the final round of interview. Actually I got the job. But you know after thinking about it, we decided to continue to push for animation There were a lot of advice given I think one of the advice was from Dave Chua. He told us you have to Keep Animating. I guess the courage, I think it’s the same thing again, it’s the belief that we see it as a problem that nobody is exploring Nobody is treating animation as a storytelling tool Not much companies are doing that So we think that we have to try and do something Actually there are a lot of lecturers that Gave very good advice when we were at SIDM First of all is Ms Lee, so she taught me storyboard She was the first lecturer that actually taught me the proper way of storyboarding And she would give me advice on like, you know this kind of shot if you’re working on a live action shot then It would be an expensive shot and all that. So these are alot of things that shape the way I think When we left SIDM and we came back when we were seeking advice whether we should go for further studies for NTU ADM or other schools We actually bumped into Ms. Lee and I asked her for her advice and she said that Definitely further studying is good but prepare to write a lot And one of the most important advice that she gave that day was not only you have to watch good films, you also have to watch bad films. and you have to write about it It is true, watching the good and the bad films makes you grow I think that is one of the very important advice so even till today, if i hear that a film is bad I will still make it a point to watch and find out where it went wrong Definitely to every bad film there are some merits about it The other person I want to mention I can’t remember exactly what she said but Ms. Gail Actually what happened was When we were at NYP, we actually failed one module the Studio Project We were late so there was a very important lesson to learn most importantly, we were very fixated about the 3D studio Max plugin Cloth Plugin, cloth simulation, IK bones and all that The rendering time was too long we ended up being late handing in and we failed the module We were the only group that failed so when we failed we were very upset and depressed and then we bumped into Ms. Gail I think we meant to look for some lecturer and Ms. Gail was there she just happened to be there and she said “Don’t Worry just move on.” In life definitely there will be failures what’s most important is that you actually learn from the lesson and you pick yourselves up and make sure that this doesn’t happen again from then on we respect deadlines a lot. this deadline thing is a problem that a lot of artists face because we are perfectionists we want to present the best I think after that whole incident we learnt that the best work done is the work done in the given time I think we have been working on short form animation all short films we want to explore longer form Be it series or feature Or it can also be a graphic novel we just want to try exploring the storytelling but at the same time also take up more projects build a team we realised that when you’re making short films like 3 min, 4 min and subsequently 10 min the long the duration the harder it is to control the pacing to us all this is like when you’re running for a marathon you start running with 2.4 then 5 click and then finally to 42 click so we hope that all these short film experience will be helpful in when we are developing a longer form of story and he mentioned the team is also something that we want to build on. Definitely there will be areas that we are weak at like in terms of illustration skills, we’re not that good which is why we hired Celia like comedic animation character animation we are also not very good which is why we hired Maryam hopefully they will stay with us and we can grow as a team taking the best out of each to form a good team

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