Silly Beast in the Animation Spotlight



Justine Bonnard Interview with Animator Justine Bonnard
Creator of "Silly Beast"







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We love "Silly Beast" for its adorable characters, great acting and high quality animation. Justine hopes to have this made into a series for TV. We can definitely see it.


BACKGROUND: I didn't have to exert a lot of effort to go in the direction of drawing and animation. My dad draws, my mom draws, my brother draws, my dog draws...how can you not fall in?

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However, I didn't want to follow this path immediately. But after a disastrous attempt in scientific studies, I decided to stop resisting and agreed to turn towards the establishment(so to speak), the drawing. My desire to do animation came quickly afterwards thanks to watching 3D films at the Imagina Festival (major animation festival in France at the time) that I saw on tv. So I studied art with the goal of continuing on to the Supinfocom school to learn 3D film making. Now I do 3D animation but also 2D animation.

For a long time I thought I didn't have any great passions like everyone else, but then I realized I was wrong. The link between all that I like is the telling. I love stories. Now, I would like to tell my own stories, and the animation is a tool to do that.

In fact I would like to be a writer, a comics author, a film-maker, video game designer, or musician for the sole purpose of swimming in the fantasy worlds and stories. Perhaps "Silly Beast" isn't a good example of this. What makes this film interesting isn't the scenario, which is extremely simple. I wanted to create a wacky world filled with strange characters who are there just for fun.

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INFLUENCES: My childhood! "Alice in Wonderland" by Lewis Carrol summarizes my influences - it has everything I love in a story: adventure, exploration of another world, weird creatures, dreams, surrealism with its paradoxes, the absurd, the bizarre, the wonderful. I also love that there may be two readings, one naive, childish, sweet and the other tortured with a representation of madness.

To fall asleep when I was young, I told stories that I imagined as well as the story of "Alice in Wonderland". Most of the time I was asleep before reaching the white rabbit burrow. In the same vein, I also have a great and special affection for "Little Nemo" by Winsor McCay.

INSPIRATION: My dog! I wanted a funny beast, ridiculous and strange but still familiar to allow tranposition with a pet. Besides my dog, my other sources are "La Linea" by Osvaldo Cavandoli, "Mio and Mao" by Francesco Misseri (also an Italian), it was an old series filmed in claymation animation with two playful kittens that discovered the world. The animation was wonderful. There is also the famous squirrel of "Ice Age" and... Pixar. Perhaps it was more unintentional on my part. However I wanted to try to achieve the quality of Pixar films.

No doubt many people will say that this beast looks like Sully of "Monster Inc" but it wasn't my source of inspiration although I do love that film. The color is the only similarity and I had created this character at school to do an exercise in traditional animation before this film existed. Of course, since then it has evolved.

TECHNIQUE: First I made a storyboard/animatic in Flash in order to have a good idea of the animation that I might ultimately have. Then, through subsidies, I produced it in Maya with the help of two other people. Textures were made in Photoshop, post production in After Effects. Hair and feathers were a real headache.

TIME REQUIRED: The production took about 6 months.

CHALLENGES: My challenge was to be selected at the Annecy Film Festival (France). I wasn't disappointed - my film was selected in the TV category in 2008. And the challenge for the Beast is to create a series based off of the pilot, so it's currently seeking a TV channel. In the meantime I will probably give it life on a blog or a site that will tell his adventures....

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