Peruvian Animation, Features and the Lack of Short Films

I eavesdrop a lot. I just like listening to people talk because I don’t talk much. So I clearly remember seeing Schuldt at the TRON: Legacy screening, and then eavesdropping on his conversation about his latest project.

You can actually see his TRON inspiration on the trailer, non?

It’s not even funny, right? For you — not used to Peruvian animation?

I actually still get to cringe for the voice-acting. The character modelling does look a bit generic, and the animation feels clunky — but believe me! They have improved. I just wished… they would decide to improve while making animated shorts instead of feature films.

But as explained before — it was probably during a Q&A, animated shorts can’t be released in theaters and make money.

So here lies the question~

Do we as consumers tear down anything that they are making us pay for, even though we are aware that they are infants in the business? Or do we go and applaud their effort for trying to develop an industry that just isn’t.

Would we as an audience applaud their efforts more if they were releasing animated shorts, testing out waters and developing projects way more often to improve their craft at the risk of not making enough money?

Pixar had a tough beginning. They worked on TV ads to make ends meet, but they continued working on animated shorts for a number of years before they ever dared to develop Toy Story. The Toy Story pre-production process wasn’t smooth either, they re-wrote the whole thing a few couple of times before they finally settle in Woody the flimsy cowboy toy and the slick Buzz Lightyear the spaceman. These guys had worked as traditional animators when they got into the CGI animation business… they learned to handle the medium, but they knew how to animate.

The basics of animation.

Oh, man. I remember animation class… and acting class.

Drawing the bouncing ball (or bouncing sack) was probably one of the most time-consuming things ever, but what both teachers told me was true. Animation and acting are tied together. Animators act through the characters they animate.

It’s not just characters sitting on a paper. They move.

Once we animate them, our characters breath and live.

As an animator with little experience, looking at actors move as the characters — it helps. I wish they would animate their films after the actors had done their voice work. Recording an actor do his magic can be amazing, and anyone who’s watched Aladdin and has watched Robin Williams do his magic can attest to that. However, it’s hard to focus on the little details — characters blinking, pfft! — when you’re practicing in feature films.

Making a feature film is a humongous task, so developing your talent is hard to do when you’re also trying to make profit. I know Eduardo Schuldt can’t sell a short film, but I wish he would do side-projects — a passion project that he’s not trying to sell, just an animation project made by people who love animation and want to do something different… it can be as short as five or three minutes long, maybe experimental… a side-project that doesn’t focus on being sold. Take it as the student project you never got to do.

Imagine the possibilities.


YAM Magazine editor, photographer, blogger, translator and part-time web designer. Film junkie, music junkie… and lately series (a.k.a. TV) junkie.

12 Responses

  1. Mirella says:

    Oh Peruvian Animation… I know it’s unfair to compare because it’s the industry is in diapers, but ugh, it obviously shows their animators are not actors. I saw LARS Y EL MISTERIO DEL PORTAL some time ago, and while the modeling has become decent, the illusion shatered the moments the characters moved :P It didn’t look natural at all, the same with the facial or body expressions. Then there was that awful script and the cringe-worthy way they delivered the lines. It seemed to be done by dudes trying to be cool and failing hard :P And finally the story, it kinda didn’t made sense, but it could have worked, I mean the “rule of cool” works if you do it right… it wasn’t.
    So yeah, I think you need a post also on why the Peruvian animation has crappy storytelling. I mean, I can accept less than perfect animation just fine if the story is compelling enough to make me forget about it.
    Also yeah, they should make some short films. See how they do, make and effor in animation and storytelling :P

    • amy says:

      @Mirella, yeah – but that was a whole issue entirely.

      I mean, if you take a look at the trailer for The Dream of Jinsha (or the poster), you are going to think “OMG, this looks so freaking beautiful” but from the reviews I could find, it seemed the storytelling was all over the place. LOL

      Then you take things like the first Hoodwinked, and you kinda think… things can look clunky, but at least they can be kind of funny.

      But as animation — as in CGI — gets more and more “easier” to put in the market, one has to get more and more discerning. Clunky animation is just very hard to not care about because there are other 15 productions that don’t have clunky animation.

      So like I said… that’s an issue for a whole different post xD

  2. I agree with you whole-heartedly. Though I can’t speak from experience (neither being an animation student nor seeing a Peruvian animated film), I can attest to the fact that before one can go into the fray with the big stuff (CGI, 3D, etc.) one MUST have the fundamentals. I believe in order for directors to ensure that their work is up to snuff to even be released in theaters, they need to work out the technical kinks first and make the work presentable.

    I mean, I know doing side projects, shorts, etc. doesn’t bring in cash. But if you’re spending tons of money on an animated feature and on reputation alone people aren’t buying tickets, you’re losing money anyway. Why not invest your time and effort into moulding your craft so you can make features that are worth while to your audience? Like you said, the biggest animation studio in the world (Pixar) had a very bumpy ride before Toy Story came out…Peruvian directors should take heart from that and just work at it until it produces something fans will actually want to see. Especially being a baby medium…? It needs to be nurtured before it’s just flung out of the nest in search of an audience.

    • amy says:

      @Camiele White, yeah. But that’s a problem with the actual “animation school” system here because they don’t teach you to animate, they teach you to use the software. As far as I’m aware, people are not taught how to develop a story, how to develop characters or the basics of storyboarding and camera shots. There are no acting classes, so most people… which happens usually with all new animation students, aren’t really loose to goof around.

      So in the end, people know how to use Maya or AfterEffects or Flash.

      Obviously, the quality of the renders also suffer because of budget constrains… but that would improve if they get to work on more stuff for less time. Trial and testing via short films would make their learning process easier, and they could focus on the little things.

  3. ghost says:

    This is what happens when you’re a businessman first and an artist later. Ha! Animators suffer for their art… especially in places like Japan.

    • amy says:

      @ghost, yeah I read that Japanese animators are very underpaid compared to the actual salary of people in Japan of course. I was surprised considering how big we think the industry is there.

      In other news… Dreamworks in thinking about a studio in Shanghai. Maybe to produce or some others are complaining it might be to outsource. Hope the latter doesn’t happen.

  4. Camiele says:

    @amy, See. and that’s why YOU wrote this article and I didn’t…HaHa!

  5. I am not a “produced” writer, nor an animator, but my love is storytelling. The world’s response to my stories so far has been “I enjoyed that, but no money for you.”

    If anyone in Peru or anywhere else is willing to take a chance on my writing, I will probably let them try.

    • amy says:

      @Andrew Garrett, I have no idea how to get in contact with Alpamayo any longer :( their website is over and they don’t have a FB page. But I did find an animation studio called Aronnax which apparently is behind Ilusionautas. Here’s their website in english.

  1. July 31, 2012

    […] Peruvian Animation, Features and the Lack of Short Films [en] Filed under Chinese, Drawings, English, Jobs, Sharing, Short Films and tagged animation, animation school, china | Leave a comment […]

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