“Pit”, the CGI animated short film, is the masterpiece of 17 Digital Animation and 12 Illustration students of The One Academy. A collaboration for their final project, the story was inspired by the childhood experience of director Sean Yew and brought to life by the talented crew. Together with team members Daniel Goh, Leonard Santoso, Adam Wong & Denzel Eu, they sat down for an interview session on what went on behind the scenes.
“Pit” follows the protagonist, referred to as The Boy, as he treads carefully to retrieve his ball which landed in a dark and ominous-looking pit. The sense of foreboding realises as he comes across The Creature. However, an unexpected twist at the end will show that not all is as it seems. Sean recalled the memory of having to retrieve a ball that had fallen into a ditch and gazing into the dark abyss feeling unsettled about something sinister looking back at him.
“We borrowed a lot of references from other films’ cinematography and applied it to animation. We tried to do something different from past animations by TOA students. Most people think of animation as something for kids to watch, but I tried to prove them wrong by borrowing from different genres and applying to our animation. We tried to blend the different genres to present a different kind of animation,” said director Sean.
“Apart from the entertainment, the core message we tried to convey was that we should often take a moment to look around us and not take mother nature for granted. Even the filthiest places are the results of human negligence and it would be nice to make an eco difference for mother nature,” he continued.
“We really wanted to push the visuals for this film. We looked up to our seniors a lot and how great their films were. In terms of visuals, we really explored a lot of different methods, rendering techniques, shaders used and texturing methods. There were many trials and errors that were hard on all of us, but we believed that we pushed it as much as we could with the time that we had. So we hope that our efforts are enough to impress the viewers,” added co-director Daniel Goh.
For tips on making great animation, they said that, “we should often study real human movements in detail to capture the subtle nuance and see the differences between natural and mechanical to achieve a realistic animation.” They also shared on how they were thoroughly impressed by their senior’s animated short film “A Folded Wish” whereby the fine detail of fibres on the shirt was captured in a scene.
“Visual achievement was our priority, but most importantly story comes first. As Martin Scorsese once said, ‘the most personal is the most creative.’ So write a compelling story that is close to heart and impactful to impress your team and they will be convinced to help bring your vision to life,” Sean said in advice to aspiring filmmakers.
The team thanked their lecturers for their help in pushing them towards the right direction and giving them valuable, constructive feedback. They also thanked the crew members as the success was the combination of everyone’s efforts. Their animated short film can be watched on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ih_uTcTcpS4&t=7s.