We are pleased to introduce our Pro filmmaker of the month Sara Taigher.
You were recently selected for our call ‘It’s urgent, demand it!’ launched by Climate Action Network. What inspired your idea for this video?
When I read the call for Climate Action Network I immediately liked it and felt that it was right for me to give it a go. For this project I worked closely with Yassmin Yaghmai, a friend, illustrator and animator who I share part of my animation works with. At first, thinking about the relationship between man and nature, one simple concept came to my mind: we’re all the same thing. In terms of visual style, I imagined an equation between all living beings and environment (sea, mountains, sky, plants) that could be represented through an animated morphing. I wanted the style to be essential and minimal, alternating light and dark backgrounds. I wanted to use this style for the video but I felt something was missing since the call was about a fight for our planet and raising the consciousness that this is a urgent matter. So we decided to add some drama to the initial concept and we turned the piece into a short story focused on climate migrants. We planned a voiceover written by our friend Alessandro S. Jurasz, narrated in first person by a young climate migrant from a far island in the pacific : the young boy speaks over the video about the disaster he went through losing his house because of the rising of the ocean. We developed the final look, drawing it directly into the animation software and jumped straight into animation. After this process the sound designer Inti d’Ayala Valva found a young voice, recorded it and created the sound design around the final edit.
You have participated in many contests now at Userfarm, and it is easy to see that you have a signature style, how would you define that style? And what is your creative process when making a video?
It’s quite hard to define someone’s own style. For me it is something constantly evolving and it’s affected by my personal experience. Lately, I mostly love creating traditional animated pieces and this is a reality now thanks to the collaboration with Yassmin. In the animation field, both style and creative process change to adapt to the peculiarity of the project. Normally I start from writing down and sketching the idea and by doing some basic research. After this initial stage I jump into proper pre-production and produce a storyboard and an animatic if needed; there I set all the edits and timing of the scenes. Along with the storyboard I research and experiment with the visual style of the video, which, in animation as in motion design, is half of the work. Final stage, of course, is the animation itself with vfx, a bit of color and sound designing with music.
What do you think about Userfarm’s crowdsourcing model? How did you find us?
I enjoy it. I think it’s useful to have a platform like Userfarm where I can participate to calls whenever I have time or like the brief. It doesn’t always happen to get creative assignments that you like and where your artistic potential is tested.
With Userfarm it happens and I also have chance to earn some money.
When facing one of our project briefs, what is your plan of action?
I usually take two or three days to think about what I would like to do. During those days I come up with some rough ideas and I start talking about it to my friends and colleagues. What the idea evolves to (or what remains of it!) during this short period of time is usually what I will be developing. Then I proceed with all the creative steps I mentioned before only with a production plan and timing in hand.
What are some challenges you face when making a video? How do you deal with these challenges?
The one big challenge is always creating a storytelling and look that can be functional to carry the desired message and, at the same time, be visually innovative and eye-catching. Sometimes my approach in dealing with this is getting feedback from people that I trust. These people can always see the big picture not being involved emotionally and their advise most times gives me unexpected points of view to develop my work on.
What TV shows or movies have you seen lately that have inspired you in your work?
Lately I was requested to teach MG in a young class so I started researching the origins of the technique. I found some really inspiring experimental animations from early 20th century from Oskar Fishingen’s, Walter Ruttman’s and Viking Eggeling’s films and the work of John Whitney. I also keep always an eye on contemporary animators like Cento Lodigiani, Nerdo studio and Ash Torp.
Many thanks Sara for your time in answering these questions, one last question- what are your film making goals for 2019?
In 2018 I completed my first animated short film Black which I worked on for three years.
In 2019 I would really like to start my second animated film and hopefully finish it in a shortest time! Moreover I would like to create more work under the new name Robotina, a new animation project that Yassmin and I are currently starting.
Sara’s personal website: www.sarataigher.com
So What Pictures: www.sowhatpictures.com