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Interview with “Brave New Old” Animator Adam Wells

// Interviews

The London based motion graphics/animator Adam Wells, has been working in the industry for a number of years producing some fantastic work, largely through the process of CG. Most notably is his short film “Brave New Old”, which featured in many festivals over the last year including the London International Film Festival, it showcases a refreshing look on society and an unusual interpretation of everyday scenarios as well as some more surreal circumstances. Wells has also worked on several commercials for channels like Disney and Boomerang, where he has been involved in both the design and production of 3D animated environments and characters.

One of the things that stood out to me about your short film “Brave New Old” was the method that you used to convey the story, how did you come about the idea of using a revolving cube to portray the different scenarios?

The idea of staged realities is an interesting one; in the way you might watch something on a theatre, it almost offers a voyeuristic experience; as you get to peep into people’s lives. On top of this, graphic designers often build constraints into their work to add discipline and structure, I thought I would take this approach to narrative. A lot of 3d animation relies heavily on cinematic cinematography for its storytelling, but it’s probably an interesting challenge to try presenting a story as a design task. Finally 3D itself needs a bit more love from the independent community, and rotating cube seemed like something that would be harder to achieve using different forms.


Brave New Old

Brave New Old

I understand you use Cinema4D for a lot of your work, is there a particular reason you were drawn to that program, as appose to using something like Maya or 3DSMax?

I fell prey to a smart marketing ploy by Maxon, believing their software would allow unhindered access to an additional dimension, thus giving me a competitive edge and advantage over less superior 3d software.

The software has a large user base in the motion graphics community, and that’s how I came to it. It seems to have developed its own aesthetic these past few years, I’d really like to see more people attempting narrative that draw from those aesthetics and ideas.

Brave New Old

Brave New Old

“The Circle Line” was another short film of yours that shared a similar type of flat, side-on approach to tell the story, both that film and “Brave New World” showed a focus on silhouettes and clear bold shapes, do you take a lot of inspiration from traditional 2D film?

It’s probably quite important to have a lot of reference points that are not lodged in the medium you work in. Looking to other places can provide a much more fertile ground for creativity.  A Lot of people are put off by the CGI aesthetic, but the medium is very flexible and can be pushed in any direction people choose. Not using character rigs means you become more focuses on how something actually looks, and less time thinking about if the points are weighted correctly,

The Circle Line

The Circle Line

One thing that I’ve always felt, and I’m sure you’ll agree, is that a lot of commercial animated films tend to result in a similar look, in terms of final rendered images, whereas in the short film world, there is a lot more experimentation and utilizing the software to really meet the challenge of an unusual design or idea, is this something you strive to do with your work?

Commercial work has a lot of constraints and expirations from all angles, because there tends to be financial states in the amount of people involved, this is something that most people who undertake this kind of work have to make peace with. When people make work for themselves, they are clearly free to push things in a direction of their choosing, and develop ideas that perhaps sound a bit risky to others. However, striving for originality carries its own dangers,  generating its own set of constraints; namely that you’re still tied  to what other people are not doing, opposed to what they are.

The objective of personal projects to people is often to create something imaginative and new, and with this in mind people are likely to utilizing their tools to meet the challenges you mentioned; arriving at their goals.

Have you got any plans for your next short film project? I read on your website that you were aiming to push the running time for “Brave New World” compared to your other works, would you ever be interested in developing a feature film?

Scale up, long work require more risk, and present an entirely new puzzles, in how such a thing could even be managed by an individual, these qualities alone make the proposition an interesting /terrifying  concept to a masochist.

Mostly, I like things that are driven by ideas, energy, and fun. Animation has become an even more flexible medium. Film is just one form it can take these days, the advantage of it is how permanently, and easily it can be disseminated through online channels, but there might be other routes animation work could take. I am expecting to put out a few more projects this year, Risehigh will be among them later in the year.  Things will keep turning up online though, and hopefully a bigger picture might form one day; I am curious to see where it’s all going myself. 

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