This is the second part of the interview with Aleksa Gajic. Read the first part here: Rendering spaces, drawing stories
What software did you use while working on the film?
AG: For 3D scenes Max, because we liked its tune shade renders. For vector animation we have used Anime Studio Pro (ex Moho), and for coloring, of course, Photoshop. After Effects has been used very often for compositing. Particle Illusion used for some special effects, and at the end, Adobe Premier for ‘packing’ all finished frames.
Do you use now a little bit of computer techniques in comic books, for coloring and so?
AG: In comics I don’t use computers, only paper and pencils. At one point, the question about using computers in comics came out, because a lot of artists switched to computer. Maybe I’m stubborn or so, but I simply don’t want to switch to computers when I’m doing comics.
It’s pretty archaic and rare that someone is cutting masks and does air brush with all these tech tools. I’m good in Photoshop, but I like to have originals in comics. I find it very significant to have this piece of paper with all stuff on it. When I’m sending my comics in France, my collaborators have to insert speech balloons, that’s all.
Where would you place your work in animation in the regional context? Why I’m saying this… What you did with your film is really a great thing for all regional artists, to be crazy enough to start the whole thing…You just sent to everybody message that with enough passion it’s possible to do something significant, even on our Balkan sputum, where tribes are fighting with each other…
AG: I don’t know if I had in my mind such a big story, you know. It’s hard to tell if I had in my mind all this. I think, I thought more about myself as Aleksa Gajic (laughs).
AG: (laughs) It was my dream and wish to make an animated film for years, waiting for better circumstances and conditions. When I finished this huge project with French publishers, I’ve asked myself whether I’m gonna enter the new 5-years project or I’m gonna start to work on the film. Of course, I also had some dilemmas regarding film, lots of thinking, but at the end I’ve realized: YES! I have to do it! That sounded rather pretentious and disdainfully, but then I’ve realized that no one is going to do it. And I said to myself: Com’on Gajic, throw yourself into the fire and do it!
I haven’t done this because of the money, but because I wanted to handle all issues you can have while working on the animated feature-length film. I didn’t want to work on short animated film, although it could be way too easier regarding time and money. No, I really wanted to make a story that has its exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution. I wanted to emerge the story with these elements. Probably, there are possible better ways than mine, but I think my story could satisfy.
Technotize: Edit and I
Frankly, I had even more modest expectations regarding technique and visual design, compared to what it turned out after all. I knew that I can’t make some enormous important film, and then I said to my team: Let’s make some film. It turned out to be the best approach; otherwise I would probably burn myself down. Actually this is just one small and unpretentious film.
Technotize is not made with an aim to solve someone’s life or political issues. We just told a small story about one girl in the year 2074.
Are you interested in new technologies and devices like iPad and tablets, or creating video games?
AG: I’m not against it, but unfortunately Edit isn’t such a commercial project. It wouldn’t be profitable. Somebody in the audience at my lecture asked about the computer game… Yes, we could make a computer game, but who’s gonna buy it? If the film had success in Japan, the video game would be popular, too. I would definitely support this idea, but we never came to this phase. We have now for the film presentation short clips, art book, figures and posters. Because it was possible within our budget.
What are your future plans?
AG: Well, my career in animation is done for now, unfortunately. Thus, I’m forced to get back to comic books. No, don’t get me wrong, sure. I’m doing now one really, really nice project, and that’s a comic book about dragons.
With same publisher, Soleil?
AG: Yes! And this is one wonderful comic full of magnificent scenes with Dragon Land and space battles. I really enjoy working and I’m gonna certainly work on it for the next few years. Meanwhile, maybe I will ‘inject’ some small project only for myself.
Recently, I’ve submitted an entry to the city council call for short animated film and if we will get the money, maybe I will start at the end of April to work on short animated film.
Your first film was feature-length film… usually, people are doing through all of their career short films, sometimes even not getting closer to longer forms… I think that’s terrific…
AG: Yes! I don’t want to stop it, because I really like it. I simply need a break from one medium by doing another. It’s not something unusual and I like it. Of course, maybe it will be more modest then when we have worked on Technotize.
It’s a small story, actually a metaphorical description of the idea making process.
Scourge of the Gods by Aleksa Gajic, Soleil & Marvel (c)
AG: What’s interesting is that the whole film will be made in a dialogue between a radio personality and an imaginary artist who so clumsily tries to answer to the well-known question: Where did you inspiration comes from?
Actually, Technotize, comic and this hold-on future animation have all one thing in common, and that’s metaphysicality. My interest for something what’s not only sport and politics. There are a lot of things to discover that most people only rummage on the surface, something that religion, astronomy and science can sense a bit. It’s huge and it hides behind this idea of hugeness so we can’t actually see it.
How important is for your inspiration the fact that you live in Belgrade and work for the international market?
AG: Obviously it’s very import (laughs). I’ve never thought about it, but then now when you ask me such question… Yes, the answer simply arises. When I got a job in France in 1999, media announced my work as something fresh from a man coming from a far away country. It sounded to me so vaguely, what they mean with it?
Then I have realized that in this period of isolation a new style has been made in Serbia that was so different from French or American. Of course, these differences are not so huge, you know, but enough noticeable that someone could realize that I’m not from France. But people didn’t know from where I came from, maybe from Serbia, maybe Poland, or some Slavic Country.
Aleksa, Thanks a lot!