For several years Adelaide studio The People’s Republic of Animation have been garnering praise both locally and internationally for their innovative and expertly crafted work.
With the launch of a brand new website and a very slick job completed for Sony becoming safe to share online I thought it might be a good time to sit down with one of the Studio Founders- James Calvert and get the inside word on what the guys have been up to during 2010.
Ozaniamte: Thanks sitting down with us James. You’ve been off the radar a bit for the last 12 months. You’re usually a pretty public studio with short films music videos, commercials, ect. what have you guys been up to lately?
James Calvert: I guess it doesnt feel like we’ve been off the radar because we’ve been really really busy. We’ve been working on a lot of stuff for games developers and a lot of that we cant show anyone until the game’s released. Its been busy but sadly we cant show anything.
OZ: What kind of work have you been doing with them?
JC: Fully rendered cut scenes mostly, but we’re working on some pretty tasty trailers right now which will be released soon.
OZ: You’ve just been able to take credit for one Games project like that- the Modnation Launch Trailer. Can tell us a little about that?
JC: We Managed to get in contact with Sony Entertainment in America and they asked us if we’d be interested in making a minute and a half launch trailer for a new game – Modnation Racers. They wanted something that would showcase the game, show off some of the features, but was also was just an entertaining piece to watch. So they gave us a script of what was supposed to happen and we did everything from there.
We fleshed it out, animated lit and rendered a nice ninety second piece. It was received really well by Sony and got a lot airtime on American TV as well as online
OZ: It’s a pretty impressive trailer, what was your time frame like?
JC: It was pretty crazy. We only had about 5 weeks, and about a week leading into the production period where we had to put together. It was a bit of a mad dash putting everything together. We had to fly some people in from interstate, rent a house to put them into. Yeah it was crazy.
I remember leaving work on a Friday with studio ticking away at its normal pace, and then coming in on Monday and the place was jam packed and not really feeling like the same studio. It was kind of exciting and fresh, but made me a little nervous. But yeah luckily every one meshed really well and we got stuck into it straight away.
OZ: Because you were on another project at the same time werent you?
JC: Yes, we were actually. We had a team working on a rendered cutscene. So yeah, we had the two teams in here at the same. That was interesting.
OZ: Do you feel like the 12 months has seen you push into a new direction? More focused on games?
JC: I wouldnt say we’re pushing into a new direction I think we are just focusing more on what we are good at. I mean a few years ago we would have done a lot of different things. A lot of work on a lot of different platforms. But i think we’ve found our strengths and we are honing in on that. We found that creating short story and character driven animations is something that we are getting better at. We’ve found a market for that and we are honing in on it. Whether it be for games and cutscenes or advertising. It seems to be what fits best for us.
OZ: I know the studio has a reputation for working on self directed projects, whether it be shorts or other things. You teamed up with Film Lab and SAFC about 12 months ago to develop a feature. How’s it coming along?
JC: Ahhh that’s not my personal project, that’s Eddie and Hugh’s baby. Its definitely still on the cards. The script’s being finalised as we speak and once that’s sort of nice and polished then we’ll be going through the normal path, seeking finance crew/talent and that sort of thing. Its definitely still there.
Doing our own, writing and directing our own work is still why we do this, so there is always a project in the pipeline. We’re just trying to find that right balance for our studio between doing projects for other people and making our own films. But it seems to be working because the projects we get tend to be quite fun and are usually story driven and character driven and we get to do these nice fully rendered pieces so even if we aren’t working on our own films I still feel like we are exercising that muscle. Even though it might be a long time between shorts, up to 2 years, during those years we are very active on stuff.
OZ: Is there anything we can look forward that we can look forward to in the near future?
JC: Yeah! There will be something coming out, trailers/mini films that we’re doing for someone at the moment that will be coming out in the new year. Im sure we’ll make it known to the world when they’re ready. But they’re pretty exciting!