10 Questions: The Line

First, sorry about the web silence. We were away too long, so it’s good to be back. And even better to be back with a great 10 Questions feature from  Bjorn-Erik Aschim from animation collective The Line.

Bjorn and The Line did the extraordinary WallFlowers animated short.


Who are The Line?

The Line is Me, Sam Taylor, TimMccourt, Wesley Louis and James Duveen. We’re also working together with Max Taylor at the moment. The team shrinks and expands depending on the projects we are on. But the 5 of us is at the core. We’re all freelance animators who met on a commercial project. We got on really well together and decided to share a studio space in East London. We eventually decided to give ourselves a name and release our films under a moniker. Now we are producing our own short films and working on advertising projects together with Electric Theatre Collective in Soho.

How did the idea for Wallflowers come about?

A drawing I had done on my blog in april ( http://www.bjornsblog.com/post/48932722682/so-then-friday-again) This was the seed which sparked the idea and it’s the first character in the actual film. There was a point last year where I was so sick of going out clubbing and meeting people that way, I remember doing the drawing on a Friday wondering whether to go down to the pub or just stay home. Somehow I think that dread must have channeled itself into this drawing. It wasn’t until later the idea of other characters came about. All of us at the line pitch film ideas every couple of months, and we vote for the one we think is the best. Then we get together for a few weeks or however long it will take and work on it as uninterrupted as we can. This way we always have a number of projects on the go, we all pitched a few ideas and Wallflowers was an idea which was clear and had a nice easy message to get across, had no complicated narrative or story to wrestle with and seemed like fun thing to do. Everyone was quite keen on doing these little character portraits. Timing wise it seemed pretty good too, we wanted to get something out there pretty quickly after “Easy”

How many people worked on it and who are they?

Everyone in the studio did animation and cleanup on the characters. Jonathan Djob Nkondo and Kristian Antonelli did some great animation on it as well. Max Taylor comped it all in a few weeks together with me as I was doing the backgrounds. Chris, Ben and Magnus of Box of Toys Audio provided us with an amazing original soundtrack with all original music that they created from scratch. Working from a temp-mix of tunes that I put together for the animatic.

How long did it take?

We started in in July, and worked at it on and off between other projects until it was done in December.

Can you take us through the process of how it was made? (I.E software used, stages of production.)

It was pretty simple, animated in flash, cleaned up in flash, then exported to after effects where my photoshop paintings were brought in and the characters put on top. Other effects like lasers , lights etc were added in After Effects by simply painting them and turning them on and off, moving them around. (Max did an amazing job with bringing everything to life, it’s a little more complicated then what I make it out to be, but the principle is as simple as that)

There’s lots of exciting new animation coming out, who are your favourite animators working today?

I find the animation scene in London these days to be super exciting. Things like the Late Night Work Club is really showing some amazing talent, and the fact that it’s all done independently really makes me happy and hopeful. Places like CRCR always blow me away with their stuff, generally all the french animators are killing it these days and there seems to be a whole bunch of people now who are more from an illustration background and not from an animation background but who just seem to “get it” and do amazing animation.

What piece of work do you see and think ‘I wished I’d made that!’

Charles Huettner “The Jump”

What’s next for The Line?

We’re working on a few new ideas. One which has a more live action aspect to it, we’re getting together all the go pro-s we’ve got and will shoot something really silly in London soon. It’s gonna be pretty mental I think, it’s got everyone really excited in the studio. Sam and Tim are doing a Podcast about animation as well. We’ve interviewed quite a lot of people already including Shynola, Animade and a few different top animators. The Peg Bar and Grill will be hosting the podcasts and going live in a few weeks at http://www.pegbarandgrill.com so keep your eyes and ears peeled. I’ve listened to a few of them already and they are so interesting, I don’t think there is anything like this out there for the animation community yet, it’s really important I think! We’re also planning a kickstarter and generally aiming to direct a few more commercial jobs.

What would be your ultimate project?

An animated musical with vampires and prostitutes.

Finally, perfect music for a top night out?

A bit of Whitney always hits the spot.

Thanks for your time.

Sure, no problem!