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CBTV Student Fest 8: “Death Buy Lemonade”

Death Buy Lemonade created by Kyu-bum Lee at Sheridan College is the shortest film in Cartoon Brew TV’s Student Animation Festival. Don’t be fooled by its running time though. Within its brief length is contained a solidly constructed story, personality-driven animation and chuckles. The film won the Audience Award at the 2010 Animation Block Party.

Kyu-bum, who’ll be answering your questions in the comments, jotted down these thoughts about making the film:

When the final year of the Sheridan animation program came close, I didn’t have clear idea of what kind of film I wanted to make. After watching many shorts that I found entertaining, I realized I wanted to make a film the audience are entertained from start to finish. It’s definitely easier said than done. Many of the shorts I came across relied a single gag at the end without engaging beginning and middle to really encourage audience participation. Whether I have achieved to do more than that, I am not sure, but that was my starting goal as I began coming up with a story.

The inspiration of the story was simple, I wanted to have a female character. When that character was decided to be a little girl, I wanted have a situation with somewhat morbid twist which she put herself in. So, the base idea was to have a girl causes a death of a person due to her childlike innocence and greed. Just like riding a rollercoaster blind folded, I had no idea where the story was heading but after many days of fun and frustrating storyboarding process and bouncing off ideas with others, the story just fell into place. How crazy was the ride? Well, the original cast of the film was the girl, a man and a time manipulating device.

The decision to produce my film in traditional was very clear from the beginning. Knowing the amount of time it takes to make a traditionally drawn animation film, I knew I wasn’t going to get that kind of luxury of time when I leave school. Therefore, as long as I have full eight months dedicated to making a single film, I had to challenge myself with the medium that started it all.

One tough decision that I encountered while in production phase was deciding the look of Katie’s(the girl) dress. In the pre-production phase, I designed her with intention of simply overlaying a flat cloth pattern for her dress. However, after compositing a test scene, the flat pattern overlay significantly reduced the mood of certain angled shots as well as distracted from the animation. The only solution I knew how was to draw the pattern in. The difficulty of drawing pattern was later doubled when I entered clean-up stage which was also done traditionally in pencil. Though the style of animation wasn’t full, there were enough frames to keep me busy for many nights.

I loved making this film and the process of choosing between billion possibilities I could have taken to make a completely different film. I amproud of the end result and I have many friends and teachers to thank for it. For the future, I plan to keep producing more films because to me, there is nothing more rewarding than entertaining others. But for now, I hope you enjoy my first little short, Death Buy Lemonade”.

Filmmaker website: Kyu-bum Lee

  • Tim Schuit

    Hahahaha What a charming little film!!

    Loved the ending :D

  • Firoz

    Just lovely. And yes, the ending made me laugh :-)
    (lovely soundtrack too)

  • Andrew

    This was the best student brew film of the bunch!
    short sweet and simple

  • Kyu worked had throughout the year and it really paid off! This is definitely one of the best films in the year I feel 8]
    Way to go Kyu!

  • Jay Sabicer

    Did she ever get her 50¢? Inquiring minds want to know.

    • wunami

      Um…did you misunderstand the ending or something? Instead of paying, Death makes just makes her dead and will probably give her to some kind of greed-appropriate afterlife punishment…which probably partially entails that she will never get the 50¢.

      • Skippy

        Actually, I think you may have misunderstood the ending. Death, confused by her five-finger gesture, thinks she’s asking for a high five. He obliges, and she dies. It’s an accident, essentially.

      • L

        Skippy is right. Death gives her five, as requested. He isn’t killing her maliciously.

        Re: the 50 cents- Since she’s dead, I don’t expect she’ll have any coins in the hereafter. Death didn’t.

  • Loring

    Great job! All three characters were unique and entertaining. Great sound, too!

  • Josef

    It’s definitely my favorite in the festival so far. Well done, Mr. Lee!

  • The ending made me laugh out loud, and maybe it’s just me, but it’s so interesting how both the little girl and death are both so innocent in their actions. The little girl just wants her money, and death just seems confused by what she’s after so he offers the only thing he can give her.

    This isn’t a question, but I’d love to see the concepts for Death. I really like how he’s built (Tall body, small head), and I’d love to see how Kyu-bum arrived at his design.

    • Hi Kristi, Thanks for enjoying my film.

      The concept for the death character can be found on my portfolio site at:

      I tried to balance between innocent and dumb to reflect his personality but kept his size quite large to emphasize importance and the deadliness of his job.

      • Lorrie

        I love it! It’s a fantastic short.
        Thanks for sharing the link to your boards and concepts. I was also curious to see them.

        Kyu-bum, start to finish, (including concepts & boards) how long did you work on it?

      • Thanks Lorrie.

        From developing idea to the final composite it was about 10 months.

        I sure do wish I had that much time to work on a single film now..

  • Deaniac

    Well, that was unexpectedly morbid…and it was awesome. Major props for the ending, I can honestly say the whole thing was unpredictable throughout. Good show.

  • That’s muh boy! Great timing!

  • Ben K.

    Really wonderful work! You definitely succeeded at being entertaining from start to finish. I look forward to your future animation!

  • Great idea. Nice work :)

  • Excellent work. The build up to the final gag really worked well. I did not see that coming. That made me laugh !

    Solid character animation on the girl . I really enjoyed this. Thanks to the Brewmeister’s for posting it and thanks to Kyu-bum Lee for making it !

  • Christopher Cook

    Loved the little girl–she reminds me a bit of Mandy from “The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy”, looking death straight in the face and never flinching.

  • Really great. It indeed seems a lot of work to do such a solid story that short.

  • Thanks everybody for spending time watching my film
    and for wonderful comments.

  • anomynous

    Whats the music, i loved it

    • The music is from the library of licence free sounds from Sheridan school. The file name is Country_stroll.

      I used it for my leica reel and fell in love with it.

  • haha XD cracked up watching this one! very very neat job. this little short has it all; entertaining performances,a colour palette that suits the mood just right, spot on timing and to top it all, such an hilarious ending! even the music is so unassuming it’s perfect. love it kyu-bum lee!

  • Nice short!

    What software did you use to composite it?

    • Thanks.

      For compositing individual scenes, I used Adobe After Effects

  • w

    Yay Kyu-bum! Saw this one at the student screening in the spring. Great stuff & best of luck with the next steps you make.

  • This is her first film? Lordy, she’s good! I really liked this! It worked well on an aesthetic level and on the story level. I can’t wait for her next film!

    • Thanks Joel.
      But contrary to recent popular belief, I am a “he”.

  • LOL That was pretty funny :D

  • bubble dress are very nice girl dresses and i always ask my girlfriend to wear one ,**

  • Your film reminds me of a quote by Blaise Pascal: “I have made this letter longer than usual, only because I have not had time to make it shorter.” I know nothing about film-making or animation but I know I love this – it is perfect in its short, twisted simplicity!

    • Thanks Cindy.

      I set out to make a film under 2 minutes mostly because I wanted to do everything while not giving myself impossible amount of work. But in the end, the film workout better because of it.

      At the Sheridan studio, Kaj Pindal posted this quote “Perfection is achieved not when you don’t have anything else to add, but have nothing to take away,”
      Which really hit home with me so I tried to trim the fat of the story as much as possible.

  • D10

    Great, is very funny :D

    Have to congrat you because the clever way this short animated film disenvolves, even i felt sad when the old dude died because girl’s innocent greed, and well, this “dead state” was very interesting, instantly lose the color!, i love this detail. Loved the music too XD

  • AMAZINGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I love death’s head..his clueless look is soo damned funny and i thought he was gonna pay up in “bone coins” or something..the end part really was verrryyy simple yet VERY effective..damn good!! kudos to Kyu! one helluva an artist!!

  • Bobbystarbuck

    Marvelous! Is this all done in flash? or Toonboom?

    • The animation and clean up was done in pencil and paper. The digital software were used only for certain special effect and post production compositing.

  • Jim

    Loved the short. I loved the fact that there is no dialog yet just about anyone can follow the story, this shows real talent. The drawings are just amazing and your characters charming and easily recognisable. The use of color is great and the camera angles very professional. I hope to see more work by you.

    Best Wishes.

  • scott

    Great to see your film here!

  • Arash Rod

    Great Short animation.

    I study Animation for Master in Fine Arts. Now I’m working on my short animation in comedy genre.
    I’m always interested in student’s animations especially in 2D..

    You mentioned that You animated all the frames on paper with pencil. in what software you colored the characters and backgrounds? did you ink them on the computer or did you use the original design on paper as the ink?

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