The ninth selection in our Student Animation Festival, Sheared, was created by Nikolas Ilic, a recent graduate of Canada’s Sheridan College. Sheared may be the most traditional animated short in our program this year and we mean that in the best way possible. Hand-drawn, funny and cartoony, there is no denying the superior level of storytelling skill achieved in this mere 90 seconds of twisted, poetic justice. Ilic’s character designs and layouts, though inspired by past masters, look fresh and exciting. There isn’t a wasted frame; it’s a sharply timed and thoroughly delightful visual experience. (Elliot J. Marshall’s original score and sound effects work are equally deserving of praise).
Nikolas (pictured above) offered some thoughts on the creation of Sheared:
Going into my final year of Animation at Sheridan College, my main goal was to make a film that was visually appealing to the audience. The question was what story would I create to accomplish my vision. I knew I wanted to make a comical film. I first started creating characters from different time periods. From the Vikings to the Romans to the Greeks . I kept on drawing pages upon pages until I came across some Scottish characters I enjoyed and started putting them into a scenario. At first I was going to have a Scottish rock throwing competition between two Scots. I then drew a sheep and something clicked. I thought to myself wouldn’t it be funny to see a Scottish farmer struggling with his sheep and that is how the idea evolved. Ever since then sheep drawings never stopped. Doing the pre production for the film was a lot of fun. I did a lot of exploring within the characters and designs. Deciding on the Farmers kilt was definitely a challenge as there were so many color options. I also had to keep in mind I would be animating it traditionally so I could only push it so far. It was very enjoyable to shape the final outcome of the film. Since my main focus was design, this phase was definitely very fun and rewarding to do.
The next step I took was thumb nailing out my film. I did about three passes at it before I went into production. I found that the sooner you stick with an idea, something will evolve out of it , even though there are times you want to start from scratch. Once I was in production ,there was a lot of late nights. Making your own film is definitely a challenge, not only artistically but mentally as well. You have to be very organized and good at time management. I thank a lot of my fellow colleagues for pushing me and also for some good critiques. I definitely grew as an artist by making many mistakes and learning from them. Early on, I decided the film would be animated traditionally as well as the clean up since I was most comfortable with it. There were times where I was considering doing it digitally but thought I would stick with the roots we have been taught at Sheridan. Making this film was an awesome experience and wish I could make another. To have complete control of a whole film is something you don’t get very often. I am now a graduate of the Sheridan Animation BA program and excited to see my career possibilities. I hope people get a laugh out my film and ultimately enjoy it throughout.
Nik’s blog: Nikolas-Ilic.blogspot.com