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