Big Crunch Big Crunch

The animated works of Júlia Farkas are as popular as they are short. The Hungarian artist is a master of looping GIFs, which last seconds but reach millions (her Giphy profile currently has 2.1 billion views).

The typical Farkas GIF features a whimsical, brightly colored animal or humanoid figure, which often morphs into something quite different but equally fanciful. Her mesmerizing work has cast a spell over Adult Swim, which approached her to make a short film for its Smalls program. The result is Big Crunch, a delirious two-minute parade of creatures that look like nothing in nature.

Today, three months after the premiere of Big Crunch, Farkas spoke about her work at CEE Animation Experience: Primanima Industry Day (an event jointly organized by Hungary’s Primanima festival and CEE Animation, which promotes the animation of Central and Eastern Europe).

In her masterclass, Farkas reflected on her career as a creator of what she calls “micro content,” and the opportunities it has given her as an artist. She made many interesting points about the creation and distribution of films — here are five:

  • Micro content is an efficient way to get exposure. With GIFs it’s relatively easy to reach billions of views, says Farkas. In fact, far easier than on the festival circuit. She adds that some of her GIFs take her only a few hours to make.
  • This kind of content also makes for good practice. As you are working on your own, says Farkas, you end up doing the design, animation, directing — everything. She works intuitively, often picking out an isolated visual element (say, a nose) from her sketchbook and developing her animation around that.
  • Loose deadlines can help the creative process. Farkas credits Adult Swim with giving her the “poetic freedom” to make Big Crunch as she wanted, without tight time constraints. More time enables you to “become deeply involved in your thoughts,” she says. The whole production took around four months.
  • Professionalism isn’t everything. Farkas gives the example of the film’s music, which she composed on an app on her phone, despite having no musical experience. She thinks this worked to the film’s advantage: “Somehow this honesty connects the music to the film,” giving it “a breath of fresh air.”
  • An online premiere generates immediate feedback. Farkas describes the “exciting” experience of seeing comments flood in as soon as Adult Swim launched Big Crunch across its platforms. “[The commenters] said that my brain is similar to Elon Musk’s,” she recalls with a smile. She thinks the pandemic may encourage more people to debut their shorts in this way.

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Alex Dudok de Wit

Alex Dudok de Wit is Deputy Editor of Cartoon Brew.