Adult animation has a moment and Love, death & robots leads the way.
For most of my life, animation has been banned from children’s diets. With the advent of shows like South Park, The simpsons, and even family Guy, Animation took off on television in the early 2000s. That paved the way for animators to break out of the kid-friendly zone and challenge themselves with adult stories and characters.
Nevertheless, every animated company always seemed to be a risk for adults, no matter the creative force behind it.
That was a distinctly Western philosophy, as anime and other forms of animation have long taken up adult subjects.
Well, those times have certainly changed. And streaming has allowed platforms to take more risks and open up to more serious adult animation.
Recently, the Annecy International Animation Film Festival streamed an hour-long conversation between the minds behind it Netflixthe second season of Love, death and robots. Involved in the conversation were creator and executive producer Tim Miller, executive producer David Fincher, senior director Jennifer Yuh Nelson, and Blur Studio visual effects supervisor Jerome Denjean.
They talked about how risky it was for Netflix to believe in such a project and how lucky they are that it will be accepted.
“I felt like there wasn’t a lot of animation for adults in the west, and especially not in America, and especially not at the budget level that really made high-end CG possible like Pixar and DreamWorks did for kids “, Said Müller. “And we felt it was time we did that for adults.”
He was certainly right. There were many short films, but as a viewer you had to look for them in the noisy playing field of the Internet. And not all of them achieved a certain quality.
“[The series] was born out of a desire to play in a sandbox where the animation didn’t have to be furry animals singing, ”said Fincher. “You could kill yourself every now and then.”
Miller said, “There really wasn’t anything like that, if there was an anthology it was live action, and most of the time it didn’t work. Certainly there was no anthology animation for adults. Fortunately for us, they said, ‘Okay, we’re taking a risk.’ ”
Netflix’s risk paid off, but behind the scenes they couldn’t have asked for a more talented team of producers and supervisors. These were people who made sure that the artistic vision and quality came to the fore.
And they could present something unique and still commercial.
“It proved that what everyone wanted to do was possible,” said Yuh Nelson. “When films like Ghost in the shell and Akira came out people said ‘why can’t we do this here?’ The obstacle to making this stuff was worry that people wouldn’t actually be watching. And the fact that people were watching paid off the whole gamble. ”
Well, a lot of people watched and the show got so successful that Netflix gave the go-ahead for season two, which is out now, and a third season that they say is coming very soon.
Denjean says, “What really made it different was the idea of a collective. Suddenly we gave smaller and medium-sized studios a voice that didn’t have the bandwidth to do something like this on their own. ”
These studios may not be giants like Pixar, but they had their own artistic integrity and were eager to showcase the work. Plus, the Netflix feature gives them access to a global audience and no box office worries.
“There aren’t a lot of venues where you put competitive people in the same sandbox and play together,” says Fincher.
Miller added that animation has become an art form that is now not denied access to everyone. Users can animate at home with the right programs, and that cost has come down too.
He said, “Animators always said things like, ‘If only I could go to a big studio’ or ‘If only I could get my hands on the right software’. How far has the industry come in the last 20 years of doing all of this on Blender? It’s all free software that machines cost … not $ 40,000 like it was at the beginning. Anyone can do this, and the tools are there to do something pretty sophisticated. “
If you are an animator I hope this has inspired your next project! Have you already seen the latest season on Netflix? What were your favorite episodes?
Let me know in the comments.