Q&A with Pinoy animators of 'Teen Titans Go! To the Movies'
Filipino artists have long been contributing their talents to some of the biggest animated hits the world has seen (just check out Pixar's Coco and Inside Out). They continue to do so with Teen Titans Go! To the Movies, Warner Bros Animation's film based on the hit television series.
Fittingly, it was a young group of animators that brought the story of a young group of superheroes to life. In the following Q&A, the team from Manila-based Snipple Animation talk about their Hollywood breakthrough, and how they came to animate the new film.
Tell us about Snipple Animation and how it started.
Snipple was founded in 2011 by a bunch of artists who came from all over the Philippines with one clear goal which was to showcase to the world that the true art of animation in the Philippines and the talent of our artists were able to compete with the global demand of animation production.
We started working with shows like Geronimo Stilton, Santa's Apprentice II, Pinocchio the feature, Dude That's My Ghost, The Congress, Nerds and Monsters, and Rick and Morty. These shows were very telling, as they allowed us to show what we are able to do as a group. Our big break came with Nickelodeon, where we were trusted to produce the 1st and 2nd season of Dora and Friends: Into The City. This is the show that put Snipple on the map.
Since then, we have continued to evolve and our recent or current slate includes Wacky Races, Be Cool Scooby Doo, Bunnicula, DC Super Hero Girls, Unikitty, Dorothy and the Wonders of OZ, Ducktales and Big Hero 6, to name a few. We are proud to say that we are exclusively working for Warner Bros, Disney, and Dream Works.
What led to Snipple doing animation work for Teen Titans Go! To the Movies?
Snipple has built a reputation for consistently increasing the quality benchmark and delivering on schedule, with ease of communication with our clients. This has led to our brand being exposed to producers in the industry who always look for reliable partners to help bring their shows to life.
We were lucky to be given the opportunity to work on a test of Teen Titans Go! To the Movies and even luckier to have impressed the producers with this. This led to us being given the opportunity to work on this feature.
What are the primary aspects Snipple had to work on? How long did these take? Please take us through the process.
Our role in this production was to produce the animation from layout, backgrounds, set up, posing, animation, FX, and compositing. At each stage, we were lucky to be able to share and work closely with the TTGoTtM team at Warner Bros Animation (WBA) who always worked closely with us to achieve the best animation possible. We are proud to say that together, we did this!
We started the project in late September or early October 2017, and finished right about at the beginning of May 2018.
What are the challenges the animators had to overcome with work on the movie? Were you allowed to take creative liberties?
It was a very challenging animation style, and it was a feature film. It's more action packed and has more extreme shots than the series we were doing. Another challenge is the Teen Titans movie production came in while we were doing 3 television series with a style different from Teen Titans. So we doubled the effort to meet the deadlines with all different shows without compromising the quality our clients expect.
Who are the team members?
Bryce Dela Cruz, Kiko Lerma, Louie Bartolome, Eugene Cruz, Dennver Madulid, Richard Besana, Arman Salvacion, John Irving Prudenciano, Lad Dublin, Nathan Pangilinan, Samuel Marquez, Peter Sison, Glenn Agner, JR Yamon, Carla Mae Ravina, Rodyline Detayson, Juliet Chan, Jeffrey Imutan, Jasper Lagorza, Karlo Cayetano, Eric Accad, Gabriel Cruz, Allan Leycano, Dana Ventajado, and Rico Sarmiento.
How was the overall experience working on Teen Titans Go! To the Movies? And what did it mean to the team who worked on it?
It wasn't easy to step up and produce a feature film, but we love a challenge. We worked very hard to make sure we met the quality expectations and delivery for WBA. The late nights and huge learning curve throughout the process made it worth our while.
For us, it was extra special because we proved to ourselves that we could push our boundaries in terms of the quality we produce, and we learned a huge amount throughout the process. It meant the world to work on a feature like this, and we are super proud and humbled by this amazing experience. There is a superhero in us all.
What is the team's reaction after watching the film for the 1st time at the recent premiere in Manila? And what was it like watching it with a big audience?
It was of immense pride and excitement. To see something you have worked on being enjoyed by everyone around you is very, very special and humbling. Great to see the audience laugh and appreciate the movie. Seeing our names on the credits is the icing on the cake. Amazing!
Teen Titans Go! To the Movies opened in Philippine cinemas on August 1. – Rappler.com