How did you get inspired to become a filmmaker?
It started with a flip book shown to me by my elementary school art teacher when I was in kindergarten. It was of a foot ball going through a goal post. I was so fascinated with the visual I attempted to recreated myself. Since then I had created several flip books of my own. My favorite growing up was of a helicopter blowing up bases. After that introduction to animation I would later learn that this is the basic technique used by animators of my favorite cartoons I use to watch growing up in the 80s and when I discovered I could draw, I wanted to create cartoons that would rival the ones I use to watch. I was inspired by 80’s action cartoons such as Voltron and The Transformers, but I also drew inspiration from video games, such as the Megaman and Megaman X series and Anime had influence on my storytelling style which why my pseudo name is “Shawnime”.
What is your favorite part about the short film form?
The film I created I wanted to be like the Saturday morning cartoons I grew up watching in the 80s. All of those cartoons were 30 minutes which is perfect for the short film format.
Who were the people that supported the making of this film?
Early on I had no support. I did, however, have two who always believed in me. My older sister Crystal and my cousin Corey but I had to develop my skills on my own. For the longest time animation was just a hobby I did but it gave me something to look forward to every day but no one thought I was serious enough. As my skills started to grow and my work started to look more and more professional, people started to noticed. My toughest critics were my family. The first animation to win them over was a incomplete animation called Flag Wars. It was the first film I created that had sound effects and voice overs. Since then they have come around to the idea of me animating.
What resources do you use as a filmmaker? Music, locations, props, editing, crew, etc.
The music was provided by my cousin Corey N. Johnson. The animation was created using a open source 3D animation program called Blender which can be download at blender.org. Sound effects were from Theforce.net.
What is your next project?
I am currently working on the sequel to Cybertech Episode 1. I plan to make this an 8 episode series. Right now I’m working on the graphic novels for the next 7 episodes and after those are finished I’ll go back and start animating the second film. Hopefully once people see the first episode I animated and the other 7 other graphic novels I could develop a fan base for Cybertech to help me get the other episode animated.
The independent film business is a difficult one. What keeps you motivated? Where do you see the industry going in the future?
I am more focus on seeing my story come to life than the business of film making. My thought was make the film first then worry about the business after the film was made. What keeps me motivated is seeing my creations come to life. I may not make a dime but seeing my completed film makes it all worth it. I am very fortunate that I have the ability to make the film I want without having to pitch my ideas to a major movie studio. Should I succeed in getting my film to a larger audience, maybe I could inspire others to go the independent route.
Which filmmakers, artists or individuals have most influenced your work?
I was influenced by 80’s action cartoons, such as Voltron and Transformers but I also drew inspiration from my favorite video game series Megaman and Megaman X. My story telling style was influence by anime I watched during the 90’s. Star Wars, like so many others also had an affect on me. I learned everything I know about animation from watch documentaries of George Lucas and Walt Disney.
What advice would you give new filmmakers?
If you have a story to tell, don’t let anyone prevent you from telling it. During the 3 and a half years I worked on my film I had people tell me that I was crazy to give up all my free time to work on it. They didn’t care about my vision. All they saw was the work but now that they have seen the end results of my labor, they now understand why I did it.
Check out Shawn’s website here!
Watch and vote for Cybertech Episode 1 competing in 2016 Webisodes Video Contest.
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