INTERVIEW WITH MAURIZIO BRANCALEONI:
YOUR WORK AWARDED A PRIZE AT ANIMOWEB
You took part in the 3rd Edition of aniMOweb on the themes of women and equal opportunities and you won a prize. Congratulations! First we would like to know how you spent the aniMOweb money prize (if you won a money prize). Then, how you created your work: what software did you use?, How long did you take? Did you work alone or with someone? How did you get the idea? Did you expect to win a prize?
Of course, the prize. Well, more than saying how I spent the money, it would be the case to wonder if I spent it, considering the high taxes of this year. Since it became part of my income, it is quite difficult to remember where I spent it, but it was definitely useful.
To produce Kreta I used (unfortunately for the last time at aniMOweb, alas!) the terrific Director. Its future seems uncertain, since Macromedia has just incorporated Adobe…And there is other software to edit images and audio. Ha!, of course also Flash for animating drawings.
Production took an incredibly short time, about three or four days part time for the first trials and another full time week for the main software. At that point I had definite ideas in mind on how and what to do it, so it was less difficult than I expected.
For the first time I was able to work with an outstanding and famous illustrator, Franco Tempesta, who created some parts of the body of the Minotaur and of Ariadne, as well as the "tiles" of the labyrinth and the bases of the stones for attack and defence. I hope this first common work will lead us to future collaborations, for the next aniMOweb, for example….Are you curious about it?
How does an idea come? Recipe: some liking for games, (a lot, in truth), a knack for challenge (the more difficult, the better) and for cards, dice, boards and similar games, without forgetting the mouse and Friar Mac (he easily gets peevish, if we forget him); put all the ingredients into a head or two, stir everything well, remove some enough sleep and make it an urgent need.
Then hope to win something at the contest. Otherwise you should not take part. But I really didn't expect to…Opponents were really good, I didn't feel I was better. I was very lucky, hurrah!
LIFE OF YOUR WORK AFTER ANIMOWEB
Did you present your work in similar contests or in personal promotions on other sites? Was it selected in other festivals? Did you win other prizes with it?
Nada de nada. That's partly because last year working on it took a lot of time, and partly because the market of games is full up and there's no room for "independents" like me. There are few contests like aniMOweb featuring interactive games…though.
Anyway, try to find a customer who is interested in a game (and send me the address if you can, of course)…In the end the only site publishing Kreta was Obras, www.obras.vr.it, the site of my studio, section Portfolio/Play. This is the same as playing at home.
However, I was very happy to hear that the game was appreciated so much, also for a didactic value I hadn't thought about.
CREATING ANIMATION, GAMES AND INTERACTIVE APPLICATIONS FOR THE WEB
Creating animation, games and interactive sites for the Web: what perspectives do you see for the jobs in this field? What are the key factors to be successful with these activities?
As for the market, either too many or too few perspectives. I mean, animated intros are definitely encumbering and redundant, and unfortunately often amateurish. Perhaps there are some opportunities to become successful in this field, but I believe the public wants quality now. The skip intro link runs the risk to be the most clicked in the site.
The opposite happens for games: it takes a great effort to invent and create them, the market is irrelevant (nobody?) if you are not Blizzard or MacSoft. Competition is little and very few are the novelties from independents, so only very big companies can sustain the game, literally.
The only really interesting branch are interactive sites: the market offers really big potentialities here, since increasingly often dynamic and updatable pages are required- and easily- both on the part of users and on the part of webmasters. In this sense, I believe the potentialities of an instrument like Flash are absolutely first - rate , the same Macromedia has (had?) proved it by encouraging its Studio Professional. We'll see what happens with Adobe, even if I believe software like Flash runs no risk as Director, considering the basis that has been installed in the web for years.
IDEA AND EXECUTION
What do you prefer in the creative process, the planning part or the implementation? How would you describe these two phases in your way of creating? Do you keep them separate or do you have a flexible approach?
What do I prefer between plan and production? Both, of course. Obviously, the stages are extremely different. First planning comes before production, but above all it is indistinct and "diffuse", liable to re-thinking, revising, a lot of erasing and some sketching, some dreams, ideas and painful renunciations. But when you feel you've got something complete, enthusiasm compels you to produce it. Of course, additions and subtractions do not end. Only that during production changes are in favour of the structure, completing with technique something that can stand by itself, inserting some new ideas and adapting the others. To me, no definite stages, then, but I have to follow an order, otherwise I run the risk of working at random.
Works produced with Flash: share with us and comment, if you want, some of your favourite bookmarks of sites, animation, games and interactive applications.
I don't navigate looking for Flash movies too much. Generally, I like good ideas so www.tokyoplastic.com is one of my favourites: these people are geniuses for the graphics, the imagination and the use of Flash. Also everything I find by Bruno Bozzetto: he has only changed his instrument, he uses Flash instead of a crayon, perhaps a little bit naively, but there are plenty of ideas, rhythm and fun are for certain.
ANIMOWEB PROS AND CONS
What do you like best in aniMOweb and what would you change or add?
I love the simple fact it exists. It is one of the few contests in Italy (the only one?) of this kind, organisers are terrific people and the final festival proposes a lot of excellent animated materials one cannot find elsewhere. Change something? The head of organisers, the others obviously. Wouldn't it be wonderful if there were at least three or four contests like this in Italy?
ANIMOWEB ON CONFLICTS, WAR AND PEACE
The 4th Edition of aniMOweb is on the theme of conflicts, cult of war, culture of peace: how do you feel about these subjects? Do they trigger your fancy? Do you think you'll take part?
Not at all. I've really tried to take part as a member of the jury, but with such a theme I haven't been able. Then I received the introducing mail and the situation got desperate: I was assaulted by a competition virus I wasn't able to defeat. The result is that I'll try also this year.
We would like to know something about your present and future plans. How do you see yourself in 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years? Do you imagine doing the same things you are doing now?
Foreseeing where I am in 50 years? Underground? Better shifting to something else. In fact, I usually don't make predictions beyond 5 days ahead, more or less. So I would like to think of an Obras which is expanding with more and more special people, something that is already happening, isn't it Yousef? Why not expanding in Europe and in the world? Last, dream of dreams, being able to find customers wanting to improve their sites not only with intros or with dynamic pages but with increasingly involving games. Science Fiction? Well, dreaming doesn't cost anything. For the present at least.
Last, ask yourself a question and answer it. Or, if you don't want to do it, use this space to proclaim your credo to the visitors of aniMOweb site (don't be too boastful), or describe your political program to convince electors to vote for you (as if there was an election), talk about your philosophy, quote a proverb, a saying, make a drawing, improvise an animated movie in Flash, in short end this interview as you like…
Since I found this terrific photograph - everytime someone becomes difficult - I've been thinking about it and I've realised that with some effort "There's nobody so fat, big and heavy that they can't love" At least it is worth trying. Always.
Click the image to see a bigger version.
"Kreta", prized game by MAURIZIO BRANCALEONI (1st place section B 2004, theme: WOMEN AND WORK, WOMEN'S TIME, HEROINES AND FEMALE CHARACTERS, SOCIAL ROLE OF WOMEN, RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN):
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