WASARU TALKS SAGE FRANCIS - TEXT BY EMILY HARRISON
Think dogs are man's best friend? Think again. Wasaru's beautifully illustrated video depicts the black and white world of a lonely man whose life is changed by the entrance of a feline friend. Wasaru adds his unique stamp to Sage Francis's deeply personal song about his own experiences of depression, adding to Francis' growing repertoire of brilliantly illustrated videos. We chatted to Wasaru about how he made a drawing of a cat an allegory for struggling with mental illness.
Side note: Wasaru is one talented dude, check his first single & the launch of the album's crowdfunding campaign. More info here.
WIC: With Sage Francis being is a fan of animation, how did this project come about?
WASARU: Before directing any music video, I first attended to a Sage Francis concert in 2010 in Brussels. I became a real fan and kept on listening to his music, thanks to my friend Jebedai Couture (who is also the Art Director of Make Em Purr). After directing my first music videos, I was more confident and told myself "should I dare to ask my favorite artists to make a music video for them?" Sage Francis was the name that came in mind instantly, so I just sent him an email, believing I'd never have any answer... but he replied, interested. I was like "wow, that wasn't that hard..." That's all :)
WIC: Your style often changes, how do you approach a new project?
W: You know, animation is very boring work :) You can spend days and days animating 2 seconds of motion, drawings after drawings... So, I like to change graphic styles. It helps to have some new interest in the job, and to fit the style to the story.
animation gives you a total freedom, which is awesome for a storyteller
WIC: Are you a dog or a cat person? What were your inspirations for the story?
W: I like both dogs and cats, but I don't own any of those. I actually prefer the animals to be free. For this story, Sage gave us a story-line of a man living with a bunch of cats. So I started to write something out, along with Jebedai, then send it back to Sage. It appeared that they were too dull, with a pretty bad and sad ending... So we changed some details to make it more close to Sage's original idea that came from Jim Foltice and Cody Johnson who worked on the treatment before.
WIC: Did you expect the end result to be as emotional as it is?
W: To be honest, as we were working on the video, Jebedai and me were wondering if it would make people laugh or cry... we didn't know how hard it could affect people. I'm always astonished to read comments from affected people who recently lost their cats... As video-makers, it's always our job to make it emotional. So, we're happy with this!
WIC: At what point did you decide to go almost completely black & white?
W: From the first step. It was a good way to tell this story as a memory, a souvenir. Sepia works well for this. Additionally, it was a way to be effective in the making of the video, as we are always struggling with time & budget in the animation industry.
WIC: You direct a mixture of animation and live action. Does the freedom of animation make directing easier or more challenging?
W: Good question ! Hard answer :) It actually depends. In many points, animation gives you a total freedom, which is awesome for a storyteller. But, the counterpoint is that animation is time-consuming, so you better have to find simple and effective visuals to make it possible within time/budget. And I must admit that I'm not good at this, because I love stunning visuals and stories, those who are long to create and animate :).
Directing live action is very different in the fact that you also have to prepare all your needs before the shooting, but you can always change your story after, depending on the footages. The edit is way more important than in animation.
Anyway, I love those different ways of working.