We have seen animals and birds talk in animated films. We have also seen objects integrated into live-action for effect. We have seen objects talking too. But imagine a world of objects, where they are having their own issues and feuds with each other.
In a first of its kind for India, Curious Men Films have created a hybrid animation web series Objectify, that takes us into the world of objects and the challenges they face in their daily lives. In the first episode of Objectify, objects have filed a case against Mobile Phone, accusing it for taking away their jobs. The second episode narrates the story of a tea cup that is going through a break-up with his girlfriend, a glass. Similar episodes are to follow.
So how did such an idea occur to the makers? “The idea came out of desperation to be honest,” smiles Curious Men Films’ Aniruddha Khanwilkar. “Desperation to create something unique yet relatable for the Indian audiences. So Ritesh and I along with our other team members Avijit, Harpreet and Ganesh were looking – praying – for an idea that we could execute according to the resources available to us.” And that’s how the series was born.
“Executing the idea was the biggest challenge. Since the series involves both live-action and animation, the first two things we needed were references and a solid plan of action,” says series co-creator Ritesh Varma. After the scripts, the team locked a structure and a set pattern for each episode. It sketched out characters and their assets along with rough storyboards, simultaneously acting out just to see that everything is falling into place in terms of scripts. “Our animation team conducted endless research and tests to make this work and finally came up with proper set of controller and rigs in Adobe After Effects, that made the animation much easier.”
Like any great animation film, this team of 12 curious men too spent most of their time in pre-production. They first created interesting and believable characters. Then came storyboard, a vital element for shooting the episodes with ease. “Art direction was a major aspect in episode one. Since it is a courtroom drama, we wanted to create something that would give us that feeling. But as our objects were small in size, it was a big challenge to create miniatures. We used objects like pencils, Jenga blocks, shoe boxes, files etc. to create the set design.”
Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop was used for illustrating the artwork, while animation was done in Adobe After Effects with the help of a few third-party plug-ins.
Producing the music and sound design was one challenging task which the team’s music director Vaibhav executed successfully. “As most of the animations have cartoonish music, we wanted to create something that was totally different. We wanted 90’s Bollywood courtroom music (for first episode),” explains Varma. No pre-made sound effects were used. All the tracks and sounds were recorded in the studio itself.
Everything from pre-production to the final release takes the cost for each episode from 1.5 to two lakhs, depending on the length too. Khanwilkar mentions, “Our creative producer Harpreet Singh has managed the budget, supporting us in a big way by bringing in a fresh perspective.” The team is also grateful to title sponsor Bullstop without whose backing according to them, Objectify wouldn’t have happened.
Primary motive of Objectify is to “provide healthy entertainment to the viewers,” shares Khanwilkar. “The secondary objective is to break the stereotype in India that animated stories are limited to just kids.”
And on a parting note he says, “Love, laugh and let go of any stress you have in life because life is like an ice cream: enjoy it before it melts!”