Featured image credit: Michael Cusack
We chat to Michael Cusack about BETTER THAN ANGELS.
What inspired you to create this film?
This film is a story of lost potential. A few years ago, I went to Gallipoli and was struck as many are, by the young ages carved onto the grave markers. I began to wonder how many great books, paintings and other pieces of art that we were robbed of by this massacre of the innocents. Essentially, this is a film about how the arts can give hope in the direst of times.
What challenges did you face in creating this production?
Stop motion has always been an exacting art form, but the main challenge in making this film was what seems to be a relatively simple action, the playing of a 'Cello. This action is particularly difficult as animating a long bow horizontally across the screen can seem jerky and stilted if the action isn't done well. I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to keep the bow straight through the action. Some of the bow sweeps were in excess of 70 moves, so the movements were very demanding.
What is one piece of advice would you give to aspiring filmmakers?
For other stop motion animators I would suggest that, because you will be investing so much time and effort into your films, that you make sure that the story is one that you really want to tell. It should come from the heart. Once you have started, make sure you finish it. It's an awful thing to see that amount of effort count for nothing!
What are you hoping audiences will take away from watching this film?
I would hope that my audience will be moved by the film and realise just how important the arts are to us.