The Video Dating Tape of Desmondo Ray Aged 33 3/4

Filmmaker Interview Director/ Writer Steve Baker

by Amy Gillman

Your decision to incorporate live action and animation was powerful and fascinating. What spurred this creative decision?

I’m definitely interested in both mediums equally. I choose the medium based on what suits the story the best, but I also love how striking the combination of the two can look together. I chose to animate Desmondo in the real world because I wanted him to feel completely foreign to it, as if he’s looking to fit in but still hasn’t been able to.

Desmondo is an interesting character fused with dark comedy as well as gentle kindness; epitomized by the love he has for his father. What inspired you to create such a quirky character who possesses an array of vastly different qualities?

The starting point for Desmondo was simply that I love coming up with stories about really unique and bold characters, especially ones that view the world differently. It’s fun to see how audiences react when they view the world through Desmondo’s eyes. He’s such a strange, shocking, but ultimately beautiful character. And it’s that combination of humour and heart that I’ve always been drawn to when telling stories.

I was also keen to show that an animated character can move an audience every bit as much, if not more than a real person. They can be as complex, and mixed up, and hilarious, and heartbroken as you or I. Simply put, Desmondo is an innocent, living in a broken world, so he sees the world the way he wants to. Sometimes that means what we know to be “right” or “wrong”, might register very differently for him.

The film’s final moment is a powerful one. What are you hoping audiences take away from Desmondo’s plea for love?

The weird thing is I’m not entirely sure. When I wrote the ending it almost happened without me thinking about it. It just poured out of me and it wasn’t till I read it back that I realised how perfect and heartfelt it was. I’m one of those people who would rather feel a film (or any piece of art) than have to understand it. So when something feels right, even if I don’t know why, I just go with it.

 Using live action AND animation–what is your editing process like and how does it differ from most films?

We shot all the live action elements in a day. I then started animating everything on top of all the live action plates by myself. I use Flash to animate and also After Effects to not only composite the two mediums together, but also add all the extra effects and lighting on the animation so it blends with the live action world. Obviously I didn’t want it to appear seamless, but I did want Desmondo to look like he exists in the real world.

It differs from other films in a few ways, mostly when you have to think about Desmondo’s action and positioning when you’re filming the live action scenes. Sometimes I wanted to move the camera during a scene but I knew it would be a nightmare to composite him into it.

What do you do to keep your ideas fresh and original?

Honestly? Absolutely nothing… If they feel fresh and original then I consider myself lucky cause all I’m doing is creating the stories that pop into my mind and not worrying too much about originality. What I prefer to concentrate on is trying to make sure the audience feels something towards it.


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The Video Dating Tape of Desmondo Ray Aged 33/34


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