THE MAKING
OF
ZEZE & MERCEDES



This is the documentation of the pre-production of our graduation film "Zeze & Mercedes". A 2D digitally animated, 8 minute-long film about two kids friendship, their separation and how they deal with it in an internal stage. 

made by

Başak Kırıcı ( Director) , Corina Bojan (VFX Animator), Ming Mei-Ting Stotijn (Art Director),
Lok Thong Siu (Character Animator), Teodora Simon (Concept Artists)

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The story is about  a boy called Zeze (8), paying a peculiar visit to his friend Mercedes (8). Hesitant to explain the reason behind his short visit, Mercedes challenges Zeze to a race over the carpet on the condition that he needs to stay if he loses and listen to his reasons if he wins. Throughout the game, they race together with their imaginary friends through life-threating obstacles till Mercedes finds out about the bitter truth behind her friend's visit.

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The film came to be, over a period of 3 years, as I met new people, lost old friendships, reconciled and quarrelled, witnessed reunions and divorces, and pondered how to function in all these relationship dynamics.
I wanted to make a film about the departure of my very first friend and coming to terms with it. I wanted to tell my friend how I feel about their presence and absence in my life, the feelings of abandonment, longing, happiness, frustration, comfort, helplessness, nostalgia and gratefulness.

I wanted to portray the 'philia' between two friends and struggles that comes with it.


THE PRE-PRODUCTION

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These are the early concept art and character designs of Zeze and Mercedes, in the beginning they had a different narrative than the final one. The story took place in the forest nearby their village and there were only one imaginary character that they came across. The kid's game shaped around this one character but as the production team grew, I was able to include more characters in the story. In the end we had a whole parade of imaginary characters in various shapes and sizes.
 

Early Concept Art of Zeze & Mercedes, İzmir 2020 


First Draft of theScript and Final Version of the Storyboard 

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Finalising the storyboard approximately took 2 months in total. During this period "I would sketch the rough storyboard then consult with Ming the Art Director and my Tutor for feedback. The time I've spend with my friend while I was working on the story also helped me construct the narrative and the kid's inner conflicts.  

I’ve kept a diary through the pre-production of the film for research purposes, I’ve recorded my thoughts, our conversations and events that took place within 2 months. 

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After the first edit, the film was supposed to be around 15 minutes. I wanted to add more information about  the characters backstories and include side stories about the manifestation of their fears. However due to our upcoming deadlines and shortage on animators, I had to cut some scenes and re-write the story to make it shorter.  Even though we had to delete some scenes, the previous concept art worked as reference for the animators and  we found ways to include small details about characters through backgrounds.


Zeze & Mercedes Character Design Studies, Publication of the  Progress 


Early Zeze & Mercedes Animation Tests, Izmir 2020

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THE PRODUCTION

We started the production on May with the help of the 1st years from animation department in WdKA. They gave us a boost up in the beginning phase and thanks to them we managed covered the half of the animation of the film. This is one of the roughly animated style frames
to see how the animation would look like in the 
end. Through the production we used this test as a reference for the rest of the scenes.

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Style Frames for the Production

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Thumbnails for the Production Sheet, Grayscale Compositions of the Scenes

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Proportion Comparison Sheet for the Characters


Rough Animated Scenes from the Film

S3_s03_Start Running.                                                               S3_s04_Carpet Morphing

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S3_s07_Mercedes Grab                                                               S3_s09_Charon Morphed Kids



S4_s24_Caterpillar Plunge                                                            S4_s25_Hand Reach

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