Animation and live action aren’t that different, says Trioscope CEO


For years, the entertainment industry has drawn a line between live action and animation. Like most arbitrary divisions, its demarcation has more to do with the way things have always been than the way things should be; it’s a divide that deeply stifles innovation in storytelling.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen a similar wall – one between film and television – crumble. Films, renowned for their creative flair, have since made way for premium television, as a renaissance of premium streaming series has flooded our channels. Likewise, many argue that we are on the cusp of the golden age of animation as the adult animation category grows and begins to redefine what we expect from the genre. Particularly in the United States, where the category has traditionally been limited to comedy and family-oriented content. By continuing to adhere to and propagate outdated distinctions between what constitutes animation and live action in the way we create and pay for projects and reward creatives, we inevitably reinforce an arbitrary divide. In fact, some of the most innovative work takes place in this delightful gray area in between.

Trioscope is a unique cinematic technology that fuses live action and animation for a revolutionary, moving graphic novel experience, fully illustrated by our first series, “The Liberator”, which recently launched on a streaming service from foreground. After submitting the series to the Emmy Awards, we were immediately asked, “Isn’t this animated?” “And” Who interpreted the voices? We explained that we use our patented technology platform to film actor performances in the same way any traditional live action movie or series is shot. We then style the finished product to create an animated feel. Once clarified, our Emmy submission was upgraded to live-action, but a new question then arose: “It’s lively, isn’t it?” It became clear that we were in no man’s land.

For Trioscope, it’s about creating a story experience that blends the total emotional fidelity of a big-budget drama with the infinity of animation to form a touching and highly stylized result. Our backgrounds and visual effects are all created by CG artists, and we capture the actors’ performances natively on a soundstage before shaping something that looks like animation, but is fully alive as it is. live action. So, is “The Liberator” an animated series or live action? Although it is classified in both, it is quite another thing. As a result, it was a big hit in streaming, drawing a large following of live drama fans AND animation enthusiasts, while disrupting typical genre definitions.

“The Liberator” is neither the first nor the only hybrid project defying old norms. In fact, this is the latest evolution in a tradition of stylized live action / animation hybrids dating back to the rotoscope films, such as “Wizards” and “Lord of the Rings” of 1978, which has passed through “Waking Life” and “A Scanner Darkly,” to new iterations, including “Undone” and “Loving Vincent”. Like “The Liberator,” these films deliberately aim for a highly stylized yet emotional viewing experience for the express purpose of evoking a new emotional response not found in live-action or traditional animation. More generally, adult animation, as a category, has grown to include stories over the past decade that would typically have been directed by their peers in the live-action industry. For example, many claim that the most contemplative meditation on depression on television over the past 10 years was “Bojack Horseman”. “Love, Death and Robots” constantly subverts gender norms and pushes the boundaries with narratives that animation can tackle – a trend that has surely been influenced by the global growth of Japanese anime among adult viewers across the country. in recent years.

We are now in a time where several generations have grown up with flashy video game cutscenes and spectacle-oriented feature films loaded with stylized CG effects and, in many cases, computer-generated characters. Being deeply connected with this kind of entertainment is now second nature, so it’s no surprise to see the recent wave of upcoming video game adaptations migrating to streamers. Games like “League of Legends: Arcane”, “Assassin’s Creed” and “Cyberpunk 2077” are all adapted into long series, reflecting the world in which audiences live today. They consume content across all media and want their world to shake up. And they are equal opportunists as to who tilts it.

While there’s an appetite for ambitious, non-traditional storytelling formats, industry convention is the hurdle. Typically, drama buyers haven’t worked with animation, and adult animation buyers, who traditionally buy irreverent adult comedies, have little experience with nuanced drama series. As we sell our hybrid projects we frequently hear, “You have to talk to ‘So-and-so’ in the animation group” or “I’ve never bought animation before, so I don’t understand it. . Our technology, processes and budgets are not immediately understood by potential buyers, at least until we sit down to explain Trioscope’s production methodology.

But while buyers and awards agencies may not yet fully understand the new genre, the creators absolutely do. In many ways, this new hybrid form of storytelling is the medium that writers, directors and showrunners have been waiting for; the mix of rendered best of worlds and live-action allows them the full freedom to invent with unlimited potential. They are able to get rid of the traditional constraints of cost relative to scope, scale or frame. Imagine harnessing all the benefits of premium visual effects and animation (unlimited settings, physics challenge, unlimited spectacle, etc.) while retaining all the emotional powers of a great live performance from your favorite actors – all of it. at a fraction of the cost. This is the best scenario for a storyteller. As an emerging company, we have experienced a disproportionate amount of enthusiasm and interest from many of the world’s greatest filmmakers. They are eager to explore how this new approach can free their precious passion projects from traditional channels and help them make them come true. They can now envision the endless possibilities.

It’s time for our industry to recognize the convergence of conventional genres as they merge into innovative new forms of storytelling to redefine how content is best created, purchased, and delivered to an immersed audience.

There is no better way to start breaking down these barriers than by declaring a new era of storytelling that offers creators a new form of expression and audiences a contemporary visual experience. And above all, something that does not carry the baggage of the word “animation”.

Let’s call this new form Hybrid Entertainment, to mark a conscious shift from the old to the new and give us the flexibility to imagine, create and transcend.

This article was written by LC Crowley, CEO of Trioscope.

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