Thessaloniki Animation Festival 2023: interview with Vasilis Eudokias and Lefteris Faidas

Thessaloniki Animation Festival
Thessaloniki Animation Festival

During one of the TAF Thessaloniki Animation Festival 2023 master classes, “A to Z animation production of episode series” which focused on various stages of production of a single animated episode, we were able to ask a few questions to the panellists: Vasilis Eudokias and Lefteris Faidas. Eudokias is a Creative Director, Writer and Designer at the animation production company FUNNY TALES STUDIO. Faidas is a Creative Director in AddArt. Both of them are responsible for a series Pix & Leo and are currently working on a new animated series Bug & Play. We asked them about the creation process of an animated series and what hardships can animators encounter during the production as well as their personal influences on their creative process.

What are the worst mistakes animators can do when creating the first episode for the series? 

Lefteris Faidas: I’d say the worst maybe is in animatic. In the choices you make while directing, it’s where you can go overboard and you might not  be able to achieve what you set out to do. Even if your script can be overwhelming, there are ways you can mitigate what you did in the animatic and problem solve and figure out clever ways that you can cheat stuff.  If your animatic is bad, it’s not really bad. 

Vasilis Eudokias: We talk with Lida, with our writer, all the time about that. We’re writing stuff and we’re trying to figure out how the thing will look at the end. So we have to always visualise how it will look at the end and not overreach for things that we know that are very difficult to do in the time frame that we need to do them. We haven’t told that, but to do the materials for the episode…  The whole pre-production of the episode without the animatic, it takes three weeks to do it. And maybe, I mean, to do the animatic it’s two to three weeks, but then you have all  the changes from the producers. So for the whole episode, we aim for a little more than a month. So you have to be very quick and know what you’re doing, because it can get very out  of budget very easily. So in my opinion, to be clear, your answer is, a mistake is bad directing. 

What is it like to produce entertainment for children?  In this case, an animated show?

Vasilis Eudokias: It’s very interesting. You would think that it’s an easy task, but it’s not, because there are a lot of things that you don’t think about. There are a lot of things that you can say, things that you cannot say, and things that you can say, but in a clever or a different way. And this is something that the producers have a lot of say in it, because our producers are baby TV, so they know their target group, and they have a lot of psychologists, and I don’t know what else they have, but there are a lot of feedback about what we can and what we cannot do.  And in our first series, it was a lot more difficult than this one, because we were trying to understand what are our boundaries, how we can tell a story. But in this series, because we learned a bit, and I think they are more relaxed, so they let us do some things, the whole action thing is something that we could not do three years ago. But now, we can do it. 

Lefteris Faidas: It can be limiting, but it’s rewarding, I think, in the long run. 

Do you use any AI-based tools during your work? 

Vasilis Eudokias: No, I mean AI came pretty late in the game for this show, so I don’t know if we would use it.

Lefteris Faidas: We do use some, but it doesn’t end up in the episode. It’s only for concept work, design. So we don’t use anything in the episode, but we do use it for… instead of using Google images, we use AI in some cases. 

Vasilis Eudokias: That’s only for reference. 

I find those two shows where you made the Pix and Leo and Bug and Play to be very, very adorable and cute. The designs are very cute. Are those designs inspired by French animation or French comics? A lot of French animated shows feature cartoony animals. Any inspirations from France?

Vasilis Eudokias: That’s our leftovers, actually, of the designs. For the two series. 

Lefteris Faidas: Sure, yeah I’m personally influenced by French and Belgian comics. In Pix and Leo there were some references to animations and studios. We love French animation and comics.

Your favourite BD comic?

Vasilis Eudokias: The TinTin series.

Lefteris Faidas :For me it was Lucky Luke. I go back and forth between Lucky Luke and Asterix and Obelix. Lucky Luke has had a deep influence on me.

This interview was taken on 24th of October. The TAF Thessaloniki Animation Festival 2023 lasted from 21.09.2023 till 30.09.2023 in both live and digital versions. You can visit the TAF Thessaloniki Animation Festival 2023 website here. You can also read our interview with Stavros on our website here.

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