After losing the tool he relies on most, a fraud information worker decides to go back in time to prevent it.

Animation has always allowed artist to push for some pretty sensible distortions. In ‘Losing It’, animator Sascha Vernik brilliantly bends space and time within his twisted story with his particular paintbrush style. The story follows Alex Brotzky (voiced by Howard Nightingall), a fraud information worker who decides to go back in time to prevent the loss of his most reliant tool. We fall deep into his distorted reality while we try to grasp sense of the event and character intentions, becoming a vivid experience as we search for answers. We spoke with Sascha who gave us a little more insight on creating this hard labouring project.

Can you tell us what inspired you to bring this story to life?

The first idea for this short has popped up more than 10 years ago, essentially it was about creating a riddle-like short animated film where the protagonist’s timeline was shifted from the film’s timeline.
I wanted to create a sort of blueprint project for the type of work I would ideally like to be doing in the future.

How was this animated style created?

The animation itself is really rough and without a cleanup pass in order to save time.
After the rough animation stage I created overpainted 3d backgrounds giving the environments consistency. For each animated character there’s a base color layer with 2 shadow passes on top. I wanted to keep the look painterly, so I hid most of the lineart and was mixing hard and soft edges in the shadows. I used the same base colors for each scene and did all of the color shifting in post. EBSynth was a handy tool to speed up the animation process for some parts.

Were there any challenges that stood out in the process?

The main challenge was the sheer size of the project. I was really fortunate to get great support from all around ( audio engineers at Innenhofstudios Vienna, musician Clemens Sainitzer and sound designer Mauricio Duda particularly were a big help) and yet I still had to do most of the animation work myself.
Over the years I started working on Losing It several times, but I couldn’t see it through and stopped. I had to understand how to fix some of the core problems of the story before being able to continue properly.

Character concept art by Florian Boschitsch Bron

Do you have any tips or advice to offer fellow animators?

Find out what really fascinates you about your project and stick to it! During the long production span it’s so easy to get distracted or to second-guess yourself too much.

What do you hope people will take away from Losing It?

I really hope that they gain a fresh experience that they can draw from, in any way or form.

storyboard frames by Igino & Revkin

What are your favorite short films?

Recently I liked Jibaro by Alberto Mielgo, I also really enjoy browsing through Gobelin’s graduation films, there are so many gems to find there, like COLZA , LOUISE, COFFIN…

Which films you can say directly inspired this film?

The aesthetics of the Matrix, the ambiguity of Twin Peaks and the vibe of Æon Flux (the animated series)