INTERVIEWS

AN INTERVIEW WITH LANESSA MILLER, DIRECTOR & ANIMATOR OF "STORYBOOK MAN"

Winner: Best Female Director Super Short Film - May 2021 Edition

Nominee: Best Music Video - Best Original Song





BIO


LANESSA MILLER

DIRECTOR & ANIMATOR



Bill Mudge, Director & Co-Producer


LANESSA MILLER



For more than 20 years Lanessa Miller has been answering the call for art. She specializes in traditional realism and has illustrated books, web, newspaper, and magazine over the last six years.

While earning her BFA at Austin Peay State University, Lanessa learned a bit about motion in design. Her talented son, Fox Coulon joins her to collaborate on the music video for "Baptized" in Jordan.


You can usually find Lanessa in her home studio, drawing and painting portrait commissions, cartooning, and now animating!





INTERVIEW



Thank you Lanessa you for having us. First things first, would you tell us a bit more about yourself, and how you became an Animator?


Hi, thank you for the question. It was by providence that I was discovered and put to work animating my illustrations. A couple of years ago, I was doing mostly realistic pastel and oil portraits, lots of pet portraits.


I had also illustrated a couple of books in a line drawing cartoon style which attracted the attention of songwriter, Dwight L. Wilcox II. Originally, he wanted a slide show of still illustrations to play during his song. I had taken a single animation class in college many years ago, so I knew we could pull off much more than a slideshow. I offered to make it a full music video and that was five films ago. We've been working together ever since. So a huge thank you to Dwight, who puts me up to all this.





How would you describe your work?


The most obvious thing about my films is the unique visual style of illustration. I use hand-drawn outlines in a dark color accented with a minimal but bright color palette to complement the tone of the song. My films looks like a print page except for the motion.


By using paper textures I hope to give the feel of print media with colors separated for screenprinting or offset printing. This lends a graphic design quality. I tell an effective and complete story with the most efficient and minimal animation. The stories are usually of someone pining for love with an ambiguous ending.





What are your favorite subjects or topics to draw?


My favorite subject is the figure. I love telling a story through body language, especially when the subjects are adults. I like portraying the feelings that go along with relationships. Dwight's songs are always about just this, so it is a perfect match.


I like creating little moments where the character has an unexpected interaction and is surprised, so I probably sprinkle those in quite a bit. I'm intrigued by the way a person's appearance, expression, and stance can put their beliefs and attitudes on display.


Dwight's songs give away some of the story, but as the director and animator, I love filling in the details with my own interpretation.




Where do you get your ideas or inspiration from? Is Music one of your favorite sources of creativity?


Music has been the foremost inspiration for all my films. Before I started animating for Dwight's songs, I really had no call for interpreting music visually. This is very fresh and fun for me. I spend a lot of time wearing headphones listening to the song and just visualizing all the possible ways I could interpret a verse, chorus, or instrumental break. I get my ideas for color from the instrumentals. I get my basic character from the lyrics. From the vocals, I can imagine more about who the singer is and what happens to them.