Once in a while, hard work and sheer luck manage to help each other out for a change, and we might just find ourselves on the verge of realizing a long-hoped for dream. Of course, this happens about as often as a total solar eclipse, so if you ever find yourself in this position do your best to seize your dream with both hands and try not to gloat too much as you’re scampering gleefully away. In the short film Real Artists, Sophia (Tiffany Hines) is in exactly this enviable position, having earned an interview for her dream job at Semaphore Studios. She longs to be an animator, and for that this is THE studio to work for. And right now they’re developing Return to Mythos, sequel to their huge hit Mythos, so this is the perfect time to join the team.
Sophia’s interviewer is Anne Palladon (Tamlyn Tomita), whose work Sophia has always admired. Even better, Anne is impressed by Sophia’s work and is anxious to get another woman on board. This couldn’t be a more promising start, and you can almost see Sophia telling herself not to mess this up. But there’s a lot hiding behind that non-disclosure agreement she had to sign, and the job may not be quite the sort of dream she thinks it is.
Hines is perfectly cast as the hopeful, idealistic Sophia getting her first look behind the curtain, while Tomita shines as the successful woman in a man’s world. (Your MCND fact of the day: women hold only about 20% of animation industry jobs.) But where the movie really hits home is in its predictions for the not too distant future of animation and movie-making, where it may just be frighteningly accurate. The film quietly puts some unsettling notions into your mind, notions that will haunt you long after the film ends. The real artists behind everything aren’t at all who you expect them to be.