We interview Noah Mauchly on his short film ‘John and Friends’.
“John and Friends” explores the tricky parts of relationships, romantic or otherwise, through the use of real-life interviews thread throughout the story of a rabbit, John, and his struggles navigating the subject.
Tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Noah Mauchly, I was born in New Hampshire in the US. With this film and all my other films, I hope to shed light on the small things people usually glance over and bring human topics to the forefront, such as emotion, experience, perception, aging, and time.
What inspired you to do what you do?
There wasn’t a time in my life I wasn’t drawing, and that came from a deep fascination with characters and people. I’ve always been super sensitive to the relationships I have with people, so in a way focusing on character-driven stories is how I make sense of the things I struggle with.
What was the biggest challenge when creating this film?
The biggest challenge in making “John and Friends” was trying to piece it all together. I was cocky and jumped into making the film without an ending or even really a hook. I just started making it and assumed it would come together on its own. Towards the end of production, I realized that wasn’t the case and I needed to find a way to give what I had a shape in a short amount of time, so I took some advice and funnelled my own personal experiences making the film into John’s storyline. The film wound up being a lot more meta in that regard than I anticipated, but it gave the film the framing device it needed.
What was the funniest thing that happened on set?
I asked the people I interviewed to draw something that would give me an idea for how I should represent them in the film. Lots of people wound up drawing plants, most of which I had to replace with animal alternatives, but I did keep one thinking it would save time to animate, as I wouldn’t have to worry about lip sync or facial expressions. In the end though, to get it to seem like words were actually coming out of the plant I had to compensate with a lot more body movement and expression and it took twice as long to animate as everything else. I was at the point of considering the whole thing my “Plant Film”.
What are some of the highlights/successes you’ve had most recently?
The highlight of making “John and Friends” was hearing all the support from my peers once it was finished, many of which I hadn’t heard from before. Animation can be an incredibly insular process, and it’s easy to lose track of the outside world and your audience in just trying to get it done, so the reminder that work (not just my own) can matter to someone else was incredibly reassuring..
What’s next for you on your journey?
Really, the next step for me is to wait out COVID and focus on personal repair. It’s been tough, not just for me, and it’s going to be tough for a while. So while I’m not throwing in the towel in the fight against misinformation and racial injustice, my batteries have been drained more than they ever have, and I’m putting my own personal aspirations on pause to get my strength back.
What would be your advice to other young film makers?
I would say it’s important to jot down an idea you fall in love with as quickly as you can so you don’t lose it. I tend to type up stories because it’s a quick way to put ideas together, and even digging through old stories I wrote years and years ago revealed some nuggets I connect to today, so it’s important to treat your ideas with as much respect as you can: stop what you’re doing to jot them down and save them in some fire-proof way. Even if nothing becomes of an idea you have today, you never know when it might fuel your creative fires in the future.
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