Director: Sunny & GERD
Working under the studio name ‘Chocolate Soop’, self-taught, multifaceted illustrator, DaCosta Bayley has been creating professionally since 1995. He has produced designs across various media, collaborated with artists around the world, and spearheaded the annual ‘March of Robots!‘ event online. His animated short, Sunny and GERD, is his directorial debut. Having worked with major brands like Pizza Hut, Nintendo, Nexon, Sony and Hasbro, DaCosta’s passion and philosophy is grounded in the belief that visual art must be imaginative and bold. With each project he strives to create the highest quality work possible, whether it be a toy, illustration, app, or animation.
What is your inspiration?
I never know when inspiration will hit me but I LOVE stories of adventure and exploration that show lost or hidden worlds. Indiana Jones, Goonies, Tonari no Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro). Experiencing a character’s journey response to events as the story unfolds is always fascinating. Add the accelerant of music, that’s when I really get lost in the process. I’ve literally spent hours listening to a single track from a film score while writing a rescue sequence for a short film.
How did you get connected with Nimble?
I met Rex when he came up to Vancouver for Spark Animation 2012 to do a presentation on character development for Madagascar 3. After his presentation, there was talk of JAPADOG (Look it up) resulting in the seeking out and over- consumption of hot dogs, followed by chatting about a robot character he wanted me to design for his project. Then he told me about the pilot program and asked if I had any ideas I would be interested in pitching, and here we are.
What are your influences?
Story tellers: Osamu Tezuka, Hayao Miyazaki, Satshi Kon, Sir Issac Asimov: Steven Moffat.
Visual: Syd Mead, Japan animé at large, Toru Nakayama
What do you love about animation?
The thing I love about the medium of animation is that it allows you the luxury of starting with a very healthy built in serving of suspension of disbelief. Animation can be presented in any visual style and by default is very different from how we see the real world. This lends itself to limitless possibilities for storytelling.
If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?
Hmmm, can’t say I would do anything differently really. I guess that would depend on whether I would know what I know now. I think the solutions to the challenges that presented themselves landed nicely. I’ve learned a lot about people and certainly myself over the last year and a bit on this project. More planning time is always awesome but not always available. Growing the network is something you want to do but that’s another thing that takes time. Having said that, the people that I’ve come to know and that I’ve developed a great creative flow with will help make the next project that much better.
Favorite animated short/feature?
Man, I couldn’t give just one.
Tokyo Godfathers – Directed by Satoshi Kon
The Incredibles – Directed by Brad Bird,
Jonathan Livingston Seagull, written by Richard Bach. I know it’s not an animation but it had a huge impact on me when I was a kid.
Outside of Sunny and GERD I have a lot of other ideas for short films that I would love to do. But without question more Sunny and GERD is the current focus. This short doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of their world and I want to explore where that might take us, through illustrations, webcomics, and of course animation. I originally started this project by blocking out the premise for a feature film and then chopped that down to other ideas for shorts, episode, vignettes, and what have you. To see if the concept felt like it had more to offer than a one off. The immediate thing submitting to festivals is to introduce these little robot dudes to the world. The piece is just over 4 minutes and has a nice ending but it actually had another post-credit ending or “Tag” that I cut for budgetary reasons. It’s another 45 seconds of silliness with Sunny. So I’m planning a Kickstarter to help make that happen. And in addition to that I’ve written an “Earlier That Day” four page webcomic that gives us a look at what Gerd was doing before the events of the short. It gives us a glimpse into Gerd’s personality. I’m just starting to rough out the pages. We even get to meet a new character in their world. I think these 2 additions will bookend the short nicely.
If you could work with any filmmaker, living or dead, who would it be?
Jorge R. Gutiérrez
If you could be any animated character, who or what would you be?
I don’t ever think I’ve wanted to be any particular character ever. Given that I have seven black shirts, all the same, three pairs of black jeans in same style and in the countless amount of black T-shirts various robot graphics on them, I’m pretty much a cartoon character as I appear to wear the same thing every day.
About Sunny & GERD:
Two sides of the same coin, this robot duo deals with life’s challenges very differently. Sunny, the ‘let’s-make-it-happen’ ball of energy, rolls with the punches and approaches every challenge ready to make ‘lemonade.’ Conversely, Gerd has a firm idea about the way the world should work and likes things done by the numbers. Day-to-day life on the factory planet is non-stop. Whether it’s testing a new atomic gizmo in the lab, performing routine maintenance on the production line or break-time in the automat cafe. It’s never long before things get a little crazy!