What inspired you to come up with the idea for the film?
I wanted to tell a story about where I thought good ideas came from. I hoped the film would encourage the people watching it to believe in their own ideas. As an animator it seemed an obvious decision to personify an idea as a light bulb and have it go on an adventure to find a place where it could shine the brightest.
How do you relate to your characters or subjects?
I think it’s quite easy to relate to the main character in the film. He is someone who just wants to fit in somewhere and belong. In a wider sense, the theme of the film will always remind me what kind of stories I should tell in my future films.
What aspect of the story changed the most during writing and production?
The film is set inside the human brain and for a long time there was a cross section of the head storyboarded so the audience would go outside the mind and see the location of the light bulbs. There was much back and forth about it but ultimately we decided to trust that the audience would understand the concept without having to be shown that image. That way we could stay with the character and build the relationship with the audience rather than showing the audience more that what the character knew.
What influenced the visual style of your film?
Once we knew the characters were light bulbs then we could build the world around them. They are electrical, solid and made from metal and glass. They wouldn’t fit in an organic world so by stripping away the idea of blood and tissue we were left with the electrical bits of the brain. To have it as a type of ideas factory seemed logical so we used power stations, submarines and circuit boards as inspiration.
What was the most courageous decision you or your crew made during writing and production?
I think it was not revealing what the ideas were. We subtly show the type of idea the individual bulbs represent but we never show an actual idea. This was a decision I made early in the writing process. I wanted someone watching the film to imagine the ideas as their own and if we described what the ideas were then it would eliminate the ability to put your own ideas in the film.
Were there any risks that you faced during writing/production and how did you find a way to embrace them?
The biggest risk we ran was having an audience lose interest because they didn’t understand what they were watching. There were various ways to overcome this like narration, signs or descriptions and leaving the head to see it from an outside perspective. All of these things would work but I wanted to believe in the intelligence of the audience. I wanted them to work for the story not just sit back and let it be spoon fed. They were hard decisions to make but I had to listen to my own expectations of the film over what I imagined an audience would expect.
What risks does your story take?
Some of our story elements are very subtle and not very obvious. The types of ideas in the brain are represented by different shaped and coloured light bulbs which need some thought to understand. There are bulbs looking after secrets who are black light UV and bulbs responsible for logical ideas that all solve puzzles.
How would you encourage others to tell their story or manage through the process of screen writing or film producing?
I would suggest having a mission statement that you can always refer to. It becomes a set of instructions for the film that keeps your initial intentions true and stops the film becoming to muddied with ideas.