Ricochet News

Port Elizabeth animators hope to put to township life on screens

By Afikile Lugunya - Sep 18, 2018
Port Elizabeth animators hope to put to township life on screens

Two animators from Motherwell, Port Elizabeth, are hoping to put the Nelson Mandela Bay on the global film map through their township-lifestyle-inspired animated videos.

Mpumelelo Matayi and Lubabalo Loyilani have successfully registered their animation production company, which they called Fun-art Entertainment. The company actually started out as a hobby for funny short videos - commonly called skits.

The two aspiring filmmakers have since quit their day time jobs to pursue their love of drawing and animations.

Fun-art Entertainment is now also hoping to help many young people pursue their passion in the film industry as voice-over artists among other roles - thereby helping to keep young people busy and reducing crime and drug abuse in the townships.

Speaking to RNEWS, the duo said that they have always had a shared passion for drawing since their High School days when they were actually desk-mates for four years. They did not know that their love for drawing would come this far.

“We used to draw our classmates and a talk bubble in class and pass the papers around class and everyone would laugh, so as we grew up, people asked why don’t we make our characters move like in the cartoon movies,” Matayi said.

This encouraged them to make do research about how to make animated videos.

After sourcing animation software, the self-taught filmmakers also watched plenty of YouTube videos on how to use the software to make their ideas come alive.

This was also made easier by the fact that the two both studied Information Technology for a while, but dropped out after finding jobs at local companies.

Still, Matayi and Loyilani said that they didn’t like their jobs as much as they did their animation.

In October last year, they registered Fun-art Entertainment. While they quit their jobs, the company is yet to bring in an income.

“We are happy with what we are doing and hope that it will eventually give us an income to buy another laptop as we are currently using one laptop and also buy a drawing board,” Loyilani described.

They said that they see Fun-art Entertainment becoming as the biggest animation studio in Port Elizabeth in the no-so-distant future.

“In five years, we want to have played a major role decreasing the crime rate and the number of youth that involves themselves in drugs and other dangerous substances. There are already some people, who have showed interest in what we are doing by volunteering to do voice overs,” Matayi described.

He added that there is a lot of excitement shown by local youths when they tell them about Fun-art Entertainment and they are interested in putting in their voices and to be drawn into characters.

“We want to teach people about animation and also create jobs for the unemployed,” Matayi said.

Loyilani said that they also want to introduce animation to schools in the Eastern Cape and hopefully expand nationally.

“We want children to discover their careers at a young age. For example, if you have never tried voice over records you will never know that it is your talent and passion therefore we want to give people a chance to also explore their ideas on video.”

He added that they also want to bring a sense of belonging to black kids in South Africa while they watch cartoons that they can actually relate to.

Ever wondered how people get turned into cartoon characters?

Well according to the two young men; first an idea of how characters will look like has to be discussed before it is drawn on paper and redrawn again using software on a computer.

“For each angle, say this is a close up, this is the back and so on; all that has to be drawn on paper before it is redrawn digitally.”

They say that when one or more animators are focusing on drawing the characters using a pencil and paper, another or more animators will put their focus on the backgrounds to the scenes.

“Our animation stories are township-based so we go around and look for a perfect spot in the area that will go along with the animation story and the characters,” described Matayi.

However, the animators said that using a mouse to draw characters into the software actually consumes a lot of time and effort - hence, they were hoping to source a digital pen an drawing board.

After they are done drawing, they then use the software to make the characters move.

The voice overs are then recorded and later added to the animations.

To improve their situation, they have been knocking on doors asking for donations to get another laptop and a drawing board to assist them into making their dream a reality.

For donations or if you are looking to join Fun-art Entertainment, contact 061 058 6289/074 456 4737 or email funartentertainment@gmail.com. You can also find them on Twitter: @FunArtEntertain ‏ or on Facebook: Fun Art Entertainment.