Interview: Meet Méline project

Interview: Meet Méline project

Méline is a superb short film project initiated by Virginie Goyons and Sebastien Laban. They both took kindly some time to answer a few questions about the project, once you read this I urge you to visit the links at the end of the article because their progress thread on the CGtalk forum is amazingly documented.

Meline Title

Residence: Lyon, France

Age: Virginie: 26 Sebastien: 25

Job / employer: Virginie: “Lead Environment” at Eden Games; Sebastien: “Director & Art Director” at Diplomatic Cover –

Education: Virginie: 3 years Computer ESRA; Sébastien: 3 years ESIA 3D computer graphics.

Prefered Artist of the moment: Virginie: Hayao Miyazaki , Sébastien: Steven Spielberg

1 – For those who are unfamiliar with your project, could you resume the story line?

“Meet Meline” follows the story of a little girl, Méline, who spends most of her time in the old barn of her grandparents. One day, while she is in the process of indulging in her passion, drawing, Méline finds herself faced with a unknown furry creature. “Meet Meline” follows our little girl in the discovery of this strange creature.

2 – How did you met each other and how did come the desire to do a project on your spare time?

We met at Eden Games, a video games company. Virginie was responsible for modeling sets and I was working on effects. We were both just out of school and we learnt to know each other for a year … and voila! As we are both passionate about film animation, we asked ourselves “Why would we not do our own? It would be interesting to see how far we can go? Sharing our ideas, digg some more, in one word: Create”. We all love to watch movies … short movies made by other people. It is frustrating! So we decided to do our own! :)

This is the best way to express ourselves !

anyone is able to write a film critic, but when it comes to create a short movie, the amount of work and dedication needed is immediately much more intimidating. There are so many things to manage, and I’m not even mentioning the pre production work about the story and the narration of it.

That’s the best context to learn, and learning is crucial in our opinion.

It offers so many personal challenges. The simple fact to finish a project is already fabulous. We’ve seen many projects during these two years, many were stopped even before moving into pre-production. A short film constraints you to go beyond what you think you can do best. Each day, you have to circumvent problems of all kinds and at all levels. But you continue, you seek, you test, you circumvent and in the end you find the exit door! … then you can satrt fixing the next problem … and it becomes a game after all :)

I like to have this quote from Walt Disney in mind: “Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. ”

3 – How far are you in the production process, and did you decide of a deadline to complete the short?

We’re done with the Production! We’re very proud! We will now proceed to the Post-Production, which will consist of:

  • – finess animations and make them more interesting, more meaningful
  • – arrange some shots to make them more readable (eg illuminate a particular area to accentuate the important narrative element) and resume some objects / textures to make them more interesting and, above all else
  • – create the soundtrack and music! Two people, Cédric DENOOZ for sound and Guillaume ROUSSEL for music, have very kindly offered their help! We met them and we had a really good connection with them. I listened to some of their works which are extremely convincing and Guillaume has already made proposals which are clearly beautiful! I am very eager to work effectively with them. : o)

Workflow July2008

4 – Do you already have a distributor helping you to diffuse the movie through festivals?

Not yet, but we just get in touch with a producer for any regard to this stage. It is therefore too early to talk about it, as nothing has been really settled down yet. This is passionating as well, creating a short film and push it as far as possible. We discover another side of creating an animated short. It makes us stand up from our chair and discover other really interesting aspects.

5-The film has 26 shots for a total of 6 minutes. This is quite a few shots for such a lenght, I guess there is an artistic reason behind that choice, could you tell us more?

It is a very good point! we created the movie bearing in mind the ambition to care as much as possible for the film direction. We tried to make sequences with the maximum amount of details and attention, creating exciting shots, which express the story at best and immerse the viewer into the world of Méline. The main thing on which we focused our efforts was to properly lead the sight of the viewer. To force them looking where you decided and at the right time. It is extremely difficult to accomplish. We’re working hard! : o) And in order to create a movie as authentic as possible, we tried to avoid making any unneeded cuts. It leaves the camera “presents” very naturally Méline in her environment. And that leads us to only 26 shots in 6 minutes, with shots ranging from 30 seconds to 1 minute for the longest. It helps to create the geography of the location and allows the viewer to understand where he is for a good reading of the film. On the authencity side, we’re working on the sound to emphasize coherently the direction. With that perspective in mind we’re seeking to keep most of the sounds as rough / unaltered as possible. As if there had been no treatment clearly audible. Same logic for the animation which is very stiff and “broken” avoiding beautiful curves, beautiful stretchs and squashs and so on.

6 – Do you have a specific anecdote about the film which would be memorable for you?

Yes, there is one rather cool to the origin of the name “Méline.” The name was proposed by Virginie and it seemed natural that we call it like that. It sounded good, it’s fresh and cute. 6 months ago Virginie has noticed something very interesting with the names of her 3 lovely nieces: they’re named Melanie, Aurélie and Marine. It was therefore: MELANIE AURELIE MARINE = MELINE… It doesn’t mean much, but we had a good laugh around this Freudian discovery! : o)


2 links to follow the project on its road to completion :

7 Responses to Interview: Meet Méline project

  • Sebastien LABAN

    Yeah, the US version :)
    thanks Sebastien! :o)

  • BPO

    oh wow, this is awesome! thanks for posting this!

  • Robin

    wonderful work!  every aspect looks fantastic, especially the lighting.  attendant la version finale! :)

  • mantas

    Hey, i am following progress of this short movie in cg talk forums for a long time now. very nice you convinced authors for a short interview, thanks!

  • lilox

    Hello!! I am waiting for the short, I will be the first to see it, of course!, if you publish on the Internet, congratulations!

  • Sebastien LABAN

    BPO, Robin, Mantas and lilox : Many, MANY thanks! :o)
    Your comments really push ourselves to do better and better! We work hard to get the same reaction from you guys when you’ll see the final and Animated short! Again, thanks for the kind comments! :o) Virginie & Sebastien ! :o)

  • Sebastien LABAN

    Hey Sebastien! :o)
    We’ve just uploaded a trailer on
    I hope you’ll like it! :o) Cheers ! :o)
    Virginie & Sebastien ! :o)