In this proof-of-concept video for WaitWhat's original series "Meditative Story", Sam Mason creates an audiovisual story with hand-drawn cel animation and soft, sculptural 3D. Accompanied by the mellifluous voice of musician Andrew Bird, the film explores visual themes of self-perspective, weather, and color as an anchor for mood. In terms of technique, there exists a Goldilocks-balance between the warmth & honesty of hand-drawn animation and the tactility & dimensional depth of 3D space. The overall sensation when watching? Complete calm.
Director Sam Mason
Client Wait What Media
Production Co Hornet
Managing Director Hana Shimizu
Head of Production Karen Lawler
Head of Creative Development Kristin Labriola
Executive Producer Hana Shimizu
Producer Justine Webster
Editor Sam Stulin
Storyboard Artist Sam Mason
Design Enle Li
2D Animators Seongjin Yoon, Hyo Bin Kang, Maxime Jouniot, Kelechukwu Nwakudu
Compositor Seongjin Yoon
CG Lead Sam Mason
Agency Anonymous Content
Obsessed with world-building, Sam Mason grew up inspired by artists such as Terry Gilliam, Jim Henson, and Yuri Norstein—auteurs known for creating unique and immersive worlds. His passion to create beautiful and fantastical landscapes embedded with secret languages landed him at Central Saint Martin's in London. His student short won the attention of many studios, not to mention a spot in that year's Annecy circuit.
It also led to his mentorship with acclaimed director Pete Candeland. This partnership launched his directing career on worldwide campaigns for Coke, Toyota, Mazda, and Honda as well as music videos with Sofi Tukker.
In terms of craft, Sam is always excited about applying a style of CG that reflects his lo-fi/hi-fi hybrid approach to making things. He prefers to utilize emerging technologies to apply a physicality and textured realness to his films. He especially likes to start with real objects and from there set up constraints that he can work within, like he did with his collaboration with Hugo Marie for Little Things, where they scoured vintage markets for objects that could ground the film.
With a romantic nod back to the textured details of the Baroque movement, to the reduced instincts of Bauhaus, Sam seeks to create a middle ground aesthetic—a style that straddles both animation and traditional film. The excitement around his methods is a continued push to find new ways of creating a moving painting. The undercurrent of his work is the desire to make something romantic and playful; not overly designed, yet rich with feeling and detail, and always rooted in history. In Sam's own words, his work is never cool but is always playing with the vulnerable.