Unspoken System

(short film)

It’s easier to be a follower than a leader. We have become a society where the pressure to fit in can lead to an inescapable cycle of anxiety. In three short narratives, we highlight the negative consequences of social behaviors through the exploration of motion storytelling.

Our goal is to create something anyone could relate and understand without explanation or language. To be neutral and systemic, we chose simple geometric objects as our main characters. Then we inject them with humanistic characteristics to create an emotional connection with the audience. By using recognizable sounds, we create a connection between the abstract world and reality. We explored self-doubt, frustration, and passive victimization through mood, character and sound design.
Collaborator: Tiffany Shen 
Art Direction: Cathy Xiao, Tiffany Shen
Animation: Cathy Xiao, Tiffany Shen
Editorial: Cathy Xiao, Tiffany Shen

︎︎︎Young Ones ADC Student Merit
︎︎︎Communication Arts 2022 Design Annual

I. Comformity 
From a young age, we are taught to fit in, despite our innate desires to be different. This story pokes fun at the social pressure to run with the pack and the anxiety that can result.

II. Ignorance
We have become a society of followers who are oblivious to our surroundings. Our instinct to stay in line is ingrained so deeply that it slowly encroaches on our life, resulting in severe consequences.

III. Liberation
We all have dreams and aspirations. The desire to be the best drives us towards our goals. This sequence suggests the danger of being blinded by ambition only to become ignorant to the true meaning of success.

(storyboard process)
Originally, we were inspired by the movie, The Assistant, which reveals the problem of workplace harassment and oppression. Many of us are contributing to oppression with our silence, and like cancer, it can grow and spread. We challenged ourselves to explore this theme in clever and provocative ways. After a thorough brainstorming of systematic oppression, we developed three stories based on human behaviors that lead to negative consequences. 

Each narrative was executed in 3D using Cinema 4D and composited in After Effects. Since the three pieces relied heavily on timing and sound effects, the biggest challenge was diving into the editorial and inserting the perfect sounds.

I. Comformity (style frames)

(mood board)
(texture reference)

II. Ignorance (style frames)

(mood board)

(texture reference)

III. Liberation (style frames)

(mood board)

(texture reference)

Say Hi!

© copyright 2024. cathy xiao.


© copyright 2022. cathy xiao.