Animator and illustrator Marcie LaCerte’s short film Summer of Love is about a young woman in pursuit of a significant other. Based in New York, Marcie first started working on illustrations and quick animations of the main character and the narrative grew organically from there. “It’s also very hot right now where I live and I wanted to go swimming (still do), so I drew the main character in a swimsuit for vicarious relief,” says Marcie.
Mixing a palette of bright colours with absurd humour, Marcie takes us on a surreal journey where the protagonist meets a rotund man, a bald-headed group and a horse but fails to woo and be wooed. “The general theme of the animation is loneliness, and an exploration of how one character tries to cope with that feeling,” says Marcie. “But of course, the interpretation of the story is entirely left to the viewer!”
Having worked with clients like Google, Vox, Mall of America and the Minnesota Historical Society, Marcie’s style is varied and is usually informed by the story she’s trying to tell. “For this piece, I was inspired by surreal and mythical comics and illustrations, especially those by Tor Brandt, Carson Ellis and Lisa Hanawalt,” explains Marcie. “Animation-wise, I’m forever influenced by Don Hertzfeldt, Kristen Lepore, Julia Pott, Nate Milton and many more independent animators.”
After her initial illustrations, Marcie wrote the script and storyboard in one night and after that the process of “animating, inking, colouring and compositing” ensued. The main challenge for the animator was making sure the interplay between on-screen text and image was impactful enough and progressed the story. “I wanted the viewer to have enough breathing room to read the text and look at the images without feeling overwhelmed by the stimulation. I think sound helped a lot with this,” explains Marcie. There’s a summery yet subtly bleak vibe to the animation, which is emphasised by Marcie’s deadpan sense of humour and clever pacing.