“Being a bald man sucks,” says French animator Paul Cabon in the intro to his animated film The Bald Future. “Knowing you’ll become one is worse.” A surreal and charming exploration of the inescapable combination of genes and time, the film takes you from Paul’s initial realisation of his eggheaded fate during a family meal consisting of entirely bald relatives, to outlandish fantasies of his thick-maned alter ego – a life that Paul will never lead. “I knew going bald was not such a serious problem,” Paul tells It’s Nice That, “yet it was really hard to get some distance and feel ok about it. I realised it could be interesting comedy material because of that – there was some tension behind it.”
Rennes-based Paul works as an animator, scriptwriter and background artist for several French studios as well as creating his own films. “I try to make surprising animations,” he says. “I struggle with some drawing limitations but I try to disregard them and get head-on into making energetic, funny, awkward movements entangled into narration. I like when things are a little messy and lively.”
Paul’s main objective with The Bald Future was to improvise as much as possible to retain that messy vibe and let his brain go to some pretty weird places. Starting off writing and recording the script, Paul then animated without too much of a plan, responding to the words with visuals as he went along. “Animating this way was a real treat. I would listen to the part I was doing at any given time and try to find images that had a witty dialogue with it. It’s kind of how a newspaper cartoonist would work, i imagine. It ended up making me jump from a one really different idea to another and stretch my mind to create fitting transitions.”
Hand-drawing the frames using a Cintiq and animation software in Toonboom Harmoony, the project had a strict four month deadline as the license for the latter – which Paul was awarded for a previous film – was due to expire imminently. “It was pretty challenging at times but also a lot of fun,” says Paul. “I hope that working this way gave a spontaneity that can be felt through the film. I also hope people step out of it with some kind of joyful bewilderment. If they want to shave their heads and step into the sunlight, it would be perfect.”
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