The Creators Project: How long have you been doing animation?
Sun Haipeng: I’ve been doing animation since graduating from college in 2002. My major was art, and then I started to get interested in animation. Animation is complicated, and I had to learn every aspect of it; including modeling, graphic design, rendering…and on and on. After trying it out successfully, I began screenwriting and directing my own animation. I love it.
Do you remember you first work? How old were you at that time?
Actually, I made my first short movie when I was learning animation after college. It was hard for me to find a job in art, and at that time doing animation was pretty popular, so I decided to give it a go. I bought some books about animation, and I self-taught myself. The thing I tried was modeling. The first time it worked was at 3 o’clock in the morning, and I was so thrilled that I didn’t sleep at all. From there, it was a snowball effect. I directed a short animation and became addicted to the process. My interpretation of animation was to present the story of an idiom in a funny way.
Can you take us through the process of how you got from doing animation on your own to the worldwide success you have accomplished?
At first, I worked for an advertising company. I was a metal signmaker. I’d been in that company for two years, but I felt tired of my job because I was always doing the same thing. I wanted to have work that was more professional and various. In 2004, I got a position in an animation company. In that year I officially started to do animation, and it was the most special year of my life. By 2007, I had some experience of doing animation, so I started to make one by myself. I searched lots of stories and materials, and then I created the work I made in 2004. I thought it was pretty interesting, and then I decided to revise this animation and develop more plots. In 2009 I did another short and put it on the website, and it garnered enthusiastic comments from users around the world. Through the popularity of my animations, I also got a chance to come to Shenzhen to develop my career. I made some friends there, got sponsored, and we decided to build a company.
What are you working on right now?
We are still doing the story of Super Baozi, and we plan to make a series out of his story. In the future we plan to add other characters based on other popular Chinese foods.
Do you feel connected to the character of Super Baozi? I would say there are some links between Super Baozi and I. Indeed in real life I am the type of person who doesn’t know how to express my feelings. But I still have lots of ideas which are very interesting. Therefore I can share my ideas through Super Baozi. For example, I like listening to music, but I’m not really good at singing, so I let Super Baozi sing to represent me. Or I don’t exercise a lot, but I think playing Nunchaku is pretty cool. So Super Baozi plays Nunchaku for me.
What role does technology play in your life? How do you think this will change in the next 20 years?
Technology plays an important role in my life; I feel that I can express my thoughts and feelings via technology in ways I could not without. But right now I always feel that the technology we have is not fast enough. I imagine in the future technology will become faster and faster, and then I will be able to make animation, which is still a slow process, faster, and share more of those stories with the world. But I think it could also get crazy in the future; if the technology becomes so simple and quick to use, anyone will be able to make animation just by thinking, without working at it, and then maybe everyone will be able to be a director.
What do you think is the future of animation in China?
I think there is a potential for developing animation in China, and I think it will become more and more popular. Chinese animation will be unique and special because we have our own culture that we can combine with skill to make animation more colorful and vivid. Taking grassroots culture as an example, recently in China this culture is really popular, and so lots of animators try to use this material as subject matter in their films or animation.
Speaking of grassroots culture, what do you think about the relation between technology and grassroots culture?
I think grass-roots culture came to be so popular as a result of the internet. Everyone has a chance to share and tell their stories. And the internet is useful for the animator who doesn’t have money. We can do whatever we want and put our films on the internet, then it is up to the world to decide whether it is great or not.