The original author is Sarra Anson. This young woman came to the studio once – this kind of person always comes out of nowhere. Unexpected bursts of creativity happen when an exceptionally talented person turns up. I don’t even remember if she called or gave advance notice, but this very lovely and impressive woman came and told us that she had a script. It wasn’t entitled “Moonzy” then. There was another name. In fact, we invented the name “Moonzy” later. The script struck us as nice and charming, and there was clearly something about it that drew us in since we started working on it immediately. The original story was altered, well, quite noticeably. However, I remember that characters have remained from the beginning, for instance, Woopsie and Poopsie. Also, this grasshopper, Skip. The characters were practically all there, but we changed their story. Later, Darina Shmidt joined us. She created the image of the main character – Moonzy. Well, you should understand how a character image is worked on at an animation studio. We give a task to all of the animators and they start drawing. Then we lay these drawings everywhere, on the tables and floor, and we walk around and seek the one. That’s how animated characters are born. So, it’s a collective effort. Darina was an exception – she invented this creature with big ears right away. But then we developed it a lot, seeking the right details. Anton Zlatopolsky and Sergey Selyanov were also involved. We worked together to keep moving it forward and finally achieved what we wanted.
2005. I’m in my last year at the university and working my second year at Melnitsa. From the beginning, I was working under the guidance of Konstantin Bronzit and therefore taking part mainly in his projects. I was a storyboarder and animator for “The House that Jack Built,” and also a production designer, senior animator and composer for the short film “Kot I Lisa.” At that time, the main directors were busy with other projects, and Alexander Boyarsky suggested that I try my hand as the director and animator of an animated TV series for children. That is an incredible stroke of luck for a 20-year-old student. But it was also a very tough job and a new experience for me and and for the studio. The team was new and some of us had little experience. For instance, it was the first time that Maxim Koshevarov composed music for a cartoon. This project also turned out to be a professional debut for Sarra Anson, the original author and scriptwriter of Moonzy. Sarra invented a dragon who was born on the moon and then fell to Earth. Yet, her initial story was very different from what eventually worked out. Her character was called Khrustick and then Eroshka. He ended up in an abandoned mansion inhabited by Cat and Eagle, along with insects. But I suggested that any mention of people should be avoided and that the plot should be developed in the world of insects, so that the series could present its own unique universe. I wanted to give the character a somewhat lunar name. First, I suggested Lunatik but it was rejected by the team, as everyone thought it implied a disorder. There is a rumour that someone spelt this name wrong, and so the name Luntik emerged. The team liked that name. Apart from directing, the manager asked me to create images of the characters. Moonzy was supposed to be a nice fluffy creature. Finding a form for the character wasn’t a big deal for me. The only tricky thing was to emphasize Moonzy’s alien origin. I started listing the possible alien features that could be applied to the character. A one-eyed face seemed banal, two tails didn’t seem convincing enough, three legs looked scary… And then there was a solution – four ears that look like bows. It would look sweet and be very recognizable. You could attach these ears to anything and everyone would immediately recall Moonzy. Everything else in the character’s image is minor details. Why does he have a fluffy collar? Because it’s an unusual but also cute feature, like that of a little fluffy animal. Why does he have spots on his face and belly? This is a reference to the belly and cheeks of animals from cartoons. Why is he a pinkish-lilac color? Because there is no creature of this colour on the earth, and the cool hue corresponds to his lunar origin. It was decided that the animation and composing should be done by means of the inverse kinematics method. Only a few people at the studio including me were skilled in this, so we had to teach our colleagues during the creation process. How to make a kinematic chain, which details are necessary for the background and which for the foreground, how to draw rain or leaves trembling in the wind, etc. Sometimes I even drew drops of water. The animation work happened simultaneously with the script work. The author had her own vision, which I sometimes thought should be done differently. As a director, I always had to defend my point of view, which was not easy as I was the youngest in the team and struggled to formulate convincing arguments due to my age. Fortunately, Konstantin Bronzit supported me in those circumstances. We finished the first part of the series by the summer of 2005. It was at the same time that I needed to defend my thesis at the university. With the management’s consent, I presented the animated series Moonzy and Friends as my final project. Who could have known that this work would become so popular and that several generations would be brought up on this cartoon? I’m so happy to have been part of this project.