Behind the scenes: Quantum Daughter

The brilliant stop-motion film Quantum Daughter took top prize in Quantum Shorts 2012. Imagine “a universe where computers are so advanced they look like bananas”. That’s the world of this film, starring a girl who’s using the Parallel Universe App on her phone to collect ID points. It’s better we don’t try to explain it. Just watch the the film below. Then read on to find out what happened behind the scenes. 
 
 
How did you come up with your creative storyline?
 
Chris Willoughby (story and visuals): I had a bad experience with my internet provider when I was trying to bundle my mobile phone account together with my internet account. It was a nightmare because, even though I'd been in the shop several times and they had photocopies of my ID, on that particular morning I didn't have quite enough ID points. So when I was thinking of an idea for the competition, I thought I'd try to show some of my interest in how amazing a quantum computer might be, and this interest, coupled with my experience of not having enough ID points, sort of suggested a quantum computer mobile phone account with someone trying to get enough ID points from parallel versions of themselves by using a parallel universe app.
 
I did writing and literature at university, but I've always had an interest in science. I love popular science books by authors such as Michio Kaku, Brian Greene and Lisa Randall.
 
How did you make the film?
 
Chris: The filming was done over about a four week period. It took a while to sculpt the characters. I sculpted and cast the alien in polyester resin, and I lit it with reading lamps. I mostly bought supplies from my local newsagent, and some colour pencils from a $2 shop next door. I used Canon cameras and Stop Motion Pro software.
 
 
Phil Okerstrom (sound): Quantum Daughter's original sound track comprises sound made with an old early-Eighties MG-1 Moog, orchestral string instruments, and a few virtual synth instruments. I had been working a lot with a professional string instrument library, writing original music for a feature film. I wanted to merge a “classical” music style with analogue synth sounds into the film to emphasize and exaggerate the drama and also to express the mathematics equations that run through the film. Scientists and mathematicians frequently reflect upon various equations and theorems as elegant. The analogue synthy stuff is for the crazy sci-fi aspect.
 
Megan Jameison (voice): When Chris asked me to do the Voice of Elaine Rutherford, I was rather chuffed. I had never acted or done a voice-over before. I really love the script and found it difficult at times to not crack up laughing. Jokingly, I'd be like: “so what's my motivation?” to which Chris would reply to the effect of: “you're traveling through the multi-verse with an advanced quantum banana phone, you meet your father in another universe but who's not your father in the one you are currently in…” Ha ha, need I say more? I read lots of stories to kids so I thoroughly enjoyed being part of the project and telling a good story, however surreal!
 
Have you done any work since that you would like to share with the Quantum Shorts audience? 
 
Chris: I've been doing some animatronics makeup for someone's short film. I've also been working on my own new stopmotion film and a videogame based in the same world as the film. To follow these projects as they develop, or if anyone has any advice or interest in possible collaboration on projects, my twitter is @cwupsilon
 
What impact did winning the Quantum Shorts prize have for you?
 
Chris: It was an honor to win for a start. It helped me buy Maya, and it's just flattering that such an amazing university and judges would take the time to interact with my stuff.  
 
Can you offer any advice for film-makers thinking about entering this year?
 
Chris: Do something you like.