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WATCH: Latvia’s Zilbalodis Releases ‘Inaudible’ Short Online

Created over the course of seven months, dialog-free animated short pairs sound design and a distinctive visual look and adventurous color palette to help tell the story.

Independent Latvian animator Gints Zilbalodis has created a new short film, Inaudible, about a musician who becomes deaf and struggles to adapt to a new life. The dialog-free animated short -- the fifth from Zilbalodis -- pairs sound design and a distinctive visual look and adventurous color palette to help tell the story.

Inaudible is film about confidence and self-esteem,” says the filmmaker. “It’s about difficulties people face when communicating verbally and through art. It’s about the necessity of self-expression every human has.”

Working only with a composer, Inaudible took roughly seven months for Zilbalodis to complete using Autodesk Maya for character animation and sketching out the backgrounds, which were later painted over in Adobe Photoshop. Utilizing a static camera for the short, lights were added in using Adobe After Effects, and music and the sound design were completed in Logic Pro X.

“I wrote the script for this film only after I had animated it,” the filmmaker explains in a Q&A on “I started with a rough story outline and jumped straight into animation skipping storyboards. Then I ‘shot’ it similarly to a live-action film, choosing many different angles and then seeing how they fit together in the edit.”

Concept art for 'Inaudible'

After polishing the animation and rearranging the environments for particular camera angles, Zilbalodis continued to evolve the project. “The story was never set in stone and kept evolving until the very end of the production,” he says. “If I had an idea while doing the sound mix that would improve the story, I would go back and reedit or reanimate.”

According to Zilbalodis, moments intended for the ending of the film ended up in the beginning and vice-versa. “Many people think that storytelling is only words on the page, but it’s much more than that,” he says. “The original ending was abandoned midway through and I came up with a new one. But almost no character animation was wasted, because I started with the parts of the story I was most confident with. When these were edited together I animated the ‘in-between’ scenes that link the story together and make it more fluid. When I was looking for funds to finish the film the financiers required a screenplay. So I wrote it.”

Check out Zilbalodis’s four previous animated short films: Followers (2014), Priorities (2014), Aqua (2012) and Rush (2010).

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.