Slant the Sapling
In the forest, a sapling named Slant sprouts up from the ground. She wants to grow tall and straight, like those big trees around her. Slant has many friends. Little mushrooms and squirrels like to play with her. When she grows up, Slant finds something different. Unlike those tall and straight big trees, her body is slanting to one side...
Project Type:Animation, Short
Runtime:4 minutes 39 seconds
Completion Date:April 3, 2018
Country of Origin:Taiwan
Guo Jun-ming is the founder of “Flying Pen Comics”. In 1985, he began to study in Fu Hsin Trade & Arts School and work in Dragon Animation Company founded by Cai Zhi-zhong to pay his school fees. He learned his skills and techniques from Huang Hua-yu, so he got to participate in the production of “Wulongyuan” and “Old Master Q”. Two years later, he began his trainings in “Otto Cartoons”. Then he worked in several animation companies. In 1992, he was trained professionally as a director and began to create his original animations. In 1995, he founded his own animation company. In 2000, he founded “Flying Pen Comics”.
Accidentally, “Slant the Sapling” records the process of my animation development.
In 1982, I began to create animations. Like a sapling, I joined the forest of an animation studio at the age of 18. I was the youngest apprentice in the company, looking up at the senior animators and dreaming to become a great one, just like Slant does in the story.
In 2000, I created my own animation studio and trained four apprentices. In this story, Slant also tries her best to stretch her branches to protect those four little mushrooms. Violating the codes of survival, she chooses to slant to one side, instead of growing up to be tall and straight. Slant the sapling is one of a kind, just like me. I insist on creating animations in my unique style. Of course I’m frightened by the market rule. However, like the insect and squirrels attracted to her, those animators who agreed with me joined my team one after another.
The weasel represents some speculation, which is against my own idealism. And its leaving means that we’ll eventually go separate ways when we don’t have an understanding.
Then one day, the loggers come, and the tall, straight trees fall to the ground, being turned into logs lying around. Nevertheless, Slant the sapling stands still and becomes the only big tree in the cleared forest. I think it means persistence. When Slant grows up to hold the swings and provide a shelter, the kids are attracted to it, playing happily with it, which stands for my golden years from 2004 to 2010.
As Slant grows older into a big tree, more saplings sprout up in the forest when Spring comes. Among them, Slant is still a unique one.
Through this short animation, I’m trying to tell the audience that instead of growing up tall and great, the value of life lies in embracing more possibilities and appreciating the beauty of being unique.