The neverending quest for lasting happiness remains an unsolved dilemma for most of humanity, but the team at Panoply, a creative company that “promotes collaborative dialogue and visionary thinking, ” has tackled the issue head-on in their latest animated film, A Guide to Happy.
The charming short, clocking in at just over two minutes, takes a scientific approach to understand the concrete ways happiness occurs within us and how we can harness it into a lasting feeling rather than the fleeting emotion it often is. In order to better understand their work, and the processes behind A Guide to Happy, The Creators Project talked to the team at Panoply:
The Creators Project: A Guide to Happy takes a scientific approach in a quest to understand happiness. What inspired this angle?
Panoply: The main inspiration for A Guide to Happy was based on an app concept by one of our directors, Renaud Futterer. He'd seen a TED talk by Simon Sinek who described the differences between the two hormones, dopamine and oxytocin, and in a way that really stuck with him and wanted to create a way to educate, or at least inform other people about them.
Were there any intended aims you hoped to accomplish with the video?
Although we set out to inform our audience of the differences between dopamine and oxytocin, we didn't want to come across as preachy in any way. The idea was to make the viewer think about why they do certain things such as gambling and why it makes them feel good, then in contrast provide an alternative option without making them feel bad for their lifestyle choices.
Each style is indicative of the tone each film is looking to portray. With A Guide to Happy the obvious aim was to make the audience feel happy with its bright, colourful and playful style. In contrast you have Genesis which is more serious but also subjective to each viewer as the visuals are so abstract and the themes open to interpretation.
At Panoply we feel that a project's aesthetic should always compliment its tone and themes. With that in mind I'd like to think that the next project you see from us will have a style that suits the subject matter more than having a house style made to fit the concept in question.
Still from Genesis, Panoply’s other animated short
Now, for a more subjective question; does the Panoply team believe people can genuinely be happy?
That's an interesting question as being genuinely happy is so hard to define. We live in a world where we are overloaded with information and visual stimulants aiming to make us feel something—usually to purchase or consume. Stripping away all of that noise is how we came back to the core themes of the oxytocin side of A Guide to Happy—being happy doesn't have to be complicated. Our bodies know us better than ourselves. As we've pointed out in A Guide to Happy it's often the simple life pleasures that have the greatest impact on our well-being. Whether people choose to make those choices is totally up to them.
Although Panoply only has two animations released to the public, the creative collective is working on new projects involving VR and 360° video set to release in the near future. Keep your browser refreshed on their beyond-sleek website.