Somewhere down the line while working day and night for broadcast animation work in Singapore, I realized I lost my way while pursuing animation. I should be tiring on my own stories rather than the product renders and commercials.

Thus came the idea of a perfect society. A utopian city with a twig of immigrant complication. And the literally similar looking citizens. I conceived it as a graphic novel in 2010. The thematic allegory and lore was so dense that I decided to realize it in a short film first. The film at its core is simply a metaphorical reaction to the sort of world we live in. A mental dystopia with a misinterpreted idea of a ‘perfect life’, and the unknown territories it can lead us into.

I was excited. I left the job and took a long break to write and create the animatics for the short film. It was a painfully long and nervous process. I had never told a story this dense before and I wasn’t really earning enough to fund it. So I had to take a job eventually that made things even harder as there was no time to work on the film everyday after work and family. Something about the story intrigued me so much that I kept going. Sometimes I couldn’t work for stretches as long as 6 months. But after excruciatingly nervous yet fun 4 years I could finish it.

The look and design is inspired by both classic anime and modern stylized games. Hence its sort of a hybrid. And I am hoping to maintain this look in my future films.

From a technical standpoint, Schirkoa would not have been possible without the achievements made in motion capture and rendering today. Mixamo & Redshift are just one of the few names that helped boost Schirkoa’s pace of production.

In the city of Schirkoa, A whore recollects her short lived affair with a level (A) baghead – 197A. And how an unusual turn of events brought 197A closer to another mysterious woman. With the elections at door 197A has to make one of the toughest choices of his lifetime

So I was trying to come up with this story for an animated short film. It was about this secret agent and how he spends his day. To push myself more I also started the production and developing assets for the film. In a year it had elements like modern espionage, corporate politics & extravagant chase scenes in exotic locations. But I kept changing it. My pace was slow as I was doing this after my day job. So while in train on the way to office, I would scribble a page in my diary everyday. Slowly developing the story. Seasons passed and though I was determined to finish the story I started, somehow I started hating all the previous versions.

One day on my way to the office train took a wrong turn in a dark tunnel. Being very early in the morning, I was the only passenger on board. Dark tunnels kept on flashing yellow light bulbs before my eyes for a few minutes. It was then, when I saw SCHIRKOA. A complete city made of weird blocks and enigmatic citizens. All of them were wearing bags. All of them looked like they were going to office. Imagine a whole city lit with neon lights and surrounded by baghead prostitutes. It was suffocatingly brilliant. That morning I lost my diary and all versions of my story in that tunnel.

I quit my job. And I quit that city. And the country.

Sometimes these bagheads come in my dreams. They might murder me if I don’t stop stalking the city of Schirkoa.