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The Masquerade

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Author Comments

The entirety of this was made over the course of the last seven days. I'm actually really surprised at how efficient I was here, since I managed to get around 25 seconds done each day.

Even though the actual animation is not pristine or anything and the frame-by-frame is sort of choppy and shaky, I'm proud of how this turned out, mainly due to the atmosphere of it and the story. I think this time it actually has some meaning behind it. Also, this time I actually have some REAL INSTRUMENTS in the music. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? OMG. Except I mixed them in with synthesized versions of themselves so it's occasionally hard to tell. Oh well.

Edit: Wow, I'm genuinely amazed by the quality of these reviews! There's been a lot of thought put into each and every one of them. Thanks so much, everyone!


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This is an incredible depiction of the psychological side of something as simple as going to school. I especially like the scene after-school where the teacher has, not one, but four or five masks taken off, each showing a deeper level of emotion before revealing a defeated man underneath it all. Everyone has to hide their emotions until they find someone they can open up to (as the end). Smooth animation, good story, intense meaning. This is deep, man, thanks for making this.

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this messed up world IS our world.

in some cases not really, in others, 100% true. when u leave ur house, do u change ur personality or how u act? (changing masks). if u act the same way no matter where ur at, then good for u cuz u don't have to pretend something ur not. In this case, the boy was forced to act a different way ( the way everyone else is doing) and to not be himself so he can be shuned by society. this is all to familiar with the real world. just be urself, of course shit happens but how u deal with it can change ur future.

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Not bad

I have to say that was some fucked up world with those masks, but I liked the end. It was bit dull, but it looked like that it had to be that way.


Whilst in some interpretations it may seem rather politically incorrect (which I personally don't really care about all that much), I thought it was an intriguing little video. Be who you want to be. Strive for your own goals.

So the kids a rebel?

It's not exactly correct. See it is true that everyone wears a mask but the video implies that this is somehow a bad thing. Humans are social creatures and our lives are better off by joining a collective then everyone being an individual.
There is nothing stopping the mother, teacher, or bus driver from understanding the kid, they just don't care. Why should they? It's not like the kid can do math. Love is not unconditional. At least the kid had the mask but now he has to see the world without its comfort. He will have to abandon his humanity along with the rest of the behavioral rules that previously made his life easy and mindless. However, he hasn't just dropped the burden of social rules entirely either. He just has to make new ones. He hasn't escaped judgment either since he still has to live in a world run by a collective.
Leaving us with the girl taking off her mask completely misrepresents the decision he just made. The idea is that he can now be honest with someone that will be honest with him. However, he fails to realize that unless one of them puts on a mask their relationship will not go far. The best he can hope for is that she is the one who puts on a mask before him.
So am I saying that nobody should be a courageous individual and everyone is better off in the collective? No. I'm saying that if you call yourself and individual you have to realize that you are just a one man collective. Your philosophy on life is just as valid is that of every person in the collective. You haven't taken off a mask, you've just chosen a different mask to wear.

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Pahgawk responds:

I agree with the majority of the things you've said here. This sort of reminds me of some of the reasons people dislike the book The Catcher in the Rye: people just see the protagonist as a whiny, sulky, immature kid who can't just accept his situation and make the best of it. I think the same thing could apply here. You can't ever escape the system we are all in, so there isn't much point in being depressed about it. Right around here, however, I think my agreement stops.

Firstly, I thought I should mention that I didn't intend to make it look like the kid CAN'T do math. I just wanted to show that he would rather be drawing. He doesn't want an "easy and mindless" life, but instead prefers to have one with meaning. The fact that he was punished for not following instructions is completely normal, and I don't want to make it look like it was a bad thing, because it's not. Conformity is, to a certain extent, a good thing. The part that I wanted to portray negatively was the manner in which he was punished. The kid was labelled as "stupid," he was publicly humiliated, and he was placed in a vulnerable position against the "smart" kids. I have seen multiple times kids being mistakenly labelled as "stupid" just because they didn't apply themselves or because they were not strong in a certain subject. They are then targeted for bullying by other kids because they have already been defined as a loser. The truth is, however, that none of this should really matter when you're a kid. Sure, this sort of system is fine when you're older and more responsible and at the age when you needs to work well to take care of yourself, but by that point, you probably already have some sort of sense of direction as to where you want to go. When you're a kid, the world should still be your sandbox. You should be allowed to explore whatever interests you while your options are still open. The direction imposed forcefully that I am depicting in this video limits this.

As for the scene at the end, I think you have made a key assumption that is wrong: "unless one of them puts on a mask their relationship will not go far." I disagree with this entirely. I think that there is a bit of truth in this, but it just comes down to what you are going to call a "mask." For example, being polite could, potentially, be considered a mask, and I agree that that is a mask that needs to be worn in order to have a working relationship with anyone. The video isn't about masks like that, though. The masks in the video disguise your feelings and lie about how you actually feel. They represent everything about your public self that isn't part of your actual self. They define how other people see you. I think that if you need to put on a persona that isn't entirely truthful in order to remain friends with someone, then they aren't REALLY your friend. You should be able to be yourself around them and be accepted for who you are. That is all I am trying to say with that last scene.

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Credits & Info

4.42 / 5.00

Jan 3, 2012
9:32 PM EST
  • Frontpaged January 16, 2012
  • Review Crew Pick January 11, 2012
  • Daily 3rd Place January 5, 2012
  • Weekly 4th Place January 11, 2012