Clash of Clans and its counterpart Clash Royale have millions of fans around the world, so tapping into that universe for a movie sounds like a no-brainer. But how do you make a film that appeals to such a broad audience? How do you capture that same popularity and make any project a meaningful extension to the Clash universe?
Supercell teamed up with Psyop to create the short film Lost and Crowned, which has reached millions of viewers since its release last month. To learn more about the film and its creative process, I sat down with director Borja Peña Gorostegui. Check out what he had to say about constructing the movie, appealing to the fans, and just being part of this phenomenon before you watch Lost and Crowned on YouTube.
Brittany Frederick: What interested you in doing a film project with the Clash characters specifically?
Borja Peña Gorostegui: I had been working with Supercell for several years on their Clash Royale promotional films before we started working on Lost and Crowned. We always talked about the possibility of creating longer films that explore the Clash characters and their day-to-day adventures beyond the game-related events. So when Supercell asked me to present them with potential concepts for a short film, it was a dream come true.
BF: What’s the process of directing in an animation context like this, as opposed to live-action filmmaking? Many viewers may not be familiar with the intricacies of an animated project.
BPG: Directing a short film of this scale is a 24/7 job until you reach the finish line. There are so many different aspects when it comes to the creation of an animated film, and every step of the way requires the same amount of focus and care. As the director, you are guiding the team towards a common vision, fueling a high level of energy and motivation to achieve the greatest film possible. There is no detail too small and it’s the sum of all things that makes the finished product what it is.
I began working on the project from the very beginning, presenting ideas and working very closely with Supercell to develop the script. We spent many long days in a vacuum thereafter, with an incredible storyboard and editing team to block out the overall structure of the film. From there, it was an amazing but nonstop year and a half working alongside the talented team of artists, producers and collaborators in the Psyop and Supercell teams that made this film a reality.
The most rewarding part as a director is witnessing the film go from a few words on the screen to a fully realized animated experience. It really does take a village.
BF: Since its release, Lost and Crowned has already reached a huge, worldwide audience. What has the reception meant to you?
BPG: The amount of views the film has gathered is an overwhelming and humbling experience. We are very proud of our work. To have so many viewers around the world enjoy it as much as they have is all the confirmation we need for why we worked so hard to make this film. Watching the world premiere live on YouTube with friends, family and our entire team (via Zoom of course!) was unreal. It’s very cool how connected we all are.
BF: Clash of Clans, and Clash Royale, have such a broad audience. How did you make Lost and Crowned accessible to as many viewers as possible to make such an impact?
BPG: From the very start of the project, we wanted to make Lost and Crowned a simple story about two brothers who don’t quite get along until one day they learn a very valuable lesson of brotherhood. It was important that audiences watching the film could understand and relate with Larry and Peter without the need to play Clash of Clans or Clash Royale. This was also the main reason why we chose to make our film without any dialogue and rather focus on their character development through playful performances and scene-changing events.
Additionally, even though the film takes place in the fantastical world of Clash, the day-to-day life of our characters is common and relatable. Little things like your mom handing you your lunch before heading off to a big day, commuting to work, or the fear of losing your job if your boss finds out you did something wrong. Even though it’s a unique world, anyone can find similarities to their own life.
BF: Do you have favorite Lost and Crowned moments for you personally?
BPG: The film is filled with details and easter eggs, many of which only real fans of the games will be able to spot. However, if you are familiar with Brussels Griffons – the dogs they referenced for the Ewoks in Star Wars – I have a dog named Gozer which makes a special appearance in the film. No one has found this one yet, at least not to my knowledge.
BF: Anything that didn’t make it into this film? Or that you could potentially save for a sequel?
BPG: There were so many early versions of the film that featured some wild scenes which we removed because they distracted from the core story. For instance, there was a really fun scene involving Larry and Peter being chased by a Goblin pack and accidentally awakening an army of sleeping warriors in a mess hall, setting off an epic battle and barely escaping!