996 Won't Work [Read more]
996 Won't Work
996 is an animated short (3min 18s) that follows the despairs and anxieties of an overworked, nameless, white-collar employee. The absence of the main character's name is not merely a reflection of how people feel in the face of corporations, but to reflect the she can be anyone. As we watch her life unfold, the audience questions whether she will be able to summon enough courage to pursue a life of happiness; choosing friends and family over the promise of a stable but controlling career.
To watch the full animation, click on the embedded video at the page's bottom.
Working in The Office
This screenshot captures the everyday monotony that is incubated in the 996 work culture, with a muted and blue palette to reflect a dreary sadness that looms around the main character. The camera reinforces the mood, looking down at the main character to show, not, how small she is, but how small she feels.
Entering Virtual Space
The Virtual Space screenshot depicts one of the final scenes of the animation, simulating the anxiety and fear of escaping a toxic workplace using metaphors. The screen is consumed by a dominance of red and black which signals the high tensions the animation culminates within.
The Character Group
These characters are the friends and family of the main character and contrast to the greyish blue tones of the office. The strong use of green in Nora's characterisation, can suggest the main character's envy of her whilst Judy's pink background and flirtatious wink emphasises the main character's jaded lifestyle.
Main Character Design
The Character turnaround displays the main character from key animating angles to help guide the process and ensure the character remains on-model. Dark circles under her eyes highlight a level of prolonged and continuous exhaustion, whilst her posture underscores her reserved and timid personality.
Walking in a Snowy Night
This screenshot, approximately a third of the way through the animation, is the only scene the main character leaves the office. The night sky and snow forecasts a prophetic fallacy of silence, loneliness and darkness as she is to smothered by an environment of inescapable work.
In the Restaurant
The final screenshot presents Nora (left) & Judy (right), friends of the main character, waiting for her arrival in a restaurant. The colours contrast with the dimly-lit snow covered sidewalks outside, with warmth oozing out of the saturated colours, and facial expressions.
Huiying is a Chinese student preparing to enter the world of work, using animation to reflect on how China's 996 culture may effect herself and peers.
In China, some companies are exploiting employees by coercing them to work from 9 am to 9 pm 6 days a week, which gives rise to the name of the destructive 996 work culture. Though the practice is illegal, many employees struggle to escape the oppression, as they fear the financial and social consequences of whistleblowing or seeking alternative employment. Through the animation, 996, Huiying hopes to encourage Chinese employees to stand up to corporate greed whilst raising awareness of how work cultures differ globally. This page displays stills from the animated short that was produced using After Effects. In completing this project, Huiying has focused her interests of video design, animation and interactive videos, for a positive cause that will give her the experience to develop into a short film director.
996 Won't Work