Steven Mallet

BFA - Creative Technologies

Frenchsplained is a series of short, animated videos that feature observations and opinions about American culture from the perspective of Etienne, a French person who was raised both inside and outside of the United States of America. The Term “Frenchsplain” is defined as the explanation of something by a French person, typically to an American in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing. The concept of this web-series aims to bring about a cartesian reflection to the viewer by questioning practices and cultural behaviors that are regarded as mundane to the average American. These episodes center around the first impressions of the American Public School system from the eyes of a foreigner who is essentially a blank slate when it comes to American habits. This web series exists both in English and in French, with neither being a translation or “dub” of the other. Rather, they are adapted to the cultural consciousness of the given audience, which is reflected in the design/name/personality of the speaking character. In either case, the speaker is adopting a French perspective on whatever the subject matter may be. The show is animated in 2D with hand drawn artwork that pulls inspiration from both American comic strips and the Franco-Belge “bande dessinée”. The recordings of the voice lines are done back-to-back in each language to better maintain continuity while also highlighting the subtle differences in personality through the speech pattern of one individual across two unique languages with unique vocabularies. One notable difference would be that the English version comes off as condescending towards American culture, whereas the French version would be more exasperated and exhausted from navigating this unfamiliar culture. The main motivator behind the tone of this series comes from the animator’s fear of losing his French identity over a decade of being subjected to the American ethnocentric mindset.

Bobbie Daniels

Yurii Patselia