The Wrong Rock – New Short Film

2017 approaches and I’m back at it, making another short film. After Devils I was adamant I’d not be taking on such a huge (unpaid) pet project again for another decade. Well, life evolved in ways I couldn’t have predicted and I ended up helping out on two other short films for friends, both of which worked out great (The OceanMaker and Napoleon). I also had a lot of wonderful adventures in my professional working life. But once again I find myself with that craving to make something outside of work, and there’s only so many small projects you can do before the big ones come calling. There’s another project I actually could have started that’s been in development for some time but it needs more time to be the best version of itself. In the mean time ‘The Wrong Rock‘ came to me in a moment of soul searching where I brushed aside everything I’d learned about building IP and focused on the issues I felt the most connected to. Then I worked out how could I explore those issues and send a strong message out into the world worthy of the time it takes to make one of […]

Tips for Making Films with a Remote Team

I contributed some tips to the Artella Blog. Advanced Tips Recruiting – Depending on your own strongest skills it might not be worth recruiting for some skill sets. Recruitment is a commitment in itself and it can be very time consuming reaching out, filtering, vetting and introducing new team members. That might be time better spent working on the project yourself. While some areas are easy to recruit for and benefit the project greatly. Choose wisely. Communication – This is key to every team member, especially when you’re operating a remote project. If a team member lacks the language skills, can’t write responses or even read your notes…. it’s going to be a struggle. Partnership – Find out what your team members want to get out of their involvement in the project, then make sure they are getting it. If people realize they aren’t getting what they want and they’re paid they won’t last long. But if they realize they’re not getting what they want and they’re volunteers, they’ll drop the project so fast, you often won’t even hear about it until you’ve wasted a lot of time chasing them. So make sure both sides are meeting their goals, or […]

Devils Angels & Dating: Storyboards

Here are the storyboard panels for Devils, Angels & Dating. In the heat of production there was never the time to prepare them for presentation and I didn’t have access to the right tools to do it. Since the animatic was always the most up to date version of the film and it communicated what we needed I didn’t worry too much about a storyboard presentation like this. But I did want to do one, so it’s been on my to-do list for sometime. Although the majority of the storyboard panels were drawn by me, I have to give credit to Natalie Massone who lent a hand for a little while. You’ll notice the style change fairly easily. My work tends to have the blue rough lines, and I also did the thumbnail versions. Her panels were an older character design style and a much rougher, darker pencil style.

Finish your Film

Kenny Roy’s book ‘Finish Your Film! Tips and Tricks for Making an Animated Short in Maya‘ features ‘Devils Angels & Dating‘ several times. It discusses the making of an animated short film. It’s available at all the usual book retailers.

2 Years Online – The Stats for ‘Devils Angels and Dating’

It’s been just over two years since Devils Angels and Dating premiered online on YouTube. In the full spirit of disclosure, that we’ve run this project, I wanted to share the statistics behind the people viewing it. As you can see we’ve passed 1.4 million views, most of which came in the first summer. You can learn much more about the making of the film at the development site,

Virtual Studios and Remote Collaboration

For Siggraph 2013 my friends and I put on a presentation along with a question and answer session to talk about remote collaboration. The following is a summary of the introduction I gave and two videos containing the audio, slide shows and clips we showed at the event. The speakers included: David Andrade and Mark Olson from Matt Berenty and David Bokser from Kenny Roy from Michael Cawood and Shane Davis from The United Nations predicts that by 2050, 70% of the world’s population will live in the cities. Can you imagine that? In terms of mankind, as one big machine, cities are essentially more efficient. But on the individual level, they’re expensive and you can expect a lower quality of life for your earnings. I’d like to challenge that prediction, and suggest that the U.N. hasn’t accounted for the increasing development of remote collaboration, and in the case of our industry, Virtual Studios. I’m going to use animated features as an example for our discussion, but many of the principles apply to visual effects, TV series, commercials, games and many other industries. Let’s jump back in time first to remind ourselves of some of the […]

The Ocean Maker – The Insider Story – Part 4

Continued from Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. The first screening went very well and over the coarse of our production we had a lot of similar screenings. My memory of all the screenings on the island blend into each other. But ultimately there was a lot of cheering, respectful compliments and constructive feedback. Note giving is an art into itself, and so is taking notes. The results can be very different in different settings and mediums. We sent out versions of the film through Dropbox links to key filmmaking friends of ours to get feedback. You get very different responses that way. The remote feedback ranged from solid filmmaking notes to complete mis-understandings of certain concepts, and this was the best feedback of all as we could make sure to address big oversights. If something important was missed by even one of our friends you can bet that a much larger number of people with no knowledge of the animation process will fail to understand the same things, so it was crucial to find those oversights and make sure they were clear.The team feedback was really good as we could see exactly what they did and didn’t understand. Standing in […]

The Ocean Maker – The Insider Story – Part 3

Continued from Part 1 and Part 2. So the team set to work on the film. As the point man put in charge of documenting the production I was encouraging everyone else to take pictures and videos… to get coverage while I sunned myself in the corner and watched them work their socks off! … Ok, not quite… I actually set myself the task of interviewing each team member so that we got everyone’s initial impressions. Not an easy thing for everyone to do as we’re not all comfortable with the camera and it was something that we all had to get used to. But we got through it and captured a few great conversations as we got to know the team. While I was doing that, everyone else was setting up. Tray went to task setting up a way for us all to share files. Essentially his laptop acted as the server, and we each pressed a sync button on our laptops that sent all our changes to the server then downloaded any chances to our machines. It was a lot more data than we all really needed but on a local network it worked fine. A dirty but […]

The Devils Team – Where did they go from here?

Since they worked on ‘Devils, Angels and Dating‘, where have the team moved onto? I was recently asked what I’d say to a University aged version of me if I could, and one of the top tips I’d give is to keep working on personal projects in your free time to compliment your day job. This ensures that your portfolio grows (even when the work you get paid for is canned, or kept from the public for years). One fantastic way to do that is to work on short films, and it’s something I wish I’d gotten into much earlier. While directing your own film can be a bit of overkill, contributing to other projects is a much more manageable way to get motivated to do something new for your portfolio. I’m really fortunate to have had some great talents pass through my little project over the years but I thought it was important to show where those talents moved onto afterwards. We can’t assume that their work on Devils was entirely to credit for these opportunities, but no-doubt it formed part of a broader body of strong work from each artist. Here’s a condensed list of some of the […]

The Ocean Maker – Short Film

As many of you know Lucas Martell started a new short film and I got reluctantly roped into it [rolls eyes]… just kidding, it’s been pretty awesome working with one of my very best friends. He just posted his new website and along with it some images and video (included in his reel). I’ve been a bit busy lately getting setup in LA, but hopefully I’ll find some time to get back to helping out on this thing. This is Lucas’s baby but really want to follow through on it and make it the best it can be. We’ve put a lot of time into it already… well I say that but actually I’ve only worked a couple of months on it solidly… it’s just that this things has come together so quickly that a couple of months is a big slice of the overall production schedule. This is a far cry from our previous films, Pigeon Impossible and Devils, Angels and Dating, both eating up over five years of our lives.

Orson Welles Award

I went to San Diego over the weekend to the California Film Awards to accept the Orson Welles Award on behalf of our film. It was a long ceremony with a lot of categories but it turns out the Orson Welles Award was way up there towards the most prestigious categories, so it was quite an honour. I asked someone to use my phone to shoot video of my speech but unfortunately I forgot to press record when i handed it over, and they didn’t either… so I’ll paraphrase roughly what I said: “This film was made for roughly… zero dollars, so I want to thank the Animation community for putting up with all the begging and grovelling we had to do to get this film made. But mostly I’d like to thanks the one hundred or so talents artists that volunteered their time to make this film. Thank you!” As a side note… the life of an animator isn’t compatible with an award like this. We often have to keep moving around, and this thing is soooo heavy!

Devils, Angels and Dating – One Year Online

So it’s been a year since ‘Devils, Angels and Dating’ was first released onto YouTube where it recently passed a million views, which was a very nice Christmas present! Our film’s composer, Phil Rey, has a great new album out that I’m listening to now… and wow! …. it’s good. Check it out, well worth a listen: The singer, song writer for our credits, Andrea Perry, ran a very successful KickStarter campaign to fund her new Album which passed it’s goal by a significant margin: I’ve been encountering a lot of Devils team members over the years. Several popped up at my leaving event in Austin which was a surprise and I worked with a good number of remote animators from the team while I was in New York. Most notably I worked alongside Jamil Lahham for six months or so, which was a real treat and we’ve become good friends. He’s also making his own short film. It really is nice for me to meet all these team members but what’s even cooler is hearing about them bonding over Devils when they cross paths on their own. It’s going to be a go-to conversation piece […]

Devils Angels & Dating at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre

I thought I’d kick off my official blog posts here on blogger by showcasing our short film, ‘Devils Angels and Dating’. It’ll be screening at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on the 16th of August at the HollyShorts festival. It’s been amazing to have two articles in 3D World, and two in 3D Artist. Here’s our official website where you can see lots of behind the scenes content.