Rough draft to screen at the Showcase

Otter of the Underground is just weeks away from being done!  It's almost entirely animated at this point.  Soon it will be handed off to the film's sound designer and composer!  It's really exciting for me to see it come together during this final stage.

On Wednesday, Otter will be screened at the NYU Tisch Spring Animation Showcase.  This is an event the animation program does every year to watch and celebrate the year's completed short films.  Mine will play alongside some fantastic student works, and I'll also have the puppets on display in the art gallery. Here is the event page:

While this is still a rough draft, I can't wait to share it!  I'm not kidding when I say this was a blast to work on.  This is by far the most fun and rewarding creative endeavor in which I have ever taken part.


First look at sets and props

Here are a couple photos I snapped late last night. It's not all locked down yet, but I needed to see what the set pieces looked like together.

These photos show the small scale versions of the tunnel, tracks, and car. (I've also been working on puppets, more mine props, and some large scale foam rocks, but that's for another post.) I was really happy with Edison style light bulb, though the wattage was a tad high. I had assumed originally that I would want more lighting coverage, but I love the way the single center light lets the cart speed in and out of shadow. This particular set is great because it's made out of real materials and can be shot from both sides and at a variety of angles. I would definitely make another were it not for the foot of snow stopping me.

FB page and Hyperbolic Audio

We have a Facebook page! Anyone who has a Facebook can follow Otter by liking this page:

Also, we just wrapped voice recordings this week! I had an incredible opportunity to record at Hyperbolic Audio ( in Midtown, NYC. Not only was it a great experience, but the quality and creativity of the recordings also came out better than I could have imagined. The three actors in the film are so talented and it really came together. Sally, the film's producer, and I were doubled over laughing through half the takes! Admittedly, I was a little apprehensive before going through this whole process, but everything from casting to recording turned out to be very rewarding.

Building tiny props

Just like that, the semester ends. Huzzah!

I finished casting (a huge success). Everyone was just so talented; I can't wait to record. Sally and Michael helped me out a ton with the auditions, and I couldn't be happier with the way it all turned out.

I've been keeping busy making tiny things: props, sets, characters. It's a ton fun.

Armatures underway

Currently perfecting my armatures, which I've opted to make out of ball-and-socket joints. Here's a photo of the "small-double."  It's both the smallest and strongest of my different joints.

Unfortunately, this is a process which involves lots of chemical fumes, sharp objects, and heavy equipment.  I seem to have a special knack for pinching myself with pliers. And meet Mole...! With parts of Otter's skeleton, and for all of Mole's skeleton, sometimes a single piece can hold up assembly.  In Mole's case, he's waiting on a chest plate to join his limbs together.

I don't have a photo of Otter's armature handy, but you can see a shot of one of my first mini-scale-Otter fabrication attempts.

Storyboards from Advanced

Here are some storyboards from Advanced.
Animatics are supposedly "done" by now. Ha. (Actually, I'm pretty close--I mostly need to tweak some dialogue.)

Speaking of dialogue, I keep forgetting that I have to find three voice actors and subsequently remembering and then I hit head against the nearest piece of furniture I can find.

Animation Update

I said I understood that I didn’t have enough time and wasn’t willing to not sleep and stuff, but apparently I really didn’t and got no sleep anyway. I didn’t get to color everything, but I came really close. Honestly, I was probably going to work up until the last minute either way. I don’t like thinking I can’t do something so it became a personal challenge, which actually helped me get a lot done. Here’s my favorite screen cap:

And for some reason these Ace pics have become my go-to-pick-me-up so here’s another gem from my desktop:


It's Crunch Time.

It’s crunch time. I threw this together to describe my feelings.

There’s a lot on my mind, and a lot of production material to share, but I can’t take the time to do all that justice now. The only thing I can find on my desktop to put in this post is a one week old Premiere composite screen cap…

Catch y’all in a couple weeks!

Animation Update!

It’s been a long time since I’ve said anything about my “film” (eghm probably one Instagram photo…); therefore, this blog awaits an update long overdue!
Recap: I’m making a short cartoon for my Intermediate Animation class. In my mind, it’s a cartoon because “film” doesn’t sound like a word that appropriately describes whatever this is… It’s about a raccoon who unsuccessfully raids a recycling bin. This raccoon’s hungry, and he should probably be serious about getting a bite, but instead he has too much fun, and then the guy who lives in the house catches him, and everything goes crazy!
How it’s going: Man, it’s getting there. I didn’t have a lot of experience in animation, save for Action I, before starting this project, so I am learning a lot now. I decided to use ToonBoom Studio because I know it really well. Even though my character will have that “Flash” look everyone’s scared of, I’m able to focus on animating instead of stressing about lines. That was important to me anticipating the learning curve I would face making my first solo animated project. It took me a while to get into the rhythm of doing the roughs quickly. I get lost in doing art things a lot, so I’ve gotta say I was missing that until I finally got carried away in backgrounds (pretty proud of how they turned out, if I may say!)
Here is a ToonBoom still from the gigantically long scene I’ve been working on for a few weeks:

The class itself has a lot of hype around it. For me, it’s turned into this impending calamity every Monday. Despite all of the “Oh, intermediate!” empathy, I actually don’t mind the weight of the project. In fact, working on it is a daily relief. The combination of going to classes and work and being outside in the city in general feels like flying on a little crowded plane for hours. I get to come home and draw, make silly faces and laugh about the character on my computer screen.
Half of me wants to let the cartoon unfold organically, and the other half feels confined by the framework of the course to have a certain production method. It’s making me wonder if I’m not taking away the filmmaking learning experience I should be, or whether that’s just a reflection on a preference toward working independently.
Aaand this post is getting really long. Maybe I’ll write more before Thanksgiving break. Until next time, here’s a photo of me that happened during a dance party between working on scenes of my cartoon. BYE.