Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Germany was an incredible experience. I got to show my work at the eDIT Festival, meet Bill Plympton and go the amazing film museum in Frankfurt. I also spoke at Darmstadt University which was cool. It reminded me of film school at USC. Here are some pics.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Brushes App

I've been having a lot of fun with the Brushes App on the iPhone. It's basically Photoshop with a lot of limitations, but highly addicting. I call this first series "The Kubrick Stare":

Friday, October 21, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Excercise in Absurdity

So I picked up my new iPhone yesterday and already shot this. I don't know what I would call it, but I think it was borne out of a general feeling of frustration (mine and everyone else) that seems to permeate the zeitgeist these days. But in the end, this particular problem is "solved" as it were.  Worth a laugh. Or maybe you'll be offended. I don't know.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Owls Animatic

As I continue to rummage through my archives I came across this early animatic. It's an early, "rough draft" of my short Owls At The Revolution. Still , I think there's something charming about it and I found it inspiring enough at the time to go ahead and shoot it. Incidentally, "Owls At The Revolution" is the piece that got me invited to eDIT fest in Germany. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

R.I.P Steve Jobs

I wouldn't be here typing this if it weren't for his innovation and vision. May he rest in peace.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Buckwheat Color Script Panels

Pre-production elements for Buckwheat are nearly complete! And that means I will be moving into pencil tests soon. I'm actually eagerly awaiting the iPhone 5 release so I can get busy shooting! But until then, here's some more early color script panels. The script has evolved over the past month and a half and this color script exercise has definitely helped me streamline the narrative and start thinking in visual vocabulary. Interestingly, after looking at more noir and neo-noir films I was influenced by the use of visual motifs. For example, Scorsese used the visual motif of an X throughout The Departed (2006) to foreshadow the double crossing going on throughout the plot. There are X's everywhere in that film if you watch closely enough. For Buckwheat, since it's very much a story of confinement, I placed subtle visual references to barred doors, cells, stripes throughout the story. Again, it's subtle, but a pattern emerges and foreshadows the central theme of imprisonment.

Friday, September 9, 2011

eDIT Filmmakers Festival

At the end of October I will be presenting and discussing my animation work at the eDIT Filmmakers Festival in Frankfurt, Germany. This is exciting for a number of reasons because I've never been to Germany before and the great indie animator Bill Plympton will be there as well. The program has just been released at the link below so if any of you are in Germany or will be in October please come check it out!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Lighting and Mood

Here is another piece of production art for Buckwheat. This is a scene where a group of smugglers plan a "heist" of sorts. I looked at The Killing and a few other noir films for inspiration. The hard light and shadows suggest some illicit goings on. This is a full panel done in Gouache. You can see the rough sketch for this scene in the Buckwheat story art post below.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Alois Nebel

This Czech rotoscope animated feature looks amazing. I don't think I've ever seen anything like this before.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Color Script

A color script is essentially a storyboard with color. I'm working on the color script for Buckwheat and through this process I've discovered a lot about the mechanics of my story. Some things that work on paper, don't translate as well into picture. It's proved helpful in strengthening the narrative and tightening things. As I progress through the script it's my intention that every panel of the color script should "read" so that the viewer understands what is happening without any dialogue, which is very hard to do. Below is the color script for the opening scene. The panels read left to right, just like a book (or screenplay).

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fun With Gouache

Having recently become obsessed with Pixar artist Lou Romano's production designs for "The Incredibles" and "Up" I started dabbling in Gouache. I love the textures it creates. I've been painting the entire Buckwheat color script with it, but here are some recent dabblings in the medium.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Buckwheat Production Art

"Buckwheat" is the title of my animated feature and it's about a guy who breaks his dog out of the pound with the help of some international pet smugglers. I spent the summer writing and revising the screenplay and have since begun some rough character sketches and storyboarding. I will post more of these as things progress.

The tone is a Walt Disney film (talking animals and so forth) with a generous dose of gangster iconography. There is a strong influence of the French gangster movies of the 60's and 70's directed by Jean-Pierre Melville. I want to produce something that is accessible to audiences of all ages while also retaining the slightest bit of an edge. Below are some initial character and scene sketches.

Friday, August 19, 2011


And another. I guess you can call this just messing around. I would post the very rough cut of the Batman short idea but I'm too embarrassed.

Chicago Typewriters

Here is some fun with rotoscope. A few months ago I was inspired by the internet rumor of an Orson Welles directed Batman movie that never happened. I started messing around with a short Batman idea set in the Gotham City of the 1930's with Tommy Guns and Public Enemy iconography. I loved that the press referred to the Tommy Gun as the "Chicago Typewriter". I also looked at a lot of Weegee's work for inspiration. For whatever reason I never got around to finishing it. I shot this with another iPhone stop motion app that had a "noir" option that would shoot a grainy black and white.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Here of course is the final product. It was produced over a 3 week period and shot using my iPhone. For this piece I combined stop motion cut outs with hand-drawn animation, often in the same shot. This required a good deal of forethought and planning so the timing would work out. Of course, looking back there are always things I wish I could re-do or had more time and money to tinker with. But every filmmaker will tell you this!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Storyboards are the most fun, I think. It's the first chance to really visualize where you are going with a story. To me this is "direction" when it comes to animating anything. These are some of the storyboards for the "Coattails" video and I apologize for the low quality of the images, but this is the blue print.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Swing You Sinners

Here's a trippy cartoon from the 1930's that I looked at from the Fleischer Studios. This is the style I was trying to emulate for the Coattails video. Perhaps I should have taken peyote or whatever these animators were into.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Here is another "tap dancing" test in the form of a stick figure. I studied live action footage of the band performing to try and match Lauren's movements, albeit "exaggerated" for cartoon form.


The band He's My Brother, She's My Sister also has a tap dancer as part of their group. Here is a rough movement test of "tap dancing".


Here are some pre-visuals for the Coattails music video. I usually start with some rough pencil tests. This is for the tambourine player.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Getting the party started...

Welcome to my "blog". It is now "live". Never thought I would be blogging about anything, but going through my archives recently I realized I needed a place to show off more of my animation and illustration work new, old and in progress. I will also post about movies I'm watching, books I'm reading and anything else that happens to inspire me. Thanks for checking it out.