Throwback Thursday: The Follower

I’ve never done a TBT post before, but I’ve been wanting to post this film up here for so long I think it now qualifies as a throwback. So, here it is:

I completed the Follower at SCAD in 2012 with Brandon Moulton and Tom Nguyen. We were taking a class called “Short short” in which students put together an entire film in 10 weeks.

The assignment was to create a “biographical impression” of an interesting (and deceased) individual. Students formed groups of three, and each student pitched an idea with a styleframe. Charles Manson was Tom’s suggestion. His appropriately menacing styleframe inspired the film’s angular look and color palette. When I found an entire album by Manson on archive.org, we had the perfect creepy soundtrack for our film. The choice was made.

Charles Manson was not dead in 2012 (still isn’t as of this writing), so technically we weren’t following directions to the letter — but our Professor liked the idea anyway and encouraged us to move forward.

Tom's original Styleframe

Tom’s original Styleframe

It took at least half of the 10 weeks to nail down the story, and I ended up redoing the boards three times. We thought we’d never finish with only 5 weeks left.

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Fortunately Tom and Brandon moved ahead with rigs, sets, and lighting, so we caught up and had a mostly complete film by the end of the class.

In addition to building and lighting all of the environments, and helping out with the character animation, Tom abandoned sleep for days at a time and staked out the computer lab so he could finish rendering all the scenes.

This is how I found my friends one morning after a long night of rendering in the lab.

This is how I found my friends one morning after a long night of rendering in the lab.

Brandon was (and is) the best rigger, so that task fell to him. He worked relentlessly on the fluid effects that became such an integral part of the film. Getting that to look right was easily the toughest challenge of the entire film. Brandon also figured out how to apply our animated squiggle texture as the dogs transformed into wolves.

My contributions included the boards & animatic, layouts and camera animation, the character designs, character animation, and audio/post production.

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