A stop-motion sci-fi adventure FILM Ten years in the making

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FABRICATED is a short film that took me ten years to complete. I designed, built and animated the creatures and the strange worlds they inhabit. 

The film is a journey through an alien world which was once our own. Set in a time after organic life has passed from the scene, mechanical creatures are being formed from the materials and the machine aesthetic we have left behind. From a pile of discarded parts through an anonymous assembly line, a creature named Oto is constructed from steel and bone and sent off. Making his way through an old world that is dying and a new world struggling to be born, Oto begins to sense that he may have a part to play in the evolution of his imperfect kind.

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On his journey, Oto encounters a series of landscapes, starting in a jungle of rusty iron, then progressing through copper and into a world of brass where he meets a wise old man.

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Oto ends up in a vast steel wasteland of abandoned machinery. Here lives a mechanical dinosaur named Rex, who is all that stands between Oto and his destiny...

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Over the course of the long production, the film moved with me through almost a dozen different apartments in the cities of Chicago, San Francisco, Portland and Oakland. 

Engineering jobs and Chicago scrapyards provided me with piles of obscure and beautiful mechanical detritus, which I then re-engineered and sculpted into new forms and uses. It was quite a challenge to fully build out each world. No matter how many props and derelict machines I would build, the horizon would keep calling out for more. The Brass Dome was built inside of a plastic safety mirror and some trickery was used to make 2 quarters seem like a full hemisphere:

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It was a long and difficult production, and many times it felt as though I would not make it to the end. But each time I finished a shot or started to animate a new creature, I would be inspired to keep going. Slowly but surely, all of the pieces came together into this primal story of creation and survival.

Watch the full film on Vimeo

 

Please consider making Fabricated an addition to your home animation library.

 

The production of stop-motion animation was, as usual, grueling and tedious. A typical animation session would begin at 10pm but wouldn't really get rolling until 2am. Every second of finished footage took 2-3 hours to animate.

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As difficult as it was, there was nothing more satisfying than finishing a shot at 5am and then watching it loop for 45 mins, hypnotized this strange thing that had just come to life.

 

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This Behind-The-Scenes video shows many of the special-effect techniques and also gives a feel for how the film slowly took over my life and living quarters. It was a very productive obsession, but one which required much trial and error, and feeling my way through. These making-of sequences were very useful as a way to test out new ideas and methods. They also helped to break up the tedium. With even more tedium.

 

After photography was complete, I collaborated with a talented team of sound artists, composer, sound mixer and colorist to fill out the world and prepare it for wide-screen surround-sound cinematic glory.

Creature Vocals   John France

Composer  Andrew Poole Todd

Sound Design   Ryan Mauk, Chris Vibberts

Color    Bradley Greer     

Mixer   Dan Olmsted