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