Tag: Short film

Fancy lending a hand?

A new animated short film from Lucas Martell, the creator of Pigeon: Impossible.

Back on the 4th December, 2011 I published a post under the title of Pigeon: Impossible.  Here’s some of what I wrote:

A truly remarkable example of the level of film animation being produced.

The second item that came to me from Bob D. (yesterday’s is here) has clearly done the rounds; the YouTube video has been watched nearly 7 million times!  But if you haven’t seen this short film, just over 6 minutes long, then do watch it.  It shows just how close to reality film animation has become!  The story behind the film is from here, reproduced below.

Pigeon: Impossible is the tale of Walter, a rookie secret agent faced with a problem seldom covered in basic training: what to do when a curious pigeon gets trapped inside your multi-million dollar, government-issued nuclear briefcase.

The film took nearly 5 years to complete and is the first attempt at animation by writer/director Lucas Martell: “When the project started, it was mostly an excuse to learn 3D animation, but by the end of the project I had spent so much time reworking and polishing the story that I just wanted people to laugh.

The end-result is a hilarious 6-minute romp through the streets of Washington D.C. as our hero fights to save himself, and the world from the chaos reigned down by a hungry pigeon. Breathtaking visuals and a sweeping soundtrack showcase the work of nearly one-hundred talented artists and musicians, and the film stands as a testament to what can be accomplished by a team of dedicated volunteers working for the love of their craft.

Personally, I think that last sentence is still an understatement.  Just watch this – and be amazed.

If you haven’t seen the film then you can watch it here.

Anyway, yesterday Lucas Martell left a comment to that post, as follows:

Lucas Martell
Lucas Martell

Hi, I’m the creator of Pigeon: Impossible and am so glad you enjoyed the film! We’re trying to finish our next animated short, and would love it if you could check it out and help us spread the word.


It seemed a worthwhile thing to do just that.  That next animated short is called The OceanMaker. Enjoy 4 minutes of it:

This is the website associated with the venture that explains more and also gives details of the way you can financially support the project, starting from as little as $10.  The website is great fun! (I couldn’t resist republishing the following)


About the Film

The OceanMaker is a 9-minute animated short film that takes place after Earth’s oceans have disappeared. It tells the tale of one courageous pilot who fights against vicious sky pirates for control of the last remaining source of water: the clouds.


From a visual standpoint, we’re steering away from the air pirates often found in steampunk and going straight-up “Mad Max” in the sky. The film is packed with old, beat-up planes that have been cobbled together from spare parts found in airplane graveyards.


Tonally, The OceanMaker is filled with exciting action, but the ending is emotional and powerful in a way that even feature-length films rarely achieve. The film also contains no dialogue, which means that the visuals and soundtrack need to be top notch in order to tell this story properly.

Finally, this film is unique in that it’s a complete story which stands on its own as a self-contained short film, but it’s also part of a even larger, more epic tale. Contributing to this project means a double dose of good karma, as you’re not only helping us complete the short, you’re getting us one step closer to making the feature! Our sights are set high and it’s going to be an amazing ride. We hope you’ll come along and share the adventure with us!


  • $10,000 – We can finish the models! – At the moment we have our hero models finished, but the story requires several other assets in order to set up the world and show how the loss of the oceans has affected life on earth. At $10,000, we’ll be able to bring on two model/texture artists to finish these assets.
  • $20,000 – We can finish the animation! – Animation is about 70% completed, but the remaining shots are the most challenging ones in the film. We’ll need two animators to bring these awesome shots to life!
  • $30,000 – We can finish the lighting! – Lighting and rendering are what make things pretty. It’s also a very technically challenging process, with each frame taking about an hour to render. At 24 frames per second, that’s just under 13,000 frames!
  • $40,000 – We can finish the film! – The last major step is the effects. In a word: clouds. They’re very tough to do right, and they’re pretty important for this whole story to work. Plus, these aren’t just static clouds in the background. We’re flying through them, scooping them up and making them grow!
  • $50,000 – Post Production! – This first stretch goal would allow us to hire a professional sound designer, as well as doing the final mix, color correction and output in a proper studio. This is crucial in order to submit the film to festivals and put it up on the big screen. If we reach this stretch goal, then all donors will also recieve a PDF copy of the script!
  • $60,000 – Live orchestra! – With this stretch goal, we could record Chris Reyman’s amazing score with a real live orchestra. This would be HUGE, as the film is extremely reliant on music, and the production value will increase dramatically. All donors at every level would receive a DRM-free copy of the score.
  • $70,000 – Expanded cast! – One thing that will make the film even better, is a second character. We already have a temporary version of that character in our animatic, but she’s very difficult to create and quite expensive for the few shots she’s in. However, that small addition would take the emotion and complexity of the story to a whole new level.
  • $80,000 – $100,000 The OceanMaker extended universe – As you can imagine, the OceanMaker is a really BIG story… too big to fit entirely within a short, but we’ve done an excellent job capturing the essence of it in a way that feels complete and stands on its own. However, if we hit $80,000, we can start to explore this broader story. This would be in the form of a graphic novel that delves deeper into the world both before and after the short film. The higher into this range we get, the longer this graphic novel could be and the more of the expanded story we could tell. Donors at every level would get a free digital copy of the graphic novel.
  • $100,000 and up – Feature!!! – OK, I realize we’re really reaching for the stars here, but you don’t do something like this without being a dreamer. If we somehow manage to reach the 100k mark, we’ll be able to start working on the feature film! It would be based in part on the content from the extended universe. The first step would be a treatment, then a script, then visual development and finally an animatic. Should we be able to complete any of these stages with money raised from this campaign, all donors will receive a digital copy of the completed work. You can take a sneak peek or remain unspoiled, but its the least we can do if your hard-earned dollars end up funding development of the feature.


So I hope you can contribute whatever you can afford.

Oh, and I should make it clear that neither Jean nor I have any financial or commercial connection with the project.

The story of transition, part one

A fun collection of short films about Transition.

I shall avoid the temptation of writing about our need for transition, well for now that is, and just go straight to this recent article that appeared on the Transition Culture website.

As part of the promotion of ‘The Transition Companion‘, Emilio Mula made these 10 short films of different stories from the book.  The recent BBC series ‘A History of the World in 100 Objects’ beautifully told the story of the evolution of human history illustrated by 100 objects chosen from the British Museum’s collection. We used a similar approach to tell the story of the emerging and unfolding Transition movement, which in its short life has spread to 35 countries around the world from its humble beginnings in Kinsale, Ireland.  You can read more about these stories here, and here are the films…

So the first three of the films today and some more tomorrow.

Film One – A Really Quite Horrible Jumper  Origin: Transition Taunton Deane

Between July and September 2009, Transition Taunton Deane ran a series of workshops with their local council looking at peak oil, climate change and resilience. What was extraordinary was that every one of the Council’s 375 employees attended, from CEO to car park attendants.

This was written up as ‘Towards a resilient Taunton Deane’ and the whole process deeply impacted the Council. They set up a Green Champions team, every department now has an energy charter, it has cut its electricity use by 14%, set up a car club and is now installing PV and insulating its buildings. After the initial workshop, a planning officer and a car park attendant got together and planted a new community orchard on public land.

Chrissie Godfrey from TTD told me “our main role is to keep telling them how brilliant they are… it just goes to show how powerful a catalyst Transitioners, in the right place at the right time, can be”.

The jumper? In 2010, the Council held a ‘Turn the Heat Down’ day where the heating in their offices was turned down and staff were invited to wear the most revolting jumper they could find to work, and prizes were awarded for the most hideous.

Film Two – Bertie & Gertie Origin: Transition Town Tooting’s Trashcatchers’ Carnival

In July 2010, Tooting was the setting for the Trashcatchers’ Carnival, the first Transition project to get Arts Council funding. Together with Project Phakama and Emergency Exit Arts, Transition Town Tooting (TTT) created a street carnival celebrating the Earth using entirely recycled materials. Over 800 people took part, including local schools, mosques and temples, and over one million plastic bottles and shopping bags, half a million crisp packets, half a ton of renewable willow and half a ton of materials were collected over a six month period to create this extravaganza, which included several structures over 6m (20ft) high.

On the day, thousands turned out, the sun shone, local restaurants fed over 1,000 people for free at the end of the event, and the community was left with the feeling of ‘if we can do that we can do anything’.

Bertie and Gertie were made entirely from recycled plastic bags by members of Tooting Bec Lido as part of their float, and represent the real Bertie and Gertie, who are often to be found swimming in the Lido.

Film Three – A Gas Lamp Bulb Origin: Transition Malvern Hills’ ‘Gasketeers’

Malvern is home to 109 Victorian gas lamps, which provided C.S. Lewis with the inspiration for the lamp that first greets Lucy in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. They are listed, part of the identity of the place, but are also hugely inefficient. At the moment each lamp costs £130 to maintain per year and £450 to maintain.  They don’t even create that much light, and as local council budgets tighten, there is a risk that they will be turned off altogether.

Enter Transition Malvern Hills’ energy group, known locally as the ‘Gasketeers’. The group brought together experts in gas lighting from the local area and also from further afield. They have now started making the lamps over; their changes will mean that each lamp will now cost just £14 a year in gas and £40 a year in maintenance, reducing carbon emissions by 84%. They will also be 10 times brighter, and produce no light pollution at all. They are maintained by Lynn, the UK’s first qualified female gas lamp technician, who performs all her maintenance with a bicycle and trailer.