MADISON BATEMAN, ALLISON CRAIG, KAT RUZICS, DEREK KOSOL, SAM CHERINGTON / Star Crossed Lovers / 1:39
For years Kat Ruzics and I had commented on the lack of women in leadership roles in our industry and wanted to change that somehow. Call us feminists, but we wanted to make sure that women had a strong voice in this male-dominated animation world. We had talked about working together on something creative for years and Five Second Day presented itself as the perfect opportunity. In the theme of sisterhood, our friend and very talented colleague, Allison Craig, joined our little team all the way from Kentucky! I really felt like I had won the lottery 1) to be working with two women, and 2) to be working with two of the most talented artists at the studio. Seriously. I hit the jackpot.
Here’s all of us in a pitch meeting. That’s Allison with her dog, Teenie. I cannot tell you how instrumental Teenie was in the whole creative process.
I had a story seed in my mind based on watching the sunset one night when the moon was already in the sky. I knew I wanted to do a folk tale about the sun and the moon being lovers but I didn’t know if I wanted to write it as a children’s book or what the story was going to become. But when Kat asked me to work with her on a Five Second Day project, I thought, “Why not make this our story?” Short. Sweet. Succinct.
Allison did all the character designs. I will forever be in her debt for making the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life: Grumpy Earth. I want T-shirts made of this. I want hats. I want stickers. I want an entire television show based on this one expression. Just look at this face. JUST LOOK AT IT!!!
But enough about Grumpy Earth… Here are Allison’s early sketches of the moon. We went with the second design because the blue glow really evoked that classic slow-mo hair toss.
Five Second Day came and went in a blur of Kat and Allison animating, compositing, editing… Kat (who took the reins as our director) was nice enough to let me look at the scenes as they came in and give my thoughts. It was really a collaborative and wholly positive experience. They were both so fast and so talented (sorry ladies – I know you’re really modest but I think I’m allowed to brag on you a little bit)!
Kat brought on a Turbo designer, Derek Kosol, to do the backgrounds. He was really smart about breaking the background into reusable elements – the space background, one star that could be multiplied as needed in compositing, and a foreground element of the Earth – so that we could basically use one background for most of the short. We were going to pretend that our team was all female-powered and we didn’t like Derek because he’s a boy, but… Well that’s just a lie. He was really great. Here’s proof that we like each other and that he’s a cool guy.
Thanks for working with us Derek!
It wasn’t until the animation was nearly done that reality set in and the panic gripped me. Most of the Five Second Day films are funny. There are a lot of fart jokes, poop jokes, dick jokes, you name it. Ours wasn’t funny. Ours was sweet and deeply personal. What the heck was I thinking putting a serious piece like this out for my coworkers and peers to mock? WE’D MADE A HUGE MISTAKE!!! I almost didn’t go to the screening out of sheer terror at how the film would be received. However, the outpouring of support we got for our film was amazing and more than I ever expected. Turns out, there really is room for everyone’s point of view.
As a footnote, we are SO happy to work at a company that allows us the creative freedom slack off work one day a year and make our own passion projects. THANK YOU, TITMOUSE!!!
My wife Kat, Allison and Madison from Titmouse being boss. Derek is cool too. #proudhusband #ladiesinanimation #derekisntaladybutstill