Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Circuit Experimental Films Season 2 is now streaming on Disney+. We met with the creatives behind the Short Circuit series and learned a ton, including some fun facts about Disney’s Short Circuit Experimental Film Series Season 2, the creative process, and the inspiration behind some of the shorts.
Fun Facts About Disney’s “Short Circuit Experimental Film” Series Season 2
The 5 shorts and talent included in Disney’s “Short Circuit Experimental Film” Series Season 2 are:
- Songs to Sing in the Dark, directed by Riannon Delanoy
- Going Home, directed by Jacob Frey
- Crosswalk, directed by Ryan Green
- Dinosaur Barbarian, directed by Kim Hazel
- No. 2 to Kettering, directed by Liza Rhea
- and production manager, Jennifer Newfield, who pulls it all together
Riannon Delanoy’s idea for Songs to Sing in the Dark came from her childhood, long before she was an animator.
Delanoy’s parents are both research scientists, so she read—a lot. One of the things she learned in her childhood reading was sound and echolocation. Some animals, like bats, use it to navigate, but a few animals are even more advanced with encoded sound use:
- Tiger moths can use interference patterns to jam echolocation
- Sperm whales can blast sound like a shotgun to stun prey
- Dolphins even appear to have a pictographic language where they send images to one another
What if you took those abilities to their logical extreme? What would happen if you took a group of echolocating animals, and let them evolve for millions of years in this totally dark cave, in this massive evolutionary feedback loop?
That blue sky possibility for visuals and sound is what spawned Dalanoy’s idea for Songs to Sing in the Dark.
Ryan Green’s Crosswalk was inspired by a real location and situation.
Right outside of the Disney Animation building, there is a light (and Green mentioned he knows many of the team and staff have waited at that light many times). You can see down the street in both directions, there’s very little traffic, and the light takes forever. He remembered standing there one day just waiting (and waiting and waiting) and pictured his ancestors showing up next to him like, “Hey, what are you doing? We wanted to make a better life for ourselves, so we got on a boat and crossed the Atlantic. We didn’t wait for a robot to tell us to do it. Why are you just standing here? You can see, you can cross the street.” And that was the inspiration for Crosswalk.
4 of the 5 Directors also animated film shorts on Short Circuit Experimental Film Series Season 1.
Kim Hazel, Ryan Green, Jacob Frey, and Riannon Delanoy also animated films in Short Circuit Experimental Film Series Season 1.
The Directors collaborated and supported one another on their projects on Short Circuit Experimental Film Series Season 2.
Frey helped with some designs for Delanoy’s Songs to Sing in the Dark and storyboards for Hazel’s Dinosaur Barbarian. “She had the song, and I just got to just go at it with all the visuals. She had all these crazy ideas, and I was like, ‘Let’s see if we can transition to this’,” Frey said. “It was really fun.”
Rhea worked with Frey, which she said was helpful because she’s a modeler at the studio so much of her time doing her thing and working in the pipeline that she knows most. “When I was directing, I started to realize, I need to figure out how to communicate with so many other departments, and sitting with Jacob was so helpful,” Rhea said.
Along the same lines, Frey said he had, “so many modeling questions and it was just so good to have someone from another department sitting so close to you because like you said, we engage with every department now and we might not be an expert in those. It was really cool to just have someone from another department sitting right next to you, but also then, someone who’s actually going through the process with you, and then you can always talk about it and just share ideas, thoughts, or progress, and always have someone who can give you another opinion on where you’re at right now and I think it was super helpful.”
The color palette for No. 2 to Kettering came to Rhea in a work meeting.
Rhea shared that her idea came to me in the middle of a meeting at work because she uses color as a tool to communicate emotion. “I know it’s been used many times, but I think what makes my film unique is what kind of emotion I’m trying to convey and how. I really wanted to think like, ‘If there’s a girl full of vibrant color, and she’s living in a world that’s maybe bogged down with the weight of the world, and she’s just getting a bus. Everyone’s going about their day, but you have a lot going on. She’s all full of energy and bubbles.’ That, I wanted to translate using color.”
Conversely, as she interacts with people, that color can be drained, but sometimes, it can go the other way and she can infuse color into someone else by lifting their energy and joy. That was something Rhea had to figure out how to approach, as a modeler, how does she go about this? Thankfully, Newfield is amazing and Dale Mayeda (Rhea’s VFX supervisor) were able to figure out that they had a really good tool that effects can handle.
Check Out “Short Circuit Experimental Films” Season 2 Trailer
“Short Circuit,” Walt Disney Animation Studios’ innovative and experimental short film program where anyone at the Studio can pitch an idea and potentially be selected to create their own short, marks the 5th anniversary of the program’s inception with the debut of 5 new shorts exclusively on Disney+. This new selection of short films by a group of filmmakers hailing from various departments throughout Disney Animation explores 5 unique visual and storytelling styles.
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Short Circuit Experimental Films” streams August 4 on Disney+.
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