The Animal Crackers Short!
This is where everything came together…
In April 2013, after 2 years of rejection over my script for Animal Crackers from all studios, I asked my friends Jaime Maestro and Nathalie Martinez from Frameover Studios to help me put together a short that would help people see what I had in mind for the film.
Though I had NO budget, they said that they believed in the project…and more so… believed in me.
I then set out to write a SCRIPT for this. I wanted something AMAZING. Something powerful. Something that told the WHOLE STORY.
I wrote an elaborate 9 page script that had all of the elements of the film crammed into one action-packed trailer.
I’m pretty sure Jaime printed the 9 pages out JUST so he could call me on Skype so I can hear him CRUMBLE it up and throw it in the trash.
“We are doing this for free” he explained “You need to think smaller”
Okay. Back to the drawing board.
I wrote another script. Then another. And 5 more.
Still too elaborate.
Finally, Jaime sent me a link.
The genius of Pixar. A single character. A single room.
But you get it.
The rest was easy. I had the script done that night.
I next called my friend Tony Bancroft. Tony and I had worked on some projects together in the past, and he and I had always talked about directing a film together. Tony was one of the lead animators on Lion King and Beauty and the Beast as well as co-director of Mulan.
Next, I asked my friend Jamie Thomason if he could help me round up some talent for voices. Jamie also has been a long time friend who also happens to be one of the premiere voice directors in animation.
Jamie knew exactly who to call for this. Tara Strong (Harley Quinn from Batman the Animated Series) and James Arnold Taylor (Obi Wan Kenobi from Clone Wars).
Jamie had set up a meeting with James and my family one year in Disney World (During Star Wars Weekend) and my boys THRILLED at the chance to “meet Obi Wan”. James couldn’t have been nicer and I was so happy to work with him.
James also brought his daughter, Lydia, to do AMAZING work for Mackenzie (Adorable).
While Jamie Thomason had set up auditions with several actors for me to choose from… we always knew we wanted Tara and James.
Tim Hodge (Mulan/Brother Bear) came on to help out with story. We would hang out at Panera Bread and discuss the boards and he would doodle notes and such.
It all took place in just 6 weeks. SIX WEEKS.
Friends, family, left over parts from unused projects. Everyone joining in to help me see my vision through.
It’s not perfect. But it works.
I wasn’t able to give any real notes on animation. Everything you see is is FIRST PASS animation done in Spain.
I’ve always said this is 50% of the quality the film would be.
But it works. It got us a studio deal. It got us our investors. And we’re making a movie.
Because my friends believed in me.
We’re making a movie. Can you believe that?