Funny short: This Way Up

I can’t believe I haven’t seen this before now.  It’s exactly what I like. It’s a non verbal comedy packed with great gags.   This Way Up was released in 2008, and was nominated for an Academy Award.  It was created by the directing team of Smith & Foulkes at Nexus in London.  The story features a pair of undertakers retrieving a body for burial.  It’s a grave situation (pardon the pun) and that allows for humor that is both dark and slapstick. Like my Floyd the Android character, these two don’t give up until they complete the job.

Except for the poster image below, the two almost never smile.  Undertakers by nature are quite serious and respectful. The straight faces give the impression of them being a pair of Buster Keatons.  (Buster Keaton as an undertaker may have been a missed opportunity.)  The film is 9 minutes long, but moves along so efficiently it feels shorter.  The bizarre ending features a truly death defying stunt that is very Keatonesque.

A Christmas video from me

This film was completed about 14 years ago.  It started a few years before that when I was working at Duck Soup Produckions, now just called DUCK. The owners proposed doing a short CG film, and solicited concepts.  In about two days I created a storyboard for a film about a snowman who gets abducted by half-witted aliens who mistake it for an earthling. They believed it was held immobile by their “freeze ray.”  We began work on it between commercial projects.  After a few years of that, we hadn’t even gotten into animation, and I got an offer to go work at Industrial Light & Magic.  I handed over the directing to Lane Nakamura, and two years later he phoned me up and told me it was done.  However, they did change the ending considerably, and I wasn’t happy about that.  Still, it achieved some success, showing in the Siggraph Electronic Theater, and was on the long list for Oscar nomination.  I got a story credit. I designed the aliens, the snowman, and the spaceship interior.

I’ll be enjoying my holiday, and I hope you do too!

The Snowman from Jonathan Lyons on Vimeo.

UGLY – animated short film

UGLY is a short film currently seeking funding on Kick Starter.  HERE is the link to their page.  I recommend watching their pitch video there.  They have just 4 days to go, and I hope they get their funding.

The filmmakers are creating the animation primarily with Cinema 4 D dynamics, and a small amount of keyframe animation.  The results are quite unusual, and in my opinion, very funny.  As physical comedy is often about unattractive characters, and things falling down, this technique works very well.  Watch the videos below and consider supporting them.

If Pixar made “Houses”

Pixar made Cars, and Planes. If they made a film about houses, it couldn’t be much better than this wonderful short film Home Sweet Home. It was made by Pierre Clenet, Alejandro Diaz, Romain Mazevet and Stéphane Paccolat at Supinfocom Arles. I suggest watching at the largest size you can. It is very impressive.

Home Sweet Home from Home sweet home the film on Vimeo.

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