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Get Animated with this week's SATURDAY SHORTS

Hello ladies and gentlemen, Muldoon here with another block of awesome shorts created by you, the lovely Ain't It Cool Readers. More and more I'm finding that having programming blocks of films that are all in the same ballpark (like "All horror" or "All comedy") is kind of fun. So this week we have a beautiful chunk of animated awesomeness. Animation, to me, is one step closer into the mind of the filmmaker as there are practically limitless camera setups, angles, characters, and things you just can't pull off with the limitations of shooting due to reality intervening. Because of that, I'm always especially curious to see some new animated shorts (or features for that matter) - where you can pretty much get away with whatever your imagination allows.

That's enough cartoonified-movie love gushing from me, let's hop on to a teeny bit of business fun: I've still got about a hundred shorts to watch. Shorts are consistently rolling in, so it's not like there's an end point, and since I really can't email everyone back with a head's up (Though I really do try to hit you up if your link didn't work or there's any issue like that) I'm still chugging away, so don't despair if you're a filmmaker who's sent one in and hasn't seen it yet. There was a little bit of negativeness in the TB's a few weeks back that I feel wouldn't have been there had a few people realized I just hadn't gotten to their shorts yet. So to wrap it up, if you've sent your short in in the month of April, I've yet to see it. I will absolutely see it, but I just want to be open and clear with you folks, just to... I don't know, keep you in the loop. That AND I'm moving more to block programming (like I mentioned above) with the "mixed bag" assortment happening very rarely, so say I get a kickass werewolf short (Which I actually do have) - I'm going to hold off on screening that until we have another horror block.

This AICN screening room has one purpose: Show kickass shorts made by AICN readers to the folks at AICN. I have no doubt that a lot of the filmmakers I've been lucky enough to screen their work will go on to bigger and more elaborate projects. That said, if I have ever screened your short and you have any news - feel free to keep in touch with any updates - I'm a fan of your stuff and want to know what's up with your future projects.

Okay, too much jibber jabber, let's watch some badass animated shorts. Go grab yourself some popcorn, lock your kids in a closet, kill the lights, relax and check out this little weekly film fest we've got ourselves here:




Filmmaker Trevor Corrigan's MOON UNIT: ZAPPA is a fun little short that blends the worlds of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, WALL-E, with a dash of FORREST GUMP. That might my oversimplifying on my end, but judge for yourself and let us know your thoughts in the TB's below.

A stranded moon unit pines to go back home.

Using characters reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and integrating footage of various NASA moon landings.

Directed & Animated by Trevor Corrigan
Character Modeling by Al Dinelt

Animated in Cinema4D
Composited in Nuke and After Effects
Tracked in Syntheyes Tracker

Music Featuring:

Calcutta by Lawrence Welk
Moon River by Henry Mancini
There's A Moon Out Tonite by Capris

Non-commercial short film.
No copyright infringement intended.





Here we have an oddity of a short from director Teppei Ando that tells the story of a strange man who's love of alligators might just have you steering clear of South Texas. (Though really, Texas is awesome.)

Written and Animated by Teppei Ando with music by Evan Kertman

Corpus Delicti tells the true story of Joe Ball, known legendarily as the Alligator Man of South Texas. In the 1930s numerous town folks were reported missing. Many attributed their disappearances to Joe's hungry gators, though he promised that they were professional entertainers only. The truth threatens to unravel when Deputy Sheriff Gray and his partner Deputy Klevenhagan begin their investigation of this strange case.

The Darkly Comic short film, Corpus Delicti, is the first collaboration by writer/animator Teppei Ando and composer Evan Kertman.



Here we are with Janne Widmark's (@JanneFantastic) interesting answer to the age old question "Why are their no fat action heroes?" It's more a visual experience than a structured story to invest in and while it may lack the level of story that most shorts I've screened had, it's kind of damn awesome and just fun to watch.

And after I checked out FAT ACTION HERO, I found myself checking out what else Janne had up on his YouTube account and found this bonus video, THE HANGING TREES. It's incredibly short and I might be reading a tab into it, but it feels like there's a much larger story here than we're privy too and I'm a sucker for films like that, one where it hints at something much bigger and asks you to use your imagination to build part of that story.


BUM, starring in GHOST KILLERS

It might be that rich Republican blood pumping through my veins (and... just kidding), but bums seem to get a bad rap and here we find ourselves with Phill Campey's lovable rapscallion of a bum and his cat getting into some fun ghostly trouble to provide us with a different look at the hobo world - one where ghosts exist...

I have been a lover of animation since my mum borrowed the Art of walt Disney book from my local Library in Leeds and I had always wanted to be an animator but instead I became a Creative Director, working for a large number of Ad agencies in the north of England.

I started animating my cartoon as a hand drawn project but it was a slow process and I never finished it, years later a friend introduced me to 3D software which over the years I taught myself to use.

Although my cartoon is not up to Pixar Standards I am proud of the fact the I have created everything on my own from the character rigging to the animation, lighting to texturing. I have even built a website which you can view at

My main character is a tramp named Bum, I chose a tramp because he lends himself to a vast number of story situations as he is always on the move, his nemesis is a policeman named Inspector Busters and his dog Boot.

So Phil's been at it for 5 years building this short and I can't help but think "How cool is that?" Sure we've had some big budget stuff here with big crews and some big dog actors, but here we have a mountain of a beast that's taken the guy years to finish - I love that. At any point the guy could throw his hands up in the air and say "Screw it," but he kept with it and probably learned a ton in the process.




Here we are with the last short of the day with a gorgeous short written & directed by Nicholas Hansen & Phillip MacDonald. I'm a sucker for steam punk and awesome visuals (hold it against me), and INTO THE HEART's got it all.

Darwin in the future. A border patrol squad answers a distress call from a remote outpost and heads up river...

made by swingtime
written & directed by Nicholas Hansen & Phillip MacDonald
Liam Nesbitt as The Trooper
sound design by Dave Robertson & Andrew Stevenson
score by Phillip MacDonald


That's it for this week's batch of interesting shorts. I've got a backlog of quite a few horror films that I'm dying to show you guys and a scifi/fantasy(?) steam punk short that totally blew me away. Next week will either be a horror fest or a scifi/fantasy fest of awesome. What would you guys rather have for next week? Anyways, the theater's closing, so see you folks next week.

Here's list of previous columns below. I like to think of them as different theaters, so feel free to pop into any of them and give them a shot!














If you have a short and think it belongs here or are on the fence about whether to send it in, please do send it in - I'd love to see what you've put together. I've already seen hundreds of fresh new filmmakers' shorts and like any good addict, I need more!

Shoot me an email at ""

In the subject line include:

“SHORTS” + “Your film’s name” + “The film’s genre”

Then, in the body of the email, please include a synopsis of the film and any contact information you might think I need or would want published.

Please don’t feel the need to submit multiple times.  I swear to each of you I truly check every email I get, and sending the same short a few times just makes it a bit messier.

Remember, the filmmakers might still be in the audience, so feel free to share your thoughts in Talkbacks below. (Just DON'T BE A DICK - This is a "No Troll Zone") I picked them, so you know I think highly of all of these, but how about you fine folks? What are your thoughts?



- Mike McCutchen



Readers Talkback
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  • April 28, 2012, 3:29 p.m. CST

    all good

    by seabiscuits

  • April 28, 2012, 3:31 p.m. CST

    I always get inspired when I see this stuff

    by 3D-Man

    But I'm too lazy to get off my ass and do anything creative.

  • April 28, 2012, 3:43 p.m. CST

    Moon Unit: Zappa

    by Tigger Tales

    Zappa is cute, and has a lot of character, especially given that it has no dialogue. I like the 60's vibe of the short, too.

  • April 28, 2012, 4:08 p.m. CST

    Joe Ball

    by Tigger Tales

    Interesting story, albeit morbid and depressing. Run time is too long, too. The animation style is unique, though

  • April 28, 2012, 4:15 p.m. CST


    by Tigger Tales

    Very cool... the heart of John McClane in Kevin Smith's body (in a world where Die Hard 4 does not exist). The kill scenes are great, and would make for great live action fare. I don't understand the end... is he relieved, or disappointed?

  • April 28, 2012, 4:19 p.m. CST

    The Hanging Trees

    by Tigger Tales

    - would make a great name for a band, at least if the Screaming Trees didn't already exist first - a graphic novel brought to life - cool pompadour in 1080p - good use of minimal color palette

  • April 28, 2012, 4:35 p.m. CST


    by Tigger Tales

    That is quite the technical achievement... I hope the creator can arrive at a place where it is efficient to churn out a 10 minute short every six months or so.

  • April 28, 2012, 4:39 p.m. CST

    Fat Action Hero

    by fuzzy_dunlop

    I smell franchise (Nick Frost, Simon Pegg as sidekick, Edgar Wright directing). "But I like the stairs!" "Why, Fatty?" "They're FUN!! wheezewheezewheeze"

  • April 28, 2012, 4:47 p.m. CST

    Into The Heart

    by Tigger Tales

    very cool short, glad the titular line was used for a three-minute adventure film and not a Nicholas Sparks feature film. Had to watch it a second time to better appreciate the dialogue and story... I enjoyed it.

  • April 28, 2012, 7:41 p.m. CST

    All great stuff!

    by pizzatheface

    I like drawing, but I don't think I have the patience to animate anything longer than 10 seconds! Nice work, arters!

  • I thought it was good!

  • April 28, 2012, 9:54 p.m. CST

    @ Mel Gibson called me, then... Word

    by Muldoon

    Oh man... I'm not going anywhere near that one, dude.

  • April 28, 2012, 11:13 p.m. CST

    Saturday Shorts — aka — fiercely independent

    by justmyluck

    MOON UNIT : ZAPPA I had no idea what this was about at all — beyond playing with CG models of the EVA pod from 2001 A Space Odyssey and integrating it into NASA footage. Responding to the Internet rumor about Stanley Kubrick faking the moon landings? I read the summaries AFTER watching each short, and the intended story wasn't communicated by the short itself. *Moon River* and other period crooning for the soundtrack, and references to the Zappa family, were also perplexing. CG animation/compositing was adequate. CORPUS DELICTI: THE TALE OF JOE BALL, THE ALLIGATOR MAN OF SOUTH TEXAS Interesting tale of how authorities are obliged to be stalled by statements and give the benefit of the doubt, even when coming from a compulsive liar. Good casting for the narrator. I liked that certain textures contained text, and the aliased, shimmering look of early computer art. This tale of backwoods horror and debauchery has solid character, which would have been undone by a slicker treatment. FAT ACTION HERO: THE WORST ENEMY I thought this was great — distinguished by the purposeful choreography and minimal graphics. THE HANGING TREES Striking and minimalist, again. BUM, STARRING IN GHOST KILLERS We've seen this done before, like Disney's LONESOME GHOSTS. Animation needed more holds and takes, as most character actions seemed relentlessly *tweened*. Canned sound effects also diminished the production level, considering the technical effort involved. Art direction's quite good. Sort of amazing that one person can do all this at home, which deserves high marks in itself. Keep at it. INTO THE HEART MOBY DICK meets MECHAGODZILLA. Steve Irwin's revenge? Liked the contrast of post apocalyptic Sci-Fi and collage/pencil art. Overall this week = indie animated excursion! So brief this week, here's a live action, long-form 2008 Australian advert for Schweppes, by Patrick Hughes, called SIGNS:

  • April 29, 2012, 3:30 a.m. CST

    Thank you!

    by Industrious Angel

    Moon Unit: Zappa was charming; I had to laugh when the moon rover honked. Pointless but done with style :). Joe Ball had a fantastic voice; I don't like this kind of animation much but well done. I adore Joe R. Lansdale! Fat action Hero - ok, I guess. But the Hanging Trees was really nice, even if a little too long. No, seriously - cut 5 seconds, this gets even better! Bum: Nice work; the story was just an excuse to try different effects I guess. The animation needs to be much more dynamic! Into the Heart: The atmospheric story deserves better artwork I think.

  • April 29, 2012, 4:55 a.m. CST

    Thanks for the kind words!

    by NoLaw4000

    Thank you Muldoon! I'm @JanneFantastic and it's real cool to hear you use the word "awesome" while talking about something I've done. @industriousangel: You are correct.

  • April 29, 2012, 5:57 a.m. CST

    every 2d short was awful

    by gutshot

    every fucking video was cutouts with pivit points, getting slid around the screen. look up the 12 basic principles of animation on Wikipedia. that is shit every actual student of animation is told, and almost none of those are present in any of these animations. stick figure fights from like 8 years ago are better than any of these in pure animation skill. give me something like Egoraptor, or alex butera or harry partridge, or fucking something worth watching...

  • April 29, 2012, 11:52 a.m. CST


    by Muldoon

    I'm sorry you were offended by the selection this week. I'll work extra hard just to get you something "worth watching!" Thanks for the comments!

  • April 29, 2012, 2:15 p.m. CST

    Thank you!

    by Teppei

    Thank you to those that checked out our film, and especially to those that gave out some comments. Of course always curious to get some opinions whether good or bad. I really enjoyed watching all the films, each one was so different it was really fun to watch through them like a Mix-CD (or tape if you can still pull it off). Saw a lot of cool stuff in the different styles so I'm honored to be included amongst them. really appreciated those who went through the trouble talking about each one separately really good to hear what you took from it it-Tigger_Tales, justmyluck , Industrious, it seemed like you took into consideration what each film was trying to accomplish and took time to formulate your opinion. Thank you! The only comment that didn't seem very constructive was gutshot. I would agree that, at least in my film's case, we're more interested in telling a good story with (hopefully) engaging characters then the basic principals of classic animation like squeeze and pull and what not. We're going for a different look. But checking out the names he dropped, I'm not so sure he (or she) would be interested in much beyond the of superheros and video-game culture anyway. Which is fine, but doesn't really apply to any of the videos shown

  • April 29, 2012, 2:39 p.m. CST

    oh, and public thanks

    by Teppei

    to Mike. I think this is a really cool thing he's doing with this feature and we're really stoked to have been a part of it . -Teppeu

  • April 29, 2012, 2:54 p.m. CST

    Thanks for taking the time!

    by Phill Campey

    I just want to thank everyone for taking time to view Bum and the other shorts, after it taking so long to do I am pleased it is now being seen. I am delighted that I have had the opportunity to share it with you and thanks for watching.

  • April 29, 2012, 5:19 p.m. CST


    by brad negrotto

    Is there anything I can do to make Vimeo videos load faster? I have a macbook that has had no issues with downloading anything else. To compare: I can watch a YouTube video all the way through in the HQ with not one hiccup. Vimeo takes a few seconds to even start, then stops about every three seconds to load more. Any help would be appreciated.

  • April 29, 2012, 9:25 p.m. CST

    Thanks Mike!

    by Nick Hansen

    It's been humbling and inspiring to watch the films served up here every weekend. Thanks for making Into the Heart part of that. What a legend?!! And thanks to everyone who took the time to check out our flick and gave feedback. Even the ref re: 12 animation steps was good to read. We made our film in 3 weeks, so specifically went for 2D sprite moving from point A to point B due to the time constraints. Even that took a LOT of time. The key insight I can say with animation is: you're as good as your best sequence. If you have a beautiful 25fps 12 step disney style animation in one sequence and then go down to Into The Heart level of animation, then people will go "Oh.. that looks shit." But if you keep your benchmark consistently low, then most people tend to accept the benchmark as a convention of the animation. Not everyone though obviously...

  • April 29, 2012, 9:39 p.m. CST

    Congrats to all the filmmakers on a fine job

    by Michael Foulke

    I couldn't even attempt to understand the time and dedication that went into making these animated shorts, so congrats on that alone. And they're all really fun and great shorts to boot, so that's a bonus! Another good lineup this week!

  • April 30, 2012, 3:10 a.m. CST


    by gutshot

    My dickishness was totally uncalled for, I hate seeing comments like the one I posted. Sorry to the people who spent time and effort to create something, as well as bringing down the predominantly positive comments.

  • April 30, 2012, 3:58 a.m. CST


    by gutshot

    In my last comment I posted I said sorry for being such a dick, and I just wanted to clarify that what I was douchbagedly ranting about was not the story of any of the animations, but the animation of the animations. The reason I picked the three people I did is because I know all of them single handedly animate their work. Even though all of them center on pop culture, and some are rougher than others, they all hold the underlying movement that I was trying to get across like an asshole. For animations with an actual narrative, there is James lee's Tar Boy. Single animator as well. Then an animation called le royaume, I'm sure it's a professional team, but it's amazing. Again I apologize for being an unmit

  • April 30, 2012, 4 a.m. CST

    Igated dick

    by gutshot

    Hate accidentally sending.

  • April 30, 2012, 8:18 p.m. CST

    @ gutshot

    by Teppei

    no hard feelings :)