- Pen Ward (creator of Adventure Time) - Jim Mahfood (Tank Girl) - Peter Chung (Aeon Flux) - Jhonen Vasquez (creator of Invader Zim) - Chris Prynoski (Nerdland) - Antonio Canobbio (Metalocalypse, Motorcity…) - Dave Johnson (Marvel, DC Comics …) - David Nicolas (Lascars)
MIKE ROUSH / The Hidden Life of the Burrowing Owl / 5:16
I have always been fascinated by wildlife documentaries. As a kid I would take my mom’s camera and try and get as close to the neighborhood animals as I could. Most of the time this would mean long hours sitting motionless on the back deck with bird seed sprinkled on my lap and shoulders. I never got the shot I wanted, so when Chris and Shannon asked me if I wanted to make an animated film for Titmouse, I said yes before they finished asking.
Chris and Shannon Prynoski, Dik Pose, and I Line up a shot in the middle of nowhere. photo by Steve Kellener.
Early thumbnails of the burrowing owl.
“Owl” was animated in Flash. I used a technique where I would animate traditionally very rough, then I would take a second pass cleaning up symbols that I would be able to reuse later. Most of the final animation you see in “Owl” is puppeted symbol animation with hundreds of symbols and a different puppet for each shot. This way I could get the detail and animation quality I wanted.
The Flash break-down on one of the owl puppets. Lots of feathers!
One of my favorite parts of making this film was having to get out of the studio and go on location. I found an amazing place in central California called The Carrizo Plain using google maps. I spent the weekends driving all around taking pictures and exploring. Fun fact: The burrow used in the short was an actual owl burrow. On one of the days I was taking photos of the burrow one hissed at me from inside the burrow with it’s rattlesnake like call. It scared me nearly to death.
This is how I made all the “live action” backgrounds. I drew a storyboard of what I wanted and photo collaged lots of pictures together to make it look like what I drew. Unfortunately these places don’t exist in real life.
Whenever the owl had to touch the flower or fork, I took hundreds of photos, cut them out in photoshop and animated them. Fun.
On location I used a couple stand-in models to get the lighting right and a maquette when animating for inspiration.
I had a great time making this film and when I was done we were lucky enough to show it at festivals around the world. After 4 years the “Owl” showed at more than 40 festivals, in over 25 countries.
So today I got a package from Rice Lily that made me incredibly happy! I was (and am!) very excited about it because it contained AMAZING Motorcity/Titmouse merchandise!!
A year ago, me and Melly (Rice Lily) sent this package to Titmouse to show our support and appreciation for the amazing work these guys make, we filled it with fanart (from me, Hinokit and Rice Lily), candy, plushies and mainly lot’s of love.
What I didn’t know was that we would get some love back (I mean we already have awesome cartoons we don’t need anything else lol), and oh man is it great! Papa Chris was even nice enough to send me a framed autograph. <3
I love everything, I knew you guys were pretty cool because my partner in crime told me the amazing adventures she had while visiting the studio in San Diego, but I never expected you’d be this amazing. I am incredibly humbled that you’d even remember us after all this time.
Thank you Chris P., Mac, Ben, Dadward and everyone at Titmouse for the amazing gifts. I will cherish them forever!
Special thanks to Melly because she was awesome enough to mail everything to me, you rock girl! Words cannot describe how happy I am that you did this for me. <3333
PS: I will turn that amazing T-Shirt into a dress (I am way too short because nature is unfair) and frame the Motorcity poster! I also apologise that I cannot visit the studio personally, geography sucks… I wish I could though, I’d love to hand you my portfolio!! :D
Check it out guys, script coordinator Andrew Grissom found this cool UV Moonbeam City advert out in NYC! Supervising producer Shannon Prynoski brought me back a couple months after production on the series wrapped to gather these assets for the Comedy Central marketing department.
My monthly Penthouse page is out in print! Every month’s issue will feature a page of my important Titmouse meeting doodles. I had to submit this one 3 times. The first time was “not dirty enough” the second was “too offensive” and this one was “just right.”
One aspect of the “too offensive” part was calling out the gentleman featured in the comic as a convict and a truck driver (two of the largest demographics of the magazine.) Once the characters were not labelled as such, they come off kinda like hipsters. Neck tattoos and trucker caps are no longer the exclusive domain of prisoners and truckers!
By the way, the empty area in the upper left is where I thought they’d put the “graphic displays” header. Instead it was jammed in awkwardly on the right. I’ll try to fix that in upcoming issues…
Nerdland is playing in a lot of theaters tonight as a fathom event thing. If you are planning on seeing it or for after you see it. Check out my review from back in March of Titmouse’s first feature film.