M+E Connections

Titmouse Animators Invite You Into Production Process of New Short Film

Working from a home studio can often feel like working on a deserted island. With headphones on and coffee in hand, you plug away. You do your part. You might completely skip the phase of creative development where you riff and bounce ideas off your peers.

Why? Well, when it’s just you and your pet in a room, there’s no one to call over to your desk for feedback. And most people want to avoid scheduling extra meetings, especially if it means looking at work through screenshare.

Director Matt Taylor from Emmy Award-winning animation production company Titmouse explains how remote animation teams tend to spend more time in “divide-and-conquer mode” and less time contributing ideas to the project: “Most times when working remote, we’re in divide-and-conquer mode. Each person works on their piece of the project on their own until review time.”

To collaborate on a new animated short film, The Mystery of Meetings, Taylor brought together a team of Titmouse artists from around the world: Mari Jaye Blanchard (Swing), Jeremy Polgar (AREA21), Sander Joon (Sierra), Dante Buford (Star Trek: Lower Decks), and Otto Tang (Kinderwood).

Take two minutes to enjoy Titmouse’s work here.

The fully remote team used visual collaboration platform Bluescape to meet, review, and share notes and suggestions throughout production, which took 12 weeks from start to finish.

“On this project, it was cool to be in a shared space (virtually) where we could all contribute to an idea and not be on our own islands so much,” Taylor said, noting how this project was different from others he’s worked on.

Taylor explains how working in Bluescape even helped save the ending of the short. “I was about to scrap the ending when I saw associate producer Riley Riggen was in the workspace at the same time I was. Seeing him there was exactly what I needed. We hopped on a call and talked it out. It was a crucial conversation that shaped the entire ending.”

“He showed me his work and I said, ‘Dude, it’s too good! You can’t get rid of this,’” Riggen said. “Having a conversation and reviewing everything in the workspace in real-time was a game-changer. We were able to figure things out so much faster in Bluescape versus regular screen shares.”

Contributing animator Mari Jaye Blanchard added: “Interesting things happen in Bluescape. Somebody leaves a note, and someone can respond to it. It opens completely bizarre and amazing conversations. There’s something about being able to draw and expand on each other’s ideas … . It’s like our own exquisite corpse happening in the workspace.”

Want to step into the Titmouse team’s workspace?

Explore the production process from the inside! Step into the creative workspace the team used while developing the short. See how they set up their pipeline, plus browse storyboards, animatics, unseen cuts, and more.

Click here to enter.

You’re also invited to join a roundtable discussion on Aug. 23 to hear about the team’s inspiration and production process. Save your spot here.