Student Animation: Project WAKE

WAKE is a student animation which began as the MFA Body of Work Animation for Kelly Kin a fellow graduate student at the VIZ Lab at Texas A&M. Kelly had been sitting on the idea for an animation about a boy coming to terms with his sister being in a coma for quite a while and approached me to help her flesh out the story in the Fall of 2013. Since then I have gone from part-time story artist and script writer to lead of layout and production manager for the project. Meanwhile the animation itself has reached an unprecedented scope. WAKE is now an 8 minute animated short with just under 150 shots and well over 35 student collaborators.

With Kelly serving as Director, I have been pulling double duty as Production Manager and Co-Layout Lead for the project since January of 2014. Working on WAKE has been one of the most challenging and educational experiences of my college career. On the one hand I am helping manage a large group of peers, scheduling deadlines, organizing and taking notes at meetings, and keeping tabs on the needs of the project and our collaborators. On the other I’ve been in the trenches working on layout and story development alongside Kelly Kin and Jeff Gustafson, the other Co-Layout Lead, hammering out the themes, timing, and shot progression for this extremely metaphorical and deeply emotional piece. The layout has gone through so many iterations and revisions (nearly one every week) that I hardly recognize some of the older animatics from the Spring of 2014.

Below are some of the iterations the story and the layout have gone through over the months of refinement:

While Jeff and I have been tweaking and re-tweaking the layout and story, Kelly has spent the majority of her time perfecting the look of the piece. Several shots have made it through the pipeline and through post production and I am always impressed at how they turn out. Some of the latest shots can be seen below:

WAKE is by far the longest and most ambitious project I have ever worked on, but I expect it to also be the most fulfilling once we finish it. The project is expected to be completed in May of 2015.

See you then!