December 29, 2014

Football Kids

The Power of Empathy

What is the best way to ease someone's pain and suffering? In this beautifully animated RSA Short, Dr Brené Brown reminds us that we can only create a genuine empathic connection if we are brave enough to really get in touch with our own fragilities.

December 27, 2014

A Lie Agreed Upon: David Milch's "Deadwood"

Consider this an extended trailer and preview for one of my all time favorite series.
The spoilers are minimal through out this entire video essay, except maybe the last 3 minutes, showing some character death scenes that could be harmful to anyone who plans on watching this show for the first time.

December 19, 2014

The Moped Diaries

When a new bridge is built connecting his island to the mainland a boy has to come to grips with the change and opportunities that come along with it. Love of home, love of a partner, and love of family all seem to be falling apart and slowly pushing him towards the inevitable, crossing that bridge himself to see what lies beyond the horizon.
Directed by: Tyler Nilson & Nick Vitale
Produced & Written by: Tyler Nilson & Michael Schwartz
Music by: Jake Sincalir
Edited by: Michael Schwartz


Two college kids. First apartment. Shit gets real. Fast.
See the 3 min behind the scenes at

December 09, 2014

David Myles - "Santa Never Brings Me A Banjo" by Copernicus Studios

Produced by: Scott Simpson
Directed by: Murray Bain
Animation Supervisor: Andrew Holland
Backgrounds: Tony Mitchell
Designs & Keys: Andrew Holland, Stefanie Achtnig
Animators: Joe Achorn, Tim Larade, Daniel Luke, Rebecca MacInnes, Ron Doucet
Compositing: James Dalziel, Chris Stroh

I sat down with the director to have a quick chat about this project...

How did you come across this project? Did you get approached by David Myles to make this music video?

Scott Simpson the producer is a good friend who regularly makes short films and music videos. I believe he was approached by David's manager Sherri, David wrote this song from a child's perspective, they thought it made sense to animate it.

Did you have a specific process in deciding how to develop the character designs and art direction?

Well I wanted it to be nostalgic, so I was aping Charlie Brown-Shultz, Searle, Sendak, and that quick-drawing cartoonist style with organic India ink lines that are actually easier to do using digital tools. I looked at photos of David when he was a kid but he looked different, so I went with a caricature of him as an adult. Tony did a stellar job with the backgrounds - I mentioned 101 Dalmatians as a jumping off point, but he made them more organic and painterly to match the characters.

When planning and storyboarding this 2 minute music video, did you easily and quickly envision the locations and shots?

Yes, the lyrics were very implicit, christmas morning, dreaming about what you are getting- writing letters to Santa, of course it instantly brought to mind the Canadian holiday classic "A Christmas Story" and Ralphie's quest for his red Ryder BB gun. I really relate to that movie, I can remember the Santa parade and the competing holiday window displays at Simpsons and Eatons growing up in Toronto. The station wagon is a tip of the hat to National Lampoon's "Christmas Vacation". The underlying theme of the song is his promise/threat to play "so loud." Which is why his parents are reluctant to allow Santa to bring the banjo, so I never actually showed the parents faces, it's the Chuck Jones trick Scott and I discussed from the outset.

Did you have any animators on the project that knew how to play the musical instruments, to ensure the animated characters played authentically?

Ha yes, I gave all the fantasy performance scenes to Daniel Luke, whom is very talented at several instruments, so I knew he would make the playing convincing - I think he even figured out the chords to the chorus!

From concept to completion - how long did it take to make this short?

Not long - I spent a week on the animatic, and the animation was about two and a half weeks. Then a couple days of composite- less than a month for sure, sleep was lost, haha.

What tools and software did you use to make the video?

Flash CS3 for the animatic and animation, Photoshop for the backgrounds, and then composited in After Effects.

Any pitfalls or obstacles during production?

Pretty smooth overall, other than the studio was somewhat busy already, so I was stealing animators from you, haha. All kidding aside, the amazing talent we have made it a real joy.

What's next for Copernicus Studios?

A big move! We are moving to a bigger swank studio down the street, as we have a big Hollywood service gig, a very exciting and hilarious hush hush show, and we are jumping both feet into ToonBoom, which we've only dabbled in so far. We also have two very exciting development deals -expanding the already talented pool of artists, and the industry is definitely on an upswing. It's a great time to be an animator!

National Food Insurance Commercial

December 08, 2014

Freak of the Week - Pencil tests

Freak Kitchen “Freak of the Week" linetests (music video directed by Juanjo Guarnido and produced by french Fortiche studio).


Opening of “Sidera" produced by the French/Japanese teams of Catfish Deluxe & Yapiko Animation for “Lou” live action feature film directed by Julien Neel.

Le Petit Prince

Film directed by Mark Osborne.


The stop-motion sequences for 'The Little Prince' are produced by TouTenKartoon studio with Jamie Caliri and Alex Juhasz as the creative & art directing team In addition to the crew re great animators like Anthony Scott who previously worked for Laika.

"The Forest" - Trailer