Back in February of 2011, I felt a strong personal charge to make some kind of effort to preserve the American art-form
I was in my kitchen having breakfast with my wife and I asked her opinion, "What would be a good project to do?". It was then that she remembered last Halloween in which we happened to encounter a performance troupe that called themselves the League of S.T.E.A.M. They were a group of talented people who love Steampunk and who make their own costumes and props and who even made their own short-films and post them online. My wife described how "enchanted" she felt to be in their presence and I felt, if that same enchanted feeling could be captured in an animated film, that would be the ticket!
So I came up with this...
I started designing characters and showed them to a few people and the response was overwhelmingly positive!
The next logical step was to come up with a full story however, someone suggested that I just start animating. So, I did. I did a single test that left the character in peril falling over the railing of an airship without a parachute. I figured, I can't show that to people and just leave it at that, I need another shot for closure. That's when I came up with a second character (with a retractable wing jet-pack) to save the other. Then I added more shots to answer the question as to why are they are on the airship together? Are they there to defeat a villain? what if they discovered how to make the combustion engine and that knowledge fell into the wrong hands?,etc.
I shared what I was doing and people and they enthusiastically volunteered to help, mostly due to their affinitive love for the Steampunk genre.
Someone even did a CG model of the raygun I designed.
Someone even helped be design a jet-pack for one of my characters.
I also designed bi-planes...
For this short-film, I did all my own storyboarding, layout, animation, Clean-up, Backgrounds color models and ink & paint.
Part of painting the backgrounds was painting "overlays' of airships (a.k.a. Dirigibles)
Before I knew it, I had this short-film project that was truly a Labor of Love.
A few months after I semi-finished the project, I was inspired to start a new one.
I'm very inspired by music and I heard this cover of an old Siouxsie and the Banshees song, 'Cities In Dust' performed by Junkie XL in collaboration with Lauren Rocket.
Immediately, cars racing came to mind so I came up with the idea of designing steam=powered cars and trying to stay relevant to today, I decided to make them hybrids; Steam/combustion engines.
With the new cars, came the need for new characters and so I designed some...
Of course there's a villain and I designed him as a caricature of Nikola Tesla
I was also intrigued by the look of the Goth culture and there was something dark and sinister about it. I thought the villain could be paired with that kind of companion so I came up with this....
In contrast, I thought it would be cute if the villain's henchmen were actually girls and dressed as the girls in Georges Melies 1902 film 'A Trip to the Moon'.
Here's some screen captures from my film:
MORE TO COME...