- waitress: i'm sorry we're all out of mozzarella sticks
- waitress: sir please stop cyring
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.
Can’t wait to do another one.
Mike Roush’s incredible short film is now online!!! Don’t miss this one, folks! It’ll stick to your ribs likes delicious cartoon BBQ!
A guy at a princess store in Disneyland was asking me if I related to Merida in any way and I was like
“I don’t know man. I’m more of an Elinor.”
And he busted out laughing.
What I love most about this movie is that shows that being a princess is not wearing a beautiful dress, marrying a prince and live happily ever after, but a job, a hard job with duties and responsibilities were a lot of people depend on you
being the Lady of a medieval estate was SUCH AN IMPORTANT FUCKING JOB AND SO FUCKING FULL OF HARD WORK WHICH MEDIEVAL MEN ACKNOWLEDGED TBH
(one problem with perception of medieval gender roles is that most of the people who were writing, especially those who were writing HISTORY, were CLERGYMEN who had never been married and lived in a weird situation cut off from the way the rest of the world worked and had like no actual life experience with the real world - and then popular culture’s idea of it has been heavily informed by VICTORIAN choices of who and what to translate and popularize)
upper class medieval women were expected to run and manage the entire estate that they got from their husband (or that they already had in their own right through inheritance or as their marriage portion), a job which was acknowledged as being way difficult and requiring a wife with strength and fortitude and business sense if you wanted to be a successful person
they were the HR managers of households that might have over a hundred people in, and tho a duchess or a queen would certainly not go to the store to do the household shopping, and she probably had a steward to assist her, it was ultimately her responsibility to know what things were needed for that household, to make sure that the appropriate people obtained those things, to oversee the use of the household materials, to make sure that EVERYTHING got done so that ALL those people could live and work smoothly. they wrote letters and managed the business of the estate and networked with other members of the nobility for both important game-of-thrones political reasons and for smaller more personal reasons like ‘that guy has a really nice deer chase, so if i send him some marmalade from our garden, he might send some venison back as a return gift”
even in lower class households mom managed everything and women were basically considered to be shrewder and have better heads for that particularly kind of business than men and choosing a wise wife was the best thing you could do for yourself as a man who intended to be successful
they were like hands-on CEOs and shit yo and don’t get me wrong society was sexist as fuck and they were limited as hell in what they could do and everything was classist beyond belief but no way was being a noblewoman just a matter of sitting up a tower looking pretty & the contributions that they made are so important
also, the ladies of castles were responsible for defense when their husband was away at war (which happened a lot), so while personally participating in battle was unusual (though not entirely unheard-of) they did often find themselves in strategic command. and in wartime they frequently functioned as a sort of de facto logistics officer.
oh, and has anyone mentioned diplomacy. because an arranged marriage is only the START of a princess’s diplomatic career. the alliance she forges with her marriage is one she’s responsible for maintaining her entire life. unless she decides to go ahead and take over the country; that’s been an option too from time to time. :D
suddenly i really want to see a disney movie about a princess AFTER the wedding — forging a political bond with her new husband, defending the castle, sending troops and supplies to make sure he comes home from the war, reading secret reports from her spies in the enemy’s court… *swoon*
And I’ve tried to touch on this with Merida, because ALL OF THIS? THIS is why Merida has absolutely ZERO desire to get married or (eventually) become Queen. Because it means her life - every second of her free time - going down the drain as she becomes more and more tangled up in running the castle AND the kingdom.
(This is also why Elinor’s such a freaking BAMF, she’s got this shit down, man.)
I have been calling myself a chatelaine for years and this is why. Hi. I run this.
January: Selfie Olympics
February: Flappy Bird
lets see how the rest of the year goes
March: No Oscar for Leonardo DeCaprio
April: it’s a metaphors, you’re a metaphors, we are a metaphor, if I see another metaphor I’m going to kill someone