NUBBINWOOD, 10min,. USA
Directed by Tim Granberg
An unfortunate actor follows his dream of being in the movies.
Get to know the filmmaker:
1. What motivated you to make this film?
I wrote a screenplay for a feature-length animated movie a long time ago, and decided that I was going to go through all the steps in getting that movie made. The hope was that once production was started, I would find other people that could get behind the project and eventually it would be seen by the right person at the right time and I would be able to bring that movie to the big screen.
The first step was to create an actor (character) for the beaver-themed story I had written. Once I had a character that I could animate, I needed a way to introduce him to the world, and since I, as a filmmaker, was struggling to make a movie, I decided that Nubbinwood's story would highlight a struggling actor beaver who wanted to be in that movie (or truthfully, any movie).
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
The whole process took about 5 years, but the first couple of years were spent trying to convince myself that making this shorter film was a good idea. Once I had convinced myself to start the project, I next had to collect the ideas that became Nubbinwood's struggling actor history. Once I had all of the elements, it took me about 2 years, working part-time, to animate the film and assemble the ideas into the final film.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
Short films in general don't have a huge audience and they don't usually provide many benefits for the filmmaker, so it's amazing that there are so many of them produced every year. I think every person that makes a short film holds onto the hope that it will somehow be the beginning of something big, but also knows that the film may just fail to find an audience and all their efforts will be wasted. These are the opposing feelings that I have every day.
This short film is made up of several even shorter films - or "auditions." Each of those auditions were animated in one single shot without any cuts, and each one was over a minute long. That's not an easy thing to animate. Every time I started a new audition, I had to re-evaluate why I was making this film and find new motivation to keep going. Luckily, the work gets easier and more purposeful towards the end of the production, but early on, it's really easy to quit and run from the possible future disappointment.
Doing this project by myself was both challenging and gratifying and I really do enjoy the struggle that goes into creating a film, but some days, I find just as much pleasure in making a sandwich.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
I'm a very critical person, especially when it comes to my own work, so any praise I get is first greeted with skepticism, but my ego is not immune to the good feelings that come from getting compliments, so I appreciated the feedback from the audience.
The fun for me is hearing how each person notices different things in the film. I've had people watch the film more than once and they often comment about how they find new details in every viewing. That makes me happy.
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
I was always the kind of kid that would sneak around theaters to watch as many movies as I could, and I had been playing around with 3D Animation when "Toy Story" was released. Something "clicked" and that was the first time I thought about my hobby as being something I could make a career out of. Having some experience working within animation studios, I think the environment there is very stifling. I make my own films to meet a creative need I don't get from working on other people's movies.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
"Star Wars," but to be honest, I haven't seen that movie in over 10 years, so all of those viewings were when I was younger and had limited options as streaming services were not yet available.
Second on my list is probably a little more insightful - "Lawrence of Arabia." I love any story of a lone man trying to accomplish impossible things and that has to be the best and most complex example. If you really think about it, there is very little difference between crossing the Nafud desert to invade Aquaba while trying to stay on a camel vs. trying to get your feature-length movie made.*
*(If you didn't get the reference, watch the movie!)
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
I wish every festival would offer feedback. The cost of entering festivals can be quite high and if your film doesn't get accepted, you get nothing in return for the entry fee.
I suspect that at some point in every festival there is a group of people that sit around and discuss what films they want to show. I would love to have those discussions recorded for filmmakers to give some insight into their decision making process. Simply e-mailing rejection letters feels dismissive to the people who put a lot of themselves into these films.
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How have your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
It's an amazing resource. Obviously you can't enter every festival, so it makes researching the festivals you want to enter so much easier. I've already submitted to so many festivals that I probably would have never heard about without it.
10. What is your favorite meal?
Cookies. I know what you're thinking, but trust me, if you eat as many of them as I do, it's a meal.
11. What is next for you? A new film?
My long-term goal will always be getting my feature-length movie made, but for now I'll be happy to spend the next couple months seeing where this short film takes me. I'm planning to update the website frequently with some materials that didn't make it into the movie, more specifically some stills from other auditions, and I'm producing a bunch of other cool things to help promote "Nubbinwood." I'm just going to keep having fun with this.
The truth is that as much as I did direct and animate the short film, most times I feel more like Nubbinwood's publicist than a movie maker. There's a weird connection between him and me, and if he one day succeeds in accomplishing his dream, then I would have accomplished mine as well.