The Sunshine Makers: Re-presented by Think or Smile featuring the music of Brandon Biondo

I’ve had “Make a music video” on my teuxdeux list for a while now, it’s been on my mental to-do list for even longer. I have sketchbooks full of elaborate ideas for short films and animations but it always seemed too daunting of a task to even start. I never could find a good place to begin. Well, there must have been some galactic alignment the other night because everything just fell perfectly into place.

While browsing I stumbled on a 1935 animated cartoon done by Van Beuren Studios for the Borden Milk Company called “The Sunshine Makers.” After watching a few seconds of it I was hooked. The animations were so beautifully glitchy and the colors were perfectly aged. Exactly the type of aesthetic I’ve been drawn to lately, and the plot was too tempting to pass up on. It’s a story about blissed out gnomes who have the power to distill sunshine and bottle it in the form of milk. (Perhaps thats where Burgess got the idea for A Clockwork Orange’s milk plus??) The gnomes get attacked by these anti-sunshine goblins which turns into an all out battle of milk vs. tar, sunshine vs. gloom.

After I downloaded the animation I scrubbed through a couple tracks I thought would effectively tell the story without words. I’ve been loving the singles from Brandon Biondo lately and “Westworld” had the perfect amount of energy, light and dark the animation needed to match what was in my head. I really wanted Com Truise’s “Sundriped” to work out but it was just a little too syrupy.

I’m really diggin’ how it all came together, I could jam to the Biondo track all day and seeing gnomes bomb goblins with milk bottles brings a smile to my face every time I watch it. Hope it brings a little sunshine your way.


Collage Poems: Destructive editing

Over the last few weeks I’ve had the urge to start writing again, I think in part because last month I stumbled upon some short stories I wrote during college and partly because I can’t get the narration to Sascha Ciezata’s short film “The Crossing Place” out of my head. Both have made me want to create an animated short of my own, but my lack of storytelling and animation skills have become a slight stumbling block. So I’m approaching it like I do everything else in life, experiment until I figure it out.

As an exercise I tried writing stories around some of my collages. Each time I found a new image I wanted to work with I’d start browsing the story already written about it, which incidentally isn’t a good method for writing your own. So I began looking for a few key words that I might be able to use as idea starters, which is when I started making connections between unrelated sentences, combining words and fragments to build new ones. As I read them they started sounding very much like poems, something I’ve never tried writing before. Curious, I started making more of them sometimes independent of any images. I began approaching them much in the same way I would create a collage, by cutting out the pieces I’m interested in, deconstructing the existing narrative to make it my own. I find it fascinating that it only takes a few simple edits to completely decontextualized someone’s writing, creating completely new thoughts, and I’m a little surprised it’s taken me this long to figure this out.

It’s been a short detour from my path of making an animated short but like all experiments I’m sure it will be useful in the future. If you want to see more / larger versions of these studies check out the Collage Poem Flickr set. You can read the isolated poems and see a few different paper collages utilizing them. If your interested in any of the paper collages contact me.. I’m sure we can work something out.


Think or Smile | Nathaniel Whitcomb © 2010