This story has repeated itself a few times over the last few years, but it's worth sharing another inspirational and impressive short film that gets noticed by Hollywood. Kaleb Lechowski, a 22-year-old who studies digital film design at Mediadesign Hochschule in Berlin, Germany, produced the animated short R'ha for a school assignment. The impressive CG animation has earned him accolades across the web, and even across the Atlantic, garnering interest from Hollywood executives. Check out R'ha:
Here is a bit of his process, taken from Motionographer. The whole project took him 7 months:
[He] modeled most of the short’s assets in Blender and used Maya for shading, rigging, animation and most of the rendering (with Mental Ray). He leaned on zBrush for sculpting and Nuke and AfterEffects for compositing. Lechowski created “R’ha” during his first year studies at Germany’s Berlin Mediadesign Hochschule.
Sound by Hartmut Zeller, voice acting by Dave Masterson.
If you're wondering what the result of all of this hard work has been, Mashable has a bit of the scoop:
Thanks to his impressive work, Lechowski is now headed to Hollywood. Glassgold, who acts as Lechowski's manager, got in touch with him and offered him a chance to pitch his short and his ideas as a full feature to movie producers. The manager thinks the movie has great potential, not only because of its technical excellence. "After speaking with him, the world and universe that he has in mind for R'ha is groundbreaking," the Glassgold wrote.
The German student will go to Hollywood in a few weeks to meet with executives and see if he can get the financing he needs to turn this into a movie. Lechowski and Glassgold declined to give more details about who they'll meet but Glassgold said they "are already fielding offers and interest for a feature."
Lechowski said he has some ideas on how to develop the movie, although obviously the rest of R'ha's story isn't decided yet. What he needs now is some help so he doesn't have to keep doing everything on his own, although he jokingly says that could do that too — with a considerable amount of time on his hands.
"It's just a question of time, I think," he says. "If one would say I have 10 years of time to make a full feature out of it, I could do it my own, I guess. But that's not what I want to do."
I've said it before, if you're looking for a true calling card that will get you noticed, a science fiction short with effects has worked time and time again. That doesn't mean that's the only thing that will gain you the attention of Hollywood executives, but there is a reason it works: the powers that be are always looking for the next big thing or the next big franchise, and the science fiction genre lends itself well to being the basis for a huge tent-pole film. Whether you can make that story into a coherent 2-hour narrative and pull it off is a completely different conversation, but the hardest part for most people is getting noticed.
What do you guys think about the short? How about short films themselves as a calling card? Do you know anyone personally that has used a non-science fiction short to gain the attention of Hollywood? If so, how did they do it?