December 4, 2019

New 'Skywatch' Sci-Fi Short From Pixar's Colin Levy Is How You Make Hollywood Take Notice

Colin Levy left his job at Pixar Animation to finish directing this proof-of-concept short, full of impressive VFX and a cameo from a big Hollywood star. The end result was worth it.

Making short films as Hollywood calling cards is a popular -- and, sometimes, costly -- effort to get the attention of studios hungry for fresh talent to tackle IP or genre fare.

While the process can be long and unkind to your bank account (or various maxed-out credit cards), it can also prove to be very rewarding -- even if it doesn't net you a gig directing Paramount or WB's latest would-be blockbuster, the end result can show you your potential as a filmmaker. Obviously, it lets you flex and fine-tune those muscles and it's just damn fun to put something in your head on film. 

Former Pixar Animation Studios employee Colin Levy knows how that is. His recent short, the impressive Skywatch, is a testament to that effort. It also is an impressive film that can and should inspire you to start or finish yours. Watch it below: 

Just over ten minutes, Levy shows he has a deft handle on executing Amblin-y or Bad Robot-style stories with compelling emotional beats among some impressive, studio-level VFX. (The latter will be what catches the attention of studio execs, but Levy's work with the young cast here and execution of the sci-fi story with an appreciation for giving it an emotional core should not be overlooked.)

Also, that Jude Law cameo?! How did he pull that off?

In an interview with SlashFilm, Levy revealed how and more behind-the-scenes secrets involving how he pulled off the VFX and what's in store for the future for his idea, should it get the feature treatment. Click here to read more.      

Your Comment

10 Comments

That this short was posted online is a sign that “Hollywood” already passed on it. This short was already circulated around town and no one took interest. Aside from that, the feature film version of this would require a fairly high budget but any original IP with a high budget will almost never get made anymore. Solid short but it’s life is already over. This serves better as a general calling card.

December 4, 2019 at 10:23PM

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"That this short was posted online is a sign that “Hollywood” already passed on it. This short was already circulated around town and no one took interest."

Yeah, no. Even film projects sought by established directors, with script teams working on them, and even concept design having been made, take years or even a decade to be greenlighted.

That a short was posted online, or whether some studio people had a look at it and didn't immediately snatched it to make it into a movie, tells us nothing about whether this will or wont be made into a movie.

Which is also beside the point, the director could still get some sweet Hollywood gigs he wouldn't get otherwise, even if this doesn't get made.

December 5, 2019 at 1:24PM

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You’re correct that this still could be adapted into a feature but what I’m saying is that most of the people who would be interested in adapting it have already seen it and they passed on it. Posting this online is a desperation move. Most of the people who matter already saw this short.

Sorry, but that you don’t understand this means you don’t know how movies get funded. Again, if it does get funded it would be a result of some random person with money seeing it and liking it, and the odds of that happening are always extremely low.

Also, yes that’s why I mentioned that the short is better as a general calling card at this point rather than a pitch for a specific project.

Also, it’s fairly easy to see that this concept has no viability as a feature that a general audience would care about seeing. The only platform for a feature version of this would be maybe YouTube Red and they won’t have enough money to fund a high budget concept with a high amount of VFX. That this took six years to complete is not a good selling point.

Take care.

December 6, 2019 at 7:08PM

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Netflix could fund it. If anything, they could do it as a passive aggressive move against Amazon and their drones.

December 7, 2019 at 4:28PM, Edited December 7, 4:28PM

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Eugenia Loli
Filmmaker, illustrator, collage artist
74

Sorry but I lost interest midway. Too many clichés!

December 5, 2019 at 4:10AM

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Javier Diez
Director/Writer
241

Plus the grapes are so sour

December 5, 2019 at 1:24PM

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Colin Levy has also done amazing work with the Blender team (https://www.blender.org). Thought somebody should mention that.

December 5, 2019 at 5:27PM, Edited December 5, 5:28PM

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DAN BALDWIN Does anything positive leave your jaded mouth? Literally every comment you've made on here is negative. What you're saying is so far from true which only confirms you know nothing about the industry. And thank god for that, who would want you around.

December 5, 2019 at 8:21PM, Edited December 5, 8:24PM

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heinrich weber
jack of all trades
151

Sorry, bud, but if you think this short has a good chance of getting funded then it shows you have no idea how the motion picture business works these days. You should try listening to the “negative” people in your life. Maybe you’ll learn something.

December 6, 2019 at 7:10PM

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I agree with Heinrich. Saying never, historically speaking, means nothing. Kind of like saying Star Wars would never been good, then Jon Favreau came along and created The Mandalorian.

Either way, Levy is getting exposure and eyes on his work. People are talking about his work, which will translate to him getting more work. So major props to him :)

December 7, 2019 at 12:33PM

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Andrew Kiaroscuro
Director, Founder of Kiaro Pictures
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