So much goes into making a good animated video. More than the work of creating characters and designing a world, you have to have a great concept, something that sells your audience that this is a real place and that these are their problems. The quicker you do that, the better, too. CalArts student Jacob Steilein seems to be an expert at this, even if only in his second year at the school. He’s created a little animation called Swelter which defines a clear science fiction world of high stakes and heart that you totally buy into right away–all in two minutes.
The video sees a father and son, we assume, who are on a quest for water in a world of severe heat. How do we know this? It looks hot wherever they are and they tirelessly try to get their hands on some water, despite oncoming threats. As they finish up their water gathering, they are faced with a sort of policing person or enemy who is going to steal their water. The video then turns into a stressful man versus machine enemy survival tale that looks cool and sounds cool, props to Michael Paul Kennedy on the music.
It’d be easy to just say that the look, feel, and design of the world and characters are only what makes it exceptional; however, what really made the video for us was that Jacob is able to convey so much so quickly: you get the world and you get the stakes and you get the characters within the first fifteen seconds or so. Not very many mainstream, Hollywood movies are able to accomplish that let alone a short film. Major high fives to Jacob on such good work and such a simple, effective, and engaging concept. Keep you eye on him, too: he’s only a sophomore!