We think that you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll never look at a fish in quite the same way after you see and hear this delightful three-minute surprise.
This project was done by director Carlo Vogele on the side while working at Pixar.
After you watch it, read a few notes that he sent us below.
“Many people have been asking me if I used a wire structure inside the fish to animate it, the answer is no. The actual bones of the fish provided all the structure I needed to move jaw and fins around, I just had to find a way to hold the poses still while I was shooting frame by frame. The solution I found most successful was to work with the fish in a half frozen state. After purchase of the bass at the fish market, I’d stick it in the freezer until I was ready for a full night of animating (stop-motion 101: if you want consistent lighting, daylight is not your friend ;-D). I would take the stinky bastard out a few hours ahead of shooting, while setting up the lights and camera. The fish would thaw from stone-hard to kind of rigid in 3 hours, and for a while, its head, fins and mouth would have the right rigidity in order to hold a pose for a while.
“So I’d animate as fast as I could, until the fish thawed completely and its jaw went slack … that is when invisible thread was useful: I’d lift the slack jaw with a string which I’d attach to an overhead structure offscreen. Later I could easily mask the thread out of the frames, if it showed too much.
“Gross trivia: somehow the inner stuff of the fish started bloating after a week, and that pressure tended to push its tongue out of its mouth … I had no choice but to ram it back down its throat with my fingers, and was instantly rewarded with a sound that it is too obscene for words. It was easy to forget that this was actually a slowly decaying dead body I was animating. Some orange pus oozing from underneath its gill cover during the shooting was a nice reminder of that.
“I shot the film in my apartment in San Francisco in 2011. Using your own kitchen as a set certainly has its downsides. So does working with dead fish, as you can imagine. And no, I did not end up eating the fish—after several trips in and out of the freezer I was happy to dump the stinky motherfucker in the compost bin. That is, until the following week, when I would be obnoxiously picky at the fishmarket in choosing yet another black bass to star in the next scene….”
Born in Luxembourg in 1981, Carlo grows up on Walkman, Donkey Kong and German Literature. After short-lived forays into Catholic altar-boyhood and literary dilettantism, he moves to Berlin to study Theatre Arts at the Freie Universität. He then goes back to the drawing board in Paris, a city that sparks his love for film, food, art history and… animation! In 2008, after internships at British animation studios and an exchange semester at CALARTS, he graduates from Gobelins Animation School with the silly short film For Sock’s Sake. As a Character Animator at Pixar in Emeryville, California he has worked on Toy Story 3, Cars 2, Brave, Monsters University and several shorts. But his passion remains the dirty craft of telling stories with objects, wire, duct tape and a camera.
See some of Carlo’s favorite moments that he animated at Pixar:
To see more of his own short films and get to know Carlo better, visit his blog and website.