Synopsis: A stop motion animated skeleton, once a formidable villain of the silver screen and now a struggling actor, takes drastic measures when he learns the film for which he was created is being rebooted without him.
I’ve always been obsessed with the ‘How did they do that?!’ of movie making, and since I started making films, I’ve always leaned into stories that are visually unique and as technically challenging as possible.
The driving force behind this project was to create a love-letter to the history of movie magic. To see the history of Hollywood special/visual effects creatures coexisting in the same frame. One of the main things I want from movies is to see things I’ve never seen before – and this was something I’d never seen so I thought I’d try and make it!
This is a story about obsolescence. A character who feels left behind by a world that is constantly changing beneath his stop-motion animated feet.
Having the lead character be a ‘Ray Harryhausen’ style Skeleton who no longer can find work in Hollywood due to being an out-of-date special effect felt like the perfect balance of clever and stupid that I love to work with.
Much like in some of my previous work like SBS2’s The Wizards of Aus – which offset Lord of the Rings style fantasy with the suburban frustrations of living in Melbourne’s inner-west.
Rebooted was an extraordinarily challenging project to pull together. It’s a live action film, but our main character is stop-motion animated; we also feature an animatronic Velociraptor, a 2D animation from the 50s, a rubber-suited black-lagoon style creature, and a crappy mid-90s CGI Liquid Metal man.
We were so fortunate to receive funding from Screen Australia and YouTube Australia and the Skip Ahead program that afforded us these funds is such a boost for local creators. Times like this remind us how crucial funding to the arts is, and Skip Ahead is based around up-and-coming creators that have often proven they can reach a global audience with nothing more than a camera and a YouTube channel.
Skip Ahead provides creators with often the largest budgets they’ve ever worked with, enabling teams that have proven themselves creatively to tackle larger, more ambitious projects.
And whilst not the longest in runtime, this is by far the most ambitious project I’ve ever created. Even just to light our main character, we had to reconstruct our on-set lighting at 1:6th scale to match the lighting for our teeny tiny puppet on his mini green screen set.
To quote a man who should’ve heeded his own advice, George Lucas once said that “A special effect without a story is a pretty boring thing”, and despite the technical wizardry the crew were able to pull of for this piece, I hope that people can find a universal story about aging, legacy and the balance in celebrating both the old and the new.
Also, a man gets eaten by a rubber suit – enjoy!
A multi‐faceted filmmaker, Michael is an award-winning Writer, Director, Actor, Musician & Visual Effects artist. Michael’s first ever foray into filmmaking took the grand prize at the 2008 Escapist Film Festival.
In the fallout, he got a job with the company directing a short form narrative Series at the age of 17. Here, he was required to create high-concept narrative content for a fortnightly deadline. This enabled him to develop a guerrilla technique to filmmaking – learning a variety of technical production skills so that in the lack of a budget, he could sacrifice time to make the films he wanted to make. This meant seeing his family and friends a lot less, but most of them were happy to see less of him.
Since then, he’s curated the popular YouTube channel Timtimfed, which features a variety of high concept film and comedy content, and has over 40,000,000 online hits. He’s won various awards for his work in music videos, from directing clips of his own band to more recent work with artists such as Guy Pearce on his sophomore musical release, Storm.
His television work has included the SBS2 television smash comedy The Wizards of Aus, the Comedy Channel series “The Slot” and directing the ‘Fairy Tale Unit’ on the Showcase mini series Lambs of God starring Ann Dowd, Essie Davis and Jessica Barden.
He is currently in development with eOne on his debut feature film Time Trap.