My 2013 Animation Demo Reel

[vimeo 69586693 w=650]

[00:03] “The Cucaranchula”
[00:42] “Muybridge in Metal”
[00:48] “cat WACO”
[01:11] “Motion Monsters”
[01:32] “God-like”

[Note: Watch on and timecodes will link directly into reel.]

[00:03] The Cucaranchula • A short film written and directed by Kate Balsley. For this short film, I designed and animated the 2.5D sequences, I planned and machined-out the armature parts (with my metals instructor, Frankie Flood’s guidance), constructed and fabricated the full spider armature puppet myself, I animated and shot the stop motion sequences, and I executed the puppet tricks during the live action scenes with the Actors on set. The short is not available to watch in-full online yet, but check out some of the production documented here =

[00:42] Muybridge in Metal •  I constructed a copper Zoetrope with pierced brass slides of  Eadweard Muybridge’s “Galloping Horse.”  Production documented =

[00:48] cat WACO • An animated music video for Screamin’ Cyn-Cyn & the Pons. The concept is my adaptation of their lyrics and I designed and constructed the set, props, and all of the characters myself. This was the first stop motion animation I had ever done and it was created without any screen grabbing software assistance, taken on my Canon PowerShot SD1300 IS, and edited it all together in Final Cut.  Full animation =  Production documented =

[01:11] Motion Monsters • These are a couple clips from a bigger series I did for, I did the motion-capture, the cutting up and prepping 2D drawings for animating, then the character animating and FXs for each clip. The clips I show here were created out of the character drawings and video footage contributions of the following members: sojushots, pprescott, MelonBerri, Jerryliufilmmaker, SRL73, 12.42, OliviaAbtahi, adhgraphicdesign, roketsientist33, and Jane_TH.

[01:32] God-like • An animated music video to the song of the same title preformed by Gogol Bordello. The concept is my adaptation of their lyrics, I designed the characters, and did all of the animation and recording. Full version =


A special thank you to Ryan Patrick for permission to use his tune “Ba Da Dop Bop Bop” for my reel’s soundtrack.


The Cucaranchula is on the move!

The Cucaranchula was 100% Funded on May 22nd! I thought I had posted an update on this, but apparently I got distracted by all the initial excitement, and then dove right in to work. Thank you family, friends and fans that contributed to the Kickstarter campaign. You are my Heroes.

Kate Balsley has pulled together an excellent crew of talent for this short film, and I cannot wait to walk on set with all these folks. We start actual Production mid-July.

ImageI have been a busy lady with character concepts, storyboards and spider design specs for the puppet(s) construction. For my stop-motion spider sequences in this film, I decided to create custom armature(s) for “the Creature.” I was thrilled that my former Instructor, Frankie Flood, was willing to help me with this ambitious decision. Design/Construction specs like these are not typically my forte, so I am really challenging myself and learning a great deal. We just fabricated our first test armature pieces from my design specs, and I am stoked to say that my specs are working out, only a few tweaks will be needed to increase tension consistency. Awesome.

I cannot wait to share with you more photos as the project progresses. Stay tuned!

Two Big Projects

I have been a busy woman lately, so I am sorry that updating this Blog hasn’t been my highest priority as of late, but here’s a little update:

Over the last couple months, I have been planning for two very exciting projects. Big projects. The kind of creative projects that make me both thrilled, brimming with smiles, and at the same time a bit terrified – ha!

One of them is a stop motion Music Video I am creating for my Senior Project. First off, I cannot believe that this is my Senior Year, and that I graduate from UWM this December! Wow. Secondly, I cannot believe the opportunity I am getting for for my Senior Project. The Music Video is going to be for a band I adore, the amazing, Gogol Bordello(!!!) Oh man, I think I am still in minor shock over this fact. Awesome.

The Second project I am working on is equally as exciting. I get to be the Lead Animator on a Narrative Short Film. I get to collaborate with an incredibly talented artist and her team. I am not sure how much I can say at this stage though, but I will share more soon, I promise.

Stay tuned for updates, there will be plenty as I plan to keep thorough documentation of both these projects.

Oh yeah, and wish me luck!


Puppet Love


This next video I originally saw on my friend Clay’s Blog and it features some of his cousin, Adam’s awesome work.

And then there is more adult puppetry like Crank Yankers.
Warning, this one has some naughty language:

Speaking of Basketball, I am sure you have been seeing the Nike Basketball ads with Kobe and LeBron puppets:

I love love love puppets.

I spent so much of my early days watching Pin Wheel, Mr. Rogers(RIP), tons of different amazing works by Jim Hanson(RIP) and I have been completely mesmerized by puppets throughout my life.

When I was really small, I used to mark up my hand with markers and feed my hand (my monster) my veggies before I would eat them. Funniest part about this, I don’t think my mom or dad ever knew! Ha, I would mostly have my monster pop up from under the table when my parent’s weren’t looking. He’d gobble up a couple tiny pieces real quick and then would hide right back under the table.

I eventually learned to make paper puppets, glove puppets, sock & finger puppets. And boy did I make tons of those!

I used to preform hand-shadow puppet shows on the wall for my little brother. I have a vivid memory of one such show, on a Christmas Eve, when we both could not sleep. Our heads full of anticipation for the present-filled morning to come. My shadows helped Logan to doze off, but I spent the rest of the night trying to create the perfect reindeer shadow.

When I got a little older, I made more intricate Japanese-style shadow and stick puppets.

In High School, I even made a larger marionette puppet, which I actually have a scar from! When I was sanding down the feet of my Pinocchio-like character, the wood grain caught on the electric sander and pulled my fingers down onto the grit. Part of my fingerprint is still missing on my right hand’s middle finger. It was pretty jolting, but I healed fast and got right back to work on the puppet. I was determined to finish him.

Today, I still totally freeze, stop whatever I am doing, when I run across a sweet music video, show or commercial that uses puppetry. Still so fascinated by them. I know this fascination will never go away, maybe only grow, and I have always hoped to some day make more real, possibly professional-level puppets.

Well, guess what?!

I get to make puppets in school!

Either this coming Fall or next Spring Semester I get to think up and create some complex characters that I will then build as puppets. I will learn more about the history of puppetry as well. I am just beyond pumped about this! Can not wait for it.

Thus, my excitement has inspired this post full of videos and pure puppet love.

Enjoy it!