Keep it simple. Sometimes simple is really the smartest solution, right in front of you the whole time. “The concept was really simple,” Matt Christensen told us of his short, Rolling, “just a cute animal rolling down a hill for two minutes.”
Rolling is simple but not obvious, per se. The furry little animal indeed rolls down a hill, but on his way passes every manner of object from logs, to instruments, to remote controls.
When asked how he came up with the idea, Christensen told us, “I’m pretty sure that cute animal and baby videos is really the internet at its best. I’m a sucker for that click bait. However, I came up with the idea for this film while watching Lars Von Treir’s Nymphomaniac. Not sure how to square that circle, but it happened.”
That’s ok, watch the video roll along for a while and circles may be all you know for a while. When we asked more about the process, and the quick pacing of the piece specifically, Christensen filled us in on the tight deadline driven nature of the project, making it one of the quickest films he’d ever made.
“I animated 9 seconds every day as a pretty hard rule. I had a pretty general idea of where the film was going, but every day I had to think ‘what cute thing(s) are going to happen in this 9 seconds.’ I think that pace shows in the film. I think all in all it took me 3 months to make.”
As for the furry little creature, “The puppet was made with a wire armature and a fly rig in his butt that he can rotate around.” Whatever works? “This worked really well for me,” Christensen agreed, “but because this film has so much movement in it the puppet broke 3 times. Once in the neck, spine, and tail. However, I don’t really see this as a huge problem because I made the puppet so I fixed it each time.”
It’s this kind of positive attitude that seems to have kept both puppet and animator rolling along.