“What do people do behind closed doors, tucked in bed, after the lights go out? Who are we when we think nobody’s looking? These questions have been quietly floating around in my brain for a long time, and now the secret is out,” said director, Michaela Olsen of her the unique new short coming out of Mighty Oak Studios, “Under Covers.”
“The concept for Under Covers came to life about 10 years ago as a little hand painted pop-up book. I was thinking about the secrets we keep and the facades we use to conceal our true selves. Some of the secrets are a bit scandalous but most I find pretty endearing.” This description, a bit scandalous and pretty endearing,” is apt for the piece as a whole, actually, flitting, as it does, from one bedroom to the next of a host of creatures from anthropomorphic dogs to homicidal little girls.
“I used a huge variety of materials when fabricating these sets and puppets,” Olsen told us. “The puppets’ bodies are mostly foam and latex with apoxie sculpt heads. I didn’t have to worry too much about heavy heads because they are all laying down!” Now there’s something we didn’t even consider, given the depth of what the film accomplishes by exposing the various horizontal idiosyncrasies of its characters.
To expose these quirks, Olsen employed her sets. “I created all of the sets in forced perspective, meaning they angle outward. This way you can see all the details of the sets and learn about the character’s inner worlds. To build the set pieces, I used wood, chipboard, sculpey, fabric, and lots of found objects. Luckily I’ve been hoarding small trinkets for years.”
“The biggest challenge was tackling such a large undertaking all alone. I wasn’t sure I would ever finish! I was especially intimidated by the animation portion of the project as I had become pretty comfortable with fabrication through freelance work, but hadn’t animated much since college. Luckily, there is no better way to learn a skill than practicing on a passion project.”
Looks like she learned it to us. With such a strong piece out of the gates, we look forward to more.