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Feature Film

Can This Man Make An Animated Feature in One Month?

One Month Animated Feature

Cartoonist Ryan Estrada has always dreamt of making his own animated feature. Well, he’s finally going to do it. This month. And he’ll be done with it in 31 days. The complete movie will debut on-line on January 1st. He’s currently set up his studio in a Costa Rican jungle and has made a light box out of a baking tray. In other words, he’s ready to create. There’s an entertaining Tumblr blog to accompany the project. Good luck, Ryan!

  • I really hope he does this successfully and can’t wait to see the film once it’s completed!

  • Christina S.

    How is he getting internet access?

  • Fatty Lees

    If I were back in Costa Rica, I think the last thing I’d do is animate.

  • Good luck in deed Ryan. A bunch of us with similar aspirations are pulling for you!!!

  • So if he kept to the absolute minimum length of 40 minutes for a feature film, and animated everything on twos, and worked continuously without sleep from the first moment of Dec. 1st to the last second of New Year’s Eve, that means he would still need to draw 0.645 drawings a minute, or roughly two drawings every three minutes. That’s IF he never sleeps. And it doesn’t include scanning, compositing and editing time.

    Good luck, my friend. You’re going to need it!

    • ahhh come on now… whatever happened to poignant held cells…. slow fades… very long establishing shots… for maximum effect??? This is achieveable… if that lad from ‘yer resume is crap’ has been involved in 2000 projects in his life (the big bullshitter) then i am willing to suspend disbelief for Ryan… and i tell you now that had I known he was after doing a bit of this, I would volunteer a case of rum and a good two weeks work at least

      more power too him, on ya go

    • Isaac

      Animating on fours is surprisingly expressive. Ruby Rocket is a fine example.

  • Maxwell

    Personally I would be eating coconuts and getting fat on the beach…but that’s just me.

    Looks like an ambitious idea and time frame, best of luck to him!

  • Aw, shucks. Thanks, everybody! I’m gonna be working my butt of to make this happen!

  • Jeeeeeze! I have enough trouble getting the 11 second club entries done in a month! Good luck dude!

  • Cool, I live in Costa Rica, I hope he can do It, I hope a lot of people come to Costa Rica to make 1 month features!! That would atract some more tourists XD!

  • It took me two straight weeks full time to complete this short all by myself (exept music & SFX) and it runs for just 2 1/2 minutes:

    How does he expect to achieve that?
    Good luck, man. Break a leg.

  • Well, lessee…

    -If we take 40 minutes as the Academy minimum for a feature that’s 2400 seconds to fill…

    -If you shot on 4’s that’s 14400 drawings needed…

    -Ub Iwerks famously did 600 animation drawings in one day…

    -14400/600 = 24 days, leaving 7 days for painting, backgrounds, post…

    It’s possible! A cleverly planned production might get done.

    Good luck!

    • Pilsen

      Wouldn’t shooting the entire thing on 4’s look weird?

      Is there anyone who regularly does 4’s?

      I mean I have no idea really, I’m just curious about it.

      • Joel Mayer

        Bill Plympton does…

      • Most of the animation at is on 4’s. There are some actions that require more, but you can take things pretty far with 4’s. You need to have really strong posing to make it work.

      • Many people animate on fours these days. You see it in a lot of earlier Anime. The Rauch brothers consistenly work on fours. Bill Plympton works on 4s. 5s. 6s. It looks the way it should, staccato motion.

  • wondering

    I know how much costs a baking tray but can someone remind me how much is a ModBook?

  • godspeed!

  • I hope that in his haste, Ryan Estrada remembers that story and character are key. It has to be a movie that people want to see – rather than an “I made this in a month” novelty.

    • I’m doing my best! I did a 168 page graphic novel in a week a few years ago, and while it looks rough, it’s one of my favorite things I ever wrote. Each of the three main characters was strong enough to have gotten a spinoff, one of which was published by random house

  • Ian Merch

    If he were to set it to 30 frames per second, he could do it on 3s. There’s a little more jitter, but with strong enough poses you can cover your tracks and save 2 drawings a second, which would obviously add up over the course of 40 minutes or more of animation. If he’s just showing it on the internet, that is.

  • rakesh

    Everyone is so concerned about wether he’ll do it on 3s or s or wt not!
    Is no one excited that he has a drive to tell his long story in a means that is possible for an individual, hopefully setting an example for the rest of us..obviously..the animation is going to be crude and I am sure what is driving him is to tell his story to his audiance, a story of feature length. All the best Ryan..we are keeping our fingers crossd :)

  • Jonathan

    I suppose he could finish the film, if he chooses not to re-do anything after it’s first pass. I suggest he do something in the “stream of consciousness” vein. Something that doesn’t need to make much sense. Maybe an abstract music video, a la Fantasia. I think having a “story” is going to be stretch. Good stories require retelling to develop. Improv is rarely successful in recorded media.

    He better have a locked soundtrack before starting, either way.

  • Bob

    All of this only works if he has a 40 minute story to tell.

  • Lyle

    good luck sir!

  • Stephen Sues

    I’m amazed that no one’s commented on the fact that he’s using what looks like a significant amount of footage from live-action movies in the public domain.

    • Yes, every shot incorporates live action footage and actors. The aliens are animated, the humans, live action. But I’m going by the academy’s definition, and nearly every shot will include animated characters.


  • @Ryan: Saw on your blog that you use a Modbook… I have one of those too! They’re amazing. My setup:

    Good luck with your feature!

  • james madison

    Very inspirational to hear. Do it Ryan!

  • Simon Stahl

    It’s going to be really interesting to see what one animator can do in just a month!
    I wonder how many multi-million dollar CG features his film will be better than…
    Good luck!

  • The Gee

    1) I didn’t mean to discouraging in what I wrote but I’m not much a Team Comix person as much as I like Good Things to be made. Given the effort which needs to go into this, I’d rather hope he makes something good rather than tries to set a record. But, I guess that’s just me.

    2) Phil Nibblenick. He’s the only person I know of who’s done something similar lately. But, his was an elaborate production. I’d try to make some time to see what he did (if he had a production blog back then?) Maybe even look him up.

    3) Don’t let it wreck your health. Eat and sleep right. Take breaks to stretch and to clear your head. No matter where you are while doing this you’re gonna be secluded, as you know. Hopefully, that won’t always be the case. That will be good for your health.

    4)You mentioned having worked with limited time/production schedules before on another project. So you know the creative rewards of serendipity? And, how limits can bring out the best in your creative faculties? I hope so. Try and do what works best for the story even if you have to pivot on aspects of production.

    I’ve only worked on things which had one or two day limits. When it works it is a rush. When it is a rush sometimes it just works. I hope that the duration and the production work well for you.

    Again, what I meant by putting the cart before the horse:
    don’t look at the goal as finishing in record time. look at the goal as finishing a Good Work. Believe me, Good Works will last longer than accolades/PR/whatever for records.

  • patrick smith

    so i guess he didn’t do it.

  • animator student

    I bet he can’t do that. To be realistic 10 minute 24-30 fps of hand drawn animation takes at least 1 or 2 months to make if you work nonstop without other activities. When I finish my degree I also try to hit my own record to draw finished 200 frames per day Which is a lot to one person but possible.