Dash Shaw’s New Animated Feature “The Ruined Cast”

Twenty seven-year-old indie comic artist Dash Shaw is worked on a hand-drawn animated feature called The Ruined Cast. The teaser trailer is posted above, and he’s keeping a production blog at RuinedCast.com. His project was among those selected for the Sundance Institute Directors and Screenwriters Lab, and is described as “a disconnected family thrown into chaos when the scientist father loses the test subject of his experiment with appearance-altering technology.” He discusses the project in an audio slideshow on the Sundance Institute website.

The film, which is being made in Brooklyn, is written and directed by Shaw. Other contributing artists include Jane Samborski, Frank Santoro, Lily Benson and Ray Sohn. The film is produced by John Cameron Mitchell (whose film Rabbit Hole just premiered at the Toronto Film Festival), Howard Gertler, and Biljana Labovic (who was Bill Plympton’s producer on his latest feature Idiots and Angels).


  • http://www.rubberonion.com Stephen “RubberOnion” Brooks

    It really builds… but I’m not sure how much of that is the music it’s blended with. Looks promising. Do you know if it has dialog or not?

  • http://www.elvindantes.com elvdant

    This looks strange, but intriguing. It’s certainly something new to me. It has the feel that it will either be brilliant. . . or stupid. I’m hoping it’s the former.

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com FP

    Everything about it screams “nifty”.

  • pizzaforeveryone

    excited to see this. with more and more animated, independent features being developed, it’s wonderful to see some diversity in style and storytelling.

  • Chris Sokalofsky

    A little bit too avant garde for my tastes. For the same reason I didn’t appreciate most of the recent oscar winners, I simply want to enjoy what I watch. It can be deep and thought evoking, it can be edgy, intense, it can be a work of art. But if I can’t enjoy it for any of those reasons, then it loses my vote.

    • http://www.elliotelliotelliot.com Elliot Cowan

      So you’re saying that it can be deep, thought evoking, edgy, intense and a work of art as long as it doesn’t resemble this?

      • Chris Sokalofsky

        I’m saying it can be all those things, but that doesn’t mean it’s enjoyable to watch. This wasn’t. It looked like someone scribbled stick figures over an oil painting. If that’s what he’s going for, great, he nailed it. But that doesn’t make it appealing.

      • http://www.elliotelliotelliot.com Elliot Cowan

        So the answer is yes?

      • http://thelift.kohrtoons.com Robert Kohr

        I kind of see what Chris is saying, though I personally want to reserver judgement until I see the final film. Hands down its always wonderful when an indy group/studio can put together a feature. As with any indy project, sacrifices need to be made to keep the budget reasonable, also with less of an emphasis on commercial appeal it opens the artist to be more expressive and explore other things that are more important to them. I appreciate it as an art piece and an effort of some amazing artists and I look forward to seeing it finished.

        Also, art isn’t something that you have to like. Not everyone will like this, thats okay. However you have to appreciate this for what it is, its unique style and voice.

  • http://www.brianratigan.com ratigan

    If anything, you should read his comic “Bottomless Belly Button” to get a sense of his storytelling.
    I’m really excited to see him doing an animated feature!

  • http://www.michaelspornanimation.com/splog/ Michael Sporn

    Poorly drawn and poorly animated and no ideas are evident in the “story” portrayed. What’s to look forward to?

    • http://meathaus.com Chris McD

      Dash’s work always relies on the strength of his ideas and storytelling. His visual finish has alway been peculiar, rough, and certainly experimental. Your dislike of the art and movement, which I don’t begrudge you, seems to have colored the rest of your comment: “no ideas are evident in the ‘story’ portrayed”. That’s silly!

      To Rubber Onion’s question, there will be dialog, actors, all that. This teaser was produced very early on in the production for various teasing reasons.

      • http://www.michaelspornanimation.com/splog/ Michael Sporn

        You bet the amateur attempts at animation and the poor quality of the drawing has colored my comment. However, this promo does not indicate any story ideas at all. What are they promoting if they don’t have good graphics or a coherent story in their trailer?

      • http://meathaus.com Chris McD

        Please read my comment in the calmest, conversational tone you can imagine. I’m honestly interested in discussing this here with you, Michael, or any one who chimes in, and I regret even writing “that’s silly” above which is the kind of phrase that could elevate reasonable discussion to fighting on the internet, which is the worse thing that anyone can do, ever. Sorry.

        As to the teaser, I do see story ideas, I see a story about an inventor whose body-masking technology is used against him by that slick looking guy in the shades. The shady character has an affair with the inventor’s wife and even is displacing him with his own children, all in disguise. To what end, I don’t know. And then there’s that runaway test subject. But it doesn’t seem deficient in terms of doing what a teaser trailer does usually, which as I understand it is to lay out a general feeling for the movie and provide a few juicy hooks of excitement, visually or otherwise. For me it worked, I saw body-masking in action, a man melting away in the ocean, and the intriguing story idea of a man impersonating another with mysterious technology.

        Do you define story ideas differently? In your judgement does a trailer absolutely need to be cut together as a tight mini-story to be successful?

      • http://www.michaelspornanimation.com/splog/ Michael Sporn

        A trailer has to sell the product to the largest possible audience. Any story ideas I see here are bits and pieces that I have to add to the trailer. I don’t agree that it relays the information you’re suggesting.

        On top of that, the visuals have to be grabbing. In a trailer, that’s actually more important than storytelling. On that count, it’s a complete failure, in my eyes.

        Believe me, I’m not angry over this film. I have nothing invested in it. I just wish they would have waited a little to get something more solid into it. That is, if they’re going to have anything stronger in the future. Just my opinion, of course.

  • Dave O.

    Thanks Dave O…

    or are you not thanking people who suggest links anymore?

    • The Gee

      Thanks, Dave O.

      I may not have liked it much but I’m sure glad to have seen it.

      I know someone who went through a similar lab for his first film (live action feature) and it turned out well, so I hope that this improves by leaps and bounds. I still won’t have to like it but I hope it is better for having gone through that phase.

      Thanks again.

  • The Gee

    The trailer should be more compelling than the film itself.
    That doesn’t happen much these days.

    To be frank, I can’t get past the guy carrying the woman. I’ve tried twice and I stop it.

    What he should have done, and I don’t believe he did this, is play to his strengths AND the strengths of the storytelling medium animation provides. That second part requires him to up his game. A lot.

    Part of me understands that he didn’t and the way he is presenting it likely does seem like a good way to go, but, I’m not a mind reader. I don’t know what he’s thinking. And, from what I saw, I don’t really care.

    I respect some of the same things that some of you above commenters like. But, this…lackluster is giving it too much. Ambitious. I could say it is that. But, I can’t see a feature length anything in that.

    In the first ten seconds I should have wanted to see a feature length film. I didn’t.

    (for what it is worth, this is the second comment I made on this; the first one got lost and it was kinder)

  • Kevin Durr

    Its all hand drawn which is amazing, you really don’t see this anymore. Go watch his short animated series on IFC. Really the man is a genius, he gets it when so many others don’t.