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Brazen Animation Reveals ‘Tempest’ Feature Film Pitch [Exclusive Making-Of Video]

Launching only relatively recently in 2014, animation startup Brazen has now released a teaser of its Tempest project, intended to be pitched around as a feature.

The Dallas, Texas studio was formed by former Disney, Blue Sky, Reel FX, and Green Grass Studios veterans and is self-funded via commercial work. Tempest is part of a wider development of IP around the idea of a wayward ship captain.

Cartoon Brew asked Brazen CEO and director of Tempest, Bryan Engram, about the ideas behind the piece and future plans for a feature.

Originally, Tempest was going to be a “simple animation test, more of a technical and animation exercise than anything else,” Engram said. But as Brazen worked on the test, the studio wanted to go further with a wider story “about a man who has lost everything in his life because of his prideful ambitions and must return himself to the way things ought to be.”

Ultimately, the director noted to Cartoon Brew that the final product showcases what Brazen can do in storytelling, design, 2d animation, 3d animation, effects simulations, lighting, and compositing.

Those different techniques are on show in Tempest, for example, when the captain’s log and journal comes ‘alive’ like a 2d flipbook. Engram says Brazen has been specifically recruiting animators who are able to work in both 2d and 3d, and that the studio has a desire to produce both kinds of animation.

Brazen shared this exclusive video with us about finding the right animation style for the project.

“We made this choice [to use 2d animation],” said Engram, “so that we might be able to momentarily transport the audience into the captain’s past, giving us a glimpse at the pain and loss he has experienced thus far. We also wanted to use this moment to signify that his nemesis has indeed arrived. This book of his many illustrations plays a role in the feature film, as well.”

Visual development.
Visual development.

The effects were further challenges to pull off in Tempest. Brazen had hired some effects artists who had worked at Industrial Light & Magic on Pacific Rim, but initially they were experienced only in realistic water simulations.

“When I explained how far I wanted to push the stylistic look and feel of the water, the first response was, ‘Bryan, we are not sure how to achieve this.’ However, once we started thinking about effects as something that can be driven by animators first, and then allow the effects team to come in behind them, the method started coming together.”

Concept art.
Concept art.

Now that the animation is out there – it was worked on at the studio for about two years in between client service projects, with the majority of production done in the last nine months – Brazen is in the process of “lining up several studios we might pitch to or partner with on this film,” according to Engram.

“We are obviously continuing to develop Tempest now and moving forward,” added the director. “Our goal as a studio is to not necessarily become a large production house, as others aspire to be, but rather to be a small storytelling and development studio. We wish to generate our own meaningful content that we might be able work with and partner with others on. Certainly, it will take a true partner that believes in us and the types of stories we wish to tell.”

You can find out more about Brazen’s Tempest at the studio’s website.

Tempest concept art.
Tempest character exploration.
Tempest character exploration.
Tempest character exploration.
Color script.
Color script.
  • AnimatedMadness

    Cap’n Crunch looks amazing in this! ?? Just kidding, I know it’s not a cereal mascot. If I had a few million to blow, these guys would be making this a film! It really looks stunning! Loves the transitions between hand-drawn and cgi. And that ending! Wow! Loved the whole thing! ??????????

  • Cp

    Now that,s an epic Captain Crunch!

  • BurntToShreds

    An impressive pitch. I’d be down for a movie like this.

  • Cameron Ward

    Very cool looking video. I’m a tad confused why the character himself looks so cartoony compared to that book sequence, but overall, it looks really good

  • RCooke

    I hope they hire a great screenplay writer…

  • Bob

    I liked this short but I have two critiques- 1) the tone is so serious that it doesn’t match how sillly the character design for the captain is (tad generic as well). 2) in the flashback the “wave monsters” seemed to be a metaphor which I thought was clever, but when they reveal an actual wave monster at the end I felt like it was a bit cheesy… is it still a metaphor or not? Subjective I guess… but overall I thought it was cool

    • Cameron Ward

      yeah I think the cartoony looking captain is a bit weird in terms of tone.

  • Greg Porretta

    Quite beautiful. The Godzilla sound at the end threw me though..Not sure if it is an homage,,but i think they should swap it out.

    • Robert Cordova

      Agreed, it throws you off i would of went with the concept of water flowing slowly to get more drama out of the piece or to leave you hanging as to what happened.

  • Gorgeous! Absolutely love the personality and thought given to the environment, using animation to poetically interpret the world and how it moves. That’s how you use animation to tell stories that undeniably need animation to be told! The use of 2D is also beautifully done and well-integrated, which made me very happy after the fun bit of 2D in the studio ID piece at the open. I hope I get to see this on the big screen!

  • DS

    This is what a CG Cap’n Crunch movie would look like, without the sticky fingers of Dreamworks.

  • Doconnor

    A Cap’n Crunch movie is more believable then some on the movies that have been greenlighted over the last few years.

    Still, it’s a lot like the scene of Jack Sparrow facing the Kraken.

  • Ryan Cullen

    All of these Cap’n Crunch comments reminds me of a line from The Simpsons, when Homer wanted to know when the Cap’n Crunch movie was coming out, and whether it would be R or Hard-R.

  • J

    Cool. Though their intro logo animation is so long. Don’t make your logo the length of an advert.