woods-icon woods-icon
Stop Motion

“The Woods” Animation Test by Max Winston

LA-based animator Max Winston posted this animation test for The Woods!, a project that he developed over two years for Nickelodeon. He wrote last Friday on his blog that Nick “recently informed me that they don’t want to go through with making it into a show.” That’s probably a sign that he’s doing something right considering that this is the same network that turned down Adventure Time in favor of greenlighting Fanboy & Chum Chum. Max is currently shopping the idea around to other buyers.

UPDATE: Max has posted a bunch of development art from The Woods.

Created, Directed and Animated by: Max Winston
Director of Photography: Helder K Sun
Written by: Doug Langdale & Max Winston
Color concept & BG design: Romney Caswell
Voices: Zoë Moss, Jacob Strick, Max Winston
Compositing: Hlynur Magnusson
Fabrication Assistance: Brad Schaffer
Shot at Screen Novelties

  • Spencer

    WHAT IN TARNATION!!! That was fantastic! My heart goes to the network that decides to pick this up. It’d be damn daring for television and could develop a nice big following of devoted fans… almost instantly for that matter.

  • sasha

    hah! very cute, tho i see this more as a cartoon network show.

    • Spencer

      Don’t count your eggs, Sasha! They gave the shot to Adventure and Regular… You think they’ll take another risk? SNAKE EYES! I want em’ to!

  • Ron

    I hope someone buys it! I’d watch the show! I’d even work on it if they’d hire me :)

    • Spencer


  • That was terrific!

  • Great energy and life! Awesome work Max

  • Matt B

    Very cute & silly. And what a crazy little apple.
    Well done Mr Winston & team

  • That was rad! Go Max!

  • Jon

    This is great! Can’t believe Nick passed on it!?! Awesome work Max Winston!!!

  • Miles

    Wow! Awesome!

  • Hope springs eternal. Pure fun is alive and well and knocking at the doors of the networks. Everything in this gets a thumbs up from me

  • Baron Lego

    Why would Nickelodeon pass on this? Weird.

  • michael

    i live in the woooooooooooods! http://vimeo.com/14191230

    thrilled to see a test related (albeit loosely) to one of my favorite shorts.

  • Scarabim

    Fly in the ointment here –

    I can see why Nickelodeon passed it over. Maybe there just wasn’t enough there for me to see the genius some here are gushing about, but I really don’t see the appeal (pun not intended) of some kid whose companion is apparently a lump of detritus with legs running around with a pet apple. That clip was a demonstration of reaching at the utmost degree in an attempt to seem quirky and original. Good luck to the guy selling that to a network.

    • Scarabim – You do realize you’re judging a one-minute animation test, which purpose was to show how the stop motion characters could be animated. But don’t let that stop you from making yourself look silly.

      • Mark Cee

        And Scarabin needs to know Max had to deal with development execs and their creative notes. I think Max pulled it off.

        Nick in it’s younger days would have jumped at this.

      • Spencer

        After watching this test, I wanna’ befriend ALL of my apples before I eat them! Apples are your friend!

      • Scarabim

        I have no doubt that the extended version of that clip amounts to the animated equivalent of Birth of a Nation. Unfortunately, I’ll never know, because just like the Nick execs, I don’t care to see any more.

    • gushing about genius? Only if you count all the no one that mentioned it was genius. It is silly and well animated. Surely there is room enough on the telly for some well animated silliness. There should be

    • Just because something is weird and nonsensical doesn’t make it funny.

  • Very cool and fresh. :)

    Great timing, really fun to watch.
    Love the ‘rolling’ BG shots!

  • haha! pretty funny stuff. Sure seems like Nick is out of touch. Are they still trying to find another Sponge Bob? CN should pick that up in a heartbeat. It would kick ass right after Adventure Time or Regular Show.

    • Spencer

      Or in between?

  • “I Live in the Woods” is one of my favorite things on the planet. This has to be made.

  • bones

    Something fresh & refreshing!

    No wonder the suits at the networks hate it! It’s a gamble!

    I want to see more!

  • Thanks for posting it, Amid!

    Scarabim – Yeah, this isn’t the whole scope of the show, there’s more characters, settings/situations, etc. This test is like the beans in a burrito. It tastes good on it’s own, but it’s the meat, rice, lettuce, salsa and tortilla that makes it taste like your favorite food.

    It would have been great to make a full 7 to 11 minute “actual” pilot, then people could really get a much more emotional and clear view of the characters and situation. But there just wasn’t the budget in this stage of development for such a thing. I’m glad I even got to make this short pilot!

    I posted more info, designs, etc on my blog if anyone is interested:

  • davidbfain

    Just curious about where the rights stand with this now. Can Max shop it around or can Nick kill it claiming they own it since they put up development $?

  • bobkurtz


  • Maya

    I’m kind of glad Nickelodeon passed this up. It would have been wasted on them. This seems way too nice to mix with their heaps of CGI garbage and unfunny teen sitcoms.
    This looks like it would be better suited for Cartoon Network in my opinion. I really hope it gets picked up though.

    • Spencer

      Totally valid. It’s kind of nice to know that Nick invested their time and money into a guy like Max though. Maybe they’re actually curious what would happen if they put faith in something crazy for once.

      Let’s be clear, Nick… Stupid isn’t crazy.

  • obj_solid

    I would LOVE to see this HD on cable TV

  • JM

    This has got Mark Caballero and his team written all over…is it them?

    • Hey JM, no, but I do work for and with Screen Novelties often.

  • Nickelodeon wasn’t silly for not picking up Adventure Time, they were silly for not picking up Phineas and Ferb.

  • Sah Wani Sun

    That was cool! Good on you for making something interesting and fun to watch. Nice compositions, colors, and great animation! Pretty weird and funny, too bad we can only see a mere minute. The audio has some very nice aspects to it as well but that goes uncredited, who gone and dun made it?

    • Hey Sah Wani Sun, I did the sound effects as well. The music is the least Library-sounding music from a music library I could find. Glad you enjoyed it.

  • Woosh


    I really really hope that someone picks it up! CN/Adult Swim seems more willing these days to pick up experimental stuff.

    Great job to the artist/s who worked on this! <3

  • Veeeeeery nice! Way to go, Winston!

  • Maddie

    Wooo! This was really, really good. I like it a lot, seriously mang. Although Max’s comment about this being somewhat like beans in a burrito without all the yummy extra stuff, I totally think the interesting characters and overall quirkiness shine through – which is pretty good for only being a minute long. Hopefully Nick not picking this up is a good thing. This would thrive in CN’s hands.