“Tanks For Nothin” by Joshua Armstrong

Mid-July. Perfect time for a cute, Christmas-themed, senior year animated short film from Cal State, Northridge. Story and animation by Joshua Armstrong.


  • http://www.portapuppets.does.it uncle wayne

    oh, that is DROPdead gorgeous!!! I love its NO spoken words…and its B&W-ness, and even its ending!! Grrrrreat! Ralph Phillips goes female (and 2011!!!)

  • Katerie

    Definitely cute. The boy reminds me of Ralphy from A Christmas Story.
    I love how the color scenes interact with the black in white! Bravo Mr. Armstrong

  • Mike

    Style was decent–conjures up comarisons to A Christmas Story and such–but not a big fan of the animation. Also, the ending didn’t seem very clear, or to wrap up the narrative in a satisfying way.

    • http://joshuamarmstrong.blogspot.com/ Joshua Armstrong

      You’re probably right about the ending. I’ve had other viewers confused by what was going on too. It’s helpful to have a second set of eyes, as many things that seemed obvious to me were sometimes lost by my audience. I did mean to leave the ending somewhat ambiguous, though. I wanted the audience to have to decide if the whole thing was in her head, or if an actual tank manifested from her imaginary world, etc. I was trying to use the color shift and the purple thought cloud as a visual queue to the transition into the fantasy world, so the audience would be prepared for the abrupt punchline of her fantasy world seemingly breaking through into the real world. Maybe I over thought it:)

      • Mike

        Ahhh, okay. Didn’t realize I was SUPPOSED to be unsure of that. :] Nice work overall! It’s easy to nitpick but it’s sure as heck better than anything I could do!

  • AaronSch

    That was brilliant. An entertaining tale conveyed flawlessly with appealing design, expert use of color and music in favor of the use of dialog. What’s not to like?

  • Iritscen

    I didn’t actually get the ending, but it was fun to watch! The limited animation was used very effectively.

  • http://www.portapuppets.does.it uncle wayne

    Whoever “didn’t get the ending” musta never “not gotten something for Christmas they didn’t want!” But she made USE of “what she got for Christmas”….and it twas a happy ending ANYway! A grrrrreat little film!

  • http://joshuamarmstrong.blogspot.com/ Joshua Armstrong

    Thanks for all the feedback guys. I appreciate it.

  • http://dana-draws.blogspot.com Dana T

    The ending is satisfying but still not as unexpected or wild as I thought it could be. In any case I totally relate. My older brother always got the better gifts >:/

  • Pedro Nakama

    I wonder what department that came out of. The film department or the art department?

  • Daniel J. Drazen

    What tips this one in as a winner is the color/grayscale back and forth, and the way Lucy’s red jammies fade from red to gray as the fantasies end. Sweet.

  • http://awprunes.com Larry Levine

    I thought it was very cute, fun cartoon!!!

  • Paul N

    Saw Josh pitch this idea in a studio critique session. Josh, did any of the feedback you got that evening make it into the final? I can’t recall the specifics offhand.

    • http://joshuamarmstrong.blogspot.com/ Joshua Armstrong

      Yeah, I got a lot of great feedback. One of the storyboard artists was Jeff Biancalana. I think he was the one that critiqued my boards, but I could be mistaken. He had some great ideas that I wasn’t able to implement because I was already well underway with the production of the film. One of his recommendations (that I did get in) was to have the brother decked out in his gifts when he’s laughing at Lucy (initially I just boarded him holding the toy tank). I tried to implement this idea by having him wear his new helmet, cowboy belt and boots while he gloats. I liked the suggestion, but I was a little concerned that all the other STUFF might distract from the toy tank, which I needed the audience to see. I tried to solve this with a POV shot of Lucy looking specifically at the tank. Big thanks to Dreamworks Animation and the artists that participated for making that critique possible, by the way. Here’s a link to the early boards I pitched too: http://joshuamarmstrong.blogspot.com/2011/02/tanks-for-nothin-storyboards.html

  • Dave

    Josh, this was great. Appealing design, cute story!

  • http://joshuamarmstrong.blogspot.com/ Joshua Armstrong

    If you guys like my short so far, come join the effort to finish Tanks for Nothin’ with an awesome sound design at Kickstarter.com!
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1462747860/tanks-for-nothin-the-animated-short

  • http://www.eventuraportfolio.com Ellie

    That was fantastic! Great design/animation!
    So much fun! :)