Idea Blog

PICK OF THE WEEK: Makeshift Satellite (short film)

Blake Harris 09.01.2015

With so much great working being done in the animation and explanation spaces these days, each week we like to highlight an impressive piece of content. This week’s selection is a gorgeously crafted short film called Makeshift Satellite.

Makeshift Satellite centers around the unusual life of an unusual man named Oslo who–through flashbacks and flash-forwards, and through various father figures– seeks to find meaning and joy in the world. The film was made by an animator named Cody Walzel. “I made it on my nights and weekends,” he explained, “and eventually finished it on a break from the animation industry.” To create the film, Walzel used After Effects, Flash, Premiere and TV Paint.

Here’s the movie:


Film by Cody Walzel
Story by Cody Walzel and James Kwan
Composer: Billy Duprey
Narrator: Eve Picard
Young Oslo: Ainsley Beard

3 Things We Love About This Film:

1) Unique Style: Doing something different just for the sake of it is usually a recipe for disaster. But striking a unique tone–something that stands out, but also helps tell the story–is a wonderful thing. And that, really, is the first thing that jumps out about Makeshift Satellite. The art-style is vibrant, but fragile and combined with the narrative voice it really instills a palpable tone. Style & Substance leads to an elevated story.

Emotive Face Unique Style FAce

2) Camera Movement: unlike most animated films–which begin with a wide-shot and then zoom in to something tighter (or vice-versa)–this film makes great use of camera movement along long, panoramic landscapes. Here’s a great example:


Not only is it exciting for viewers to move “beyond the frame,” but this approach instills a sense of compartmentalized complexity. Because now, even in shots where the camera does move (or in situations where the camera has stopped), we subconsciously can’t help but think: there’s more, there’s always more!

3) A Museum-like Curation: In a style reminiscent of director Wes Anderson, Walzel frequently succeeds in highlighting ordinary things by treating them like extraordinary objects. This means not only does every object receive a nuanced treatment, but also that those nuances are curated and framed in such a way that they become special and memorable.

Here are some favorites:

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