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25th September 2013
Free Ranger
Title of film: Chipotle - The Scarecrow
Director: Limbert Fabian and Brandon Oldenburg
Production Company: Moonbot Studios
It’s tough being the follow-up act to a Grand Prix winning film, but Moonbot Studios’ animated short and app game promoting sustainable farming for restaurant chain Chipotle is cooking up a storm on the net. We talk with co-directors Brandon Oldenburg and Limbert Fabian

It must have been a tall order to follow Johnny Kelly’s Grand Prix winner Back to the Start with a new film for Chipotle – although gratifying that Scarecrow has been picked up and shared by the world. Was the first film a constant reference point?

Limbert Fabian: Yes, there were big shoes to fill. The simplicity in their narrative was great and clean. It was a tough act to follow.

Brandon Oldenburg: It was the bar we were trying to jump over. It was a fool’s errand but we were going to try. Their entire team did such a great job.

What was the original brief from Chipotle? Were you involved in the story line – was it always going to be a scarecrow hero – or was the script already fully developed when your were brought in to realize the visuals?

Limbert Fabian: CAA Marketing presented about six different creative treatments that we spliced together into the most interesting story to tell. One had a scarecrow; one had a sign painter and exposed what was behind advertisements. We combined those ideas and went off to tell that story in partnership with CAA. There wasn’t a script persay.

Did you work out everything in detail in pre-production or did the film evolve as you progressed?

Limbert Fabian: We worked out as much as we could in pre-production. Defining as much as possible at the beginning gave us breathing room to make sure the story was great at the end.

Brandon Oldenburg: Being as sharp as we can with pre-production allows some free time on the back end to go ahead and improve. We inserted the shot of Scarecrow on the train very late in the game and that became a very important scene.

Were there any big debates about the style of animation – is it all CGI?  Were any elements hand-crafted?

Limbert Fabian: We knew from day one we wanted to do a mixture: CG, paintings and miniatures. We love getting our hands dirty.

Brandon Oldenburg: We used miniatures to delineate between industrial and processed vs. handmade and real. With something that is actually made by hand, you get something that is organic and imperfect which is really hard and time consuming to do in CG. Instead of fighting against it, we just took advantage of what we could do in CG vs. hand made miniatures.

Was there a large team of animators working on it and what was the time-scale of the project?

Limbert Fabian: It’s not just animators. The team was about maybe 60 between everyone who touched the project from conceptualization to music to modeling to animation to art, etc. It’s been about two years since the contract was signed and we’ve been hard at work on the game and film since then.

Using Fiona Apple’s cover of Pure Imagination from Willy Wonka was inspired. Was it an obvious choice from the beginning?

Limbert Fabian: It was not an obvious choice from the beginning and it was a long journey to arrive at that particular track. We knew from the start that it would be a piece of music that would be ironic. Duotone suggested a number of tracks to use and when we arrived on Pure Imagination, everything just clicked. It had the right amount of irony and feeling.

Brandon Oldenburg: The song starts out ironic then moves to a hopeful tonality. Lyrically, the song worked and it conjures up memories of a magical factory where anything can happen. The film is about everything but that, in a weird, creepy, scary way.

With hindsight is there anything you would have done differently – any flaws that leap out at you now, although probably not at us!

Limbert Fabian: I personally don’t think so. Chipotle really gave us the time we needed to make the project as perfect as possible. We’re thankful for that.


Check out production art in Related Content



Directors: Limbert Fabian and Brandon Oldenburg Producers: Lampton Enochs and William Joyce Art Director: Joe Bluhm Editor: Calvin O’Neal Jr. Assistant Editor: Patrick M. Long Production Manager: Wendell Riley CG PRODUCTION Lead Animators: Kevin Koch and Beavan Blocker Animators: Jason Behr, Scott McWhinnie Additional Animation: Kevin Bradley, Lucas Ridley Character Design: Joe Bluhm, Vanesa R. Del Rey, Limbert Fabian, Brandon Oldenburg Storyboards: Joe Bluhm, Limbert Fabian, Brandon Oldenburg, Kendra Phillips Matte Paintings: Alex Beck, Joe Bluhm, Kenny Callicutt, Vanesa R. Del Rey, Christina Ellis, Limbert Fabian Additional Artwork: Kim Kuchenbecker, Tyler Schatz Lead Technical Director: Megan Deane Look Development Supervisor: Dylan VanWormer Modeling/Texturing/Shading/Rigging: Akin Bilgic, Jackson Blankstein , Brennan Chapman, Megan Deane, Matt Krotenberg, Bethany Lo, Kate McFadden, Gordon Pinkerton, Bohdon Sayre, Mike Rutter, John Schurman, Russell Smith,  Logan Scelina, Dylan VanWormer Lighting/Compositing: Megan Deane, Matt Krotenberg, Bethany Lo, Kate McFadden, Gordon Pinkerton, Logan Scelina, Russell Smith, Dylan VanWormer Pipeline: Brennan Chapman, Bohdon Sayre Music/Sound Editor- Moonbot Studios: Calvin O’Neal Jr. Sound Design: BREED LIVE ACTION MINIATURE SHOOT Production Manager: Adam French Miniature Design: Limbert Fabian, Brandon Oldenburg   Miniature Construction: Jim Hayes, Christine Cox-Hayes, Betty Semon, Liz Maw-Naing, The Moonbot Krewe Gaffer: Bob Bates MOONBOT STAFF Head of Production: Trish Farnsworth-Smith Senior Production Manager: Sulivan Parker IT: Stephen Vekovius Marketing Director: Sara Hebert Production Support: Stefanie Riegel Production Interns: Matthew Howley, Larsson McSwain