Title: MooseDate.com (2013)
Directed and Produced by: Sam B. Friedman
Country: United States
Format: 720 HD
Synopsis: MooseDate.com is a comedic 3D animated short. Morris, a large and slightly overweight clumsy moose, is getting ready for a date with a female moose he met on the Internet. Following tips he reads in MooseHealth, Morris tries to spruce himself up in time for his date. Between wardrobe changes and other failed attempts to improve his look, the computer rings with new messages and suggestive pictures, each time making Morris both more excited and panicked.
Tagline: How to impress the moose of your dreams.
Logline: Morris the Moose gets ready for a date with a female moose he met online.
Directors Statement: To make this short relatable to the audience, I used stylized, cartoon animation that would satirize a situation that can occur as a result of modern technology. I wanted to use quirky characters and exaggerated animation to poke fun at societal trends such as the prevalence of online dating sites and the rise of social media. The Internet has made it easier for people to falsify or hide their identities, from a fake dating account to an anonymous comment on an article, and this concept is reflected in Morris’ experiences.
I decided to use anthropomorphic moose characters because doing so would allow Morris and Mona to become more universal, relatable figures. This style also enabled me to be creative with the set and prop designs. I worked to create the illusion of a human-like moose world that would portray Morris as the clumsy and sloppy but also lovable moose that he is.
After pushing myself for more than a year to create this short, Morris still manages to make me laugh. And I know that his personality, emotions and expressions will make the audience laugh, too.
Making Of: MooseDate.com was created as a thesis project at the School of Visual Arts in New York City under the MFA Computer Art department. Pre-production began in May 2012, and I spent the summer months developing a script as well as storyboards, characters, and concept designs. I dedicated the next nine months to production, juggling this task with graduate school classes and freelance work in graphic design and motion graphics. I spent late nights, and early mornings, in the computer lab working on making Morris come to life.
I would not have been able to create this film without the help of Josh Planz, another student in the MFA Computer Art program, who served as the technical director for the film. In addition to coming to my rescue several times when I struggled with software issues, he offered technical support in rigging and lighting. Additionally, I took advantage of the department’s thesis advisor policy: Dave Cortes, the owner of Cortes Studio in Brooklyn, advised me during the fall. Working with Dave allowed me to hone in on my modeling and sculpting skills using ZBrush. During the spring I worked with Michael Tanzillo to develop a lighting style for the piece. Michael also offered technical assistance in compositing and rendering. Finally, Daniel Rufolo, a masters student at the Manhattan School of Music, helped me establish the sound design and music for the short, which truly brought the animation to life. I was able to successfully complete my piece after a learning process that involved countless hours in the computer lab, hard work and the support of everybody who guided me along the way.
Sam B. Friedman: Writer, Director, Producer, Modeling, Animation, Compositing, Texturing, Lighting, Rendering: Conventional wisdom dictates that most children enjoy cartoons because they are drawn to colorful characters and simplistic plot lines. For me, cartoons are not only entertaining but also inspirational. Every Nickelodeon and Disney show that I watched when I was younger encouraged me to create different stories with my favorite characters. An animator’s ability to bring drawings to life has always been an inspiration.
A good animation allows us the make personal connections with characters. As a child, I remember following Tommy Pickles on his imaginary adventures, mourning with Simba over the death of his father, and learning how to be funny alongside the Tiny Toons at Acme
Looniversity. These connections made me determined to draw my own fantasy worlds where I could express personal thoughts and feelings. I had the passion to create, and this has never changed.
My current interest lies in developing 3D animated characters and worlds that depict modern-day culture in a humorous way. I create quirky anthropomorphic animal characters and place them in contemporary situations that my audience can relate to. I graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2011 with a BFA in Communication
Design with a focus on graphic design and illustration. My desire to bring life to my illustrations led me to the animation field and to thae MFA Computer Art program at SVA. I recently finished my thesis film “MooseDate.com” and graduated with an MFA in Computer Art in May 2013.
Writer/Producer/Director: Sam B. Friedman
Thesis Group Leader: Steve Rittler
Advisors: Dave Cortes & Michael Tanzillo
Technical Director: Josh Planz
Music & Sound Design: Daniel Rufolo
Sound Actor: Steve Rittler
Mixer: Peter Crimi
Special Thanks: Charlotte Bae, Kevin Brownie, Everett Kane, Harris Wu, Celia Bullwinkel, Adam Hutchison,
Bruce Wands, MFACA Staff, Mom, Dad & Jordan