Lost Talkie

Joel speaking. I want to give a very quick introduction to a video I’ve published in honour of my updated personal webpage


The extensions of man, the teeth of the dragon

Fragments of Lost Talkie is the collected output of my learning basic 3D modelling and animation, roughly between 2014 and 2016. It is a sketch for what might have been (and might still become, at some point in the future) a narrative short film dealing with alien(ated) disembodied characters, McLuhanian nightmares, and Eisenteinian protoplasms*.

One of professor’s McLuhan’s most mind-tickling oneliners –or probes– is “When you are on the phone or on the air, you have no body.” The Lost Talkie took this statement quite literally.




Several cartoon characters, as indicated by oversized gloves and “pizza” tattoo.

Traces of this body-of-work’s as of yet unrequited ambitions to form a coherent storyline are nevertheless present in the film’s current presentation, which may give it some merit beyond a mere technical artefact. Much of its imagery can be read and interpreted as one would a partially remembered dream or a warbled snippet of a distant radio broadcast.

A dense 3D mesh: one of the reasons the overarching short film never materialized further, was the clumsy way I had put everything together in the early stages of learning 3D. After some years, getting used to the luxury of efficient working methods (well, relatively efficient) makes the old scene files quite unworkable.
One of the first “things” I made for this was the spinal creature with the Mickey gloves. The process of the first version pictured went fairly nicely. Procedural modelling and texturing, then sticking a found model of hands onto there (probably an asset from an actual Disney videogame). I could have called it a day after that, but went ahead to add the entire alien worm body after all. Again, dense subdividing –I was after a particular nuance of slimy flesh texture– made this quite a processing hog.
Exaggerating deformations made for fun results. This happy accident actually made it into a plot point of a never-realized scene. Yep, yep, yep.
An earlier version of the radio mic (also based on a found or bought model), would be a good candidate for CD artwork for a 90s compilation of hardcore techno covers of classic Elvis hits. The more sleek final design, as used in the animations, was modelled completely from scratch.

*I would love to dedicate several future blog posts to explorations of each of these themes in the context of modern-day animated film. For the time being, I’ve linked to relevant references in the text above. Any tips and thoughts from readers are very welcome.