PopGeeks Profile: Animator and Filmmaker Jared D. Weiss
Filmmaker and animator Jared D. Weiss recently released his latest animated short, Brazey, which is now available for viewing on Vimeo. Weiss is a creative filmmaker who created an impressive short, featuring music that was recorded all in one take, and then the short was animated to the music that was recorded directly without any storyboards or script.
His film comes together in a quick, yet also very playful, story of a little, animated character performing an interpretive dance to almost like the music that would come out of a Jack-in-a-box. He performed all the audio for the short on a Kalimba. If you can believe it, and music was recorded with an iPod Touch using a Music Memos/Garage Band program. It’s symbolic of Weiss talent how he was able to put together such an effective piece of work with just some basic tools. When telling a story, artistic vision is something that’s more important than having a lot of high-tech bells and whistles or a huge animation budget. Weiss’ efforts culminate in a compact, tight short that comes together in a moment of pure delight.
Weiss’ earlier animated short, Transmission, is a more somber one, but it’s also indicative of his clear talent. Transmission was his 2012 thesis film for the School of Visual Arts. Transmission is set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, and it features a strange-looking, yet somewhat sad, creature and his dog. After the creature calls his dog, 2D, back to their home, made out of a busted up, old storage container, he finds that the dog has brought him a radio. The two then set off together on an adventure through a barren wilderness. Going by the garbled signals on the radio, it appears they are searching for other signs of life because they are lonely. The search takes the creature and his dog far and wide, searching for the source of the garbled radio transmissions. Eventually, they come to an old building. Unfortunately, the source of the radio signal was just an old TV that was still broadcasting Night of the Living Dead, with only a dead human skeleton as its viewer. It’s a low moment, but the creature then notices a telegraph machine, and he broadcasts his message, simply “Hope.”
With this short, Weiss exemplifies how he’s great at doing and showing a lot with very little. The short uses very simple designs and shapes, but those elements compliment this story very well. Even though the short contains a very bleak setting and visual imagery, it ultimately ends with a message of hope, which is a strong theme. Brazey is also similarly upbeat. The premise, setting and visual style of Transmission are somewhat reminiscent of Adventure Time with Finn and Jake if you can believe it. Obviously, that show is way more comedic and has a lot of crazy weirdness. However, one has to remember that Adventure Time is also set on a post-apocalyptic Earth. While Adventure time is regularly very zany and upbeat, there is this undertone of sadness of times of what’s been lost and how the there was a terrible war that destroyed a great deal.
Weiss has showcased a great deal of his other work in animation his Vimeo channel, and it’s all very interesting and stylized. Most of his other work consists of little pieces of animation and experimental animation tests. However, they all have an interesting look, a unique style and a lot of character. Weiss clearly has worked to establish his own personal design and style for his animation, which is very charming. One little gem is a short piece of animation showing a robot at an automated fast-food vending machine trying to decide what it wants to eat. The robot isn’t interested in any of the items until it comes to “human child,” and the robot asks to get it to go. The machine simply responds back, “No.” It’s definitely a morbid, yet amusing short. In less than 30 seconds it essentially conveys a world of robots taking over and possibly eating humans as their new food source.
One of his more morbidly comedic pieces of work is his SVA short film Beeper. It shows a creature in medical peril as neglectful hospital staff are too busy goofing off to help him. It’s quite bleak, but Weiss manages to inject humor in it by exaggerating the antics of the hospital staff and the creature who is suffering from some type of affliction. His wicked sense of humor is even on display in another school animation short he completed called fly fishing, which actually shows a fly character trying to fish. However, the perspective then shifts, and that fly meets a squishy end.
Weiss has some clear visual motifs in his work. He tells his stories usually with characters drawn out of rounded or symmetrical shapes. The six-eyed type of creature from Transmission is present in a rougher form in a piece of animation he did called Impostor. Even in a short amount of time, Weiss can tell a quick and effective story with an amusing punchline. Those are characteristics that can take him very far.
Weiss is definitely an interesting filmmaker with an interesting vision. Hopefully, he has a bright career ahead of him. If you are interested in checking out some of Jared D. Weiss’ work, you can watch his short films, Brazey and Transmission, on his Vimeo channel, located at this link.