The Bird and the Bard | 2D Animation Short Film | Oakland, CA

The Bird and the Bard is the thesis film I made for my senior year at California College of the Arts. With an original score by Francis Abastillas, it’s the story of a young minstrel whose dream is to play his lute in the royal court. While prepping for his audition he meets a music loving bird who inspires him to write an original piece for his audition at the caste – unfortunately, the palace has a strict no pets allowed policy, keeping the bird from getting any credit for the performance. The Bird and the Bard is a story about music and friendship, and what happens when your career goals get in the way of the things that matter most.

I started working on this film the summer of 2017. The initial idea came from a dream my dad had told me about years ago, although at that point the story wasn’t fleshed out at all; it was more or less just the concept of a minstrel with a bird companion helping him jam out. After figuring out the story details I started my Senior Project 1 class in the fall, during which we primarily focused on the visual development aspect of our individual films. I created a character lineup, some expression sheets, a color script, almost 60 original backgrounds and cut together an animatic from my digital storyboards.

Second semester in Senior Project 2 I began animating the film while working back and forth with Francis to get the score working and timed out with rough animation. With the deadline rapidly approaching and juggling my other schoolwork, The Bird and the Bard, and a recent job freelance storyboarding on the TV show Masha and the Bear, I got better about reaching out for help. Several friends assisted me in coloring shots here and there throughout the film, and my roommate who isn’t even an animator was great and drew several different versions of the fountains I had in multiple background layouts which I was able to piece together for a neat little detail of it moving in the background of the scenes.

By the last week of frantically finishing up the film I was coming back from the labs at 4 or 5 in the morning multiple days in a row, but it was all worth it in the end. I made my school’s deadline and got a great response from the final product, and as I graduate and go out into the “real world” to look for a studio job in the LA area, I’m hoping to get my name out there and share this piece that I’ve poured so much time and energy and passion into over the last year!

(By the way the password on the film’s link is stringbeanmusician)

Website: emilyclaus.portfoliobox.net

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