Love, Death + Robots

Volume 3 directors break the rules with David Fincher, Tim Miller, and Jennifer Yuh Nelson at the helm.

Moderated by Laura Prudom
July 20, 2022
Netflix Queue

David Fincher had produced two volumes of his Emmy Award-winning anthology series Love, Death + Robots before he decided to make his animated directing debut in the third volume. His episode, “Bad Travelling,” tells the story of a sailing vessel attacked by a giant, bloodthirsty crustacean. “My take on it skewed more towards [the reality TV series about crab fishermen] Deadliest Catch meets Alien, with a touch of motorcycle touring gear thrown in for good measure. It’s not swashbuckling at all. You get this idea that this is a rough job — it’s not something you aspire to.”

Love, Death + Robots, was a project that Academy Award-nominated Fincher (MankMindhunter) and fellow executive producer Tim Miller (Deadpool) had longed to make for years. Inspired by the boundary-pushing comic magazine Heavy Metal (co-founded by acclaimed comic artist Moebius in the 70s) and motivated by a keen desire to move the needle on animated storytelling, they worked to craft a platform that could house a range of creators and styles under the same roof.

Since its 2019 debut, Love, Death + Robots has impressed an ever-growing fanbase of critics and audiences with its bold, fearless approach. “It’s not even creative freedom,” describes Oscar-winning Spanish animator Alberto Mielgo, “I would say, almost creative anarchy.” Mielgo, whose first season animated short “The Witness” earned two Emmys, returns in the third season with “Jibaro,” a meticulously crafted 3D animation chronicling a deaf knight’s deadly dance with a golden siren. “Jibaro” is the only original work featured in Volume 3.

The other eight installments are artful adaptations of sci-fi and fantasy short stories, covering a wide range of animation styles and narratives: Emily Dean’s trippy, Moebius-inflected tale of an astronaut in peril, “The Very Pulse of The Machine;” Jennifer Yuh Nelson’s (Kung Fu Panda 2 & 3) testosterone-fueled, robo-bear action movie send-up, “Kill Team Kill;” and Fincher’s “Bad Travelling” among them. Miller’s entry “Swarm” notably brings sci-fi legend Bruce Sterling’s fiction to the screen for the very first time. Patrick Osborne’s 3D-animated short “Three Robots: Exit Strategies,” meanwhile, is the series’ first sequel, rejoining Volume 1’s “Three Robots” protagonists K-VRC, XBOT 4000, and 11-45-G as they piece together humanity’s final days on Earth.

Queue brought together creators Fincher, Miller, and Nelson (who serves as the anthology’s supervising director) with contributing directors Mielgo, Dean, and Osborne to discuss the anything-goes approach to the series and their wide-ranging inspirations.

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Modern Instances: The Craft of Photography, by Stephen Shore

February 2022
MACK (UK, EU)

Shore’s work has been a personal inspiration from my earliest interaction with it. With Modern Instances, I am humbled to have his profound insight into the rigorous over-thinking that made it possible. This insight, delivered with such clarity, grace, and humility, will no doubt affect how you make or appreciate photographs – it might even alter how you see.’ David Fincher

Shore’s memoir is as riveting as it is illuminating – an almost deceptively seamless narrative of experiences, associations, correspondences, images, and remarkable erudition that testify to the mind’s eye through which, from the beginning of his career, Shore has transformed the seemingly spontaneous configurations of his photography into profound works of art.’ Jane Kramer

Modern Instances is like a conversation among friends. It reveals a deeply inquiring mind, and renders making photographs, and looking at them, one of the most exciting and humane of pursuits.’ Sandra Phillips

‘Although the dream is a very strange phenomenon and an inexplicable mystery, far more inexplicable is the mystery and aspect our minds confer on certain objects and aspects of life.’ Giorgio de Chirico

Stephen Shore’s Modern Instances: The Craft of Photography is an experimental new memoir from one of the world’s most prolific artists — an impressionistic scrapbook that documents the rich and surprising touchstones that make up over half a century of ground-breaking work. With essays, photographs, stories, and excerpts that draw on Shore’s decades of teaching, this is an essential handbook for anyone interested in learning more about mastering one’s craft and the distinct threads that come together to inform a creative voice. As much as offering meditation on the influences of a single artist, Modern Instances proposes a new way of thinking about the world around us, in which even the smallest moment can become a source of boundless inspiration — if only we pay attention.

Silkscreen printed linen hardcover
ISBN
: 978-1-913620-53-0
Dimensions: 17 x 24.5cm
Page Count: 224 pages
Price: €38 / £30 / $45

Look inside and buy the book

How Stephen Shore’s Photographs Inspired Netflix’s Mindhunter

The Weird, Analog Delights of Foley Sound Effects

E.T. was jello in a T-shirt. The Mummy was scratchy potpourri. For Foley artists, deception is an essential part of the enterprise.

Anna Wiener
June 27, 2022
The New Yorker

The salvage yard at M. Maselli & Sons, in Petaluma, California, is made up of six acres of angle irons, block pulleys, doorplates, digging tools, motors, fencing, tubing, reels, spools, and rusted machinery. To the untrained eye, the place is a testament to the enduring power of American detritus, but to Foley artists—craftspeople who create custom sound effects for film, television, and video games—it’s a trove of potential props. On a recent morning, Shelley Roden and John Roesch, Foley artists who work at Skywalker Sound, the postproduction audio division of Lucasfilm, stood in the parking lot, considering the sonic properties of an enormous industrial hopper. “I’m looking for a resonator, and I need more ka-chunkers,” Roden, who is blond and in her late forties, said. A lazy Susan was also on the checklist—something to produce a smooth, swivelling sound. Roesch, a puffer-clad sexagenarian with white hair, had brought his truck, in the event of a large haul. The pair was joined by Scott Curtis, their Foley mixer, a bearded fiftysomething. Curtis was in the market for a squeaky hinge. “There was a door at the Paramount stage that had the best creak,” he said. “The funny thing was, the cleaning crew discovered this hinge squeak, and they lubricated the squeak—the hinge. It was never the same.”

Petaluma is a historically agricultural town, and that afternoon was the thirty-ninth annual Butter and Egg Days Parade; the air smelled of lavender and barbecued meat. Inside the yard, Curtis immediately gravitated toward a pile of what looked like millstones, or sanding wheels. He began rotating one against another, producing a gritty, high-pitched ring, like an elementary-school fire alarm. “The texture is great,” Roden said. She suggested that one of the wheels could be used as a sweetener—a sound that is subtly layered over another sound, to add dimension—for a high-tech roll-up door, or perhaps one made of stone. “It’s kinda chimey,” she said, wavering. “It has potential.” A few yards away, Curtis had moved on to a shelf of metal filing-cabinet drawers, freckled with rust. “We have so many metal boxes,” Roden said, and walked away.

“It’s kinda the squeak I was looking for,” Curtis said softly.

“Hey, guys, remember the ‘Black Panther’ area?” Roden called out. “Wanna explore?” She led the group past a rack of hanging chains, also rusted; Curtis lightly palmed a few in sequence, producing the pleasant rings of a tintinnabulum. Roden pointed to the spot where she had found a curved crowbar to create the sound of Vibranium—a fictional rare metal unique to the Marvel universe—before zeroing in on a rack of thimbles, clamps, nuts, bolts, and washers. The trio began knocking and tapping hardware together, producing a series of chimes, tinks, and clunks. Roesch, who calls himself an “audile”—someone who processes information in a primarily auditory manner, rather than in a visual or a material one—had unearthed a sceptre-like industrial tool with a moving part, and was rapidly sliding it back and forth. “Robot,” he said.

The bulk of the sound in film is typically added in postproduction. “I always say there’s sound effects, like footsteps, and then there’s music,” the director David Lynch, whose films are famous for their inventive, evocative sound design, said. “And then there’s sound effects that are like music. . . . They conjure a feeling.” Traditionally, “hard effects” cover ambient noises such as traffic or rain, or the more mechanical, combustive sounds of explosions and gunfire; they are usually pulled from libraries, or electronically produced. Foley effects are custom to a film, and are synchronized to characters’ movements. They might include the sound of someone walking across a room, rolling over in bed, stirring a pot, typing, fighting, dancing, eating, falling, or kissing. The line between the two kinds of effect is thin: Foley artists record the sound of a hand twisting a doorknob, but not the sound of the mechanism turning within. Foley is subtle but suggestive, capturing offstage bedsprings, or the shuffle of a clumsy intruder. In the past hundred years, technology has changed the process of recording, editing, and engineering sounds, but the techniques of Foley have remained stubbornly analog. Behind any given Foley effect, no matter how complex, are one or two people contorting their bodies in a soundproof room.

Foley artists have historically worked in pairs. (Certain sounds are so complex that they require the labor of four hands.) Roden and Roesch are two of the masters in their field. David Fincher, the director of movies including “The Social Network,” “Gone Girl,” and “Mank,” told me that Foley is “a very strange calling,” and “a dark art” foundational to filmmaking. “You’re trying to make beautiful sounds that make their point once and get the hell out of Dodge,” Fincher said. “The people who do it really, really well are few and far between.”

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Love, Death + Robots. Inside the Animation: Bad Travelling

June 15, 2022
Netflix (YouTube)

David Fincher, director of Bad Travelling featured in Love, Death + Robots Vol. 3 discusses how he approached directing his first animated short.

Read the LOVE DEATH + ROBOTS. Volume 3 guide

Watch LOVE DEATH + ROBOTS on Netflix

‘Love, Death + Robots’ Season 3: David Fincher Gets Animated for the First Time on ‘Bad Travelling’

The animators tell IndieWire what it was like collaborating with Fincher on the mo-cap character animation and giant, slimy crab.

Bill Desowitz
June 9, 2022
IndieWire

It’s easy to see why David Fincher chose “Bad Travelling” as his first foray into directing animation. He made his feature debut with the ill-fated “Alien 3,” after all, and the premise of this third-season episode of “Love, Death + Robots” is a bit like setting the plight of the Nostromo on the high seas: A giant, slimy crab devours the crew of a shark-hunting vessel, with only the cunning navigator surviving to battle the beast. (It also makes up for Fincher’s aborted take on “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” at Disney.)

Fincher also likens “Bad Travelling” to “Ten Little Indians” meets “Deadliest Catch,” with the ship’s navigator, Torrin (Troy Baker), contending with mutiny, betrayal, and a starving Thanapod crustacean that bizarrely communicates through ventriloquism.

“You don’t necessarily want to see them come to unnatural ends,” Fincher said about the crew in the production notes. “The idea was not to make them despicable, but self-serving. That’s the thing I always loved about Harry Dean Stanton and Yaphet Kotto in ‘Alien’….”

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Pixel Perfection

Jarred Land / RED Digital Cinema

Adrian Pennington
April 2022
British Cinematographer

Jarred Land has spent his career in close collaboration and connection with filmmakers, supporting the execution of their vision with powerful and ground-breaking tools.

Jarred Land runs RED Digital Cinema, the company whose 4K camera went from scepticism to admiration on a run of prestige movies like David Fincher’s Oscar-winning Mank and series like The Queen’s Gambit. Since 2013, Land has led a team focused on precedent-setting technology for filmmakers.

Land didn’t found RED but joined Jim Jannard before the launch of the first camera and during the hardcore, technology banging sleepless nights part of the story, where a small group failed, learned, succeeded. From the first conversation Land had with Jannard and still today, the focus is on providing a more complete tool for filmmakers.

Born in Edmonton, Canada, Land’s father ran gas stations and shopping malls, imbuing in him an entrepreneurial spirit. The teenage Land’s passion was mountain biking which he segued into his own bike courier company in Vancouver.

A chance encounter with a client inspired him to take up videography using the Panasonic tape camcorder DVX100. “I couldn’t go to film school because I was running my company and biking 100km a day, so I set up a bulletin board for help,” he says.

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Siren vs. Soldier

Emmy and Oscar award-winner Alberto Mielgo’s animated short “Jibaro” thrills in Season 3 of Tim Miller and David Fincher’s groundbreaking anthology series Love, Death + Robots.

Ryan G. Smith
June 1, 2022
Netflix Queue

When Oscar and Emmy winner Alberto Mielgo was invited to pitch a story for the latest volume of the 11-time Emmy-winning series Love, Death + Robots, the Spanish director, artist, and animator decided to use a folkloric lens to examine the lengths to which some people will go to obtain what they cannot have. The resulting short, “Jibaro,” centers the battle of a deaf knight desperate to slay a golden siren and claim her as a trophy. The mythic creature grows increasingly frustrated, failing to understand why her opponent is immune to the powers of her song.

“It was inspired by those videos on National Geographic where there is an alligator fighting a jaguar for food,” Mielgo says. “It’s a crazy, toxic relationship between two characters, two predators, who both want and need each other.”

The unconventional and breathtaking episode is among nine new shorts included in the third volume of Love, Death + Robots. When executive producers Tim Miller and David Fincher first dreamed up the concept for Love, Death + Robots, they had a clear creative objective: “Let’s make a sandbox where anything’s possible,” explains Fincher, the Oscar-nominated director best known for live-action films like Mank, as well as the TV series MINDHUNTER. Fincher makes his animated directorial debut with the Volume 3 short “Bad Travelling,” a motion-capture masterpiece following a crew of degenerate sailors contending with a giant crustacean who boards their ship with an appetite for destruction. “We’re just telling stories. I think that the best of it works on a childlike level — and a naughty teenager level. As an adult looking at it, I appreciate that.”

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TIME 100 Most Influential People of 2022: Amanda Seyfried by David Fincher

Amanda Seyfried by Molly Matalon (The New York Times/Redux)

100 Most Influential People of 2022

David Fincher
May 23, 2022
TIME

When I lured Amanda Seyfried into Mank, her ability to be simultaneously knowing and warm opened that role to a (much) larger conversation than the script might have otherwise intimated. People may have thought of her as a rom-com-edienne, but she’s got a lot more going on under the hood. Including the rare ability to make one reassess one’s own imaginative shortcomings.

Read the full note on Amanda Seyfried by David Fincher

clubhouse: Watch Love, Death & Robots Vol. 3 with directors David Fincher, Tim Miller, and Alberto Mielgo

Moderated by Mohit Arora
May 24, 2022
clubhouse / Netflix

Install the app and listen to:

LOVE DEATH + RO3BOTS Watchalong with Director’s Commentary and Q&A

Bad Travelling, Directed by David Fincher
Swarm, Directed by Tim Miller
Jibaro, Directed by Alberto Mielgo
1 hr 18 min

Watch LOVE DEATH + ROBOTS on Netflix

Love, Death and Robots Volume 3: David Fincher Wanted His Episode to ‘Feel Like Alien’

David Fincher chats with IGN about directing his first animated episode for Love, Death and Robots Volume 3.

David Griffin
May 20, 2022
IGN

After nearly 40 years in the entertainment business, 3-time Oscar-nominee, David Fincher, has seemingly done it all. From his early years directing music videos for Madonna and Aerosmith, crafting memorable films like Seven and The Social Network, and working on acclaimed TV shows such as House of Cards and Mindhunter, Fincher’s resume appears to be complete. But what about animation?

With the launch of Volume 3 of Netflix‘s mind-bending Love, Death and Robots anthology series, Fincher can finally check animation off his bucket list with his episode, titled “Bad Travelling.” In this seafaring horror story, a group of Jable shark hunters on a far-away planet are attacked by a giant crustacean. With the sailors’ lives in jeopardy, chaos and mutiny ensue.

Although Fincher has decades of experience working behind the camera on live-action projects, we wanted to know if animation brought any new challenges to the seasoned director.

“Ultimately, directing comes down to understanding context and sculpting time, light, and behavior with that innate understanding,” Fincher told IGN. “In some cases, like in the case of motion capture, there are people in onesies with ping pong balls hanging off them, and you’re going, ‘Okay, now remember the ship is rocking and all…’ You’re there to add a little imagination sauce to all the other shit that they’re trying to keep in their heads. I mean, it does tend to look a little like Saturday Night Live. It’s a ridiculous thing to be asking somebody to do a one-act play, dressed in pajamas. So that aspect of it, it’s the same thing. You’re playing dress up, right? And you’re trying to say, ‘Look, from the audience’s standpoint, this needs to happen a little faster here, a little… This can go a little slower. Find that word.’ It’s all the same shit.”

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