Behind-the-scenes of “Bad Travelling”

Love Death & Robots’ “Bad Travelling” gave Blur Studio a chance to work alongside legendary director David Fincher. Find out what they learned in the process.

Henry Winchester
August 2, 2022
chaos

Cinema is often referred to as painting with light — but it could be said that David Fincher’s movies paint with darkness. Beginning with Alien 3, and moving on through Se7enFight ClubZodiacMank, and the TV series Mindhunter, the acclaimed director has made use of low-key lighting and anemic palettes to explore the darker recesses of the human mind.

Now, Fincher has taken his characteristic chiaroscuro to “Bad Travelling,” a grisly maritime adventure involving a dishonest, paranoid crew — and a giant crustacean lurking below decks. The Love, Death & Robots episode marks Fincher’s first completely computer-animated short film, as well as his first directorial contribution to the Netflix anthology series he executive produces alongside fellow director Tim Miller.

To create the nautical world of “Bad Travelling,” Fincher teamed up with Blur Studio, the animation and VFX production company founded by Miller. We spoke to Compositing Supervisor Nitant Ashok Karnik and Co-CG Supervisor Jean Baptiste Cambier about working with a living legend of modern cinema, and how V-Ray’s lighting tools helped Fincher embrace the darkness.

Read the full interview in two parts:

Behind-the-scenes of “Bad Travelling,” part 1: Collaborating with David Fincher

Behind-the-scenes of “Bad Travelling,” part 2: How to light like David Fincher

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.

Read the full discussion

The Allan McKay Podcast: Tim Miller, Founder of Blur Studio

Allan McKay
July 5, 2022
The Allan McKay Podcast

Tim Miller is a Film Director, Animator, Creative Director, and VFX Artist. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for the work on his short film Gopher Broke. He made his directing debut with Deadpool. He is also known for creating opening sequences for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Thor: The Dark World.

In 1995, Tim co-founded Blur Studio with David Stinnett and Cat Chapman. Blur is where animators and artists can collaborate and be in control of their creative destinies. Since then, the Studio has evolved into an award-winning production company with work spanning the realms of game cinematics, commercials, feature films, and more. Committed to their clients, artists, and the telling of great stories, Blur continues to grow as a high-end animation studio and original content creator, having recently helmed Netflix’s first animated anthology Love Death + Robots.

In this Podcast, Allan McKay interviews Tim about the history of launching Blur, its legacy, Tim’s ongoing collaboration with David Fincher, directing Deadpool and Terminator: Dark Fate, and creating Love Death + Robots.

Listen to the podcast:

Apple Podcasts
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libsyn

Follow Allan on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

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.”

Read the full profile

Sound + Image Lab: Creating a Successful Anthology TV Series, LOVE DEATH + ROBOTS Season 3

Glenn Kiser, Director of the Dolby Institute
June 21, 2022
The Dolby Institute

Season 3 of the eleven-time Emmy winning series LOVE DEATH + ROBOTS hit Netflix on May 20th and we are delighted to sit down with creator Tim Miller, supervising director Jennifer Yuh Nelson, and supervising sound editor Brad North to discuss how they managed to succeed where so many others have failed — creating a hit anthology television series.

“It really comes down to who’s doing the shorts. There’s been a lot of care trying to match-make: The shorts, the stories, the directors, and the studios. You’ve got a whole lifetime of experience with people and studios that Tim has worked with at Blur. People that have been doing incredible content, that maybe haven’t had the opportunity to do a feature yet, because of the size and experimentalism of that particular place. And to be able to hook them up with really good, solid stories that they can put all of their effort into making that, actually, great. You’re not spinning a lot of wheels here. You’re doing amazing. Everything goes right to the screen.” — Jennifer Yuh Nelson, Supervising Director, LOVE DEATH + ROBOTS

Watch LOVE DEATH + ROBOTS on Netflix

Listen to the Sound + Image Lab: The Dolby Institute Podcast:

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‘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’….”

Read the full profile

Soundstage Access: Gwen Yates Whittle, Supervising Sound Editor

Brando Benetton
June 6, 2022
Soundstage Access

For this masterclass on the Art of Sound in film and TV, we welcome on the show Gwen Yates Whittle, a 2-time Oscar-nominated sound professional whose credits include this summer’s Jurassic World: Dominion, Saving Private Ryan, Top Gun: Maverick and the upcoming Avatar: The Way of the Water.

In today’s conversation, the Skywalker Sound member and I break down some of Hollywood’s biggest sound moments. We discuss Gwen’s beginning in the industry and why the prospect of sound editing intrigued her in ways that sound mixing never did; her relationship with detail-oriented directors like Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, and David Fincher (Fight Club, Panic Room, Zodiac, Benjamin Button, Gone Girl); the process of layering animal sounds to create the dinosaur voices in the Jurassic World franchise—as well as how the pandemic suddenly impacted Gwen’s work. All of this… and much more!

Gwen’s newest movies Jurassic World: Dominion and Top Gun: Maverick are now in theaters across the world, with Avatar: The Way of the Water opening in December 2022.

Listen to the podcast on:

Apple Podcasts
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Stitcher

Soundstage Access on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Conversations with Sound Artists: Dialogue Editing and ADR with Gwen Whittle

Glenn Kiser, Director of the Dolby Institute
September 21, 2015
SoundWorks Collection / The Dolby Institute

Editing dialog and working with the original recordings from the set is one of the most under-appreciated arts in cinema sound. In this episode of “Conversations with Sound Artists,” two-time Academy Award nominee Gwen Yates Whittle talks with the Dolby Institute’s Glenn Kiser about why George Lucas thinks dialog editing is one of the most important parts of the process, why she loves working on low-budget independent films (“They talk more,”), and why David Fincher and Meryl Streep love doing ADR.

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.”

Read the full profile

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 + ROBOTS. Volume 3: Interviews. Tim Miller, Jennifer Yuh Nelson, and Alberto Mielgo

Directors Jerome Chen, Jennifer Yuh Nelson, Tim Miller, Executive Producer Jennifer Miller, Alberto Mielgo, and Emily Dean.

The AFA Podcast Interview: Tim Miller, Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Alberto Mielgo

AFA: Animation For Adults
June 3, 2022

Executive Producer Tim Miller And Supervising Director Jennifer Yuh Nelson On Netflix LOVE, DEATH + ROBOTS

Paul Salfen
May 17, 2022
AMFM Magazine

Sophisticated Sci-Fi Is Back in ‘Love, Death + Robots’ Vol. 3

Ramin Zahed
May 20, 2022
Animation Magazine

Tim Miller And Jennifer Yuh Nelson Unleash “Love, Death + Robots” Vol. 3

Jackson Murphy
May 20, 2022
Animation Scoop

Alberto Mielgo Tells a Toxic Tale of Sensuality in ‘Love, Death + Robots’ Volume 3

Victoria Davis
May 20, 2022
Animation World Network

Tim Miller and Jennifer Yuh Nelson Talk ‘Love, Death + Robots’ Volume 3

Dan Sarto and Jon Hofferman
May 26, 2022
Animation World Network

Director Emily Dean Talks Animation Style of ‘The Very Pulse Machine’ in Netflix’s ‘Love Death + Robots’

Ben Morris
June 24, 2022
Awards Daily

Alberto Mielgo on His Animated Short “Jibaro” in Netflix’s ‘Love Death + Robots’

Ben Morris
June 26, 2022
Awards Daily

So, how exactly does someone pitch an episode of ‘Love, Death + Robots’?

With Vol. 3 now out, creator/EP Tim Miller and supervising director Jennifer Yuh Nelson explain how it works.

Ian Failes

befores & afters

Love, Death + Robots’ Tim Miller Dives Into Animation’s Endless Possibilities

Caitlin Chappell
May 20, 2022
CBR.com

Emily Dean Directs a Love Letter to Moebius in Love, Death + Robots

Caitlin Chappell
May 20, 2022
CBR.com

Love, Death + Robots Director Alberto Mielgo Explains the Name ‘Jibaro’

E.L. Meszaros
May 26, 2022
CBR.com

Love, Death + Robots Volume 3: Tim Miller & Jennifer Yuh Nelson Break Down the Making of the Series

Steve Weintraub
June 4, 2022
Collider

Love, Death + Robots: Alberto Mielgo Talks Returning for Volume 3, New Challenges and More

Nick Valdez
May 22, 2022
comicbook.com

Alberto Mielgo On Creating A “Toxic Relationship” Between Two Predators In “Jibaro”

Ryan Fleming
June 6, 2022
Deadline

Engadget Podcast: A chat with the folks behind Netflix’s Love, Death and Robots

Devindra Hardawar
May 20, 2022
Engadget

Alberto Mielgo Talks About His Love, Death + Robots Volume 3 Episode ‘Jibaro’, Creating Short Episodes, And Production Pushbacks

Raven Brunner
May 21, 2022
GameRant

Alberto Mielgo (‘Love, Death + Robots’) on the toxic relationship at the center of ‘Jibaro’

GoldDerby / Gold Derby
June 18, 2022

Tim Miller and Jennifer Yuh Nelson (‘Love, Death + Robots’) on how hard it is to choose stories

GoldDerby / Gold Derby
August 8, 2022

‘Love, Death + Robots’ Season 3: Getting Animated About the Dark, Medieval Fable ‘Jibaro’

Oscar and Emmy winner Alberto Mielgo tells IndieWire about returning to the anthology with an animated original about a golden siren and an armored knight.

Bill Desowitz
May 23, 2022
IndieWire

Tim Miller and Jennifer Yuh Nelson Exclusive Interview | LOVE, DEATH & ROBOTS Season 3 (2022)

JoBlo Celebrity Interviews
May 20, 2022

Tim Miller & Jennifer Yuh Nelson On Love Death + Robots’ ‘Demented’ Volume 3

Reuben Baron
May 20, 2022
Looper

David Fincher Waited On ‘Love, Death + Robots’ Episode in Case Show ‘Sucked’

Roxy Simons
May 20, 2022
Newsweek

Love, Death & Robots’ team wants more adult American animation — and anime is helping

Petrana Radulovic
May 22, 2022
Polygon

Love, Death + Robots Executive Producers and Director On Photo-Realism And The Show’s Place In Science Fiction

Erik Amaya
May 20, 2022
Rotten Tomatoes

Love, Death and Robots: Entrevista con Tim Miller y Jennifer Yuh Nelson

Ruben Peralta Rigaud
May 22, 2022

Alberto Mielgo habla sobre Love, Death and Robots, episodio ‘Jibaro’

Ruben Peralta Rigaud
May 23, 2022

Tim Miller & Jennifer Yuh Nelson Interview: Love, Death & Robots Vol. 3

Stephen M. Colbert
May 21, 2022
ScreenRant

Alberto Mielgo Interview: Netflix’s Love, Death & Robots Vol. 3

Stephen M. Colbert
May 21, 2022
ScreenRant

Emily Dean Interview: Netflix’s Love Death & Robots Vol. 3

Stephen M. Colbert
May 30, 2022
ScreenRant

Love, Death And Robots Creators Tim Miller And Jennifer Yuh Nelson On Season 3 And The Future Of Animation

Danielle Ryan
May 20, 2022
/Film

Love, Death And Robots Director Alberto Mielgo Talks About His Stunning New Short, Jibaro

Danielle Ryan
May 20, 2022
/Film

Director Emily Dean creates a trippy Moebius tribute for Netflix’s ‘Love, Death + Robots Vol. 3’

Jeff Spry
June 15, 2022
Space.com

Love, Death and Robots’ most beautiful episode was ‘a love letter to Moebius’

Andrew Webster
June 5, 2022
The Verge

The Dazzling Visual Diversity and Artistry of Animated Series Love, Death + Robots Vol. 3

Trevor Hogg
June 21, 2022
VFX Voice Magazine