• TFU Studios

The STAF Project Part 1

In late 2004, I was asked to put together an idea for an animated feature. Chris Manak, who runs the label Stones Throw (see below post), and who's given us a fair share of work over the years, was interested in creating a film, in which then, Hip Hop producer Madlib, would create the soundtrack for.

For any animator, the prospect of an animated feature, much less being asked to direct, is a dream come true. It's also a huge, 2-3 year commitment. We started weekly meetings along with Madlib and music supervisor Barry Cole. Off the bat, I wanted to establish a premise, and develop the germ for a story.

I showed the films Triplets of Belleville and Heavy Metal to the guys, to give them an idea of musical animated films which I thought had succeeded. We talked a lot about the movie La Planète sauvage as it was one of Madlibs favorites.

After about 2 months of getting together, and lots of Japanese food, I had a basic story outline, and artwork. I had imagined the story to be a metaphor for Hip Hop, as, almost a folk tale. The story involved a fictional Carribean island, which, in a post apocalyptic world, would serve as a huge dumping ground for the first worlds trash. Basically a giant landfill surrounded by a ring of towns. These people would salvage the trash and create an economy out of it. One shop in particular made gigantic jukeboxes, and served as a record archive.

After a misunderstanding regarding the junk, a valuable piece of hardware gets sent back into the trash, into the center of the landfill which is inhospitable and dangerous for humans. A young shop clerk is forced to go on an hasty journey through hostile shanty towns into the middle of the island to literally find a needle in a haystack. He then stumbles on a dark secret of the island that no one seems to be aware of.

The guys seemed to be into the idea, though, Chris had concerns with the Jamaican-ness of the premise. I thought it would been a perfect fit alongside with Madlibs production style. I knew the story needed a lot of work and development, but, I also knew, this would be an idea we'd have to commit to, for at least the next couple of years. After a story was outlined, we had to look into funding. This seemed to invoke a lot of blank stares and was a bit tougher.


5 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

I always find myself talking with younger artists, writers, etc. about why they do this. For most of us, the answer is obvious. We do this because, well, this is what we do. Meaning, if I was living a