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Deconstructing the Short Film: Red Princess Blues Genesis

Next up in the Deconstructing the Short Film Series is the Animated Short Film Red Princess Blues Genesis. I co-directed this film with my good friend and artist Dan Cregan.

After many requests from the Indie Film Hustle Tribe, I’ve decided to release my short films on my Youtube Channel. They’re already available Amazon Prime on  and in my course Filmmaking Hacks but YouTube is the Tribe’s request so I have conceded.

I realized that this could be a learn experience for not only you guys but for me as well. I have things I love and cringe in ALL the short films in this series. So instead of only posting the videos up, I decided to ask some tough and honest questions about why I made them in the first place. Did I achieve the goals I set out for the film? What would I do different if given the chance? What lesson did I learn by making the films?

I try to tackle these questions in an honest, truthful and somewhat painful (for me) way. I hope you not only enjoy the films for the entertainment value but also learn from my mistakes.

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Here a bit about the short film:

In this tale we meet her as a 12 year old little girl who finds herself in a strange country looking for her father. She is then taken in by a “unique” looking man who goes by Nino. The short film is completely from the perspective of Princess and what she is going through. She soon discovers the “Book of Violence” and slowly begins her journey that one day will lead to vengeance.

The film stars Lance Henriksen (Aliens, Terminator) and Holly Fields (Star Wars). This short film is actually older than Red Princess Blues. It was originally released under the title Red Princess Blues Animated: The Book of Violence in 2007. After I release the live action version I wanted to connect both films. So I took that opportunity to re-cast the voice actors and add a few new animated scenes.

Getting to work with a legend like Lance Henrikson was a geek dream come true. Dan Cregan approached me in 2006 about making an animated short film and ask if I’d help him. I said why don’t we do a prequel to Red Princess Blues and he said

“Oh hell yeah!”

Big mistake on Dan’s part. It took over 9 months to finish the film because Dan hand drew every frame of the film. I’m very proud of the short and of the work that Dan and I did on it. Watch the short film below and then let’s answer some questions:

What was the aim of the film?

I decided to make Red Princess Blues Genesis for three main reasons.

  1. To use it as a calling card to find financing for the feature film version
  2. To experiment in a new medium I’d never worked in before
  3. Flesh out the main character of my feature film screenplay

Working with Dan was like working with family. He’s been my main collaborators on all my films since BROKEN. Red Princess Blues: Genesis was a labor of love, to say the least. It’s not often a screenwriter gets to flesh out a character in animated form. I love the film and it’s a perfect companion to the live action short film version.

What did the film achieve?

Red Princess Blues Genesis was extremely well received by the film festival circuit. The short film played in over 180 international film festivals around the world and won countless awards.

Filmmaker Note: If you can make an animated film your chances of getting into a film festival goes WAY up. There’s just not a lot of animated films being made so your film becomes more valuable and sought after.

When Red Princess Blues Genesis was released Hollywood didn’t know what to make of it.

“Is it an animated film you’re trying to make?”

They just couldn’t wrap their heads around what to do. It did get attention but having the film be animated just blew their minds, and not in a good way. This is why I then made the live action Red Princess Blues so they could clearly see what I was trying to do.


What would I’ve done differently?

Honestly, I wouldn’t change much. I loved the experience of making Red Princess Blues Genesis with Dan. It was cheap to make so there was little risk, unlike the live action version. Working with Lance and Holly was truly awesome.

What lessons were learned?

  • Planning is everything in animation
  • Work with people you love to work with make a long production much easier
  • Animated short films have a much better chance of getting attention from festivals and studios
  • Learned how to direct actors in a voiceover session
  • Don’t try selling a live action idea with an animated project

I hope this deconstruction of Red Princess Blues Genesis helped you in some way or at the very least entertained you. Next up in this series will be Cyn: A Twisted Tale. It was my entry into the failed Steven Speilberg directing reality show “On the Lot.” Boy, do I have stories on that one. See you then.

Filmmaking Resources:

If you liked: Deconstructing a Short Film: Red Princess Blues Genesis 
Also check out: How to Make a Feature Film for $1000 with Mark Duplass

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