The movie industry is one of the most glamorous in the world. A-list movie stars pull in millions of dollars and their films are seen by millions of fans around the globe. These days, a mega hit movie can rake in up to a billion dollars.The one thing nearly every one of these maga hits has in common: CGI. Lots and lots and lots of CGI.
There are entire tabloids and television shows dedicated to following the lives and gossip of movie stars. Directors, and even DP’s sometimes get to bask in the glory. But the unsung heroes of many of today’s big hit films are the people locked away in studios--big and small--creating the amazing effects that make us go “ooh, ahhh”. When done well, you won’t even know you’ve seen their work, yet often times they are the reason the big stars look so damn good. But, they get no interviews. No one asks for their autograph or a picture of them. They work tirelessly behind the scenes. Their names are often buried in endless text crawls, one soldier in an army of cg artists. That is the premise of Art Burgers. This is their story.
Working in the CGI industry for films can be glamorous. It can be fun. You’re involved in some of the biggest features. Coming out of art school, those entering a career are excited and optimistic. They have limitless energy. They’ll put in 12 hours of work, working 6 and sometimes 7 days per week slaving over a single shot...maybe a dozen, or a couple dozen frames. But they love it. It’s what they’ve always wanted to do since they saw Star Wars! At least, that’s the cliche. Anyone these days who says they got into the biz because of Star Wars is a liar.
The thought of working on a big feature film is exciting.They sit there with their friends and family...waiting through the endless crawl, and then point at their name buried in the mass of text: “that’s me!”. At least, that’s how they start off. Over the years, these artists can become jaded and bitter. They’ve seen the underbelly. They’ve seen how the sausage is made. And a lot of times, it’s not pretty.
Dramedy. A mix between Grey’s Anatomy and Silicone Valley...with a little bit of The Office thrown in for good measure. Each season could follow a different project. Also, idea to start each show with a clip from whatever it is they are working on. Maybe they all can be cut together at the end of the season and watched as a complete short.
This is the story of the unsung heroes of the movie industry. They are the ones responsible for creating the out of this world aliens, the huge city destruction scenes, the space armadas. They are hard pressed to crank out shots on grueling schedules, but they do it because it’s their art, and they’d die for their art. Working this biz can take a lot out of you. You work hard and party hard. Often times, the only friends you’ll have are the people you work with. But, like any workplace, you have middle management to deal with. And as the years pass by, you become more jaded. This is the story of the young, fresh artists and the older, jaded ones. It is the story of working hard towards a common goal, often in spite of those they’re working for.
Masked Badger 5 is greenlit. The gang at Art Burgers reads the news in Variety. Moments later an email goes out calling for a team meeting so the Studio Chief can be the first to tell them the news (that they’ve already heard.) Also announced is a major ramping up to hit the release date. They will have a very short schedule.
Introduction to all the major characters.
Interns arrive. Brian gets his “buddy”. A lot of top talent leaves...not going to work on Masked Badger 5 for fuck sake. Those who stay feel shame. Devin gets a bad review.
Devin continues to clashe with Gabe after his bad review.
Devin and Sam’s relationship.
Devin goes on some interviews. In one, an interviewer asks him about his job and what he does. He explains. The interviewer looks pained…”yeah, we don’t work like that here.” Devin realizes his skills are rapidly becoming obsolete. He may not be able to leave if he wants to.
First cut of the story reels. They watch the internal screening. Some don’t even want to go. Others go to see the train wreck.
Whole episode is at Siggraph. They go around to all the booths and see all the cool stuff that everyone else is doing and it really sinks in how far behind their studio is.
Need to get a cut ready for a trailer! And marketing is requesting a whole bunch of stuff. Chaos!!! “Well, do they want to market a non-existent movie? Cause if we have to keep dropping everything for this crap, we’re never going to finish the movie! There will be nothing to market!”
The premiere and wrap party. Things kind of unwind and settle down. They’re excited for the party. “Hey, who doesn’t get excited for free drinks? That’s the only good thing about this whole endeavor.” Events boil over with Devin. In an angry confrontation with Gabe at the wrap party, Devin quits.
Below is a little experiment. I was playing around with the VR app Mindshow and decided to act out a few roughly written scene ideas for Art Burgers. While I don't envision the actual series being animated, it does seem like it could work as an animated show!