Titmouse’s 5 Second Night Animation Show is back with a vengeance
Fifteen years ago while working on metallocalypse Shannon Prynoski, co-founder of animation studio Titmouse, saw countless artworks from the show every day and wondered what creative ideas her employees had in mind when they weren’t just concentrating on work. As animators, Prynoski and her husband Chris — the other co-founder of Titmouse — knew firsthand what it felt like to be firing on all cylinders from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. while also nurturing passionate projects that only live in their heads lived. They understood how exhausting switching between these modes could be.
But Shannon also knew that there had to be a way for Titmouse to give its employees the opportunity to flex their creative muscles – something that could be personally liberating for them and organizationally enriching for the studio. Titmouse’s annual 5 Second Night Exhibition has evolved quite a bit since the idea first emerged in Shannon all those years ago, but the core concept has remained intact: Titmouse employees get a paid day off to spend five seconds long producing animated shorts are then screened together at shows attended by other staff and members of the public.
Titmouse’s 5 Second Night has grown in scope over the years, and some of the short films have been developed into full pitches for series-long projects. But speaking to the Prynoskis recently ahead of this year’s 5 Second Night on March 31st, the duo stressed that they still see the showcase and the tradition of hosting it annually above all else as an opportunity to strengthen and grow their own inspire colleagues.
Although people weren’t necessarily “bored” drawing endless illustrations of it metallocalypse‘s death metal rocker Shannon Prynoski wondered if they might have felt suffocated and was curious what other artists on Titmouse might come up with if they had the time to create something just for themselves.
“What are they doing, you know, don’t metallocalypse?” Prynoski remembered thinking. “I was curious what they are doing in their own time. I saw their portfolios when we first interviewed and hired them, and I wanted to see what they could do if they had a day to just do whatever they wanted and had the freedom to do it.”
For about a month each year, Titmouse notifies employees that another 5 Second Showcase is coming up – a signal that the company will be temporarily closing to give anyone who wants to participate in a full paid day time to settle in the production focus on at least five seconds of footage from the soup to the nuts. As some short films have grown longer over the years, some artists have begun planning their own as soon as showcases are announced. However, Chris Prynoski explained that as ambitious as some of the 5 Second projects are, the presentation itself is still primarily meant to allow everyone in the company to express themselves in the way that makes them feel most comfortable .
“It’s a day where we let the animators do what they want,” Prynoski said. “Not even just animators – all staff; it doesn’t have to be an art related position. But it’s a day to make time to do something creative. Some people have banded together, and others have really, really tried to have a little healthy competition, I think, trying to make the most entertaining films.”
In the early days of the showcase, the Prynoskis recalled, it was common to see shorts with exploding heads and genitals aimed at sheer shock value. But over time, the shock gave way to a focus on ‘offbeat’, more complex short films in the years that followed, which eventually fell by the wayside when people realized how difficult it was to produce such projects in a single day. No one idea or style has dominated 5 Second Nights as a whole, Chris said, but looking back at them, you can “see the changing tastes of the artists and things they realized from the experience of the years past. ”
Though it’s long since become an Event™ that draws the public, the Prynoskis still feel that the essence of what they both take away from 5 Second Night is seeing people really focus on their strengths . And for all the hype and attention that can come with being shoved into the spotlight at 5 Second Night, Chris Prynoski wants the showcase to remain just that: a showcase for talent.
“We got some at festivals, and some we identified as things that we want to develop and showcase,” Prynoski said. “But that’s not the requirement, and this isn’t meant to be like a development generator. We actually encourage people to try not to do something like this as a pitch because then it does justice work.”
While tickets for 5 Second Night in LA are sold out, tickets are still available for screenings in New York City and Vancouver.
https://www.theverge.com/2023/3/28/23659883/titmouse-5-second-night-2023 Titmouse’s 5 Second Night Animation Show is back with a vengeance