Added by on 2018-01-16

American Gods – Coming to America 25,000 Years Ago

Tendril – Each episode of the hit TV series American Gods (based off Neil Gaiman’s novel of the same name) kicks off with a ‘Coming to America’ story. These stories depict the old gods and their diverse stories of immigration to the new world, America. Suffice it to say, it was an honour to be invited to create one of these episode openers.

Underlying American Gods is the history of immigration to America over the centuries and how so many varied people, along with their traditions, transported their beliefs to the new world. In AG, these beliefs are manifest as the thoughtform god-beings that are the central characters in the story and are pitted against the new gods of media, power, and technology that currently rule the world. To get to create one of these ‘Coming to America’ stories in full-up animation was, suffice it to say, a dream project for our team.

The episode ‘Lemon Scented You’ began with our ‘Coming to America’ vignette about Atsula, whose people crossed the land bridge from Siberia 25,000 years ago. In the vignette, Atsula and her dwindling tribe follow their ancient god Nunyunnini to America where they must choose between faith and survival. Atsula pays the ultimate price, but her people wind up thriving.

The film is bar-none the most technically and creatively challenging project we have ever done. On the visual design and concepting side of things, the big challenge was nailing down the unique style and feel of the film. We wanted it to feel very tangible and real, like a stop motion film that could have been made by these ancient people, using whatever materials and tools they would have had access to. Their bodies and clothes are made of raw, unfinished materials like twigs, clay, bone and shells.

Developing the story was also, of course, incredibly important.We had to find the most powerful way to communicate the central theme of the sequence: faith vs survival and adaptation. It’s worth saying that showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green are pushing all kinds of boundaries with this series and it is completely daring and visually beautiful. It was truly an honour to be able to work with director Vincenzo Natali (a HUGE talent) so closely and contribute to a TV series that is dealing with issues that are more relevant today than ever.

Credits

Freemantle Media American Gods | Season 1 | Ep.5 “Lemon Scented You”
Air Date – May 28th 2017
Executive Producers – Bryan Fuller, Michael Green
Episode Director – Vincenzo Natali
Producer – Dauri Chase
Associate Producer – Chris Byrne
VFX Supervisor – Kevin Tod Haug
VFX Producers – Eliza Randall, Eric Withee, Gayle Busby
Animation Studio – Tendril
Animation Director / CD – Chris Bahry, Alex Torres
Executive Producer – Kate Bate
Head of Production / Producer – Mary Anne Ledesma
Coordinator – Brittany Sheahan
Character Art Direction – Vini Nascimento
Environment Art Direction – Chris Bahry
Storyboards – Vincenzo Natali
Concept Artists – Marco Texteira, Ben Bauchau, Michal Lisowski, Marco Iozzi, Rodrigo Rezende
Head of CG / Modelling Supervisor – Ben Pilgrim
Pipeline – Alexandre Veaux
Character Sculpting – Vini Nascimento, Hosein Diba, Fady Kadry, Victor Hugo, Rodrigo Rezende, Christian Hecht
Environment & Prop Modeling – Christian Hecht, Ben Pilgrim, Lorne Kwechansky, Rowan Simpson, Sergei Falaleyev
Character Textures – Alexandre Veaux, Sergei Falaleyev
Environment Textures – Christian Hecht, Lorne Kwechansky, Brad Husband
FX – Alasgar Hasanov, Rafael Santos, Lorne Kwechansky
Hair and Fur – Alexandre Veaux, Ben Pilgrim
Animatic / Layout – Jen Mackie, Florent Arnould, Alexandre Veaux, Marcelo Souza, Ben Pilgrim, Will Sharkey
Character Rigging – Richard Zyo, James de Carmo
Animation Supervisor – Alan Camilo
Lead Animator – Will Sharkey
Animation – Florent Arnould, Marcin Porebski
Reference Actor – Michelle Alexander
Matte Painting – Bojan Zoric
Lighting & Render – Brad Husband, Alexandre Veaux, Christian Hecht, Lorne Kwechansky
Music – Brian Reitzell
Compositing – Chris Bahry, Patrick Coffey, Alexandre Veaux, Rob Moggach
Editor – Steve Manz
Assistant Editor – John Gallagher

Watch Also:- Making of American Gods

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