"Gopher Broke"

Shorts that can go long.


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Salon Staff
February 26, 2005 4:02AM (UTC)

"Gopher Broke"
By Jeff Fowler and Tim Miller
A Blur Studio Production
Length: 4:27 minutes

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The folks at Blur Studio maintain a pretty utilitarian approach to their work: They want to create stunningly cool animations and will take as many opportunities to make them as they can. The 9-year-old firm churns out a broad range of work, from video games, films and commercials to special animations for established peers like "South Park" and "SpongeBob." They recognize that short films, though lacking a lot of immediate bottom-line sense (a 10-minute Blur animation can cost about $1 million), can lead to bigger possibilities down the road.

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Not that they're always planning on it. When Vin Diesel's people approached Blur's Tim Miller about his short film "Rockfish," he was both excited and caught off-guard. "They came to me and said, Let's talk about 'Rockfish,' Vin is interested. Do you have a feature take on this?" Miller says he just shrugged and said, "Uhhhh, no. But I can come up with one!" (Diesel did eventually buy rights to the film, which Blur describes as "an interstellar fishing trip [that] turns into an adrenaline-fueled angling adventure.")

The team at Blur deliberately tries not to overthink or overstrategize any of their projects. "The minute you start saying, I want to develop a feature film, so I better start laying some pipe [while creating a short] so I can develop it further, it becomes less fresh, more complicated and more restrictive," Miller says.

So when Miller met with Nickelodeon about "Gopher Broke" -- only the fourth short the studio has produced, and the first nominated for an Oscar -- naturally they asked him if his company had feature plans for it, "And so I ask Jeff [Fowler, co-creator], Have we talked about a feature? And he says, Uhhh, no." But they can come up with one.

-- Kerry Lauerman


Salon Staff

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