Meet Nicolas Pflug, Senior animation student at the Memphis College of Art. In this week's blog we are featuring his short film entitled "The Amazing Hot Dog Wizard" that he created for his Senior thesis project. We had a chance to sit down and talk with Nicolas last week during our campus visit, and were struck by his energy and passion for animation.
Here's a behind the scenes look at his feature film, and where his ideas and inspiration came from.
Back in the summer of 2012, I was cutting the grass. I've always enjoyed driving the mower around- the monotony really leaves a lot of room for thought- and I needed to start thinking about what project I was going to pursue for my senior thesis at the Memphis College of Art. I was thinking about wizards, and the gags possible with them, when I got a little hungry. My mind drifted to the hot dogs we had in the fridge and then it all just kind of snapped together. I ran inside and jotted down the idea of a "hot dog" wizard, thinking it had some potential, and went back to cutting the grass. From that point on, "The Amazing Hot Dog Wizard" has taken up prime real estate in my brain.
I started with the characters first. The character is the avatar through which the audience experiences the story, and I knew from the outset that it was important to make the audience want to cheer on the Hot Dog Wizard. My body of work usually involves an underdog fighting for recognition against a more powerful force, and this piece was no different. I made the HDW (as I have come to call him) short and old, yet big-eyed, in order to help convey his emotions on his sleeve. He's content with his lot in life, yet still proud of his powers. The "Whatever You Want Wizard" had to be the complete opposite; smug, tall, handsome, and, most importantly, arrogant. I wanted to talk about feelings of inadequacy with the piece, so by giving a character an awesome power (I would give my left foot to be able turn anything into a hot dog!), but then dashing that characters ambitions with a character that's better in seemingly every way, it knocks the smaller character down and creates the opportunity for them to rise from the ashes better and more confident than before. This was my intention with the arc of the story, and I believe it's successful once the end has been reached.