Empty Nest: an animated short film

“Team Empty Nest”, from left to right: Janeth Rivascastillo, Tallulah Bonifield, Maren Timpe and Matthew Abolafia, animation students at Booker High School for the Visual and Performing Arts in Sarasota, Florida.

“Team Empty Nest”, from left to right: Janeth Rivascastillo, Tallulah Bonifield, Maren Timpe and Matthew Abolafia, animation students at Booker High School for the Visual and Performing Arts in Sarasota, Florida.

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In July of 2019, my good friend and Ringling classmate Lori Burton contacted me and asked if there'd be any interest in having her Booker High School students (Sarasota) animate my birds. Ummm... YES?!? It just so happened that a story was already in my mind, a musical piece was composed and rough storyboards were drawn out. In fact, this had been a passion project of mine for a few years (in various forms) but always hit a dead end when it came to actually animating this piece and getting it to work properly. This specific group of people is exactly what was missing.

The piece is titled "Empty Nest", about three small birds flying out of their nest for the first time.

Matthew Abolafia, Tallulah Bonifield, Janeth Rivascastillo, and Maren Timpe are now "Team Empty Nest" and they are putting their skills in motion. They've been storyboarding, planning, and tossing around ideas like pros. It is an honor to work with them. My son, Carson, transcribed the sheet music from my original melody so the students can create a live piano recording. Exciting!

This is all so serendipitous. My personal anxiety/joy lately has been watching my kids get older and leaving the nest, and Team Empty Nest is feeling the same anxiety/joy as they get older and prepare to leave the nest for college and beyond.

What a way to comfort each other and channel our creativity into something we can all cherish. The plan is to submit the final work to film festivals and whatever other opportunities arise. It'll be exciting to watch it all come together. We'll keep you posted on the progress!

Music by Ethan Long, Transposed by Carson Long

Conceptual art for “Empty Nest”