A trailer for a work in progress short film/motion graphics piece I created for my senior year at the School of Visual Arts. The entire piece is a 4 minute video that is still in the works. The entire production took 3 days. I had the honor to work not only with great talented artists in their craft but my great friends as well. The dancers were seniors at The Alvin Ailey School in New York City and the crew were all Seniors from the School of Visual Arts. The team was composed of multidisciplinary artists in film, dance, photography and design. Without them, Breakthrough would not have been possible. 

Breakthrough, a visual piece that combines dance and visual art to tell a story about breaking through constraints and obstacles. 

Various artists and people were involved in this piece including: 

Maria Favela - Director, Motionographer, VFX
Jonathan Shatoff - Producer
Becca Farsace - Director of Photography
Sorapan Bunnag - Assistant Camera
PK Aidoo, Photographer - Photographer
Alaskan Tapes - Music
Caroline Yamada - Choreographer, Dancer #1
Gabriella Sibeko - Dancer #2
Aoi Ohno - Dancer #3
Efrain Favela - Production Assistant
The process
Breakthrough began with large geometrical shapes that I used to create with tape on the wall. I was creating these large geometrical shapes without knowing where they would end up. After showing the shapes I was creating to my friend Caroline Yamada, the choreographer and dancer #1 in Breakthrough, we came up with the idea of creating a collaborative dance piece with my shapes. Throughout the summer of 2015, while interning at PIC Agency in Los Angeles, CA, I continued to create more geometrical shapes to make the idea of a dance piece real.

With the knowledge I had learned at PIC, I began to see how the shapes would start moving and began doing animation tests with the shapes I had created.

First Shape animation test

During the beginning of my senior year at SVA, I began to share what I had create with Caroline and Jonathan. I began to brainstorm and research what I needed to know in order to make Breakthrough a reality. Once the ten shapes were completed and vectorized, I handed the shapes to Caroline so she could begin choreographing the dance piece.

Rehearsal Video - 02/07/2016

While Caroline and the dancers practiced, Jonathan, who became my advisor and producer, and I began creating a plan for the production of the shoot. Around November, I talked to Becca, the Director of Photography for Breakthrough, and showed her the idea I had and without asking, Becca asked if she could shoot the project. After a couple meets and talks, Becca was on board and brought her talented skills of Cinematography as well as her amazing assistant camera, Sorapan Bunnag.

Few pages for the moodboard and idea/concept file for Breakthrough

Moodboards for every detail had to be created. For lighting, camera, colors, feel, studio, location, music, VFX, dance, photography, every small detail had to be accounted for and created. As the choreography progressed, so did the storyboards. Being able to share what was in my mind, how I saw the final version with my teammates was a crucial realization that helped strengthen the idea as well as ease the process.

Initial styleframes

A few storyboards for the video in prep for the production stage

As the storyboards progressed, one of the biggest obstacles came our way and that was the floor. The studio where we were going to shoot, only had green walls but not a green floor.  But during a call with my mother, the problem was resolved. For some reason she had approximately 90+ foam mats that she sent from Seattle to NYC.
The Production for Breakthrough was a three day weekend from Friday evening until Sunday afternoon. It was my first time doing a live shoot and a green screen shoot as well. Working with these talented artists definitely made the process easier and extremely worthwhile. I had a great team with me and even though there were some obstacles during the process, like any shoot, we worked together to get all the shots I had come alive.
Production stills taken by my talented friend and photographer PK Aidoo. To see more production stills, please visit:

PK Aidoo - Breakthrough Production Stills

Production Crew

Production - Day 1

Production - Day 2

Production - Day 3
It's been almost two years after I created the trailer and that production ended and I am finally able to creatively, technically and mentally start working on this project once again. I have moved cities and states even coasts of the United States but there is still a great desire to complete this project. But before I begin to tackle all the crazy green screen, I started with styleframes to define a look and feel for the entire project. Below are a few completed frames and animation exploration.

Breakthrough Logo Animation Exploration

White World Styleframe
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