With help from the gods of golf, an isolated, unconfident, new-golfer must cross the multiverse and face the trials of an infamous cheater throughout history, the god of the zyphyr wind, to save his only friend, the mythological Bunker Shark.
A man of many talents, San Francisco native Ollie Anderson, also known as Oliver Ryan Anderson, is a director, actor, screenwriter, producer, photographer. His experience as a product marketer in the golf world and building communities through creative content and engaging tech experiences led to the creation of a micro-influencing Instagram account, @SanFrancisco_Toys, where he has grown a cult following based on his innovative story telling and his genuine, authentic - and at times extreme - toy photography.
What was the inspiration behind the making of your film?
When Covid-19 hit us in San Francisco, the effects of disinformation were getting wildly out of control and I felt I needed to do something about it. I made a short stop-motion animation called BUNKERS. It had multiple layers of storytelling, but at it’s heart there’s this isolated and unconfident character, Starlo Von Sourdough, who has to learn not to trust all information until we experience info for ourselves. Starlo learns violence is not the answer, but perhaps a little play can break down barriers and create peace. We are still experiencing disinformation on a global scale but I think GREENS, the sequel to BUNKERS and the limited series, can inspire change through playful fun.
I was humbled and honored that BUNKERS won Best Animation, Best Visual and Audience Vote from all over the world (including best animation from Venice Shorts) and the data was loud and clear. Do not stop, audiences want more… And that’s what GREENS gives audiences. More story, more characters, more worlds, more insane visual fx and outstanding music (I also wrote and performed an original song as one of the characters), in a playful experience that I could have my Mom & family watch.
GREENS is inspired by BUNKERS, based on historical facts and real challenges going on today, and packaged in a fantasy experience that almost anyone can relate to, even if you don’t play golf… but you just might be inspired to start playing.
What is the most challenging aspect of working in this particular genre?
Stop-motion animation is a unique beast because it is physically exhausting and the number of seasoned experts in this field has been shrinking. It also took me almost two years to complete this 30 minute film which seems long until you compare it to Nick Park who took over 5 years (with the help of Aardman Studios) to complete his 22 minute film A Grand Day Out. It’s a gnarly grind but if you can find the joy in everything you do, it doesn’t feel as challenging. I can only hope film festivals and audiences agree when they watch GREENS. Before I made BUNKERS, I didn’t know how to do most things in stop-motion animation. And if you follow my BTS series about GREENS on youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPnyg3IqWyg, you’ll learn more about my failures while I was trying to do almost every role. There are occasions when I was able to reach some unimaginable goals… but they’re rare.
When did you realize that you wanted to work in media and make films and what was the first film project that you created as a director?
I’ve worked in film for a long time but mostly on the other side of the camera. I was a kid/teen actor and I was lucky enough to keep getting hired by some form of Disney and I loved everything they offered to me… Whether playing a suspected serial killer on CSI:Las Vegas to doing commercial and print jobs for Disney’s Rock n Roller Coaster, it was an amazing experience and it gave me a foundation that was centric to creating and playing characters. But in College I was on scholarship and I couldn’t take anymore time off so I dropped film to finish my B.S. in Business Marketing. By the grace of God, when I graduated my Marketing career took off. Overtime I had done quite a bit of content creation for advertising purposes but BUNKERS was my first film project as a director and try-to-do-everything-er. I never thought I’d have the opportunity to be here now after making GREENS and it just makes me want to continue to work.
How did you choose the cast and the crew of the film and what was the most challenging aspect of production?
I chose the cast and crew based on the frictions I was facing and measuring the effort to impact to resolve them. BUNKERS was basically an MVP that got traction and it gave me an opportunity to scale up to GREENS. But most things, because of budgetary constraints, relied on me carrying the football to the end zone. But that’s always been my identity… the guy you can count on to get it done. So because there is a plethora of problems in coordinating a large cast for recording lines, I have a little voice and character development talent, I’m SAG-AFTRA member who was concerned that if I hired another person that I would be penalized, boycotted, and have to pay a lot of ridiculous costs. I was confident in my method acting skill sets so I knew I could play almost every role except one… Springbird, the goddess of spring. It took some serious persuasion to get my wife to play this role. She did a great job but we’ve discussed it’s probably best for the next episode that I hire a genuine professional to play Springbird, goddess of Spring.
Jon Stout, my producer, came on after seeing BUNKERS. He helped me with the story and a lot of technical things even though I had nothing to really offer to him. I know very little in many subjects but Jon, being a legit sensei in film and puppetry and scriptwriting, was able to fill my knowledge gaps. Granted, stop-motion animation was sort of a new thing for him. When Jon came to visit me on a couple production days, he got his first experience into the grueling work of stop-motion animation and better understood how to coach me to get it done. He helped me find the joy in everything I was doing.
I had to be a knowledge vampire and depend on experts because it was all going to fall on me to execute. You can learn more about the people I had to depend on by watching my BTS videos I post weekly on my youtube channel. Here’s a link to one of my latest Subscribe so you don’t miss out on all my failures!
What genre of filmmaking fascinates you as a director and which genres do you prefer to work on?
I’m really into stop-motion animation because of the endless opportunities to creatively problem solve. That said, these making of and BTS documentaries I’ve been posting on youtube are kind of funny and they’re getting traction. I love what I am doing and working on now but down the line, I know this sounds weird, but I’d really like to make a stop-motion animated short with Quentin Tarentino. And I’d really like to learn from the creators of the latest Chip N Dale movie how they were able to combine so many characters who move at different frame rates and make it look so good!
How can cinema change the world and have an impact on society?
Cinema can inspire change in behavior. Whether it’s through personal introspection, increased motivation, or raising awareness with genuine influencers who can make changes. We can’t always change the past, but we can change how the future rolls out. I hope GREENS and this series about the Adventures with Starlo Von Sourdough, can inspire the change we desperately need. I believe this series can inspire change, starting in my hometown of San Francisco, but it will need more support from people like you.
What is your next film project as a director?
I’m currently making a Behind The Scenes (BTS) series of films for GREENS until I secure funding for the remaining 6-7 episodes in the Adventures with Starlo Von Sourdough series. Only half are golf related and it’s smarter to shoot these things out of order. My next big film project will likely be based on the outcome of GREENS. You can learn more about GREENS and the series at sftoystudios.com They say you can either be labeled as crazy or brave but it will be based on the outcome. I hope the last two-three years will define me as a brave person.