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"You’re not Pixar. You’re one guy, with a free program and a whole lot of curse words.”

- Jolisa Jones-Corey


This is what Mike’s wife would regularly say when he would get frustrated with the animation process. Most animated films have a team of people working on them: animators, character designers, set designers, lighting designers, editors, sound designers/mixers, production supervisors… and the list goes on. For “Welcome To Texas”, Mike performed all those roles. And he did it on a 2013 MacBook Pro.


The reason for this was simple. Mike didn’t know any other animators and he didn’t know if anyone would be interested in a cute, animated film about abortion rights. The Pixar style was something that was important to Mike. He loves the look and feel of the films and he liked the juxtaposition of the Pixar style with the heartbreaking subject matter. (Not to say Pixar films aren’t heartbreaking… just try watching the first ten minutes of “Up” and not cry.) Mike’s motto is: If you shoot for the gold standard of 3D animation and fall short, you’re still way ahead of the game.


The technical aspects of the film involved using Blender, a free 3D animation software, and digital assets he could find online. But the process of putting it all together was completely new to Mike. He’d never animated hair or added new clothing to a character, things he found out can be done multiple ways, requiring hours of research which mainly consisted of YouTube tutorials. Without the generosity of the numerous experts sharing information for free, Mike would never have been able to complete this project.


When the time came to score the film, Mike turned to John Guth. Mike and John had previously worked on a live action short about a little girl who helps two people overcome their grief. Moved by the subject matter, John jumped at the chance to work on a film with such a strong message in support of women’s rights.


While only one word is spoken in the film, Mike knew it had to be perfect. He turned to his friend and casting director Lana Ford. Lana, along with her partner, Paola Picciola, put out the word and found the perfect actress in Sarah Brine.


In the end, this film was a labor of love for all involved. Everyone worked for little to no pay and the total budget was less than Mike used to spend at Starbucks over the course of a year. So while he may not have achieved the perfect Pixar look, he’s happy with the result. But more importantly, Mike’s happy with the message – women’s rights must be protected.

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