Films

My background is in 2D and 3D animation. I am known for character animation and humorous narratives with twist endings. I also make experimental animations, combining different mediums, such as textures and fabrics in the digital platform.

I produce, direct, animate, and edit all of my work. I also know sound design and music composition. I work directly with sound designers and composers to finalize my soundtracks. The following is a curation of some of my films:

AD  &  SUBTRACT

Ad & Subtract

A devious junior accountant frantically doctors incoming resumes after his boss put an ad in the paper to replace his job.

Produced, Directed, Animated, Edited, Composited by Laura Stephens

Music Composition by Vidjay Beerepoot

Voice Talent by Tom Sito and Richard Stephens

TOOLS: Flash, After Effects, Photoshop

This comedic film was developed as my Master of Fine Arts thesis film project for the USC School of Cinematic Arts under mentorship by Tom Sito. It features digitally hand-drawn 2D character animation with a twist ending.

JUST  DESSERTS

Just Desserts

The early bird may get the worm, but there's no guarantee he can keep it.

Produced, Directed, Animated, Edited by Laura Stephens

Music Composition by Gavin Keese

TOOLS: Oxberry camera, Copic markers, paper, cels

Completely hand-drawn and animated under the camera at 12 frames per second, this film was my first short animation project at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. First filmed and edited in 32mm, this version was re-shot under the Oxberry with a digital camera.

The short comedic film features traditionally hand-drawn 2D character animation with a twist ending.

AS  GREEN  AS  WE  MAKE  IT

As Green As We Make It

A metaphorical and visual soliloquy on the issue of global deforestation.

Produced, Directed, Animated, Composited by Laura Stephens

Art Direction and Props by Laura Stephens

Music Composition by Yann Tierson, from the "Amelié" soundtrack

TOOLS: Craft materials, clay, leaves, dry ice, green screen, blue screen, Sony EX1, After Effects, rotoscope

This film was developed for an exhibition at the Sea and Space gallery

in Los Angeles, CA in 2009. This is a personal and artistic approach to the issue of global deforestation, and the film is a giant compositing project with all elements built and filmed from scratch, including the model tree, which I built from sticks, dry leaves and clay.

NUNOJI  (FABRIC)

Nunoji (Fabric)

A​n exploration of textured fabrics brought to life through rotoscope.

Produced, Directed, Animated, Composited by Laura Stephens

Music Composition by Gavin Keese

TOOLS: Fabrics, Photoshop, After Effects

This short experimental film was developed for an Adobe exhibition in 2009, where it was screened at their main headquarters. The art direction is inspired by my love for textures and fabrics, and a desire to "bring them to life." The fabrics are sourced from a trip to Japan, when I represented USC at the International Tokyo Anime Fair. To animate the character, I rotoscoped a portion of a Geisha dance.

JABBERWOCKY

Jabberwocky

An experimental animation on the dichotomy of facial motion capture and under-the-camera techniques, set to Lewis Carroll's poem "Jabberwocky."

Produced, Directed, Animated, Composited by Laura Stephens

Music Composition by Nick Kenworthy-Browne​

Sound Design by Laura Stephens

Voice Talent by Kaita Mpambara

TOOLS: Blade (motion capture), Softimage, After Effects, ink, paper, feathers, fabrics

 

Featuring facial motion capture that is set to Lewis Carrol's "Jabberwocky," I superimposed under-the-camera footage of various textures and fabrics as a unique approach to motion capture filmmaking. I was inspired to create this when I learned my project would be presented to director Robert Zemeckis.

ROBOT  BATTLE!

Robot Battle!

A class project that incorporates visual effects into live action footage.

Directed by Eric Hanson

Animated by Visual Effects Class, and Laura Stephens

Composited by Laura Stephens

Music Composition by Don Davis, from the Matrix soundtrack

Live Action Actor: Sepehr Dehpour

TOOLS: Maya, Nuke, and 7 bottles of plutonium (just kidding!)

 

As a class project of epic proportions, my classmates in "Live Action Integration With Visual Effects" collaborated to create a short film featuring robots battling at the USC and destroying the film school. I composited the whole short film, and I character animated and rendered the shot where the small robot first notices the large one.

A  FEW  EXTRAS
BAD  HARE  DAY
TO  HAVE  AND  HAVE  NUT

Bad Hare Day

All he wants to do is meditate, but sometimes peace comes at a price.

Animation and Sound Design by Laura Stephens

TOOLS: Flash

Considered "Production 0" at USC, or a project that demonstrates the principles of making a film without actually following through with finalization, I added animated elements to make it feel more like a semi-completed film instead of a glorified homework assignment.

Digitally animated by hand and with Flash animation tweens, this short comedic film packs a punch with its twist ending.

To Have And Have Nut

A jealous squirrel picks a fight over a nut.

Modeling, Animation, Rendering by Laura Stephens

Voice Talent and Sound Design: Antoinette "Nekoni" Hicks

TOOLS: Maya, After Effects

This film was the first full film I ever animated with Autodesk Maya. It was the final project of my first 3D animation class while attending the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. This film holds a lot of nostalgia for me - it sparked my joy in animation, and it also enabled my admission into USC's MFA program. 

This short comedic film features 3D animation with a twist ending.

© 2018, Laura Stephens