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the story

Shattered is a 3D film set in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. 17-year-old Scott Chen dreams of being a photographer, but he constantly argues about his passion with his practical-minded parents. One day, Scott and his dad clash into an argument about photography, and Scott's beloved camera lens cracks. Afterward, they are thrust into flashbacks. They reveal that years ago, Dedi was once interested in photography. However, struggling to pay the bills, Dedi chooses to give up his passion and focus on the family. After his argument with Scott, Dedi visits Scott's bedroom. Looking around the room, he sees how hardworking, skilled, and dedicated his son is to photography. Dedi takes his old camera lens, replaces Scott's cracked lens, and gives Scott his blessing to continue pursuing photography.

Meet the team

Kaitlin Yu

Kaitlin Yu Individual Portrait32.jpg

CO-DIRECTOR
ANIMATION LEAD

Editor, Producer, Previsualization, Layout, Prop Rigging, Lead Compositor

Nelson  Mai

Nelson Mai Individual Portrait.jpg

CO-DIRECTOR
CHARACTER TD

Story, Character Look Dev, Cloth Simulation, Lighting, Rendering, Compositing

Tiantian Zhang

Tiantian (Yuetian) Zhang Individual Portrait.jpg

CO-DIRECTOR
ENVIRONMENT TD

Environment Look Dev, Prop Modeling & Look Dev, Lighting, Rendering, Compositing

our goals

In making "Shattered," we had three main goals. First, we wanted to create a sense of nostalgia by looking back at our own youth through the lens of Scott's story. Inspired primarily by Wong Kar Wai and Satoshi Kon, we aspired to achieve a cinematic, film photography look that could emphasize that nostalgic feeling. Secondly, we wanted to create a unique story with a nuanced angle on the Asian American identity. The aspiring-artist-traditional-parents conflict is a common narrative throughout Asian American stories, but it's common to overlook our immigrant parents, who also have their own aspirations and dreams. We hoped to shine a light on our parents' humanity, beyond just the common hard work narrative. Finally, we wished to write a story that exists as a love letter to ourselves. We embedded our real conflicts, inspirations, and experiences into the story.

inspiration deck

The most important guiding light throughout the filmmaking process was our original inspiration deck. For several months, we did intensive brainstorming and research that required lots of virtual discussions. Kaitlin was responsible for previs, layout, and animation, so she gathered cinematography and animation references, while I gathered character references and Tiantian environment references. We also looked to our lived experiences, citing our family photo albums. In the end, our effort was worth it, as we had a cohesive vision once we started diving into film production.

Character

character
explorations

character
concept art

By Tiantian Zhang 

and Nelson Mai

We were fortunate enough to explore several iterations of our characters. Tiantian first drew the character lineup. When crafting the Chen family, we went directly to the source material — our parents. What would they wear? What is typical “dedi” and “mami” behavior? We kept in mind silhouette, mood, and color palette.

I focused on the final clothing design. We wanted Scott to represent modernity embracing tradition — Y2K schoolboy chic with a hint of 90s Hong Kong. 

Young Scott originally had a Pokemon shirt, but due to copyright reasons, we went another route! After working their laborious jobs, Mami and Dedi don’t have time to shop — they stick to the familiar, breathable clothes they’ve owned for decades.

 

Westine helped us with character explorations, capturing the everyday life of the Chen family. They're so adorable!

Environment

Environment concept art

Daniel created this lovely concept art for us! We wanted the living room to capture a homey, packed, lived-in feel with strong incorporation of Chinese culture. The green and red main color scheme is perfect for it.

Initial layout design by Nelson Mai

I created the initial blueprint for the apartment. I mainly focused on creating an environment based on the apartment I grew up in Bensonhurst Brooklyn. I researched a decent amount on feng shui placements for the altar. We explored the floor plan, furniture, altar placement, and exploration of apartment size.

Animation

By Kaitlin Yu