Animated feature films are incredibly complex. They require hundreds of people working for multiple years to produce. At any time significant story changes could be made that could require throwing out entire scenes and starting over again. Surely, an animated short film, especially one only a couple of minutes long, must be easier -- and much faster -- to produce. Not always it seems, as Ryan Green, the director of the new Disney animated short Crosswalk told me his film took three years to complete.
On August 4, Disney+ will release Season 2 of [Short Circuit animated shorts](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ShortCircuit(shortseries). The five short films each run only about two minutes long; however, they run the gamut of tones, emotions and animation styles. Each new director pitched his or her project to a group within Disney animation who then decided which projects would move into actual production. Then the new directors had to put together their teams and get to work. These shorts were always a secondary priority to making features, and so they frequently had to start and stop. In fact, _Crosswalk had to start and stop a lot, as director Ryan Green shared with me in a recent interview. He noted:
Normally it takes about four months to do one of these and my schedule is called a rolling schedule, so it's that schedule spread out and mine was spread out over about three years. So I would work on other projects. I think the bulk of it was on Frozen II. And then I remember getting with my animation team and they got a week into it and they had to all stop and go back to Frozen II. And so there were definitely challenges with that. It's hard to start on a shot for example and then walk away and then come back a month later and be in the right mindset again.
Crosswalk is perhaps the simplest of the new batch of Short Circuit shorts, at least as far as its plot is concerned. It's about a guy, standing at one end of a crosswalk, wanting to cross the street. He's seeing that there is no traffic at all, and struggling with his desire to just cross the bloody street even though the sign is telling him not to do it.
While the other directors also had to make room for other projects in their schedules, it seems they were also able to dedicate a block of time to getting the short done. Green's team's plan was more about finding the time to work in between other priorities. Of course, there was a little thing called a global pandemic that also caused problems. Green shared more about the story behind how Crosswalk ultimately got made, revealing the scheduling shuffled around a lot as many people worked from their homes.
I, very quickly, once I was selected was told that it would probably be best if I went on a rolling schedule so I could keep helping out on the other projects. So I knew it would take a little bit longer. And it took a lot longer than I expected. But it's finished now. It makes it even better to be, like 'Oh, it's finally done.' Even going through the pandemic I think all of our shorts shut down for a long time and we couldn't touch them at all. At some point then we were able to get back into it and move forward.
All of the directors of the Short Circuit animated shorts are likely feeling glad they are done, but I'd be willing to be Ryan Green is perhaps feeling a bit more relieved than others after the time it took to get Crosswal ready for Disney+. The second season of Short Circuit animated shorts debut on Disney+ August 4.