BYU Animation: How These Students Could Win an Emmy for ‘Stowaway’

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Ethan Briscoe never would have earned a student Emmy nomination at next month’s College Television Awards for BYU’s student-produced comedy animated short “Stowaway” without divine intervention.

Much like the baby kraken who tracked down an unsuspecting stowaway on a pirate ship in the short, Briscoe never intended to attend BYU.

Fresh out of a Latter-day Saint mission in Vancouver, British Columbia, Briscoe decided to travel to Provo, Utah, for a semester with friends while he waited to see if he would be accepted into the school. movies.

By the time NYU’s prestigious film school sent her an acceptance letter, it was too late. Briscoe was taking a course called Introduction to 3D Graphics which is a prerequisite for acceptance into BYU’s prestigious animation program. He felt both hooked on animation and spiritually guided to the right place with the right people.

“This decision has been confirmed time and time again,” he said. “I met my wife in the animation program.”

And now, “Stowaway” — written and directed by Briscoe and produced by bandmate Tyler Bitner — is up for a college Emmy. Briscoe and his wife work together at animation studio Tooele Digital Gravy, which helped produce the animated shorts for a covenant journey video series for The Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of Last days. You can find the videos on the Gospel for Kids YouTube channel.

“Stowaway” is the story of two pirates, one in search of buried treasure and the other cleaning up the bridge. The second pirate accidentally picks up a cute baby kraken out of the sea. The pirates’ fear of the legendary sea monster spirals out of control.

Briscoe scripted and pitched the idea for the animated short to other students in his animation class in November 2019, the same month that “The Child” character Grogu (aka Baby Yoda) debuted on ” The Mandalorian” on Disney+. Briscoe said the baby kraken was created before Grogu and was influenced by Gromit from the stop action shows “Wallace and Gromit”.

“We haven’t seen a lot of animated pirate movies, for some reason,” Briscoe said. “I thought, ‘How about a fun, gripping adventure? “”

To help with storyboarding, Briscoe built a pirate ship out of Legos. He used the Lego model to come up with ideas for where the pirates and the baby kraken should be during different parts of the story.

The students voted to develop “Stowaway,” and fellow senior BYU Animation Program graduates completed the short last year.

Student-produced shorts from the BYU Animation Center have been nominated for and won numerous college Emmys since the center launched in 2001. “Lemmings” won BYU’s first student Emmy in 2004. “False Paw: Adventures in the Internet” and “Pet Shop” won the award in 2005 and the program has continued to consistently win awards ever since.

BYU’s advertising program also wins the College Television Awards. A team of students won a 2020 Emmy in the commercial, PSA (public service announcement) or promo category.

This year, BYU student-produced shorts won all three nominations in this category with a sexual assault public service announcement and advertisements for the Los Angeles Times and Ford Mustang.

A total of 58 colleges submitted nominations for the College Television Awards.

“It’s important to emphasize how ‘Stowaway’ is the product of the dozens of students who worked on it,” Briscoe said. “We were only able to do this and do it well because of the whole team of student artists who added their own creativity to the pool and made it what it is.”

The Television Academy Foundation’s 41st College Television Awards will be held virtually on March 26.

“It will be good,” Briscoe said, “because we can wear pajama pants.”

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In the wings

Here are some additional images from “Stowaway”:

The title card for BYU’s student-produced film “Stowaway,” which earned a Student Emmy nomination for Animated Shorts at the 2022 College Television Awards.
Television Academy Foundation

A moment from the movie

A moment from the BYU student-produced film “Stowaway,” which earned a Student Emmy nomination for Animated Shorts at the 2022 College Television Awards.
Television Academy Foundation

Ethan Briscoe

Ethan Briscoe
Ethan Briscoe

Other students who worked on “Stowaway” included art directors Emilee Dummer and Do Park with music by Collette Jones and sound design and mixing by Andrew Brewer. The other students on the team were Kalen Stewart, Andre Alves, Uberto De La Rosa, Matt Walker, Riki Kuniyuki, Joey McConkie, Chelsea Domino, Jenika Wimmer, Ethan Berrett, John Damon, Ivy Rich, and Eli Miller.

BYU students nominated for Student Commercial Emmys in the Commercial, PSA, or Promotional category are:

  • Lauren Finlinson, Edgar Garcia, Amy Hauck and Allie Jones for “Asking for It”, a public service announcement about sexual assault.
  • Connor Dean, Quinn Frehner, Enoch Lui and Cam Tribe for “Decisions”, an advertisement for the Los Angeles Times related to border crossings.
  • Rebekah Baker, Campbell George, Asher Huskinson and Tyler Richardson for ‘Life’s Journey’, a Ford Mustang commercial.