With only 8 weeks Athena Studios needed to come up with a story pitch; storyboard the film; design the characters; build the puppets; figure out how to make Cheetos bones monsters that would not fall apart when animating them; design and build little tiny props and sets; light and film on 4 separate stages; post-production
compositing; color grading; visual effects; sound design and music. Someone start brewing the coffee.
Along with its own team Athena drew from artists and technicians who had worked on Coraline, James and the Giant Peach, The Corpse Bride and other stop-motion classics.
Athena developed a story about someone making a special delivery to a house full of Cheetos monsters. The short used the forest and a cemetery set to help build suspense. We drew from classic horror films like The Wolfman, Frankenstein, Blair Witch Project and Attack of the Mole People. Okay, maybe not so much that last one.
The main character and the Cheetos monsters were created in Maya and then 3D printed. The monsters were painted to match the look of actual Cheetos Bones. The Cheetos Dino monster was hand sculpted out of foam with a 3D printed head. We made two and a half puppets of Kat, our main character, so she could be on multiple stages at the same time. She wore a scarf to keep costly mouth animation to a minimum.