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Mac Miller
Colors and Shapes

In this music video for “Colors and Shapes,” Hornet Director Sam Mason pays tribute to Mac Miller with a surreal & stirring film commissioned by Miller’s family. Following Mac Miller's dog Ralphie as he embarks on a quest into unconsciousness, the film is a dreamscape portrait with abstract yet realistic CG animation, ethereal transitions, and a genuine, heartfelt story.


Director Sam Mason
Client 4 Strikes / Karen Meyers
Commissioned by Miller McCormick
Production Co Hornet
Head of Creative Development Kristin Labriola
Executive Producer Hana Shimizu
Producer Hanna Smith-Ide
Associate Producer Heather Hardin
Editor Sam Stulin

Pre Production
Storyboard Artist Camillo Clauser
Environment Designer Chiara Benedetti
Character Design Jeff Jank
Previs Meg Oswalt
Rigging Josh Planz
CG Oversight George Smaragdis
Look Dev Nicole Noel, Sam Mason
Modelling / Texturing Nicole Noel, Douglas Silva, Ivan Joy,
Laney Lai, Emily Mai, Neil Jackson
Groom Giovani Kososki
Senior Animator Daniel Callaby, Clement Pierre, Jim Bierton
Animator Meg Oswalt, Monica Stevenson

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The song "Colors and Shapes" first featured on the 2014 Faces mixtape—considered by many to be Miller’s magnus opus for its unique, jazzy production and themes of personal exploration. The lyrics are at once meditative and metaphorical, psychedelic and psychological, a selfless-journey and self-reflection all in one. Miller’s family hoped to create a film that would visually illuminate some of these themes. 


The idea behind Ralphie as the protagonist spawned from a true story about a time he went missing while Miller was in a recording session. Unfortunately, Ralphie was never found, and this story is about where Ralphie might have gone. Supporting the literal premise is a more abstract exploration of childhood—and more specifically, Miller’s childhood.

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Visually, the film is surreal and strange, eerie and beautiful. It’s chock-full of tchotchkes and personalized memorabilia. The objects in the film—especially in the opening bedroom scene—are deeply personal. The style of animation, meanwhile, is fluid and diligently in tune with the overall vibe of the song. There are lyrical cues from the track, which Sam used to build the world around. And the world is a mix of highly-rigged realistic 3D with puppet-inspired characters and atmospheric environments.

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"In some ways, it’s sort of a look at the emotional and difficult and perilous path of an artist.”

-Sam Mason

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In Sam's words: "We were letting the film tell us what it needed, and we just made space to let it become what it needed to. I think there was something really magical in how everyone just really trusted the process. It was really important to us that this was 100% a passion project. But a passion project that involved a very important context that we had to honor."


According to Sam, as much time was spent on pre-production as on production in order to get the characters and flow of the story right. During actual production, there was a core team of 5 animators working around the clock for three weeks to animate the entire film. 

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In Sam's words, "The process was really fluid and wonderful. We had an incredible team. There was a real sense of camaraderie with Mac’s family. And everything felt like it happened for a reason."

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A deluge of press and coverage accompanied the music video's launch. Major music outlets like Pitchfork & Billboard covered the story, as did industry trades like Stash Media, LBB, and Shots. Interview Magazine also featured an interview with Sam Mason & Miller McCormick (Mac Miller's brother) to discuss "Colors and Shapes" and the journey they took together to create a music video that would honor Mac Miller.

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