You may have noticed I've written twice about The Exigency, including my movie review a couple of weeks ago. In this two-part interview, I would like to bring you the man behind the movie: Cody Vibbart.
Can you tell us about yourself?
I live in Ventura, California, where I was born and raised. From an early age, I always enjoyed creating stories, writing, drawing, acting, and anything creative. At the age of 9, my brother and I took the home video camera and spent most of our weekends and summers making home movies. Twenty-five years later, we're still making movies and creating content because it's a strong passion we both share. When I'm not making movies, I work full-time as a supervising video editor for a social media platform and currently live with my fiancé, Corina.
In your case it seems your mother played an important part on your journey. What advice would you give parents whose kids show interest in creative endeavors like animation, art, etc.?
Absolutely, without my mom's help and support, I may have never discovered Poser or even considered being a 3D hobbyist in general. For parents that notice their kids taking interest in any creative endeavors, it is important to encourage and do what is necessary to put them on a path that will aid in their development. It could mean buying paint supplies, taking them to art shows, museums, etc. It doesn't have to be something that will lead to a lucrative career path, but I think it's important for parents to identify what their children are passionate about and do what they can to help. This approach applies to anything in life and not just art.
How did you get involved with 3D graphics and, more specifically, Poser?
My journey into the 3D graphics world started when my mom took me to the Santa Barbara Film Festival in 1998. One of the film submissions was a short 3D film created entirely by one individual. The film was about a small robot trying to get to a box of donuts. I was completely amazed because I assumed this sort of 3D technology was only available to major studios. This wasn't too long after Toy Story and although the quality of the short film wasn't nearly at the level of Pixar, I just saw this as an opportunity to make movies with practically no limits. My mother made contact with the creator of the short film at the festival and found out that he'd used a program called Bryce4 to create the movie. That's when I immediately got Bryce4 and started learning the basics of 3D. After some time, I realized that Bryce4 was mainly for landscapes and environments and not human figures. It wasn't until a few months later that my mom discovered an article in a magazine about "Poser4" which mentioned human figures for 3D animation. Poser4 seemed like the answer I'd been looking for, so I got the program and started my journey with Poser. To my disappointment, Poser and Bryce didn't mesh well together, so I had to render the background environments in Bryce and composite the human figures from Poser into the image.
Do you see entry-level 3D applications (like Poser and the now-outdated Bryce) playing an important role when it comes to getting people interested in computer graphics? How do you see the landscape of entry-level 3D applications now compared to then?
Yes, I think it's important to have entry-level 3D applications because that is what got me started and I'm sure would work for others. Professional 3D applications like Maya, Cinema 4D, 3Ds Max, have a huge learning curve and could be intimidating to those who are new to 3D or just want to do something quick and simple. I knew I wanted to make a 3D movie, and I was seeking the quickest way to achieve that goal without spending too much time and money. In the process of making these movies, it taught me a lot of the basic 3D concepts. Now, I think the entry-level 3D applications like Poser are becoming more robust with features. There are a lot more bells and whistles compared to 10 years ago but it's still very easy to learn.
I was reading you made other Poser movies before The Exigency. Can you tell us about them??
Before creating The Exigency, I made a handful of short films in Poser and 2 other feature films. My first feature film (“Forsaken”) was about my family taking a trip to Hawaii for vacation. On the way, the plane crashes on an uncharted island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, and we're all trying to survive. It took 8 months to complete. "Forsaken" was an hour long.
The second animated feature I made was based on the popular horror video game "Silent Hill." It was 90 minutes and took 18 months to complete. I was a huge fan of the game, so I made my own adaptation. This was about five years before the live action "Silent Hill" was released in 2006. Both of these animated films were pretty bad and aren't available online anywhere.
What inspired you to make the movie?
The Exigency was inspired by the desire to make something over-the-top and ridiculous. I wanted it to be exciting and also not take itself too seriously. I was pacing in my hallway and flipping a pen, which I often do when I'm brainstorming ideas, and I just came up with a scenario where a guy wakes up one morning and sees 2 UFOs flying right towards him. Rather than making this about just another alien invasion, I thought it would be interesting if these UFOs were coming for this guy specifically. From there, I just built one idea on top of another and the story just snowballed from there.
When you began working on The Exigency, did you think it would take all these years to finish?
No, I had no idea it would take 13 years to make The Exigency. The originally planned due date was 2009 so it took 10 years longer than expected. Isn't that ridiculous? The second completion date I had in mind was 2012 and that was still way off target. It makes me a little sick to my stomach to think about how long this took but I don't feel too bad because I was having fun at the same time, so I can't complain.
Did you consider quitting making the movie at some point? What drove you to continue?
I will likely never stop making movies unless I was completely incapable. The drive comes from creating something that will live on longer than me and I can't imagine doing anything else. I want to create things that impact the world in some way, big or small. It probably won't change anyone's life, but if it puts a smile on someone's face or makes someone laugh for a brief moment, that's rewarding enough for me.
Part two of the interview is coming soon! In the meantime, feel free to watch The Exigency on Amazon Prime, if you haven't already.
The Exigency: http://www.exigencymovie.com/
Watch The Exigency: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B083CYHWWV