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Paper or Plastic


This short film was created as a “proof of concept” for a feature film we hope to make using this message, style, and framework.
NOTE – some elements are not supported by the team anymore, but still live in this cut, though will be changed – examples include using corn to make bioplastic – which has more problems than benefits.
I was approached by Jimmy Wardell back in 2005 and asked to edit a short promo to help get the film off the ground. The footage available was not of the greatest quality, though the information was potent. I poured through the material and issues to get up to speed with Jimmy, who had been working on it for some time. Our audience was to be funders and notables we wanted to participate in the project so we decided to draw from outside supplementary material to make our points and prove the potential for a wide popular audience, thus justifying the effort and expense. I built a story around the bones of the concept trying to make something that would not only engage and inform, both also entertain and invigorate. I became so committed to the issue and ended up much more than an editor, putting in massive time and energy beyond the salary, becoming a partner in its creation. I found that the concept was under-served in a short 5 minute piece as we had planned, and found it became much stronger when each component had room to breath. I wanted it to have the kind of polish and story arc that would help one visualize feature length potential. Part of this process included significant time building tracks that would provide the foundation for a radio cut with nuanced and engrossing musical evolution. I knew we needed a clean plastic poppy graphic design to hang it on, and luckily I was able to pull in Chris Kirk (mindbombfilms), who I had worked with on many commercial projects, to create the titles and animations. In the longer version Ekin Akalin made some spectacular 3D animations, which I’ll include samples of in another post.
I was blown away by the information and am pleased with the result, and find everyone who sees this comes to the same conclusion – plastic is a problem and we need to innovate beyond it – though we are stuck with the plastic we have made so far… and continue to generate more at an alarming rate. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

A few things made this a great film project to work on:
1st – While less so now, at the time we made it, most people did not have plastic on their radar. Because the arguments against it are so varied, and so compelling, many people experience the “paradigm shift” as one of our characters does. That is just what we want in an issue based film – people leave the cinema different from when they came in.
2nd – Plastic pollution has so many facets – human health, animal life, petrochemical based problems (global warming, environmental pollution, war), non-renewable – pick the one you relate to most – any one of them are enough reason to change – add them all up and it is hard to argue against.
3rd – Soooo many solutions exist today, and the solutions needed can invigorate a generation of inventors and entrepreneurs, with opportunities that will dwarf the industrial revolution.
4th – People can do something as soon as they leave the theater – everything we touch or purchase made from plastic is a choice.
5th – Plastic has an inherently colorful bright palette to play with in design and animation.



"we are the music-makers
and we are the
dreamers of dreams".