Bad Tuna was my senior film completed upon graduating from the University of Southern California. The final film, as well as a taste of the process, can be seen below.
From the start, I knew I wanted to animate a chase scene, and I wanted it to take place in a vaguely 1920's-ish world. I researched art nouveau and art deco designs, architecture, and German expressionist films as a starting place. Here are some sketches and a selection of reference images I scrounged from online and books.
Bad Tuna's story changed up a lot throughout production. Originally it was going to be about a young girl who happens upon a sinister tuna cult, but I simplified things to make the animation feasible under my time and budget constraints. Here's some thumbnails as I planned out my shots.
An early sequence (eventually cut from the film): Ethel sneaks up on a tuna cult meeting and witnesses a horrifying, eldritch ritual. Her elder brother (he was also cut) scolds her for running off.
The final storyboards can be seen here.
I put together an animatic as the film started to take shape. The animatic changed constantly throughout production, but here's one version of it. The password is badtuna.
My main character, a young girl named Ethel, had to stand out against the detailed backgrounds but still fit into her world.