Love, Death + Robots: "Night of the Mini Dead"


Blur approached BUCK with this seed of an idea for the third season of Netflix’s “Love, Death + Robots” — “a zombie apocalypse in tilt shift” — and asked if we could make it funny. We said hold our tiny beer.

Night of the Mini Dead

It wasn’t enough for us that the world just ended because of zombies, we wanted it to be explicit that the whole thing was our fault — the result of human stupidity and hubris. The moral of the story is, yeah, we had it all and we f#*ked it up. And not just for ourselves. We’re taking the cute penguins with us too. In fact, we’re taking everything.

Yes, it’s pretty dark. But if there weren’t truth in it, it wouldn’t work.

Tilt Shifted Reality vs Stylized Miniature

Early on, there were talks of a stylized look, or even building practical miniature sets, but it was important for us that this felt like you were watching a real world (albeit bite-sized) apocalypse happen right before your eyes. With this idea in mind we arrived at the decision to use a mix of cg and live action photography treated with a tilt shift effect.

We thought the tiny action would be funnier if it had the same quality as a summer blockbuster. And so we were lucky to have our friends at Rodeo FX come onboard to help wipe out the human race.

Sound and Dialogue

What does a mini apocalypse sound like?

The initial idea was a purely visual story set to music. But we thought, "wouldn't it be hilarious if you could hear what the tiny, ill-fated humans were saying?" That layer of teeny-bravado led to such eloquent lines as "Zombies??? Not in our country!" and "Shoot 'em in the dick."

Homage to Genre

This refreshing new perspective on the time-honored and beloved zombie genre allowed us to expand into some of our other favorites. “Night of the Mini Dead'' is not just a tiny homage to the zombie films you know and love, but also genres like kung fu, softcore porn, and 80’s action flicks.

Graveyard Bone

But how did it all start? Was it an ancient curse? A virus? Mother Nature scorned? A lot of ideas were thrown about but the maxim that guided us for the entire job ended up winning out: what was the easiest read — KEEP IT SIMPLE.

We knew that the film was going to end with a bang. So why not start with one too?

What would be sacrilegious enough to raise the dead? Eureka. The tiniest cemetery lovemaking scene ever made. Because drunken passion and flippant desecration summons corpses from their graves, naturally.

Mad Max but Dumb

In the ‘third act’, post-shit meeting fan, we had a vision of an over-the-top, Mad Max-style, vehicle caravan of super-charged, zombie sweepers racing through a city on fire. But we wanted to filter that image through a lens of dumbass-ery.

So we marbled the caravan with ridiculousness: a Zero Fux-graffitied truck, a VW Beetle racer and a callback to the ‘Suburban Soccer Mom’ minivan that has since been tricked out into an undead murdering machine.

Directing the Details

The great joy of this job was infusing these sequences with a crazy amount of details — layers of jokes and references that make the short extremely rewatchable. To keep each shot legible we balanced the millions of details with broad gestural action. Here’s a sample of some of the thinking that went into this mini-masterpiece.

Giant (Mini)

As the story progressed, we needed a way to up the ante and escalate the zombie threat. We thought it would be funny if they turned big, but, you know, still mini. Also they should shoot fire.

Because we wanted to keep things pretty dumb, we didn’t want a big complex monster. We just wanted it to look like a scaled-up, drunken, zombie bro, dripping with toxic, nuclear masculinity. Instead of shooting fire or something menacing like that, they should just barf it — and that’s how the “Toxic Death Barf” was born.

Our Existence Doesn't Matter

The finale was our ode to Carl Sagan’s “pale blue dot” — he said it best:

“There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world.”

We came into existence with a bang. We leave it with the one joke that always lands.

Check out the final carnage on Netflix. Love, Death, & Robots Volume 3, Episode 4 and smash that like button.



Creative Director

Andy Lyon

Robert Bisi

Executive Producer

Luisa Murray


Andrew Chan Gladstone

3D Supervisor

Marc Steinberg

Head of 3D Animation

Alessandro Ceglia


Dave Conte

Chief Creative Officers

Orion Tait

Ryan Honey

Head of Content Development

Jay Brooker

Global Head of 3D

Doug Wilkinson

Head of 3D Los Angeles

Alex Dingfelder

Global Head of Post Production

Paal Rui

Production Coordinator

Cody O'Neill

Storyboard Artists

Fanny Hagdahl Sorebo

Max Forward

Trystin Pease

William Rosado

Concept Artists

Jong Lee

Joshua Harvey

Patrick Rosander

Vanessa Cheung


Morgan Schweitzer

Stan Chan

Sung Hyun Kim

Color Key Artists

Joe Dennis

Sylvia Liu

Animation Lead

Alessandro Ceglia


Peter DeSalvo

Tyler Lancaster

2D Previs Artists

Jardeson Rocha

Junyi Xiao

Matthew Deans

Scott Jonsson

Stephen Loveluck

Asset Modeling and Look Development

Chloe Tu

Eugene Goryachev

Kien Hoang

Tina Chao


Ernesto Ruiz Velasco

Jing Huang

Juan Carlos Barraza Mendoza


Beatrice Viguier

Eugene Goryachev

Joshua Studebaker

Marc Steinberg

Tina Chao


Beatrice Viguier

Irmak Semiz

Joshua Studebaker

Marc Steinberg

Sam Smith

Tina Chao

FX Artist

Carlos Moran Villanueva

Visual Effects - RODEO FX

VFX Supervisor

Thomas Hullin

Executive Visual Effects Producer

Josianne Côté

Lead Compositing Artist

Tim Emeis

Animation Lead

Robin Hermann

Executive Visual Effects Supervisor

Sébastien Moreau

VP Development & Technology

Jordan Soles

VP Performance

Isabelle Langlois

VP Production

Anouk L'Heureux

Head of Global VFX Operations

Mikaël Damant-Sirois

VFX Production Manager

Zaid Babeel

VFX Coordinator

Delphine Ferru

VFX Production Assistant

Domenico Augello

Asset Artist

Alexander Stania

Jose Maximiano

Camera Matchmove Artist

Thomas Lhomme-Sorel

Crowd Artist

Nacere Guerouaf

FX Artists

Mirella Brunold

Nacere Guerouaf

Lighting Artist

Philipp Sieben

Environment Artist

Lucie Engels

Compositing Artist

Filip Suska

Francesco Massaro

Renaud Tissandie

Motion Capture Technical Specialists

Bjorn Traeder

Callum Grant