Tiny Commando

by Ryan McFaul

Premiering this week on Yahoo is “Tiny Commando,” a project I’ve been working on since the Spring of 2012. Ed Helms came up with the idea to do a show featuring miniature action sequences using all sorts of radio-controlled vehicles. His premise: what if there’s a little guy inside driving these things? Along with Jacob Fleisher and myself, we developed this into a twelve episode series about a four inch tall private detective for Yahoo’s expanding original programming. There’s a total of six stories, each told in two acts. I’ve posted a bunch of excerpts on the portfolio page, or you can check out the complete show on Yahoo. Below is the title sequence which provides a little backstory.

The show was incredibly complicated, not surprisingly, with a shoot schedule that moved between RC-only “toy” days, full-up location days with our full-size cast and guest stars, and the studio portions where our miniature stars Zachary Levi and Ed Helms came to life. I can’t think of a project that has used so much of the breadth of my experience as we moved from miniatures, to improv comedy, to greenscreen. I managed to storyboard about 80% of the show and we shot everything in 21 days. And while I am comfortable with long, dense shoots, the number of different action sequences and their respective VFX shots was nuts. Our budget was pretty modest and I couldn’t have balanced it all without solid prep and a good battle plan.

Post was complex and tricky to farm out on our budget. So much action inevitably meant lots of tracking and roto. So I singlehanded composited the entire show. I think I’ve reached my After Effects and Mocha quotas for the next five years.