On Your Way

3 minutes live action and vfx short

Institute for Animation at the Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg


When you fall it is inevitable that you eventually will hit the ground. Every child knows that. It is this fact that Adam (30s) has to deal with, when he comes to senses - thousands of feet above the ground. But instead of panic, Adam reacts with determination attempting to slow down his fall, by assembling pieces of debris and fuselage that float around him. In the distance he beholds Maria (20s) who is also free-falling, and asleep. He helps her wake up, and shows her how to control her movements. And for a moment the fear of crashing seems gone.

Together Adam and Maria continue to build a rocket from the debris. As the ground emerges underneath them, their plan is damned to work – this is their only chance. But the rocket is only big enough to hold one of them. Adam lets Maria take the seat. The rocket engine fires just before impact. Maria faints as she rises higher and higher. She is safe until the rocket collapses and bursts into a silvery streak across the sky. And as Maria sinks back to the ground again, she comes to senses. Now she knows what to do. And the cycle begins again…


Rushing wind, joined by a metallic snapping noise. The image fades in - radiating blue sky - a shiny buckle at the end of an airplane seatbelt, snapping in an erratic rhythm. The seatbelt is tied around Adam's waist. Adam is asleep – 30.000 feet above the ground.

Adam opens his eyes. He realizes that he is falling. The wind is deafening, and makes it hard to breathe. But he stays calm, looks around him. Metallic debris is scattered in a silvery streak across the sky. Adam shifts his position, face down, stretches out his limbs. He grabs a piece of fuselage. Then he stretches, bends and jolst himself to grab another one, and ties them together with his seatbelt before he jumps on to the next one. It's the will to survive that drives him.

Then he sees something in the distance. Just a dot at first. Adam doesn't hesitate. He maneuvers his construction towards it. The dot is a person! Maria. She is asleep. Adam reaches her, holds her. He is not alone. She is in panic when she awakens, and Adam calms her down, ties her close to him with the seatbelts around their waist., and continues working on the construction. Maria follows his movements, and helps Adam. Together they build a rocket from the debris, piece by piece, as they descend ever further towards the ground.

As they complete construction, they break through the bed of clouds into darkness. The ground is now very close, and there is no time left to lose. Adam helps Maria to climb into the rocket's cabin. Maria tries to drag Adam inside. Maria cries in fear - there is not enough space. There never has been. Adam holds her hand once more, smiling. before he unbuckles their seatbelts and lets her go.

The rocket's engine ignites and lights up the darkness. With a powerful blast the rocket escapes the crash and begins to rise faster and faster.

Is it the awesome force, or the force that makes Maria faint, or both? Who knows, Maria is safe for now. The rocket brings her back above the clouds - back into the light. The strain of the accelartion cracks the hull. Parts of the fuselage come off, as the engine catapults the rocket ever higher. Finally the entire construction breaks apart, spreading out its pieces in a silvery streak across the sky.

Maria sinks back towards the ground – still asleep, her end of the seatbelt dangling from her waist. She opens her eyes calmly. She knows what to do, moves around, face down stretches out her limbs – we recognize the movements. Maria scans the horizon. She notices something in the distance - a dot… a person…



The driving protagonist of the story is Adam, a man in his 30s. He calm and focussed despite the harrowing circumstances he wakes up in. His movement and his action show him taking control of the situation. He gathers and assembles pieces of debris in mid air. As he realizes that he does not fall alone, Adam's focus shifts from his own survival towards taking care of Maria.

In the story, Adam is aware of his purpose and is determined to work towards it. In acceptance of his destiny willing to give himself up.


The second protagonist is Maria, a young woman in her 20s. She is brought into consciousness by Adam and has to get used to the harrowing situation she finds herself in. She puts her trust in Adam, and grows to be a crucial help for him in completing the construction of the rocket. However, she has yet to accept, that she has to exist independently on her own, as it is only her the rocket can save.

In the story, Maria grows to reach her full potential. Through her we become aware of the cyclical narrative when she arrives at the point that Adam is at in the beginning of the story – that is, when she is ready to fulfill her own purpose.


Above the clouds

An ocean of clouds underneath the protagonists - it blocks their view to the ground.
Both characters fly through an empty and sunny space, surrounded by gigantic walls of clouds that resemble the shape of a vast canyon.

Inside the clouds

The inside of the clouds is a really dense fog that takes the protagonists view. It also hides things from the audience as well.

Mossy canyon

Vast bare mountain canyon underneath covered in a moist and lush greenery of moss.
The stony slopes of the mountains are cluttered with sharp edges, moss and short grass. It seems like rain stopped just a second before they dive into the scenery.
It is cold, cloudy and wet.

Concept by Kiana Naghshineh
Concept by Kiana Naghshineh

mood trailer

technical set up

To increase the production efficiency we’re planning to shoot as much "in-camera" as possible. So we are planning to shoot half of the shots with an interaktive rear projection setup and half of the shots with blue screen The first solution has the big advantage that we are able to avoid the separation of the cast from the background on and brings us a realistic lighting and spill on the performers.

In cooperation with the Research & Development Team of the Institute of Animation at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg and the "Dream Space" project, we implement the technology, which interactively combines the contents of the rear projection with real studio lights. Thus, projected sets are free and can be rotated in 360 ° around the actors in real time.



Eric Sonnenburg
+49 176 804 070 72

Max Raschke
+49 151 285 981 31

Ghaith Al-Adwan (VFX)
+49 176 80 777 371



©2016 Thomas Sali. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any content is permitted without exclusive written permission.