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Experiential Content










Lucky for us, the crop of dental floss was bountiful! We had a blast creating these dynamic single-line animations for Frank Zappa’s tongue-in-cheek rumination on running away to Montana’s farm country, featuring his iconic profile (and mustache!) and the distinctive imagery of his lyrics. Ahmet Zappa was adamant that the entire seven-minute video had to be one string of dental floss, which was incredibly challenging. But we pulled through, creating wonderful transitions in between the scenes with cheers from the audience every single time.

Concept Art

This is one of the biggest challenges we’ve ever had as a studio. TELL AN ENTIRE STORY with a single line! Montana is a Frank Zappa song based on a dental floss–classic Zappa humor–Ahmet Zappa was adamant that everything had to happen with a single thread. We took upon the challenge and built a 7 minute story that hundreds of thousands of people enjoyed in an entirely live environment.


David Calcano sat down with Ahmet Zappa as he excitedly shared parts of the story based on the lyrics and Frank’s taste, as well as his own ideas. David then connected the dots with the creative team at the studio, creating visuals that complemented the story, filling the gaps to make it work from beginning to end. A true collaborative approach.

Art Direction

Working with holograms required many rules to follow. For instance, everything had to work with black in the background. After many attempts, a white color kept bringing out the best result for a live concert. The dental floss had to move around to make it believable, but doing it in 2D would have required twice the time to make the deadline. We combined the 3D of the box with a 2D thread, and it worked beautifully.

We did at first, try a 3D thread, but it was too stiff for what we wanted to do. The aim was for the thread to be artistic, to be free, almost imitating Frank Zappa’s guitar philosophy–which we’ll go into later when we talk about animation.


We worked extremely hard to make every frame readable under the limitations of a single line. Several tests were done until we finally cracked the code. This was the combination of several artists working together: Juan Riera, Lindsay Lee and Greg Chen.


This is probably the only time we can say that we DID improvise doing animation. Bear with us please, because this is fun! Ahmet Zappa would tell us that his father would think about “Ice Sculptures” when performing a solo–famously, Frank did different takes on his solos every time he played–To say he was a true artist seems redundant, but out of the artists we had the pleasure to work with in the studio from a musical standpoint, he’s definitely at the top.

Once we had the story down, David sat down with Greg Chen, the lead animator, and they’d come up with transitions between takes. The solo is one of the greatest sequences we’ve ever done, all improvised and animated in real-time, with no boards other than rough drawings from David on how to move from one scene to another. This was incredibly difficult but the flow feels FREE…true to Frank Zappa’s vibe! The line moved like anything could happen…and that is all Greg’s work. Its evolution was beautiful to watch.

Audience POV

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