Colin Hesterly portrait

Colin Hesterly

Directing Short Films



This course is about creating compelling animated short films. Along with Director Colin Hesterly, you will work through the entire process of concepting, scripting, storyboarding and designing your film.

Focus On Process

Colin Hesterly is a director with an emphasis on animation and motion design. He has directed spots for many of the world’s biggest brands. This course is all about his approach and process of directing ads and pitching clients.

Based On Case Studies

We spent two days in the studio with Colin filming his process and examining case studies from his portfolio. We edited this workshop into digestible sections to help you understand the approach to directing short films and ads.

Become A Better Director

This course is designed to help you feel more confident in directing your own work. Each director has their own process and approach, and this course focuses on Colin’s work. If you like Colin’s work and want to understand how each project gets created, then this course is designed for you.

Course content

What you'll learn from this workshop

This course will focus on the process of telling stories through short films. Understanding basic filmmaking and production concepts are essential to creating compelling films. Colin's focus is on creating worlds and characters that serve the story and help create a richness and distinct style.

The Client's Brief

Each film or ad starts with a brief. The client has a goal for the project and a good Director must start here. Colin will talk through his experience with various briefs and how he starts production with the clients’ mission in mind.  

The Script

The power of the written word. All directors must understand and prioritize the script before they can craft visuals and animation. This week Colin will talk through his experience with scripts and give tips for improving yours.

Storyboards 1.0

Once the script is completed the creation of the visual story begins. Colin goes into depth on storyboarding, so we broke it into two weeks. In this first week we’ll examine case studies from Colin’s portfolio. 

Storyboards 2.0

In this second week, Colin goes into depth on storyboarding. We’ll examine case studies from Colin’s portfolio. We want you to feel confident in creating storyboards that are clear and compelling.

The Animatic

The first step in the animation process is to create an animatic from your storyboards. Colin walks through the process, with examples from his portfolio, of creating an animatic and setting the stage for the animation process. 

Tech Illustration

To start the final art direction process, Colin places a big priority on color. Using color keys and color studies he tries to establish a visual tone for the film. Color can create a distinct art direction and it’s important not to overlook this step in the process.

Characters & Environments

The most fun, but also challenging, part of the process for Colin. Creating a design direction around characters and environments is an important part of the filmmaking process. Colin will draw on examples from his portfolio to show how he approaches this design challenge.

Final Art Direction

Bringing everything together into a final art direction that is ready for animation production, is the final step in Colin’s process. This course is designed to go from the client brief to final art direction. Colin will wrap up the course with a look at creating the final art direction.

Course Preview

Sneak peek of the course

Preview work Storyboard Colin Hesterly


What do our students say?

This workshop has helped hundreds of motion designers improve as directors. We’ve got years worth of happy students who found this workshop to be the breakthrough they were looking for.


Colin Hesterly

Director and Illustrator Freelance

Inspired by a sense of wonder and nostalgia, his career began as a freelance artist for a variety of companies and brands around the globe. His success as a storyteller led him to produce six animated short films that each garnered a Vimeo Staff Pick. His creative process focuses on the art of 2D Animation and character-driven narrative. With work spanning across a broad range of artistic fields, from TV to Film Titles, Short Films, and Commercials. 

Colin Hesterly - Directing Short Films


Join our community

Upon your enrollment, you’ll receive an invitation in your email inbox to sign up for our Private Slack Channel. You can also join our Facebook Group. 

Each workshop has a dedicated channel where you can share your work and get feedback from other students and the MoGraph Mentor Crew.

We can’t wait to see what you’ll create!

Slack Facebook Group illustration


Enroll any time

Tons of content

8 part workshop

Recorded studio lectures

Process overview

Access to our community Slack forum

And more!

Lifetime access

Directing Short Films with Colin Hesterly

Learn the process of telling stories through short films with awards winning director Colin Hesterly

Enroll now for $99 US


Have questions?

We’ve got you covered. Check out the answers below or visit the help center for anything else.

Why this course?

This 8 part, online course is a summary of Colin Hesterly’s approach to directing short films and ads. His approach is intentional with each film and in this workshop he walks through each stage of production.

Is there A Live forum?

Yes! Purchasing this workshop will give you access to our MoGraph Mentor Slack community. You can share work and ask questions. So jump into this workshop and discuss in the MoGraph Mentor Slack.

What will I know by the end?

The process that Colin uses with each film. How he pitches clients and develops films. You’ll understand his approach to making artwork and developing an animatic. You’ll understand the big picture process of directing your own short films.

When does it start?

Right when you sign up! This is an online course which is available right when you sign up. We encourage students to take 1 week per module, but may work through it all faster.

How long do I have access to the course?

How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like – across any and all devices you own.

What if I am unhappy with the course?

We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiousity leads us down new paths.

Walt Disney
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