Ashante P.T. Stokes plays Christian hip hop artist PTtheGospelSpitter in his animated short Praise The Maker. The story is about two childhood friends who went down different paths in life. PT chose the way of the Lord and Gospel music, while Slim (James Arthur Williams) became a street-smart dealer. PT hopes to make a change in Slim by asking him to listen to his latest track, Praise the Maker.
The song is about giving your life over to God, and it injects joy into everyone who hears it causing them to burst out in dance. Everyone, that is, except Slim, who is preoccupied with a lucrative deal that’s about to go down. When Slim and PT meet up with a surly gang of “distributors,” Slim asks PT to have his back. He agrees, but during the tense transaction, PT asks the gang to listen to Praise the Maker, which causes them to burst out in dance as well.
One point of admiration I have for Praise The Maker is that it’s animated. I’ve had a chance to mess around with Adobe’s animation tools, only to say that animation is more accessible today for emerging storytellers than it’s ever been before. It’s relatively easy to create, and gone is the laborious task of drawing twenty-four frames a second by hand.
“PT hopes to make a change in Slim by asking him to listen to his latest track…”
The artistic style of Praise The Maker reminds me of Saturday Night Live’s Saturday TV Funhouse with Ace & Gary and the Dead Presidents and even the old Amazing Spider-Man television show from the 70s. The characters have a look of hand-drawn line art, and the actual animation employs several limited animation techniques to tell its story and its repetitive dance moves.
As far as the story goes, it falls in line with the decades of Christian films I’ve seen over my life. In most genres, we are used to a dark tone in our stories. Praise The Maker keeps things “light” and overly optimistic in its account of PT, bringing his best friend to God and changing his life for the better.
Praise The Maker is what it is. I like my animation much more sophisticated, and my stories have a lot more depth to them. That said, Praise The Maker is a fun watch, especially the crazy dance moves, and worth a quick eleven minutes of your time. The music is good and hope-filled, and we can all use a little hope in these times.
"…keeps things 'light' and overly optimistic..."