Password: wicked


“The righteous must sweep away the wicked.”

Woe to the Wicked! is my MFA thesis film at SCAD – an animated short story combining the imagery of Southern Gothic literature with  mid-century modernist and neo-modernist illustration/design aesthetics. The short narrative addresses several interconnected themes: social and religious issues in the American South, corruption / subversion of religion, and tragic irony .

The idea for the short sprung from the title of an Iron & Wine song, Sodom South Georgia. The irony of a corrupted, self-righteous religious community being destroyed via biblical act of God seemed powerful and darkly ironic. Though I stuck with Iron & Wine for the soundtrack, I went with another song, Cinder and Smoke, since the tone and lyrics more closely matched the story.


My typical process for developing a music video starts with breaking down the song into chunks and using that breakdown to inform my story arc. I find that many songs lend themselves to the beginning-middle-end narrative structure that we’re all used to.

I generally wanted to develop a sense of calm, pastoral peace through landscapes suggestive of the American South, and then juxtapose that with the fiery hateful rhetoric of the preacher. That turns these pleasant landscapes into a hellish dystopia.

Visual Script

Frames from the film

© Preston Gibson 2019