Password: wicked


“The righteous must sweep away the wicked.”

Woe to the Wicked! is the visual component of my MFA thesis at SCAD. It’s an animated short story combining the imagery of Southern Gothic literature with  mid-century modernist and neo-modernist illustration/design aesthetics in a narrative addressing social and religious issues in the American South. The short explores themes of the corruption and subversion of religion, and tragic irony.

The idea for the short sprung from the title of a song, Sodom South Georgia, by Iron & Wine. The irony of a corrupted, self-righteous religious community being destroyed a biblical act of God seemed powerful. 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 2018