January 26, 2022

On a campus as small as Montserrat’s you’re bound to run into freshman Quinn Schuyler eventually. But, uniquely, you might also see his face in a more unexpected place: on-screen at the Chatham Orpheum Theater in Chatham, MA.

In the winter of 2020, during the first wave of the COVID-19 in the United States, Quinn and his family (parents Paul and Jade, as well as brother Shaw) found themselves stuck inside their home. All four being creatives, and Paul Schuyler being a particularly motivated filmmaker, they found themselves making a movie, cast both as characters and as a production team. “Red River Road,” the result of that effort, has already won awards and began its first theatrical run on Friday, January 21st.

The film is a speculative thriller that sees the family isolated in their home and shunning electronics for fear of a reality-distorting virus they transmit. At the time, Quinn was a Junior in High School. Now he’s entering his second semester at Montserrat, learning to produce a different kind of art.

“I’m not allowed to say a concentration because I’m just a freshman… but, Animation.”

Quinn first heard about Montserrat when he was 16, before he was even thinking about colleges. Originally it was the proximity to home that inspired him to apply in 2021, but it quickly became apparent there was more to it than that. What ultimately inspired him to pick Montserrat over similar schools was the personability.

“I got back a fantastic response, and was offered a . An actual, real person was reaching out to me, I’ve gotten fantastic feedback, it’s close to home, I’ve seen the work that come out of this place. So I gave it a shot.”

Like his parents, Quinn is most interested in making art that moves, that tells a story. He simply decided to make the whole thing himself instead of filling the living room with production equipment. Not to mention the unique challenges animation offers and the different kinds of thinking it requires. 

“I like it because it’s technical and creative at the same time. Drawing a picture takes a while and I love doing it, but I like making things that have multiple functions, that are interactive. I think that started out with Legos.”

Quinn credits his parents for his pursuit of the arts, though not directly. When he was young they owned a combination pizza shop and video rental store called the Box Office Café.

“When they were working were upstairs, watching movies, playing with Legos. Constantly being exposed to that kind of media got me interested in telling stories, especially with movement. I like trying to capture expression in movement; I like when a simple art style has a lot of expressive motion.

“I also love working with the technical details. I like putting things together in an intricate way; I often ask myself ‘is there a way I can be more efficient or get more out of my time here.’”

Part of the appeal to the medium for Quinn has been the problems it presents; the way it forced him to change his approach to bring things into line with his vision. His first major animation project forced him to change his style mid-stream, moving from line work to more abstracted shapes. The result was a more stylistically coherent piece that he was happier with.

For now, Quinn is enjoying the end of his winter break, and eagerly anticipating the Game Design class he’s got this coming semester.

The trailer for “Red River Road” can be found here.

To read more about the film’s production check out this piece in the Cape Code Times.