Griffin Hansen combines art and experience to create short comedic animation

By SARAH DONOVAN

Monitor staff

Published: 07-05-2023 9:42 AM

Griffin Hansen decided to take the two things he knows best – banquet serving and animation – and merge them together to create a short animated comedy that reflects his past experience working in a restaurant with his blossoming future as an independent filmmaker.

A recent graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design, Hansen majored in animation with a minor in storyboarding. Hansen directed, wrote and edited a short animated film called “The Ten Commandments of Banquet Serving,” which has racked up 3,700 views since he posted it in February on his YouTube channel “Gruppetstudios.”

The short film follows the main character, Jim, trying to survive a wedding from hell, outlining 10 non-negotiable commandments that a banquet server must follow to avoid catastrophe. Hansen’s longtime friend, Michael Poliquin, narrates Jim, who recounts the commandments through the film.

The commandments tell a narrative of what not to do as Jim acts out each commandment doing the opposite, giving the film the comedic genre.

■Commandment No. 10: “You cannot reason with a determined florist.”

“They do not understand the novel concept that a table is not real estate for an entire garden,” Hansen said. In the film, Jim’s struggle to find room for the plates and silverware as a German florist sassily waves scissors around.

■Commandment No. 9: “Always find something to occupy the father of the bride.” The father of the bride, voiced by “Car Talk” star Ray Magliozzi, spews dad jokes to a straight-faced Jim.

According to Hansen, Magliozzi only agreed to be a part of the film as long as Hansen included in the credits “Ray Magliozzi of ‘Car Talk’ appears solely due to the colossal pain in the ass that Griffin Hansen made himself until he finally agreed to do it.”

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■Commandment No. 8: “Never suggest that someone ‘check on their family.’ ” Jim confides that this is an essential commandment, as suggesting that simple task will bring out the most high-maintenance characters, perfectly segueing into ...

■Commandment No. 7: “Never irritate the bride’s Mother.”

The mother of the bride, voiced by Hansen, wreaks havoc upon Jim, criticizing every aspect of the wedding, from not having a cinnamon-scented hand-lotion to room-temperature champagne. Once you tick off mama bear, you’re in trouble.

■Commandment No. 6: “Make sure none of the guests are around for the band’s sound check.” Ear-piercing screeches from the electric guitar and microphone don’t make for a good first impression on the guests, especially the people who are paying for the wedding who will most likely be around to find the nearest banquet server to be their next culprit.

■Commandment No. 5: “Know your audience.” Jim reflects that the main audience a banquet server will interact with is the older folks. To survive, you must nod and simply answer their questions even if the answers are written in plain sight.

■Commandment No. 4: “Use the ceremony as a chance to breathe.” Jim suggests that if you are a banquet server wanting to leave the wedding in one piece, you use this time to call your family and tell them you love them … and grab some water.

■Commandment No. 3: “Make sure you know the menu.” To avoid guests’ forgetfulness, always make sure you memorize the menu, or you’re in jeopardy of catering to special order requests if you don’t reinforce upfront what was slated for dinner.

■Commandment No. 2: “Pray to God that all your guests get up and dance.” If your guests don’t get up and dance, Jim acts out that you’ll fall victim to guests’ recounting anything on their minds.

Culminating in the film’s finale, a domino effect of disaster ensues from Jim not following the commandments, creating …

■Commandment No. 1: “Never miss an opportunity to get the customer to visit again.” Jim cracks a joke at this last and final commandment by telling the mother of the bride that they also do wakes as the grandmother gets taken off in an ambulance.

Other voices in the film, besides Magliozzi and Poliquin, are Fritz Wetherbee of WMUR-TV and Arthur Dark, director of “The Spirits of Greenwood Cemetery.”

“I do it honestly because I love it,” said Hansen, who goes by Griffin “The” Hansen as a director.

He said that the film was a fun way to poke fun at banquet serving and Granite State culture, but he did really love his old banquet serving position at Bedford Village Inn, and his jokes are from a friendly place of love.

Hansen is not an amateur to filmmaking. A Goffstown native, at 15 in his bedroom he created a cartoon series called “Cartoons VS Cancer” to help raise money for his close friend who was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer. In 2020, he rebooted this cartoon series with a couple of episodes on his YouTube channel, “Cartoons VS COVID,” raising money for Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Manchester.

Outside of his filmmaking pursuits, he said he started an organization called the Animation Education Association where he “installs historical markers across the country for significant figures in the history of animation.” Hansen hopes to “bounce around” as a new college graduate to find future opportunities in the filmmaking world.

The film has been an official selection in the Golden Short Film Festival, which takes place in Avezzano, Italy; the Auburn Indie Film Festival in Alabama; and the Vermont Animation Festival.

Anyone who would like to view the film should make their way to Hansen’s YouTube channel, Gruppetstudios.

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