Campus Life

Texas A&M Visualization Students Top Statewide Short Film Texas Bullet Train Competition

December 14, 2017

Bullet train

By Sarah Wilson, Texas A&M University College of Architecture

COLLEGE STATION, Dec. 15, 2017 — Using motion graphics, kinetic type and their own design prowess, two Texas A&M University visualization student teams won first place honors in a statewide short film competition to create standout promotional videos for the Texas Bullet Train, a proposed high-speed connection between Houston and Dallas.

Competing against more than 50 entries in a competition hosted by bullet train developers, Texas Central Partners, LLC, all three Vizzer entries advanced to the finals with one placing first in the live action excellence category and another taking top honors in the creativity category. Both winning teams earned $5,000 and another $4,000 went to Texas A&M’s Department of Visualization.

“No Train, No Gain”

Live action winner, “No Train, No Gain,” by seniors Julia Walter of Flower Mound and Brooke Cypers of Houston and junior Jacob Whitley of Anderson, used a lifestyle improvement approach in their bullet train pitch. Mixing live action and voice over narration with kinetic typography, artistic swirls and accents, their video asked viewers to imagine what they could do with time gained by riding a bullet train.


“Texplorers,” winner of the creativity category was developed by Miranda Mabrey, a senior from Dallas, with juniors Erin Brown of Flower Mound and Stetson Carlile of Stephenville. Their fast-paced, high-energy video blends motion graphics and live action footage encouraging travelers to explore Texas on the bullet train.

“We knew a lot of the entries would be for a general audience, so we narrowed our focus to our demographic to make it personal,” Mabrey said. “We also wanted to reach a group Texas Central hasn’t tried to reach yet with their marketing.”


Another competition finalist, “Revive,” an animated video by visualization juniors Courtney Michalsky of Katy, Amy Self of The Colony, Ian Sifeuntes of Addison, and Kendall Tiller of San Antonio, shows a character’s monochromatic world becoming more colorful and happier after he trades his car commute for a bullet train ride.

All three teams produced their entries for a graphic design-centered studio taught by Anatol Bologan, visualization lecturer, and Sherman Finch, assistant visualization professor, who challenged students to design skills for projects that affect people.

“We wanted to not just talk about what it means to be a graphic designer, but have them practice,” Finch said. “We brought in clients, competitions and more.”

Bologan added, “We wanted to create projects that would have a real-world impact on the community and provide the students with working experience.”

View all the winning videos here.

This story published originally on ArchOne.


Media contact: Sarah Wilson, architecture communications specialist, at 979-862-6642, or; or Elena Watts, marketing and communications specialist, at 979-458-8412 or


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