Good afternoon. How are you? I hope the Holiday Season has you feeling all warm and fuzzy, rather than overheated and frayed. Either way, I hope the all new Daily Monster™ Christmas Song will put a sprig of mistletoe over your day.
Please note that this particular Monster has a dark sense of humor. There is also a bit of salty language. If you're watching with children, please check it out on your own first, and decide if your kids would enjoy the clip.
The Ballad of Bashful Pete was written and performed exclusively for the Daily Monster™ by my brilliant friend Jed Alger. Jed and I used to work together at Wieden + Kennedy a hundred years ago, and I'm very happy that he let himself be drafted for this yuletide effort.
When I first asked him if he'd be up for writing a Monster Christmas Carol the music poured out of him the same way the drawings hit me -- fast, furious, and in great volume. Check out the original 6-minute version of the song, accompanied by my quick and dirty storyboard drawings. This one's definitely a bit dark for the kids, if you're mindful of such things.
Based on that little mockup I decided to make this video animation only, instead of starting with a time-lapsed drawing of Pete or the singer. I just wanted to get right into the music. I started by cooking up a design for Pete, who I had planned on animating, so I drew him in pieces:
It was at this point that I started whining a bit to Jed about not being able to knock out six minutes of animation in time for this year's Holidays. Happily, he is a kind and patient man, so he came up with a brilliant 3-minute single edit, which he recorded in a hotel room by the Los Angeles International Airport while on assignment. He's such a rock star.
The result he sent to his friend Scott Doggett at Sweet & Doggett, who jumped into the breach with some expert sweetening of Jed's original track. He added jaunty drums and a banjo track that would make Ned Beatty smile. (He also put in that excellent and startling reindeer chorus! I know it's coming, but it still catches me off guard every time.)
I loved both the super stripped-down original track and Scott's souped-up bluegrass version, so I mashed them together, transitioning from the former to the latter right at the reindeer break. I hope that I offended neither Jed nor Scott with this executive move. I just wanted to have it both ways.
Next I spent about a week working on the lip synch. Here are all the key frames for the jaw movement in the piece:
and see the difference in the waveform below. Here is the before:
and here's the after:
Finally, I made the drawings to put on the slide projector screen in AfterEffects. Here are a few of my favorites if you'd like to see them in a bit more detail. Again, some portray Santa in a less than flattering light. Please proceed with caution, parents of children.
You can click on the images to get a larger view.
Here's our hero Pete, having assumed the role of Santa, and won the love of stylish young monster Sally Sue, who's rockin' the highlights this season.
The children are happy with their new Santa:
after having been less than satisfied with the 1.0 version:
Poor guys! Here is a closeup of the unjolly malfeasant:
And here he is in full swing, astride evil hench-deer Rudolph:
But let's not end on Evil Santa, but on Bashful Pete, who had eyes on long stalks and his brains in his feet:
And there you have it. I hope you enjoyed the little behind-the-scenes look at this latest Daily Monster™. I hope you'll have a wonderful Holiday, and that the New Year will bring you much joy, good health, and an unending stream of inspiration! You'll definitely have more Daily Monsters™ to keep you company in 2010. And you know, don't you, that 344 LOVES YOU