When Sesame Street approached us to pitch them ideas for a “letters and numbers” series of shorts we were thrilled. After all, it’s not every day that an iconic show from our childhood actively wants to hear our creative ideas. We pitched them a number of concepts including “F is for Fairy Tale” and “B is for Building”. They instantly fell in love with the beaver design our crack animator, Daniel Napoli, came up with for “B is for Building.”
But while they loved the design, they asked if we could repurpose it for use in a new concept — the number 7. Oh yeah, we got the best number!
Within a day we had a new idea roughed out and after a couple of rounds of back and forth with Sesame, they gave us quick approval. Gotta’ say, the folks at Sesame were as nice and supportive as you would hope. It’s no wonder they’ve been in business for over 50 years!
Production on this short was actually quite simple. The hardest part was just reminding ourselves that the video is meant for 2 year olds. That meant keeping things intentionally simple. Really, really simple!
The only other challenge was making sure we kept within Sesame Street’s educational guidelines. For us, that meant that while we could have our beavers diving into a lake, they couldn’t use a diving board to do so. Why? Because beavers don’t use diving boards. And it also meant that our distant mountains couldn’t be too purple because, again, real mountains aren’t actually purple. These were all very tiny creative compromises and we were more than happy to comply. It was actually an educational experience for us!
The other fun part of this project was building a piece around an original song. Our board artist, Gage Spell, and composer, Richard Dickerson, worked back and forth to make sure that there was enough time to tell our story beats while still maintaining tempo of the song.
Have a look at our animatic!
Animation for this short was done in Flash/Animate. It was the perfect tool for this project because the art was intentionally flat and we needed to deliver at 4k which is much easier to do in a vector-based system.
Check out our short and all the rest of Season 52’s shorts on HBO Max starting March 10, 2022. Our short is part of Episode 18: Fort Rudy and starts at around minute 19.
And if you have a project you need animated or want the best creative team around to come up with a concept for you, give us a holler!