Friends! Howzit. What a time it has been, what a time since I last wrote, to shoot my digital words into the vast imagined space of ‘The Internet’.
What do I bring you this time? Well, lemme tell you a story. TLDR: a Beatboxing Dave short that was largely made by other people.
Last year I finished the first leg of development on a kids show. I was tired after it and decided it was time to do something purely for fun. ‘Play’ – a task that kids do effortlessly but something that’s sometimes noticeably missing from some types of commercial work.
So, I financed a few ‘play’ shorts – one of them was the ‘Bru & Boegie vs. Trump‘ short I wrote while on holiday, the result I’m proud of. Another was this Beatboxing Dave short, which I decided to hire mostly other people to make. I wanted to be the change in the world, and give someone the kind of brief I’d like. I really wanted everyone who worked on this to feel like they could – and should – just do whatever they wanted to do. I was saying ‘this is the budget, whatever you give back to me, I’m gonna accept and make. I trust you to do your thing, and please, enjoy your process.’
My buddy James Wolfaardt had been mentioning that he’d dig to write a Beatboxing Dave short, or at least encouraging me to do another BBD. He used to be a copywriter in Joburg for an ad agency, and is generally a very creative dude. So, I commissioned him to write an new episode of Beatboxing Dave and design the new characters, with the caveat that he can do whatever he wants and I’ll get it made.
We had a few discussions about story and then I left James to do his thing. Soon we had a cool script.
It was then time to record voices. We went to BASE Studios in Plettenberg Bay – a little recording studio tucked away in a coffee shop on the main street, run by the coffee shop owner. I commissioned fellow friend and musician Ben Badenhorst to do some voices (he does a really funny Cowbell Cow and Drum Circle Craig voice), and James and I did the other voices. We recorded, Ben and I brought along some instruments to record the drum circle session that happens in the story. Once that was done, things sat in inertia for a while until the little voice of ‘you need to finish your projects that your start, Mike’ came knocking.
Next step was to find someone to sort through all the recordings and pick and choose voice selections to make a voice track according to the script – no mean feat, as we did a couple read-through recordings. I listened to them and I think it was the first read-through that I thought was best (the first take’s often the best). I found Garth Jacobs through the Internet. He’d messaged me on Facebook, said he’s a recent graduate from SAE in sound engineering, and he’d ben keen to do some sound-to-animation stuff with me. Thinking this may be a perfect opportunity to work together, Garth readily took on the job, and did great work. A few suggestions here and there and soon we had a fixed voice track. He offered to work for free but I insisted on a nominal amount.
With that done, next was to find someone to board and animate it. I was originally going to take this on myself and get super experimental, but with other work brewing and a fair bit going on with house-stuff, I thought best thing would be to entrust this to someone else. I put the word out there and Nick Welch, 1st year lecturer at ‘The Animation School’ in Cape Town, agreed to do the job. My budget wasn’t big by any stretch of the imagination – and this is a couple minutes of animation – so I’m lucky and pleased that Nick agreed to it 🙂
He did boards and an animatic first, which were great and I didn’t have any changes – again insisted that he could do whatever he wanted. Nick pulled Benito Kok, 3rd year lecturer at ‘The Animation School’, into the fold to help with animating, and then brought Luke Viljoen in to do backgrounds. I got emailed tests every now and then, it was really encouraging to see that things were still ticking over for Beatboxing Dave.
It doesn’t matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.
Before we knew it, the piece was animated!
I could then ask my buddy Arnie Rodrigues in California if he’d consider doing music & sfx for the short, again, with the caveat that I’d encourage him to go as experimental as he’d like – I would love to take whatever he can give me 🙂 Again, the budget I was offering him was small, and I’m thankful Arnie agreed to it. He’s a talented musician and has done music for a couple of my shorts before – once he even created an orchestral score and had it played live to my Bobo short – super kiff. Arnie sent through bits and pieces, and as usual, I felt like I needn’t really give much input as the short was in good hands. One or two suggestions once the finished track was sent through, and then, the music was done.
Arnie’s a Youtube vlogger, and his channel is fairly new. He’s such a cool dude I just had to post his latest video here (this is the latest at the time of writing):
I got the separate audio stems from Arnie and forwarded them to Garth, who was handling final mixing and mastering. Garth added a few more foley sounds and locked down the final mix. My plan was to have the short ready to show people at the meetings I had set up at ‘Ottawa Animation Festival’ in Canada but time was so tight and my energy so little that I didn’t get to create the title card and credits before the festival, so I left it until I got back to South Africa. I feel like I made up for not having the actual shot by doing some improv Beatboxing Dave voices at some of the meetings. Luckily, it’s a really easy pitch: ‘There’s a guy who Beatboxes badly, but he always manages to save Princess Lollipop from the lecherous clutches of Passive-Aggressive Steve who thinks Dave has the SIKKEST beatboxing skillz ever, bfff ksssh.
So – I got the final render files from Nick Welch, added everything together in Premiere Pro, drew a title card in Photoshop and made an outro sequence. I did some minor cosmetic fiddling but wasn’t keen to noodle too much, rather to let other people’s work stand as is.
Lo and behold – a new Beatboxing Dave short!
I’m super grateful to everyone who put their time and energy towards it. It celebrates creating for the sake of creating.
For myself, my motives were not purely altruistic – I was always going to put the film online on my Youtube channel, and monetize it. While I’m not earning mad bux off Youtube, the hope is that one day I have enough content generating decent bux, and that one day I create something SOOO kiff (maybe like the one Goldfish we made that’s clocked 7 million views) that a deluge of people look for the other stuff I have online, and that leads to a big influx of interest. In the meantime, I continue to make and put up work I think is cool.
I currently have 2 new Bru & Boegie shorts in various stages of completion, and a list of 4 possible shorts I’m considering working on next. One that I’ve been resisting for a while is a personal story short, which is probably the one I should probably focus on. It’s easier to do random wacky stuff than plumbing the internal depths. My mom taught me that sometimes the thing we avoid the most, the most shadowy part, is the part where we should be shining the light.
For other work, we’re months-deep in one super exciting project – 20 episodes of 90 seconds each. I’m pretty sure we’re under an NDA, and in some ways it’s been nice working under the radar for now to be able to focus on the work without the hoo-ha that can get in the way. It’s like we’re working on a really awesome present for an unsuspecting audience.
Also, the one music video I made for Takeshi hit 2 million views! That’s nice:
8bit / pixel art is the gift that keeps on giving.
Bonus: I got a SNES Classic Mini recently and made an unboxing video of it. Here that it.
And SUPER bonus – Goldfish today released the music video we made! I’ll do a separate post on this, but for now it’s viewable 🙂
Until next time, friendo’s.
Beatboxing Dave – ‘Forbidden Dance’ credits:
Created, Produced & Financed by
Additional Character Designs by
Storyboards & Animatic by
Nick Welch – https://vimeo.com/nickwelch
Benito Kok – https://twitter.com/benikes
Beatboxing Dave, Passive-Aggressive Steve:
Drum-Circle Craig, Cowbell Cow, Princess Lollipop:
Funken, Derek-San, Metrognome:
Audio Wrangler & Mastering by
Voices recorded at BASE Studios in Plettenberg Bay
Music & SFX by
Title Card & Credits by