Shaboom! Animated Series
An animated series that combines the very best elements of children’s television with wisdom from Jewish traditions to teach everyday values through magic, comedy and silly songs.
My Role: Co-created. Recruited team. Developed Series. Directed every episode.
Developing the Idea
Original idea, before I joined on
I wasn’t involved with the show’s first incarnation, The Palace in Time. Here’s some art from that period.
Despite already having a theme song, some character animation tests and lots of art completed, the funder decided they didn’t want to back this because of its ‘Princess theme,’ so I was brought on to help reimagine what the show could be from the ground up.
My boss, Sarah Lefton, and I spent a while working on re-tooling the initial story idea and finding a writer.
Once we decided who the main characters would be, I had some illustrators do their takes, in the process of deciding who to ultimately hire.
Very early in the process, I had a bunch of illustrators mock up potential background styles.
I ended up going with the bottom right person, Giada Strinati.
Meanwhile, I also needed to find my animation team. I had an active project that had 12 two minute pieces, and I decided to test animators by having a different one do each piece.
I had an open call asking animators to do a five second test, before going forward with who would animate the full two minutes videos.
The best animation on that other series was done by Regh Animation, in India. I’d never set out to work out with a foreign animation team, but I can’t argue with the quality of their results. From the very beginning, what they’ve pulled together has been absolutely incredible.
Having picked out the creative team, I had Arash Rod make art for a pitch book to present to the funders.
We presented the package to them, along with a budget, schedule, and many documents talking about the educational objectives. They liked what they saw, and the show was green lit. We had funding!
Managing the Production
Final Character Designs
Due to timing, Arash had to drop out, so I hired Steven Knudsen and he came up with this new set of characters.
On the pilot, we spent a long time developing the story reel. Robert Pincombe coming in as the writer was absolutely game changing to the project, transforming its quality level once again.
Auditioning actors was its own story, as was the writing process, educational evaluation side, and budgeting. But let’s skip all that.
Here are few more screens to give you a better sense of my overall process.
Editing the Audio
Once we recorded the actors, I’d edit together a radio play version in Logic Pro.
Creating the Story Reels
And then I did a bunch of round tripping between Logic Pro and Final Cut Pro, where I assembled the story reels, as well as the final animated scenes later in the process.
Here’s one of the completed story reels. I directed the actors, edited together their lines, and managed Steven Knudsen who illustrated the boards,. Then I edited together a final cut before sending it off to the animation team.
Animating the Episodes
After I handed over the story reel and all of the assets (new backgrounds, props and characters) to Regh Animation, they’d animate it in Harmony. Ultimately there’d be a few rounds of adjustments before landing the finish.
A few times in every episode, I’d have to go into the Harmony files and adjust little moments here and there to make the timing of a joke land.
My full schedule, including a few other projects I was juggling, looked like this.
Each row represents a video.
Each color a different person or team
Each column represents a week, meaning this is about a year
Here’s a zoom in, as obviously that image above is impossible to make out. I did the tasks in yellow and oversaw the other tasks listed, hoping the people I’d hired would make their various deadlines.
People often ask what my role is in directing a project.
On this series I didn’t write it, illustrate it, animate it, score it, or even add in the sound effects, so what did I do?
Beyond juggling the budgets and schedule, I do a lot of editing at all stages of production (script notes, animation tweaks, editing the animatic, and final assembly, etc.) and a lot of legwork at the beginning to make sure we have the right team.
I hope this breakdown helped give you a better window into my directing world.
Its first season has over two million views. There are kids who watch it each week before Shabbat, as their parents prepare. It’s taught so many kids Jewish values like Ometz Lev, having a hero heart and Shalom Bayit, peace in the home. I’m incredibly proud of how it all turned out.