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. 

This is one of the fifteen episodes. I directed all 120 minutes of the full series.

 

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.

 
 
Art by Chiang Pin-Hsuan

Art by Chiang Pin-Hsuan

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.

 

Scouting Talent

 

Character Designers

 
Various character designers approach to the characters

Various character designers approach to the characters

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.

 

Background Artists

 
Various background artists approach to the background art

Various background artists approach to the background art

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.

 

Animators

 

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.

 
 

Some of the five second animation tests. From bad to good.

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.

 

Clips from series that came before Shaboom! Used it as a second round of testing potential animators to work with on Shaboom!

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.

The Pitch

 

Having picked out the creative team, I had Arash Rod make art for a pitch book to present to the funders.

 
 
Art in pitch book by Arash Rod

Art in pitch book by Arash Rod

 
 

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

 
 
Characters by Steven Knudsen in this document showing early version and various notes.

Characters by Steven Knudsen in this document showing early version and various notes.

Due to timing, Arash had to drop out, so I hired Steven Knudsen and he came up with this new set of characters.

 

Pilot Animatic

 

A short clip of the pilot’s evolution from me doing the voices to its final version. Steven Knudsen illustrated and I edited.

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

 
Screen Cap of Logic Pro, where I edited the actors’ audio together.

Screen Cap of Logic Pro, where I edited the actors’ audio together.

Once we recorded the actors, I’d edit together a radio play version in Logic Pro.

 

Creating the Story Reels

 
Screen Cap of Final Cut Pro X, where I edited the story reels and final animated scenes together

Screen Cap of Final Cut Pro X, where I edited the story reels and final animated scenes together

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.

 

Episode Story Reel. I edited this and Steven Knudsen illustrated it.

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.

 
 
Screen Cap of Toon Boom Harmony

Screen Cap of Toon Boom Harmony

Screen Cap of Toon Boom Harmony

Screen Cap of Toon Boom Harmony

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.

 

Schedule

 

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

 
Full Project Schedule.  (Click to Zoom In)

Full Project Schedule. (Click to Zoom In)

 

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.

 
Zoom in of part of full schedule

Zoom in of part of full schedule

 

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.

 

Impact

 

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.