Friday, October 10, 2008

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Here's the delicate flower in full bloom...she's a charmer!

video

Joseph, my friend. I can't believe anything else needs to be said, but to drive my point home even further, allow me to paint a picture for you to more fully grasp the gravity of the situation. Jillian's androgyny should be the least of your concerns. I hate to do this in such a public forum but...

Setting: Joseph's parents' house. It's a beautiful spring day and Joe has finally decided it is time for his parents to meet the new "girl" he's been dating. The couple pulls up on a motorcycle, and the driver helps Joe off the rear seat. "She" takes a passing glance in the rearview mirror for bugs in her teeth and after a careful tousle of the hair, makes a quick motion with her head to Joe as if to say, "Let's do this."

Walking into the house, Joseph announces their arrival to his parents- "Mom, Dad?"
"This place ain't bad." Jillian says as she surveys the home from the entry way. Overhearing Jillian's comment from the other room, Joe's sweet mother responds as she comes out to greet them, "Oh! Is that Devon's voice I hear? I didn't think he was comi..." she stops short as she notices that Devon in fact did not come which means the booming voice she heard could have only come from the "woman" standing next to Joseph. Right at this moment, Joe's burly and brawny father comes in from working on a project in the basement-shaping rebar into Disney characters with his bare hands for the grandkids or something like that. He stands next to his wife as Joe introduces the mannish parody of womanhood at his side, "Dad, Mom, this is Jillian."
"Pleased to meet you Jillian," his father says extending a hand as a warm gesture, "welcome to our home." Jillian reaches out and grasps the outstretched hand and gives it a firm squeeze as she shakes it. "Thanks. Whatcha bench?" is her response.
"I-I'm sorry?" he replies perplexedly-his right eye twitching slightly as he focuses on not passing out from the pain.
"Forget it." she releases her grip and walks past everyone into the kitchen. "What's for dinner?"

The evening continues, but a propensity to become longwinded in narration combined with the sheer lack of ambition prevent me from providing a full play by play.
Let me just briefly summarize the remainder of the night's events: Jillian complains her meat is overcooked (it's chicken),excuses herself to remedy her five o'clock shadow in the bathroom, and marks her territory on a houseplant. After dinner at Joe's folks' place, she invites him to come back to her place where she lights some candles, puts on some soft music and forces him to shave her back and administer testosterone and anabolic injections. So romantic.

Delicate little flower....

This post has little to do with Children Kids, however, I am appealing to the fans of the cartoon to settle a debate between myself and the "Hate King" known to be Devon.

Some of you may recognize the vicious little angel above from "The Biggest Loser", a television show that gathers girthy people up in to a gym, where they bottle their sweat for natural cures and aphrodisiacs. Her name is Jillian Michaels, and she is one of the trainers on the show responsible for shouting and hitting the living bean bags until they feel enough shame to stop eating.

The debate: Man or Woman

I say woman, Devon says man. I say woman because I'm extremely attracted to her, Devon says man because of her Adam's apple. I say woman because I think the features on her face defined and unique, Devon says man because she looks like a silver back.

I believe that most of Devon's motives come from his hope that I might never achieve happiness and he will do anything he sees fit to keep me from falling in love, like calling my new found fancy a lumberjack, Yettie, or pre-op transvestite. Because he doesn't want me to be happy, I cannot trust his opinion on the subject of her gender. So what if she can beat most men to a pulp? That's adorable. Who cares if she pees standing up? Who doesn't? And is it really that big of a deal that I would let her strangle me until I almost pass out? Exactly.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

i think you may have met before… ZAK!

As the star of Episode 1—Happy, Sad, Mad, Happy, Full—we’ve introduced Zak a few times before, but don’t stop reading just yet—there’s more!


Zak is a highly imaginative child, who keeps to himself… and he’s perfectly fine with that. With genuine sincerity and childish exuberance, he plays out elaborate scenarios during recess. Retreating to the private world in his head, Zak is chums with the Sun, friend to the birds, and a champion leaf diver. Innocent, and slightly awkward when forced into social settings, his alcoholic father is convinced that his boy is a coward and a wimp—beliefs that he is not afraid to share with his son. Zak does his best to keep his emotions bottled up and buried beneath a happy facade. However, suffering many years of mental abuse from his sad-making father is beginning to take its toll on poor Zakary, causing the lines between reality and fantasy to slowly blur.


+ + + + +


zak

check out Camille’s how-to post on making Zak.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Carla Winslow!



Lover of rules and socially awkward, Carla Winslow has all of the ingredients necessary to realize her dream of one day becoming a police officer. Stern little Carla is unable—and unwilling—to resist a good healthy tattle. With milk carton in hand, and milk mustache under nose, Carla can usually be seen roaming the playground and halls looking for purveyors of injustice. Highly competitive, she will try to out-do any of her classmates, though always within the rules of play.


+ + + + +



Carla Winslow

Damzel & Darling Plushies


Damzel


Darling

We introduced you to Damzel and Darling yesterday and mentioned that images of their plushies would be up soon. well, here they are. We’ll have links to purchase via Etsy.com soon. In the meantime, if you really can’t wait another minute to have your very own Children Kid, comment below and we’ll figure something out, I’m sure.

Monday, September 29, 2008

some links, some explanations, and… some Children Kids: “Damzel & Darling”

Back in early-to-mid June, we started introducing the world to Children Kids. We told about some of our early art, design, and character explorations. We shared the fortunate fable of finding our first voice actor. We sang songs, we made plushies, we even gave you a sneak peak behind the scenes of our magical, Room of Requirements-esque squatterStudios. We introduced ourselves, introduced the show (twice: 1, 2), confessed some sins, told some stories, and then—to some degree—ran out of things to say.

To those of you who have stuck with us these months: Thank you!
To those of you who we may have lost along the way: Apologies!
We unveiled a little prematurely, we’ll give you that. Our small team perhaps underestimated the behemoth that is producing a short-length cartoon on the side of life, jobs, ailments, travels, bills, and brawls. And I’m not promising a finished piece tomorrow—a little more patience we ask of you—but Children Kids is coming along. Please keep coming back, tell your friends, tell your neighbors.
And, in the meantime…

enjoy the stories as we start to introduce you to the Children Kids:




Lovely one, and blessed, delicate, and kind, a light radiates from the one named Damzel. Whether it be scraped knee or bruised ego, Damzel will be the first at your side, dear friend, to hold your hand and cry with you when life appears to be heading south. Her blissful unawareness to her perfection is her only imperfection. All the girls of Middleton wish to be her, and all of the boys wish to be with her—much to the dismay of Damzel’s identical twin, Darling. She’ll break your heart with her eyes, only to mend it with her smile.


+ + + + +




Born first, remembered last, our depressed little Darling lives on, only to seek out a way to snuff out the light and life of her twin, Damzel. Identical in appearance to her sister, Darling has a warped perception of beauty and is confused as to why all her classmates flock to dear Damzel, raving of her breathtaking features, though never her own. Alas, friend, do not shed tears for Darling as she is anything but her namesake. This wicked little girl fosters a crooked soul and faded light. Darling hides away to the dark places of the mind, dreaming up mischievousness and murder, aimed toward placing her sweet sister in distress.


+ + + + +


Each day we’ll try to bring you another character’s story, a drawing of the character, and—as of yet missing on this post—a picture of a plushie inspired by each character, as well as a link to purchase said plushie. They’re great! Come back for more.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ferocious Ferociousness

A manic pace has taken place at squatterStudio, and all the beauty that is Children Kids is beginning to manifest itself before our veriest eyes. All the colours are churning out colourfully, the movement so very, very moving, and there is an electric sense in the air that Micah's musical mind is swirling like unto a mighty maelstrom, ready to be gathered up and sing life into the world that we have been creating for nigh on a year-two months.

Promises have been promised to our fans, that our progress is progressing along, and so it does my heart well to deliver the happy tidings of our recent sprint to the finish. This fight to the hall of Valhalla has not come without casualties, as Berk just got over a recent bout of food poisoning and I got a sliver in June. And though the battle is not yet done, we face the rest of it, fearing not spoiled Subway Sandwiches, nor the evil splinter in the thumb. Soon, the very all of us, will join together for the unveiling, where there will be tears of joy, and delicious chips and dip, I imagine.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Children Kids Scientific Study

Here at Children Kids, we take pride in our stories, knowing that we have exhausted all means of research to pin down the mannerisms of today’s children, so that we may carry their interactions with one another honestly into our tales. Right when we think that we’ve witnessed just about all that human little ones can offer, they turn us on our ear, surprising us with their sticktoitivness. The following is a study that took course over a recent weekend. I was invited to eat dinner with my brother and his family, (who happen to house two of our Children Kids voices) and during dessert I was presented with yet another opportunity to study the characteristics of the young ones. While chewing on a deliciously heavy brownie, my nephew, Hayden, asked me if I knew of a way he could earn some money. Being the homeless, and horrible uncle that I am, I spit my brownie out onto my plate, and flattened it with a fork. My first thought was to have him eat it for the spending cash he desired, but that appeared a touch too predictable. Instead I craftily carved a smiley face into the slobber covered brownie, and told him that I would give him ten dollars if he took care of his pre-chewed brownie baby for the entire day. That meant that if I told him it needed to be fed and burped, he had the honors, if it needed to be changed, he was the responsible party, and if it threw a rock at a neighborhood child, he had to explain to the parents why their kid was missing a tooth.
I made this deal, believing that at the end of the day I would still have my ten dollars, and my nephew would have nothing but the stink of failure on him, knowing that he can never best me (A win-win situation for me, as I have grown suspicious as of late, that he wants to kill me and claim my women as his own).
As the day progressed, I randomly assigned tasks of parenthood to him, such as filling out head-start papers for the brownie baby, and scolding it because it left the refrigerator door open. Malcontent took me, and I became ever more and more flustered to see him take such good care of his new found child. He completed each task as a responsible parent should. It was time to really test him. I framed the brownie baby by smearing a little of him on a rock and hurling it towards a buck-toothed girl on a big wheel, smashing her right on the eye. Hilarious. As I hid behind a bush and watched my nephew handle her parents like a champ, even asking to have the doctor’s bill sent to him, a change took place in me. Seeing him interact with and even stick up for his brownie, as well as witnessing all of the love it began to return to him, planted a jealous seed in my heart. After all, it was me, not my nephew who had carried it in my mouth. I was the one who had birthed it into this world onto a plate. It even had my eyes. I wanted my baby back, but I had to wait for the right time to act.
A few hours later, Hayden set his brownie baby down for a nap, but unknown to him, I had disguised myself as a crib, and he had set the brownie right onto my chest. As soon as the door was closed I sat up, victorious, with my brownie in my arms. My joy vanished as I looked into its eyes, and realized that it had no idea who I was. Though it was smiling, I could sense a little fear. The simple truth was my baby didn’t know me. Hayden was its father now. I choked the truth down, said my farewells, and left the room.
Hayden won his ten dollars, and he promised me that he would set the money aside for the brownie’s education. Also, the little girl on the big wheel died. So that was good.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

An Update for you, yes you! Hooray!

A man recently approached me and said “Yo Joseph, why no posts in the last month?”, and without giving me a chance to reply, he promptly kicked me in the crotch, dropping me like a sack-full of dead mice. As I sat there, pondering the pain, the question he asked began to take root. Guilt seized me, as I knowingly had shirked my duty to keep the Children Kids fans up to date on our progress, thus, making the crotch in my heart hurt more than the crotch that was kicked. But I needed to chase that guilt away with more important matters, like, "Who could I kick in the crotch?" After a couple of sleepless nights trying to remember all who have wronged me, and ranking them in order from who deserves the hardest kick to the crotch, down to those who just needed to be threatened with one, the crotch in my brain started to ache so I consulted with a dear friend on how to remedy my problems. Our walk and talk began badly as we both stepped in dog crap, but we walked and talked on. He told me that I needed to stop wasting time and energy on revenge lists. He told me that I was a negative person, and needed to focus on more positive things. This made the crotch in my pride hurt. A distraction was needed, so I swung my leg upwards ever upwards, in an attempt to kick him in the crotch, but he was expecting it, and had already made his move. His foot was well on its way to making contact with my crotch. My fear was realized, as the pain from the solid boot to the groin somehow made a blood vessel burst in my eye. This attack made the crotch in my crotch hurt. My friend slash crotch assassin helped me to my feet, but the pain was too much and I passed out. I awoke, sitting across from my friend in a booth at Denny’s with blueberry pancakes in front of me. As I sat there, grateful for pancakes, I looked out the window and could only see one set of dog crap footprints on the sidewalk. I turned to my friend and asked why there was only one set of dog crap foot prints, to which he replied, “It was then that I carried you...and you threw up blood all over my back.”

Also, Children Kids is coming along. More updates to follow.



Thursday, August 21, 2008

something to see!


about a month ago we were working on a proposal and came up with a relatively concise and appealing description of what children kids is. and then a couple weeks later, BERK left us for ComicCon. So while he was gone, the rest of us decided to throw the above-mentioned description with some music and art. It was supposed to be a weekend activity. It took us a few weeks. That's the speed we work at here in squatterStudios. We don't do nothin if we don't do it right and take 5x longer doing it than originally expected.
At any rate…

THE CHILDREN KIDS!

go on, check it out!! i don't just use exclamation points and all-caps all willy-nilly like this for no reason. enjoy~!

thanks to dane for programming the page and analisa for the AE work.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Postum






From the early days of my impressionable youth (like seven) I have held a special love in my heart for postum. A very popular alternative for coffee for LDS homes (which I grew up in) in the early days of the church wide practice of the word of wisdom (1902-ish). As the years went by a substitute for coffee was ever less and less in demand since people gradually left the culture (cafes, tea parties, poetry slams) alone all together, save a few of us stalwarts. Sadly, after one hundred and twelve years the company, Kraft Foods, stopped making Postum last fall because "the demand for it was so low that manufacturing it no longer made sense". Sucks for me. Any way, the only way for me to get the precious stuff is to buy it off eBay which is too expensive, or switch to its wanting imitator Pero. A sad thought for a purist like me. Resigned to my woeful state one morning I was surprised by the second most kind and charitable act of my summer. Sienna and Tony Dittmer had overheard my many laments over the tragic discontinuance and decided to give me their last two unopened jars of the rich blessed goodness! I felt like someone had just given me a panda. Sienna, who frequents the squatterStudio, walked in a few mornings ago, and casually pulled two albino rhinoceroses from her bag and set them on my desk. I was flabbergasted. Suddenly we started doing the Coffee Shop dialog from Pulp Fiction.

JULES
It's all yours, Ringo.

PUMPKIN
Open it.

Jules flips the locks and opens the case, revealing it to
Pumpkin but not to us. The same light SHINES from the case.
Pumpkin's expression goes to amazement. Honey Bunny, across
the room, can't see.

HONEY BUNNY
What is it? What is it?

PUMPKIN
(softly)
Is that what I think it is?

Jules nods his head: "yes."

PUMPKIN
It's beautiful.

Jules nods his head: "yes."

Thanks Tony and Sienna. You guys rule. Please don't move to Brazil!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Children Kids at Sego

The title says it all, but cannot express just how happy we are to be a part of Sego this year. Children Kids has been invited to help promote the festival through our own personalized Sego ads, as well as show up in full force with a booth to showcase the splendid splendids we have been working so very, very hard on. The dates are Friday September 26th and Saturday September 27th at the castle on the mountain behind the State Hospital, Provo, Utah, U.S.A., Earth, Milky Way Galaxy, Universe, Flying Spaghetti Monster's Eye. More information on this joyous event is sure to follow.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

it’s about time, isn’t it?!

A few days ago I took a couple hours off from the grueling work here at sqatterStudios to go have lunch with my lady-girlfriend-wife, Suzie (third from the left). We went to this super sketchy Asian Buffet on Center Street in Provo that maybe I will refrain from naming—save to say that it’s name is super cliché Asian. I had never seen a soul enter that restaurant before, but we were feeling brave and so we ventured in.
We were greeted coolly: “Buffet or menu?”—though it was really more like a statement than a question. Following the adventurous vein, we chose the former. And ate quickly and spoke in uncomfortable whispers in the empty room while the staff waited with tired, yet piercing eyes for us to finish our plates.
The highlight of the meal—aside from the banging Mongolian chicken and the heavy as rock jell-o, was the prize awaiting me in my fortune cookie dessert:

Hooray!

and then, wait for it…

the numbers:

even has my lucky three…
no one take them, they’re mine.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Bad Blogger, Bad!



We've been busy here at squatterStudios with episode one, but that's no excuse for abandoning the blog. No posts since last week, and I take full responsibility. I'm asking all who read this to post a comment suggesting the form of punishment I should endure. When I gather them all up, I will focus all of the most dreadful ideas on this puppy who represents all of my sins. If it makes you feel any better, he is a very bad puppy and deserves all that he gets. So don't hold back, because I too, have been a very bad manboy.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Have a great weekend... with your very own Zak.


photo courtesy of Leo Patrone

Back in June I started hanging out with the Children Kids crew as some kind of project manager. I love being in the studio with them and since I can't illustrate, animate, compose music or even use Photoshop very well I decided to use my sewing machine to introduce Zak to the world.

(You may recall that he has since been featured on a fantastic sewing blog.)

I got the idea from the top seller on Etsy. The Black Apple sells these great and simple handmade dolls, along with a lot of other cool paintings, prints, cards, and the like. Her Etsy shop is on hold until she moves from Georgia to Oregon so you can hang out at her blog in the mean time.

She was also featured on Martha Stewart's show not too long ago. So I made a tutorial for Zak, very similar to hers. If you decide to make your own Zak, this video will be helpful, although Zak has one more layer since he wears a shirt and pants instead of a dress.

Here's my first sewing tutorial ever. The pattern pieces should be enlarged 200%. If you have trouble sizing your Zak the way you want him to be, just email me and I'll send you the original PDFs.

Materials Needed:
white felt
flesh colored canvas or cotton
orange cotton (ours has a little bit of stretch)
denim (ours came from an old pair of Micah's jeans)
poly-fil
rice
sewing machine or thread and needle (we used a machine)
Black Paint and thin brush

Pattern Pieces:
enlarge 200% after clicking on images



How To:
(click to enlarge)




*Please note that these dolls (much like our cartoon) are not intended for children. Who knows if they are safe or not? I don't know how "they" decide these things, but we didn't ask "them" so we don't know...

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Composer Slash Sound Engineer


photo by leo patrone

Micah Dahl will bite you. Don't worry friend, it's a good thing. Micah is a Musical Vampire charged with the duty to bring delicate sospriando lacrimosos and triumphant grandiosos to children who show musical promise. Do you not understand some of those words? Then be afraid friend, because Micah will bite you, only, for his personal nourishment now.

Born in the early 1400's, Micah made a name for himself by being able to play any musical instrument set in his hands. This gained the attention of a local Renaissance band which extended an invitation for him to join up. The bands front man, Vlad the Impaler quickly became envious of Micah's musical abilities. Amongst their fans, there was hot debate over who was the better musician, Micah, or Vlad, causing a rift that eventually led to the break up of the group. Years later, through cruelty and cunning, Vlad had become emperor of Romania and invited Micah's new band to play at the castle for his coronation in an attempt to put an end to the quarrel. However, Micah's musical talent had magnified ten fold since the break up, and upon hearing the tunes ringing forth from Micah's Lute, Vlad became enraged in jealousy and pounced on Micah, biting ferociously at his neck. In self defense, Micah snatched up a wooden hammer used to play the dulcimer and plunged the handle deep into Vlad's heart...but the damage had already been done. Secret to all was that Vlad was the very first Dracula, and unknowingly, Micah had taken up the mantle from the bite he suffered.

Centuries later, Micah still makes music, and charges only a tiny bite on the neck. He has recently learned that Vlad has made a return to our world as this man. That's right, Yanni. Yanni's hit song "Nostalgia" is a call out to Micah, challenging him to a fight to the death. Though both Micah and Vlad still live, and have endured many battles with one another, neither one is willing to give up claim to the throne of world's most musical vampire. Here at Children Kids, our vote is for Micah, and not just because he's holding my nephew, sniffing at his neck at the moment.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

more classic Sesame Street jams


just a few years earlier and I could have grown up with that Stevie instead of this one (they do show off some cutting edge videography and editing there, though…)

ps, though: please check out that little girl rocking out in the background of the video above (approx. 5:20).

The Animator


photo by leo patrone

BERK is a robot.
Why a robot?
Don't ask us such stupid questions or we'll send our robot after you. Our animating robot to be specific. Designed to animate at super human speed, the BERK unit is a perfect fit here at Children Kids. Powered by otter pops, impervious to tedious suggestions, and rust, BERK can work for hours on end without sleep, or positive reinforcement.
But that kind of technology doesn't exist now, does it?
Shut your face you! Of course technology like that isn't around yet. The BERK unit was sent back in time, three months from now, to help us on our quest to make a cartoon. It was the clever plan of our art director Cole. In February of this year he sent a check to a robotics company in ST. George, Utah, with instructions to mail back to our time a robot as soon as they had one that met our specifications. We wanted a rock-climbing, animating, golden-locks havin' robot, and that's exactly what we got.
Three months from the future?
Yes, you're mind would be blown if you knew what was just round the corner. BERK has told us many frightening things about not good stuff that is bad.
Could you be more specific?
While getting his Animating and Super-Awesome chips installed at The University of Utah, BERK worked for an airline, loading and unloading planes so he could get the discounted flights. He traveled the world snorkeling, and scuba-ing and was witness to something horrible.
What man, for the love of all that is good! What happens?
Gasoline.......over 4$ a gallon! Duhn duhn duhn!
But gas is over that now. And if he was from three months into the future, and you received him last February, doesn't that mean the future he came from was last May?
Berk is a crazy man that dresses in a robot costume, and works for otter pops, there, are you happy now? That's all we can afford.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

About the Art Director


photo by leo patrone.

Cole is, and always has been, but mostly never was. Born the 27th letter of the English alphabet (a vowel), he was orphaned at an early age when the entire human race developed a speech impediment that could not pronounce him without going into seizure. With no need for him his family put him into exile, but not without prophecy. It was foretold that he would remain in exile until a half-Korean muse would rise up and resurrect the unspoken vowel, utter his sound to wake him, and return him to his rightful place. That day did come, however, upon opening his eyes for the first time in centuries, he fell in love with the muse, and passed on his birthright, forsaking his place between "P" and "Q". The two married and he began to learn the ways of the human.

First on his list, get a favorite sports team like most human males. Not knowing any better, Cole chose to love the Seattle Supersonics, which proved to be a one-sided relationship as the team continually broke his heart year in, year out. In further attempts to humanize himself, he enrolled at BYU where he quickly set himself apart as one of the premiere designer slash art directors in the program. Cole's eye for detail, and uncanny ability to bring many different forms of art together in harmony, have won him several awards in his early career. Most recently he was awarded "The Pencil", handed out at "The One Show" in "New York City". Though the award, show, and place all sounded made up, we gladly welcomed him to the team. Cole's visually unique style at Children Kids acts as it's own character, enticing the dormant parts of the mind to the forefront, where it pounces, overloading the imagination to the point of implosion, sending the viewer on scary fun house hallucination....but in a good way.

Most nights Cole can be seen running wild and scantily clad in the woods with his raucous brothers "Z" and "R", the three of them devouring organic fruit roll-ups and designing new fonts.

Monday, July 28, 2008

A few thoughts on The Con


San Diego Comic Con.

I have decided that the con is all about self-esteem. This is an opportunity for nerds across the globe to unite and be in the midst of like minds and tastes. The one time when it is completely acceptable and respected to don tights and spandex- where the best bodies of a comic book, video game, anime and soft drink exercise and diet program can display their pale cellulite wares- on this weekend only they reign as gods and goddesses. Perhaps for me this is the weekend that I can assure myself and say “well whatever happens to me I don’t think I’ll ever be as lame as those guys.” They are probably thinking right back “Oh look at that kid without a costume and so few friends—I’m glad I’ll never be as lame as he is.” It is truly a symbiotic relationship.

I got my favorite comic book artist Mike Mignola to sign and draw in my sketchbook. One should never meet their heroes. Mike was a salty pale guy who was obviously very weary of his notebook signing responsibility. Mike wrote and drew Hellboy, who is this really tough badass character that is funnily irreverent—I guess I hoped to see something of the Hellboy character reflected in his creator. Instead I just found a dull ordinary man that was tired and flustered by his situation—it was clear he just wanted a sandwich. When I make it to the big time I will make it a definite point to remain as aloof and distant to my fans as possible—this means all of my public appearances will have pedestals and podiums and lots bright lights and ropes—a hero should never appear human.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Generation OCD

We were chatting in the studio the other day about fun little games we play with our children, nieces, nephews etc. and I mentioned how a few weeks back I was walking from the parking lot into a building with my two and a half year old daughter warning her not to step on any cracks in the road or sidewalks. My intentions were to teach her a fun new game to make walking down boring streets a little more interesting, but a few days later I noticed she was a bit stressed and hesitant to walk on a particular sidewalk in our neighborhood that has lots of cracks in it. It occured to me that this is exactly how OCD adults are created. Some well-meaning adult introduced a "game" to a child that continues to haunt them throughout their life. I guess I'll hold off on the new game I wanted to teach her called "Every handshake, doorknob, shopping cart, or public restroom you touch a kitten dies."

Monday, July 21, 2008

stills & details




These are some stills and details from the opening scene of the first episode of Children Kids—“Happy Sad Mad Happy Full.”

Friday, July 18, 2008

Versus

A long running debate exists between myself and my scholarly friends. An argument that can only exist in the innermost circles of the wisest folk in the halls of academia. A query that may appear so simple to answer when first heard, but upon deliberation can easily turn the mind into pudding. Delicious banana pudding.

Q: Who would win in a fight; Polar Bear with chainsaw arms or Elephant with razor blade trunk?

I know, right? Your mind is blown. But before you start your own inner-war, take in to consideration the following:

The polar bear can tap out at 10 ft. tall and 1500 el bees. They are very agile, have extraordinarily strong necks, and the power of deception in that the elephant might want to hug him because of the cuteness factor. Make no mistake, if the elephant goes in for a bear hug or a goochie goo, all the local polar bears will be enjoying elephant burgers for weeks to come.

The elephant is the wild card to me. A herbivore, so right away I'm thinking sorta thespian, but they can reach 11 ft tall and up to 12,000 lbs. Their tusks can grow to nearly 10 ft. long and mercy to you if you get between it, and it's Express for Men sunglasses. Weaknesses would be a soft underbelly that the bear could easily climb beneath and hack away at, and his cumbersome movement, thus limiting his range with the razor blade trunk. Strengths are pure size advantage, and large amounts of flesh to cut through before you hit anything vital. Not to mention, if he gets a hold of a black feather, it's like heroin for an elephant, they become delusional and think they can fly. Nothing more dangerous than an elephant willing to throw it's body around so haphazardly.

Contest rules: Each animal will be wearing a suit that simulates the temperature of it's natural environment, and they will be fighting in an iron cage, with cement floors, so no one animal is used to the habitat. No referee, no throwing in the towel. Unlimited 5 minute rounds until there is a victor, no outside help from another animal holding a folding chair. To keep the animals motivated the audience will be nothing but crying kindergartners. Prizes include the winner of the match getting a shopping cart, and five minutes to hand pick as many of the kindergartners as possible, to eat, or stage a production of Little Shop of Horrors, whichever they prefer. If the winner handpicks the child sitting on the hidden star chair, the animal will get a round trip ticket to visit the spouse of the loser to deliver the remains of said loser and dance on them in front of said spouse.

Let the debate begin.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Coaching Bastian



Here is a fun little clip of the torture we put our voice talent through to get what we think we want from them. You notice that I had already got the performance I liked from poor Bastian (voice of Zak) but just in case, we made him continue for another hour or so. He is quite the trooper.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

We do What We do What We do

It's no secret that we have stayed mum on our story lines, however, there is rhyme to our reason. Our hope is to get people excited about the project by showcasing the nostalgic art, whimsical animation, and playfully hip music, without blowing the plots of the stories. So, how do you as a blog-hopper know that we are the right fit for you? It's a legitimate concern that demands serious answers, so we contacted MIT to design a short questionnaire that will help you decide if Children Kids is right for you. When they stopped answering my phone calls and got the restraining order (they totally went weird on us), we decided to contract the job out to the soiled homeless man that lives under my stairs. His payment, a half eaten eclair, and a broken lighter. Here is what he came up with.

the children kids and you quiz number 1a

1. Do you enjoy breathing or not enjoy breathing?
2. Do you have at least one of the five senses?
3. Would you agree that bad things are bad for stuff?
4. How tall would you say that is? I think I'm bleeding.
5. She's fat.
6. Question?
7. Is having fun better than having cancer?
8. True or False, Maybe or What?
9. Would you punch a polar bear if you knew he couldn't fight back?
10. Would you hug that same polar bear and buy him some shaved ice as an apology for the cheap shot, only to knock it out of his hand and hit him again? (he can't fight back, remember? you could do this all day long)

Here is how we score this. If you're alive and still reading this, then this cartoon is meant specifically for you, own it, kiss it, love it. We've spent months crafting these fables just for you, tailored for your personal enjoyment, designed to make your hearts and minds sing love songs to one another. It has been no easy task that we have taken on, and we are working like beavers on crack to finish it for you as speedily as possible. Alas, we will not skimp on the quality, for it is our goal to blow all of the un-blown parts of your mind, put the pieces together, and re-blow them again. We're grateful for your patience, and please stay tuned for the final delivery. It'll be worth it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

hello


This is our Zak.
You may not have recognized him at first. He's in disguise. WPP or something, I think.
You can see a few more pics of him here.
And you can stay tuned for a plushie tutorial for your very own Zak, and other children kids friends like him.
Soon.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Silly ol’ Bear…

now i like Winnie the Pooh as much as about anyone I know. When I was a freshman at the-place-which-must-not-be-named, I used to plan my class schedule around Pooh Bear, a smoothie, and some hot ramen.
But the stuff that Disney has done to him recently is simply atrocious. First, the super shiny-happy-people style that looks like it belongs on a box of overpriced cereal. And second, that fake 3D, sterile, "happy" environment that they've put him in on Playhouse Disney (sometimes I catch a terrifying glimpse while looking for Charlie and Lola—be patient with that link, it's worth it).
The old school stuff, though—the genius of A.A. Milne & E.H. Shepherd, as well as the following Disney Classics—is the stuff to live a life from. And I think for a while I would have taken the Biblical stance of condemnation for adding to the Word when it comes to Pooh until I saw this.

woah! holy cow hold the phone~~! wow! Who’d have known the Russians had that in them? That! is amazing. and that is definitely not Disney… I'll sit mesmerized for 9+ minutes just watching (cuz I certainly am not enjoying the nuances of the dialogue) the beautiful illustration and coloring—not to mention those killer opening titles.
And take note of the energy in Piglet and Pooh Bear's step. Impressive… wonder what they did to Eeyore.

Oh, but if you're—y'know, just going off on a limb here—curious what they did to Pinocchio. Now there, I can help you out!
A couple years ago Brian Collins—of Ogilvy BIG and the Hershey's store in Times Square fame—visited my design program and brought with him an original print of this:

not bad, eh?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

coming relatively soon...

video
frogs, birds and a whole lot of love- this is children kids.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Of Bat People

We are peaceful folk. All we wish is to have a space in which to create our cartoon, free from distractions, and chaos. A place to call our own even though it may not be, and a freezer full of otter pops. We have been blessed, and have lived for many months off of the good-natured spirit of Amanda Knight in her namesake building, and she has come through for us many times granting us help when we ask for it. In the past we needed a piece of wood to prop up a dilapidated shelf and she provided us with a board already cut to the exact measurement. We found ourselves lacking a recording studio, and she gave us an old meat freezer that is void of echo, perfect for recording sessions. There are couches for naps, and an old rug to cover up our business when nature calls. So what could upset the harmony we have enjoyed with the ghost of Amanda Knight? Enter The Bat People.

For those of you who don't know about these horrible creatures, let me explain. Simply put, Bat People are jerks. There must be a more eloquent way to explain our distaste for the mischief-makers from above, but when emotions are involved it is hard to keep a level head. They have been our tormentors, and at times, our bully's. Close your eyes, and imagine how much you hate red-heads. Good, now imagine if those red-heads lived in the attic above you, unplugging your extension chords while listening to Klaus Nomi and Yanni. Yeah, I know, that's why we hate them. If ever we run into a snag it's because of the Bat People. When we stub our toes, it's Bat People. When our hot-n-ready pizzas go cold it's Bat People. And there is strong evidence suggesting that on our creatively unproductive days, it's due to their sonar laughs permeating our minds, turning our thoughts into pudding as they watch Mind of Mencia above us. They also have no taste in humor.

We have stretched forth the hand of Friendship (Friendship was the name of a Leper that used to hang with us) and left it at the base of their dwelling, but they wouldn't eat it. They're apparently food snobs too. We have tried the diplomatic route by fire-bombing their home but all they do is swear vengeance. So, we have decided to live best as we can, top-by-bottom, with our new neighbors, doing the best that we can to ignore them, but always steady and ready for a brawl with the winged-wankers from above.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Attention Deficit something or other

We did nothing today. We started doing something and sidetracked ourselves on a completely separate nothing. That nothing took us to somewhere else that didn't give us anything. We took all of the anything that we didn't get done and started talking about it which made us tired so we had some otter pops. We decided it was time to get back to doing something so we began by sitting around staring at nothing. Then someone said "say anything" but nobody said nothing so we all knew we were going nowhere today.....and ate some more otter pops.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Did you know Crayola is Spanish for Crayon?*


*I learned that from my neice’s “My First Spanish Word Board Book” when I was on vacation with her a couple weeks ago. It made me wonder, though: which came first? The brand? Or the word?
oh, and ps: has anyone seen that super-cool 3D street chalk? check it.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Foul Mouthed Angels

Last night I had a dream that I was part of a host of angels sent from heaven to battle Satan's minions on the roof of the city library. The angels kept calling their weapons "filthy cleans", and I know this because one of the commanding angles kept yelling "Re-load your filthy-cleans". I still haven't worked the science out, but somehow, when the angles let loose their tongues with angelic swears, the demons would become offended and retreat back to the safety of hell. As I watched the battle of words unfold, I remember really enjoying all of the heavenly cuss words raining down upon the battlefield thinking that I should remember them and write them into Children Kids scripts. Alas, it is morning, and the celestial swears have been hidden away somewhere secret in my memory. I think, perhaps, the doings of sneaky angels with foul mouths not wanting me to tell on them during my morning prayers.

My plea is two part. First, to the angels whom I heard spewing foul cusseries. If any are reading, I promise not to tell the Big Man of the tactics used against the small man's army on condition that I'm reminded of the hilarious swear words used during the battle on the roof top. Second, to any other readers of this post, I would like to hear any versions of angel cussing you might have. Added bonus if you have actually heard an angel swear.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Rude Dude's Final Reading



I thought it might be an interesting post to try and capture the minutes of our narrators final recording, so here it goes.

Cast
Devon (director/writer, narrators son)
Rudy (narrator/father to Devon)
Micah (sound champion and nephew to narrator)
Cole (quietly working artist)
Berk (life bringer to the still)
Joseph (bad concept man)

It begins.......

Rudy enters the recording studio.

Devon: OK Rudy, let's do this thing.
Rudy: It's hotter than a mother bear in here.
Devon: Yeah, sorry about that, we'll get some water in there for you soon.

Time lapse 23 minutes, Rudy has said "And took a nap in his Jack crafted shack" over 40 times.

Rudy: How about that water?
Devon: How about you say your lines right?
Cole: I can run him in some ice water, it's no problem.
Devon: Quiet Cole. Say the line Rudy.
Rudy: "And he took a nap in his Jack crafted shack" how was that?
Devon: How's your face more like? (Devon high five's Micah)
Rudy: what does that even......
Cole: I'm kinda at a standstill for work here, I'll just run and grab him some water real fast.
Devon: Cole no, he needs to learn, say it again Rudy.
Rudy: I don't dang mind saying the lines over and over kid-o, I'm just sorta feeling faint in here.
Devon: Oh really? (Devon mimes a crying baby to the rest of the crew, Micah high fives him)

time lapse 13 minutes, Cole has left the studio in disgust, Rudy is still reading the same line

Rudy: What was wrong with that one?
Devon: The same thing that was wrong with the rest of them...you suck.
Micah: Yup.
Berk: (whispering to Joseph) You ever heard anyone talk to their dad like that?
Joseph: (whispering back to Cole) Yeah man, I grew up with these guys, I heard it all the time.
Berk: (Still in a whisper to Joseph) I'm gonna sneak him an otter pop. (regular speaking voice now) Well, I must now go to the bathroom. See you all in a few moments from now. (Berk Exits room)

Time lapse 3 minutes

Rudy: "And took a nap in his Jack crafted shack" ...........( slight noise picked up on mic, and some soft whispers are heard.
Devon: Is someone in there with you? (Devon walks briskly from the room)
Micah: Get him Devon.

Time lapse 7 minutes, Devon enters the room sweaty and nursing a hand injury

Joseph: Where's Berk?
Devon: He moved. Say the lines Rudy.
Rudy: (No response)
Devon: (speaking loudly now) Say the lines Rudy!
Rudy: (No response)
Devon: Micah, go make sure he hasn't escaped.
Micah: Done and done.

Time lapse 20 seconds, Microphone picks noise up from recording studio as Micah enters

Micah: Uh....Devon, there was a lot of blood in the kitchen, any idea where it......
Devon: I'm thawing a steak, is Rudy still in there?
Micah: Yeah, he's still here...
Devon: What's he doing?
Micah: Umm....laying down.
Devon: Sleeping?
Micah: mmmm......maybe.
Devon: Get him on his feet.
Joseph: Maybe we should call it a day?
Devon: Rubbish, what have you been doing anyways?
Joseph: Blogging.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Shout out to Zak the Plushie.

Zak can't help but be recognized in the crafters' world, being made of all that thread, denim and polyfil. He made it in to a great sewing blog's "Create and Celebrate" post a couple days ago. Check out the last featured item in the post. Save the best for last, right?

We're so proud.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Merci. Gràsce. M goi. Gracias. THANK YOU!

We had more than twenty people to our little open house last night and we couldn't be happier. It was so great to meet everyone after emailing and g-chatting for about a week. There's just something about reality that virtuality can't compete with.

Google is telling me that I just made up that word, virtuality. Whatever Google.

I'll post more about the night after I collect more pictures. For now, this is all I have. As you can see, we had such a hard core kick off that I got a battle wound. (Carrying a pin cushion around in your back pack can be dangerous.) You can also see Cole's chiseled calves.


So THANK YOU everyone who came out for whatever reason. We're glad you found us.

Meet the Children Kids Team! (Part Two)


photo by Leo Patrone

The Writers

Devon Anderson
Devon has been fascinated by the power of well crafted words from a very young age. Due to his delicate frame and his inability to correctly pronounce the letter "R", he had no choice but to develop the ability to use wit and humor to survive the tough streets of Salem, UT. To his delight, not only could the fury of ginger bullies be assuaged with this new found aptitude, he soon discovered that they could be easily persuaded to do his bidding on the school yard. Before he reached the age of accountability, Devon had formed one of the largest racketeering organizations in the history of Salem Elementary moving massive numbers of counterfeited Trapper Keepers and Teddy Ruxpins to unwitting classmates. Though business was booming, one fateful day, Devon was promised by a magical porpoise that if he would write funny stories to entertain and delight rather than use his talents for exploitation, he would be granted the ability to pronounce the most beautiful "R" ever heard by human ears. He agreed. The porpoise waved his dorsal fin and Devon was able to say his first "R" heretofore in his young life. It was glorious.

More than 20 years later, after unabashedly enjoying the use of his "R" for decades, the time had arrived to make the porpoise proud. One August night, bred of insomnia and an overindulgence of Tex Avery cartoons, the first Children Kids story was penned. Soon after, Devon was joined by a dream team of creative dynamos, each wielding a unique power enabling them to impel Children Kids through to fruition and fulfill its ultimate destiny to end all pain and suffering in the world. From all of us at Squatter Studios, you're welcome.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Meet the Children Kids Team! (Part One)


photo by Leo Patrone

The Writers

Joseph LeBaron
Joseph has wanted to be a writer ever since his kidnappers told him that his letters to his parents showed promise. Brought up a child of the eighties, his inspirations seed from his deep hatred for the USSR and his love for cutting objects in half Voltron style. At the age of ten he experienced both extremes when confronted with a Russian robot who asked him for directions. Joseph made short work of the commubot cleverly ignoring it's pre-programmed “human sounding” voice. Though it tried to tug at his heart by claiming to be a “homeless vet”, he saw right through the disguise, sundering the commubot in twain. This led to Joseph's first fully realized short story “I Once Cut a Robot in Two While It Begged Me to Stop”

He spent his college years sharpening his writing skills, pushing lesser things aside such as proper education and happiness, as he was suspicious of both. Nearing thirty years of age, single and socially retarded, the next logical step in life was to become a writer for a cartoon. The opportunity presented itself when his best friend of fourteen years jotted down what would be the beginning of Children Kids. An invitation soon followed and he has been with the small band of story-tellers ever since. There have been many voices whom have acted as muses for Joseph, none of which he cares for too much. He is driven by the saga of the Children Kids, and enjoys the omnipotence that comes with deciding who finds joy and weightlessness, and who feels the dirty stone in their chest.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Class is in session


a rough sketch of a classroom at Middleton’s School for Miniatures.

Even though summer is in full swing, Squatter Studios has been hard at work on this little gem of a cartoon. So hard that it's turning in to more of an entire world rather than a 3-5 minute cartoon episode. And we've neglected the blog :(

We solemnly recommit ourselves to keeping you in on the Children Kids world. To seal the deal and make it official, we're inviting you to come play with us.

We've had lots of inquiries about how people can get involved. We're overwhelmed by your interest and pleased as punch by your generosity and we are ready and willing to accept.

The only catch is that we are asking you to be creative in your contributions. It's easy for us to say we need as much illustration and animation help as possible (which is 100% true and definitely an open invitation to anyone able and interested), but the possibilities are endless!

So think about who you are, what you can do and what you'd like to share with Children Kids and then let us know!

We are having our first Children Kids Team meeting on Monday at 6 PM at the Amanda Knight Hall on the south end of BYU's campus. We are getting our existing volunteer team organized and eating food together. RSVP by comment.

Friday, June 20, 2008

"Fetty Prish"



Today was loads of fun. We had special guests from Zak's school come and visit. Rae, Nevil Longbottom, Katherine, and Nigel were especially entertaining. They sang us a song they are learning in their music class.

If you listen closely, you'll hear that grown ups can't sing the phrase "pretty fish". It always comes out "fetty prish" and kids think that is hilarious.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

so cool


Zak Plushie, by Camille Anderson

Yesterday Camille surprised us with the first Children Kids Plushie that she made the night before. I spent the rest of the day riding bikes, playing ukulele and eating lunch with him.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

the voice talent.

video
here is some footage of our voice talent in action. isn't he adorable!?

birds


Birds start singing really early in the summer.
and ps: if it’s not really summer yet does that mean that it’s going to get really more hotter? It’s the middle of the night and I’m sitting in a pool of sweat. gross.

meet Jack.



Jack brings destruction and good ol‘ fashioned Evil with him wherever he goes. Jack is Zak’s arch-nemesis.

While this still is definitely rough at best, there is a lot of fun stuff going on with Matt Shurtleff’s paintings and their interaction with the colors, textures, and the decorative patterns. Also, apparently I found the “nuclear glow” filter in Photoshop. That’s hottt.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

girls playing marbles


These are some children kids.

well, have you?


it’s been a little slow-going for me.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Zak Rig Test

video
So here is a short clip of what the characters will look like moving. Zak was animated with Maya and brought into After Effects to added into the scene. In our finished product we will be animating the scene assets as well.

MacGyver Recording Studio


the Amanda Knight Hall.


Our shady back-door entrance.

As executive squatters at the Amanda Knight Hall, the Children Kids creative team is all about economy and resourcefulness. Nearly everything we are using for the production of this show was found, borrowed, stolen (with integrity), built, or jury rigged.
Take our recording studio for example. With the blessing of the ghost of Amanda Knight we ran microphone cables through the rafters of the building and down a vent into an old, stale, inoperative meatlocker.

Micah slapped some professional looking foam on the walls, set up a professional looking microphone with professional looking headphones to match and voila!

The one thing we soon realized, however, was that no amount of professional equipment could quite neutralize the creepiness of locking an already nervous voice actor into a meat locker alone for 20 minutes. Yet they came in droves and willingly trusted us enough to step inside. Have none of these people ever heard of the movie ‘Saw?’