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Wendell Cartoon - Storytelling Differently at Kid’s Music Matters

Wendell Cartoon - Storytelling Differently

April 14 2011

Today more than ever, video is an essential way to break through the noise and reach new fans with music. For Debbie and Friends, cartoon music videos are a great vehicle for this.

I’m always pleasantly surprised to learn that families from all over the world discover Debbie and Friends music every day through our YouTube channel and various cable outlets.

Many of our songs are based on classic tales, and therefore well suited for visual presentation. Some of our songs are not based on stories and I was always convinced those songs were not good candidates for video. “Wendell” in particular, is a cumulative movement song about a boy who finds a toy Robot. The Robot adds a new physical challenge with each verse. It’s fun to perform, but I couldn’t imagine it as a music video. My amazing animator, Goichi Hirata from Planet Sunday, had another idea. He suggested that we approach it differently and tell the story from the perspective of Wendell’s imagination. For children, the Robot will represent hope and a doorway to, literally and figuratively, scaling walls and overcoming life’s obstacles. Brilliant! Needless to say, I was very excited about Goichi’s idea and we’re moving forward with the project!

To help with some production questions and to include our fan families in the process, we held a “pick Wendell’s hair color” poll on Facebook. (Purple hair won!) Here are some initial images Goichi came up with for the cartoon characters in the song.

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Wendell finds the Toy Robot.
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Wendell and the Robot flying.
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Wendell and the Robot arriving at the Toy Fair parade!

And, here’s the storyboard version of the animation.

I feel so fortunate to be able to work with such talented and creative people as Goichi Hirata and Greg David at Planet Sunday, and to share the stages of development with our Debbie and Friends fan families. I hope you enjoy learning about the process behind our cartoons, and will share this information with your kids in anticipation of this new video coming out in June!.


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