Friday, November 13, 2015

Transformers vs. GI Joe: The Commissary - presented by The Loyal Subjects Action Vinyls

*Yup, not even close to being a week, but whatever.

This project was awesome. As a child of the '80's, getting a chance to write and direct some officially-sanctioned spots featuring some of my favorite characters was a dream come true.

These three shorts serve as advertisements for The Loyal Subjects Action Vinyls line of toys. The idea is to take the collectability of vinyl toys (often sold in blind boxes) and mix it with the play value/functionality of action figures. The little guys have a really charming design to them and the collectors are a dedicated bunch.

My goal with the series was to find a fun way to mix the worlds of GI Joe and Transformers, maintain respect for the original properties, and find some organic humor appropriate for all viewers. I'm really proud of how these turned out and the work that everyone in the crew and voice cast did to bring these toys to life.

Episode 1: Soda Showdown

Episode 2: Birthday Blowout

Episode 3: Zartan's Plan

Co-created with my pal Dan Levy, executive produced by Jonathan Cathey (the big cheese at The Loyal Subjects), and produced by myself, Dan, and Musa Brooker. I wrote the scripts for all three and directed. Full credits for our incredible crew available HERE.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Baltimore Orioles Scoreboard animation 2015

*Okay, I know this isn't technically a week anymore.

As is now a yearly tradition, my buddy John Sumner and I got to make more animated crowd prompts for use on the Baltimore Orioles' JumboTron!

Every year, we want to add something new to the fan experience at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. It's an incredible feeling to see the animations with 40,000 other people in the stadium, catch a glimpse of the home run animation on TV, or to hear the sound effects from the construction worker prompt (and the fans' reaction following it) while listening to games on the radio.

As a fan myself, it's a big thrill. And as a director, it's always a fun challenge to communicate an idea in less than ten seconds to an audience who may need a moment to realize there's something happening on the scoreboard, all within a crazy double-widescreen aspect ratio that makes for some creative compositions.

The "Jaws" music is something they use as an intimidation tactic against the visiting team at Oriole Park whenever the O's seem poised to attack. This is the one 2015 animation that was a specific request from Orioles Productions.

For the "Strikeout!" animation, we wanted to try our most ambitious animation this year, comprised of several different shots and featuring the Oriole Bird pitching, which is a little more action than this puppet had previously attempted. Somewhere along the way, we decided that all Orioles players would be plastic cake-toppers and all visiting players and umpires would be cardboard cutouts.

For the "Charge!" animation, I wanted to do one spot that'd have slightly different endings to surprise fans who'd thought they'd seen the spot before. So, we have three different endings. Cake toppers, rubber ducks, and the return of the crabs:

Previous Orioles animation here: 2010, 2013, 2014.

All spots conceived by myself and John Sumner, except where noted.
Directed, shot, and animated by me.
Art direction and fabrication by John Sumner.

These were a blast to create and we can't wait to add more to The Bird's adventures!

A photo posted by @petewlevin on

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Private Cast & Crew Screening of "I'm Scared"


Back on the afternoon of Saturday, September 19th, we had a private screening of I'm Scared for cast, crew, and friends of the movie. We squeezed in two screenings at the incredible Cinefamily theater in Los Angeles. I'm Scared is a short animated film I recently directed. It's base on the art of Greg "Craola" Simkins, featuring music by Mark Hoppus of Blink-182, starring Gunnar Sizemore, and produced by Dan Levy, Musa Brooker, and myself.

So many ridiculously talented people helped out on this. Check out the imdb page here for the full credits.

Attendees at the event had a great time and there was a really positive reaction from the audience. While we'd love to put the short online for everyone to see immediately, first we're applying to film festivals, looking for a strategic place to premiere publicly.

Special thanks to Cinefamily for hosting the event, Boo's Philly Cheesesteaks for catering, Ahmed Best for moderating the Q&A sessions, and Megan Hallo for creating some really fun "life-size" Ralf costumes.

While I didn't get much of a chance to get my phone out to take pictures of the event, luckily others did. Here are a selection of some good ones from Instagram:

(This top one's a video! Click on it to play.)

A photo posted by The scared scouts (@imscaredthemovie) on

Monday, November 9, 2015

Robot Chicken: Season 8


It's hard to believe it's been ten years since my first day on "The Untitled Seth Green Project". Ten years of channel flip non-sequiturs, dredged up childhood memories, a-list stars voicing 1980's cartoon characters, and toys that were never meant to be animated getting life breathed into them. I haven't been there for every episode, but what I've gotten to work on has been a great ride.

A couple of weekends ago, season 8 premiered and the shows are more jam-packed with craziness than ever.

Each season the show becomes a little more technically streamlined, each season's crew building on knowledge gained from the previous seasons' crews. It's kind of remarkable looking at the evolution of it. Because there's always more to satire, the animators, builders, fabricators, VFX team, et cetera continually get the chance to pioneer and try new things.

Excited that I get to play with these toys.

Season 8 directed by Tom Sheppard and produced at Burbank's own Stoopid Buddy Stoodios.

Tune in every Sunday night at midnight on Adult Swim!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Supermansion -- check it out on Crackle!


Supermansion, the brainchild of director Zeb Wells and produced by my buddies at Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, skewers the conventions of the superhero genre, but also creates its own world to play in. With an ongoing show like Supermansion, we get to know the characters a little more in each episode, uncovering secrets in their pasts, learning about vulnerabilities in their daily lives, and seeing how their personalities bounce of each other. With the continual character development, it's a different challenge for the animators than a sketch show like Robot Chicken; the animator needs to create a consistent portrayal of the character that can still grow episode to episode. (There's also room for some kickass action sequences.)

Bryan Cranston and Keegan Michael Key lead a lead a top-notch voice cast, which was a blast to supply animate for. The studio pulled together all of its resources to make something pretty awesome here and I was happy to get a chance to be an animator on it.

Check out new episodes every Thursday on Crackle!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Lego Scooby-Doo shorts!


Zoinks! Lego and and Scooby-Doo together? If 7-year-old me knew that getting paid to play with these would be something I could do, he'd be freaking out.

I always enjoy Lego animation because the limitations make for stylized, poppy movement. There's also something great about the accessibility of animating over-the-counter toys. Playing in the iconic world of Scooby-Doo was awesome and I'm happy to know I added even just a little to the legacy of that series.

The friendly and talented Ethan Marak directed these shorts at Stoopid Buddy Stoodios. We had a small crew in the newly-christened "Buddy Lodge" satellite building and got to spend each day playing with Legos very slowly. (Check out the amazing sets built for the backgrounds in the shorts!)

Here's one that I animated the majority of:

Stay tuned as more of these will be showing up in the future!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Bratz: the stop motion series


Another fun project I got a chance to work on this year was Bratz, the stop-motion animated web series based on the doll line. Directed by my good friend and frequent creative partner, Musa Brooker, and produced by the wonderful folks over at Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, the series was created by a hardworking, tight-knit group in Buddy Labs, a smaller section of stages within the studio.

Here's the episode that I personally contributed to the most: 

A combination of puppet animation, digital animation (for the eyes & eyebrows especially), and downshooter paper animation (for the girls' "spirit animals").

Give it a looksie!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Target Pharmacy commercial


Catching up on the backlog of posts I wanted to put up here. I guess it's good when you don't have enough time to yammer on about all of the stuff you're doing because of all of the stuff that you're doing.

This is a quick, fun Target commercial I worked on in May, with the team at Buck.TV.

It incorporates live action, CG, and stop motion. I was the stop motion animator, with Jason Ronzani serving as assistant animator. The spot was directed by Steve Day, produced by Emily Rickard, and Stacy Toyama was the DP.

Look for the sponge animation and the spray bottle coming coming out of the surface - those are the main stop motion effects! 

More entries each day this week! (Hopefully!)