By producing "Hockey Monkey" we had worked ourselves back into the graces of Bob Mittenthal at Nickelodeon.
They called us in to meet with John Flansburgh and John Linnell of They Might Be Giants about a similar little film. Someone had play the Hockey Monkey for them at party sparking a songwriting revelation -in Flansburgh's words "Counting! Why didn't we think of that?"
Brian and I left 1633 Broadway with a CD of "Dr. Worm."
They gave up an open assignment. Maybe the narrator was a worm, maybe he wasn't. Maybe he was a doctor, maybe he wasn't.
Whenever we're given free reign with drawn animation, we like to call up illustrators or cartoonists whose work we like but have never gotten the opportunity to animate.
For this the appropriate call was to Kaz. He worked up designs and along with Jesse Gordon we came up with a treatment.
Like the Hockey Monkey, we intended to use both live action and animation. Of course, the second time around you have to make it more complicated.
In the opening sequence, the animated Dr. Worm pops up from under a live action flier. It may seem cheesy but we had a pencil underneath shake it before he popped up to sell the integration.
The trickier shot was the pan down the pole.
The piece was shot on 16mm, hand held, so the composite was fairly time consuming as the animation had to appear as though it circled around the live action.
Here's the piece.
We filmed this around Williamsburg. It was really cold.
The boys came from LaGuardia High School, the one girl is my friend Kendra Barber who's appeared in several of our cheapo shoots, the other was a friend of Scott Dodson who was interning at The Ink Tank at the time.
The final scene was shot at Galapagos. They were complete jerks and made my life harder.
What else? Jesse Gordon is responsible for the creative direction. Tissa David did the animation. Valerie Cardon inked the vole, Matthew Salata inked mostly everything else. I think Scott may have done some too. Alex Reshanov took care of the compositing.