We've officially introduced our very first MAKE Originals short, Mechsplorers! It's been quite the journey of blood, sweat and tears (of joy)
Mechsplorers is the MAKE team’s first love. Our journey surprisingly started nearly a decade ago. It's safe to say it was not your typical production, because it happened with whatever bits and pieces of time were available between client work. The Project never had a dedicated schedule—it truly started and ended as a passion project. Thus, it was a little slow going but we sure relished our time. This project allowed MAKE to hone our craft and experiment in an environment separate from the ever-shortening turnarounds of commercial work.
The Production itself was kept largely in-house, but we did have help! Aside from full-time MAKE employees, there were some talented interns who cut their teeth on the project. We also outsourced voice talent for all Mechsplorer characters and last but certainly not least, one large contributor whose efforts cannot go understated would be Steve Horner, of 'Horner Music.' Steve scored all the spots and curated the sound-design that made the piece magical. "All the electronic blips and whizzes that blur the line between sound design and music really electrify Mechsplorers, and it would not feel the same without it." - Aaron Dabelow, CG & Technical Director
Mechsplorers Production Team:
Lead Creative Director: Danny Robashkin
Lead designer: Aaron Quist
CG & Technical Director: Aaron Dabelow
Animation Director: Kevin Wisdom
Sound: Steve Horner / Horner Music
Kai: Kacie Riddle
Robby: Jay Soulen
Roy: Mark Benninghofen
Maia: George Keller
The Inspiration✨ behind Mechsplorers is an endless list. In short, everyone took a stab at adding their own bit to the project. However, the sense of adventure and the characters draw a lot from 90's Saturday morning cartoons—most of the creatives grew up in that time and have a nostalgic affection for those cartoons. The character designs were inspired by funko pop vinyl toys, and they even have seams all over them... they're begging to be made into toys!!
As far as the environment and overall rendering style are concerned, the "world" portrayed equal importance as the characters did. The films of Hayao Miyazaki, really informed us on how lush and wild places can have that life and story, and while not stylistically the same, we hoped those themes resonated.
There were many lessons... some were technical, others were time constraints. But perhaps the largest hurdle was experience. No one at the studio had worked on pieces that were this involved. The process of working on Mechsplorers really developed our ability to approach larger and more complex productions that have proven invaluable.
As a reminder to new friends, this is the first series of a 6-piece slate of MAKE Originals we're launching. There’s a whole set of 2D and 3D projects to keep you entertained for the REST OF THE YEAR and MORE! So, please check it out and if you enjoy it, please spread your love for MAKE Originals!