WATCH the first 5 cartoons on Vimeo.
The recently-launched SmashTheHive Studio in SE Portland has just debuted its first production —the “My American Waistline” animated comedy series. This fearless, unapologetic and politically-incorrect collection of bite-size shorts leaves no muffin top unturned or moob unchafed in its unsparing quest to expose America’s fixation on over-eating, under-eating, ripped abs, apple bottoms and surgical enhancement.
The project is the brainchild of SmashTheHive founder and award-winning sound designer Jason Edwards, whose credits include ten independent features, numerous animated shorts and three major network television series. Among them, Edwards was responsible for creating the sonic characterizations for over 100 individual creatures, as well as the fantasy and horror sequences, for all six seasons (123 hour-long episodes) of NBC’s “Grimm.” And he was the sound designer on such indies as “Eloquent Nude: The Love and Legacy of Edward Weston & Charis Wilson,” “Terms and Conditions May Apply,” “Congo: The Grand Inga Project” and “Miss Gulag.”
Nominated for Best Animation at the Dublin Web Fest, “My American Waistline” is being produced by Edwards, co-written by Edwards and comedy pro John Reid, codirected with notable Northwest filmmaker Larry Johnson (also the animator), voiced by the amazing Ritah Parrish and Peter Wilberding, and scored by gifted musician and composer John Askew.
In stark contrast to computer-driven 3D animation, “My American Waistline” is almost entirely hand-drawn, using either a traditional Japanese Summi brush or ballpoint pen. The drawings are then scanned and brought into Photoshop, where they are cleaned up and composited together. Frame by frame, animation for each shot of the cartoon takes place in either Adobe Premiere or for more complex movements, Adobe After Effects.
“Our process is very similar to what was done pre-computer,” says Edwards. “Though we do take advantage of what modern technology makes faster and easier. Once animation is complete, the cartoon moves into Audio Post where it gets finished off with a score and detailed and immersive sound mix.”
Passionate about animation since childhood (“Cartoons are still one of my favorite mediums to watch,” he says), Edwards cut his professional teeth on every type of animation technique in play today, while handling audio post production chores on dozens of colleagues’ projects over the last 15 years.
After studying for two years at the California Institute for the Arts, Johnson’s innovative drawing technique evolved out of a longtime preference for drawing with sticks, brushes, and other ancient tools. “I’m still experimenting with different techniques, but all of them will be hand-drawn and not with your usual tools.”
Viewers can help fund future SmashTheHive cartoons and other productions for as little as $2 a month. Sign up at www.SmashTheHive.com. 100% of the proceeds are applied to the actual costs of production and development.
Marketing and PR for SmashTheHive is being handled by former TriStar Pictures VP of Publicity Lyla Foggia.
RECENT INTERVIEWS WITH JASON EDWARDS: