The Making of "Scary Smash" - Written By A Kid Ep 1 Behind The Scenes

Uploaded by geekandsundry on Jul 18, 2012


DANIEL STRANGE: I'm very proud of "Scary Smash." I'm as proud
of it of anything that I've done for myself.

I feel like I did a really great job.

"Scary Smash" started as an animatic.
I always do animatics, which are like animated storyboards,
for any project that I work on.
That's a good visual tool for showing to clients and to your
crew and saying this is what I'm going to do.
But also it's an important part of the process for me
because it's where I figure out how I'm
going shoot the thing.
I get to try out different ideas on
paper and make mistakes.
And oh, that didn't work.
I'll just redraw it, which is a lot cheaper than, oh, shoot,
that didn't work.
I need to reshoot it.
KIM EVEY: Dan actually used a combination of photography and
aftereffects to give motion to these real people.
And to me, it's kind of like the perfect blend of the
concept of the show, which is this kid imagination, real
people, but the real people are sort of in this imaginary
world still.
And then everything around them is very colorful, and
vibrant, and fantastic.
DANIEL STRANGE: But then there were a couple moments where it
really did need to be live action.
For instance, the soldiers are a SQUAT team, which is like
the funniest thing in the world.
But you also have to see them squat walking to really get
all the comedy.
And we actually did tests.
We shot one as photographs and trying different poses and
then animating that to see how it looked, and then one where
we shot live action.
And it was just--
live action is funnier.

One of the reasons I chose the style of animating photos for
"Scary Smash" was because I wanted a low-key shoot.
And that's exactly what I got.
And we were just playing music and having fun and laughing.
And that was great, especially when you're shooting comedy.
Because one of the things that people assume about comedy is
that it's going to be funny, because it's written funny.
But if you aren't laughing while you're shooting it, then
it isn't funny.
So you have to create an environment where people
actually are laughing.
DANIEL STRANGE: The monster in "Scary Smash" destroys a
truck, killing a milkman.
He sets people on fire numerous times.
He shoots fire, oil, and acidic
water from his orifices.
He's a jerk.
I knew that if we tried to animate him in a realistic
style it would just be too intense.
So I decided to call my friend Evan Larson.
EVAN LARSON: Dan contacted me to work on "Scary Smash." And
originally, it was just going be to do character designs.
But eventually, he tricked me into being the animator for
the project.
And I had done some animated pieces before, but they were
very clumsy and very, very simple.
This was easily the most complicated animation project
I've worked on.
DANIEL STRANGE: I could not have done this without Evan,
because a lot of it was trial and error.
Once you take it from my animatics to a more sort of
polished thing, then what's it going to look like?
And Evan was really crucial in setting the
tone through his drawings.
EVAN LARSON: My approach to most character design work is
basically to try and create a drawing that looks really bad
and then just basically take it one step back towards
something that looks like it might be passable.
DANIEL STRANGE: I think he wound up doing something like
300 to 400 drawings.
EVAN LARSON: These are all of the pencils that I went
through while working on "Scary Smash." A lot of
non-photo blue pencils.
Holy moly.
It's all hand-drawn, a lot of handmade sort of textures and
things like that.
So I think people are first going to laugh, but then I
hope that they take another look at and see all that went
into that work in process behind it.
DANIEL STRANGE: A lot of the production
design I did just myself.
Because again, it was trial and error, and I didn't really
know what I needed.
I couldn't just say to somebody, go bring me this,
and it'll look great.
Because I didn't know it would look great.
So I had to try different things together.
I just turned into a texture collecting machine.
I'd be out to dinner with my girlfriend, and then I would
be like oh, look at that placemat over there.
And the next thing you know I'm spending five minutes just
photographing someone's placemat because it has like a
straw quality to it.
And I'm like this'll look great as someone's house.
For the wheels on the milk truck, I used some wheels on a
tricycle at Link Neal's house.
I went there for shoot, and then I'm like
look at that tricycle.
There's a party room where the rug of the floor is the top of
a chair in my apartment, and the back wall is
the face of a pinata.
Don't ask me why.
For grass, I used a placemat.
I originally tried using a photo of grass, but it looked
too much like grass.
And there's a section where Gerald is jumping through the
air, and I needed a bunch of lines in the background.
So I used this tie.

It's a good tie.
You got to admit.
I just used anything I could get my hands on.
MALE SPEAKER: Did you feel good about that story?
DANIEL STRANGE: I feel like I did accurately capture the
story that Brett told.
My one regret, though, is that I feel like the tone of his
story was different.
I think in Brett's mind it is a legitimately scary story.
I think the monster is horrifying, and I think the
violence is a really violent.
That would work for a certain part of our audience but not
the entire audience.
So I sort of had to hedge things a bit.
I had to make the monster less scary.
I had to make the violence less violent.
Ultimately, it might not be scary, but hopefully, it's
still a smash.