LA, New York and Sydney-based production company Buck has created animated titles for the annual Association of Music and Promotion (AMP) Awards. The short plays on the idea of creating music for advertising and Randy the protagonist goes through myriad ideas before accidentally creating a soundtrack using his gassy bottom.
“The project started as a conversation between me and Wilson Brown,” explains Orson Tait, ECD and partner at Buck. “Wilson works at creative audio studio Antfood, and had been asked to make the show open for the AMP Awards and was looking for a partner. Antfood and Buck have a similar creative process, so we agreed to join forces once again.” The show is focused on music and sound design so Antfood led the concept. “We were stoked about it until they came back to us with this idea of making a two-minute fart joke!” says Orson.
“We started with the concept of explaining ‘how to make music for advertising’ in a manner that was both irreverent and off-beat, but kind of true. It was in part inspired by the xtranormal animatic fad a decade ago and the desire to create a breakneck montage of made-up musical genres,” explains Wilson. “Along with Buck, we all wanted to create something that poked fun at the tropes of our craft, but didn’t come across as cynical. The goal was to celebrate the creative process and the fart — which it turns out, has art in it.”
“We thought it would be fun to approach this as an audio-insider piece, done by someone with no experience with audio production,” adds Daniel Oeffinger, creative director at Buck. “Aesthetically we felt it was a good opportunity to explore some territory outside the bounds of what we normally might when there’s a client that needs to put an accessible or friendly spin on something. We went in to the job knowing our resources would be limited to myself and designer/animator powerhouse Rasmus Bak, so that also informed our style a bit. It needed to be something the two of us were suited towards designing and animating without the backup of a big cel animation team or a 3D pipeline.”
The animation feels fresh and cleanly composed, and the clever pacing and sound design fills the film with various funny moments. “We started by recording the temp script through the old MacOS voice, Fred, and a mockup of all the different genres,” says Wilson. “Daniel and Rasmus latched onto the rough idea and placed the story in this futuristic setting addressing themes of AI and automation, established the hilarious, drawn-out intro and most importantly, designed characters and scenes that allowed the story to make (a little more) sense.
“From then on, it became a fun and easy back and forth as we filled in all the bits and pieces. After trying 50 or so text-to-speech voices, we settled on Daniel, a British MacOS voice who was both more intelligible and more condescending than Fred. Late in the process, we wondered if we could get the computer ‘Daniel’ to start rapping as his hubris grows. It wasn’t easy, but I think he has a pretty decent flow…”