Enter the weirdo world of Ryan D Anderson’s animated orange orb and his baked potato friend
Inspired by random lyrics which occur to him on the spot, the Vancouver-based animator is making music videos for a bizarre pair of characters called Goober and Baked Potato.
- Elfie Thomas
- 26 April 2022
Meet Goober. They’re an anthropomorphic orb with a penchant for guzzling food straight from the box: ice cream, beans, you name it. They inhabit an atmospheric, twilight world with their best friend, Baked Potato, who, among other things, enjoys bathing in a hot tub full of sour cream (ideally followed by a good showering of chips). A musical duo, the two best friends narrate the goings-on in their strange little lives with melancholic and somewhat bizarre lyrics. On entering the world of Goober, it’s difficult not to get instantly drawn in. We at It’s Nice That are totally hooked.
These are the creations of Ryan D Anderson. Put simply, he is an animator, comedian and musician. But his creative journey has been rather more complex than that. It started off when he was eight. He discovered his dad’s Hi8 camcorder and started using action figures to make stop motion animations. But one day his animating journey came to an abrupt end: “I grew out of using action figures the day my older brother's friend came over and shot me a heavily judgemental glare during the filming of a fresh animation of t-1000 fighting a knockoff power ranger,” he reminisces. Rather put-out by the experience Ryan put down the camcorder for now, and it wasn’t till much later in his life that he would return to animating.
Being an impatient teen and not a “great student”, Ryan would spend the next years of his life jumping between different ambitions. At university he studied geology and meteorology with the sole interest of becoming a TV weatherman. After that particular dream did not materialise, he did a stint in making music videos, directing videos for a few musicians and bands which have gone on to do great things, (Mac de Marco being one of them). Casting around for more work, Ryan fell in with a few comedy improv groups who needed their sketches filmed and edited. “Working with them was some of the most fun I ever had”, he explains. But, characteristically flighty, he didn’t stick around long and instead did five years of TV and film editing before he finally returned to doing comedy himself.
With all the random skills he had gathered during his wiggly journey to stand-up comedy, Ryan had a hankering to film his own sketches. It was just the inconvenience of gathering all the comedians to shoot the films which stood in his way. “I got started learning animation where I wouldn't have to deal with that very specific hassle,” says Ryan. After teaching himself the ropes on After Effects and Blender, he began developing his own look based off all the illustration styles he loved – “stippling, old comic books from the 60s-90s, choppy animations, etc”. Soon this animating jaunt started to pick up speed, and bending to the encouragement from his friends he began writing music for them too.
It wasn’t until lockdown that the animated world of Goober materialised. “They're just a combination of all the things I really like doing rolled up into one thing and they're an absolute blast to make.” The process behind the films is as random and spontaneous as the finished animations feel. “The songs come first”, says Ryan. But rather than writing lyrics beforehand, Ryan records whatever vocals come to mind on the spot: “That's why they're usually so weird or nonsensical – they're literally the first words out of my mouth.” It usually takes him another two days to interpret the vocals into a story for Goober. “That two days is a lot of time to spend overanalysing how absolutely dumb these lyrics are and I love it.”
The animation process is full of experimentation, where Ryan follows various rabbit holes of inspiration as they occur to him. “I'll watch it back and think ‘this is getting boring here – let’s bring in a pool of chips for Goober to swim in’.” The spontaneity which leads his creative process from start to finish is perhaps what makes these little animations so captivating and addictive. The Goober animations were much more popular online than Ryan was expecting. So, feeding the internet’s craving for this bizarre little orb and his baked potato friend, the animator has knuckled down to the task of “building the world outwards a little at a time to eventually have a nice foundation to build upwards on story-wise”. In the meantime, we’re eagerly awaiting the next instalment of Goober’s story.
Ryan D Anderson: Cant Stop the Spicy (Copyright © Ryan D Anderson, 2022)
About the Author
Elfie joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in November 2021 after finishing an art history degree at Sussex University. She is particularly interested in creative projects which shed light on histories that have been traditionally overlooked or misrepresented.