Village Cinemas – The Nom Noms

This was a challenging but very creative project! I love animations and cartoons, not only because I have not grown up yet, but for the simple fact that when characters are created, it begins with a mental picture and some sketches, then evolves to print, and finally ends in animation. When the animation is finished, we see mute characters acting on screen, with no sound and no life, that’s where we, the music and sound heads, come in! What I also find very interesting is the character development phase, in which you invent a personality for a character. That part was done by a few people, Brad Wilson as Creative Director, Leah Dunkley as copywriter, Nick Philips as Art Director and international legend, Producer Roy Ami. They developed 5 characters, Salma The Nacho, Koolio the Ice Cream, Frank The Hot Dog, very cute!! Kernel Corn, the pop corn pack and Pop, the soda. When  the drawings/characters development phase was done, I was called in the Agency to take the briefing. I was shown the characters, been given the actions that they would each do, alone all or together and it didn’t take much time to get some ideas flowing for music and sound design. The very first idea that came to mind as a reference was my favourite animation film, The Incredibles, I fell in love with the movie, the story and particularly the Music. Michael Giacchino is simply a music genius! I really wanted the music track to be along the same vibe to give the characters a similar heroic feel. I suggested that as a reference to begin with and see how it would turn out once the Music demo would be done. To accomplish that mission, I needed help and decided to bring two of my really good friends and partners in crime on board, Australian Rock legend Phil Ceberano and Maitre Yacine Mdarhri Alaoui both extremely talented and accomplished musicians, with Yacine loving Jazz, that was a perfect fit. They worked as co-composers. After taking the briefing from the Agency, I set sail to Phil’s place at Aloha Studios in Bentleigh, where we work regularly together and started discuss the project with them. I brought up the reference of “The Incredibles” and that was the beginning of the music scoring stage. When Phil and Yacine finished the first Music demo, I was really happy with the result and confidently called the Agency to let them know that we were on a very good track. I took a few days to work on the sound design part. When I mixed both together, we ended up a great and really dynamic track that was fitting the brief and suggestions I had made. I was getting more and more confident! We sent the material to the Agency and was glad to hear they were loving it too. They sent the track to the Client and that’s where we really started working!! The Client did not think it was a good track, fair enough, music is very subjective and you can’t force someone to like your taste… We received a completely different brief, to which we were more than happy to work with and make sure it all worked out, we went back in the alchemy room, brain stormed on new ideas, versions, other angles and  it was time for me to let Phil and Yacine work their magic. They scored another 3 or 4 different demos and variations, I went back on my end to work more in depth on the sound design and when ready, the agency was very happy to present the new versions to the client. Unfortunately, the client still did not like the new propositions… That’s when Phil looked at me and said ‘That’s enough!! We need to sit down with these guys and figure out exactly what they want!”. I started to become a bit nervous… We organized a new meeting with the Agency and did just that! What I really appreciated in Phil, was his very calm, relaxed way in handling what was becoming a complex situation, with so much confidence he managed to get us out of a sticky situation by simply saying: ‘Look, we can score and produce anything you like but if you don’t give us a clear briefing and a reference, we are not going to go in any good direction, all we know is from now on, we stop additional demos, you give us a clear reference with a new budget!” I looked at Phil stunned, he kicked my foot under the table, I kept quiet. And that’s exactly what they agreed to do, they gave us a new budget, a new Music reference; Kanye West (I almost cried), and we headed back to Aloha Studios, Phil and Yacine started all over again, when they were done, I mixed the new track with the sound design and sent that off to the Agency. When that track was finished, the client was finally very happy… That’s was the most important and all that mattered! Click HERE to view our reference. I’m sorry, I’m not going to point you to the Kanye West reference, I just can’t, I don’t want to make you cry!

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