‘The Babble Creek Monster’ is a short story written by Eric S Brown, a Walmart employee and amateur horror writer. As part of an internal campaign aimed at empowering the thousands of individuals who work for them across the USA, Walmart approached PACE to find someone who could bring Eric’s story to life. In turn, PACE’s Larry Williams got in touch with Cape Town creative studio Radio, and that’s how the brilliant animated short you see here came to be.
“The main goal of Radio’s animation style is that design and illustration must always come first, and motion second,” Willie Blignaut, Radio’s lead animator, tells us. “In other words, first it has to look pretty and then you can worry about making it move.” As far as possible Radio aims to keep things 2D, as it’s an area of animation they feel has been left behind to a degree. “There’s also a lot you can do with 2D animation that you can’t do in 3D, and we like the challenges that it presents in terms of motion versus stillness, and stylisation versus realism.”
From the get go Radio saw the brief as a great opportunity to experiment with everything from style to sound design. “Walmart was also very keen to let us play around with the art direction and really get creative,” says Willie. The team began storyboarding after receiving the script, with a specific focus on the scene transitions and incorporating interesting camera angles. “It took a while for us to settle on an aesthetic that we felt would convey a sinister tone, and would also function as a practical style for motion graphics.” Radio combined software like Illustrator, After Effects, Photoshop, Garage Band and Premiere to render a look and feel that carries the weight of the story.
The bone chilling soundtrack is the dual effort of Soft Light City’s Theunis Uys and Johnny de Rider who did the music and SFX, with the narration by Cape Town voice artist Bart Fouché. “All in all the project was a huge team effort, involving people from different industries on different continents working together to create something we can all be proud of.” With this piece in their portfolio, Radio feels confident to make some real waves in the world of 2D animation going forward. Keep an eye on www.madebyradio.com for more work once their new website launches.
Original story by Eric S Brown
Written and Directed by RADIO
Music and Sound Design by Soft Light City
Agency: PACE Communications
Art Director: Larry Williams