Recently, I attended the TIFF Kids International Film Festival, and there was a particular short film that caught my attention: The Beet Party Pilot: Double Your Celery.
This was a world premiere featuring a bunch of beets just “chillin’ in the fridge, keepin’ things fresh with some beat-tastic breakdancing”. From the vibrant colours, to the wacky characters, to the funky beats, I was amazed at this incredible Canadian animated short film. I caught up with co-director, Paul Brown to ask him a few questions about The Beet Party.
Q: First and foremost, why beets?!
Paul: I personally believe beets to be the most entertaining of all of the vegetables, so for me, it was really a no-brainer. I’ve never met an orange that gave me half as many laughs as your common ‘beta vulgaris’ (the Latin name for the common beet). However, not too long ago, I met a clump of celery that made me chuckle. Did I mention the onion that made me cry?
Q: What kind of computer programs do you need to learn to work on a project like this?
Paul: Well, there are quite a few departments involved in The Beet Party. Our design department (the people who paint the designs for each episode) mainly use a program called Photoshop, which is quite common. The modelers, lighters, and animators of the show use something a bit more unique called Maya, which is a 3-D program that creates pretty much everything in the world of The Beet Party. Our storyboard team mostly use a program called Sketchbook Pro to draw out each panel of each show.
Q: When you were growing up, what were some of your passions and hobbies?
Paul: When I was young, I was always drawing. I would draw on spare pieces of paper that were lying around the house, scraps of cardboard, and even on the walls of my house (I wouldn’t suggest doing this at home kids). I also LOVED cartoons and knew that I would one day make them. I would scribble simple drawings inside the margins of books (again, I wouldn’t suggest doing this, kids) to make ‘flip-book’ animations, which basically started my career as an animator.
Q: There’s a seriously fresh beat in the Double Your Celery episode. How did that come about?
Paul: Every one of our shows has an original song by a fella named ‘LumberRob’ who lives in New York City. He’s an amazing singer who can loop his voice over and over again to create these amazing sounds and funky songs. There are 104 episodes and 104 different and original LumberRob songs in The Beet Party which can be quite a lot for our five beets to sing and dance to, but they really seem to love it.
Q: Any advice for kids who may want to follow a career in animation?
Paul: Well, like with anything in life, if you really love doing something and you can see yourself being happy doing it every single day, then it shouldn’t be too hard for you. The best way to become a great animator is to study the way things move and understand why things move the way they do. Animating is really just breathing life into a character, so it’s important to understand how someone expresses themselves not only with their faces, but also their body language and the way they carry themselves from pose to pose. The real fun happens when you not only animate one character, but you create a performance with other characters interacting with the first guy. This is when ‘story’ enters into the process and you get to use animation to tell a joke, or say something interesting, or in my case, have a bunch of fun beets messing around with food inside of a refrigerator and then singing a crazy song together.
Thank you, Paul, for your awesome insight. I can’t wait to see what the beet crew is going to be up to next!
Here’s a little sneak peek at The Beet Party.
And here’s the talented team at ToonBox Entertainment, creators of The Beet Party.
Drop me a note and tell me what you think of The Beet Party!