Since May, I haven’t had much time to post new cartoons on my YouTube channel, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been planning out new cartoons!
I started keeping a journal of ideas, and whenever I have a little time on my hands, I start cooking up ideas for short cartoons. It’s a fun exercise and has been very liberating, coming up with ideas without feeling compelled to create them immediately, like keeping a sketchbook.
Tons of harebrained plots and premises are pouring out, and even though I don’t have the time to make any of them right now, as soon as I do have time, I will be ready!
A couple weeks ago, I received a request for an explainer video from a French startup called TravelerCar that allows vacationers to rent their cars to other vacationers while out of town. Rather than take public transportation to the airport, drive your own car; park in a TravelerCar spot, and take off. The script and voiceover is in French, but seeing as my wife is French, and a writer herself, I was pretty confident we could handle the project.
TC wanted their video to center around a family going on vacation, focusing first on all of the problematic modes of transportation to the airport and then revealing the solution. I spent more time than usual developing a color palette based on the TravelerCar logo. The simple color scheme puts the video in context with the rest of the TravelerCar brand.
The only thing I underestimated was exactly how much I would need to lean on my wife for French assistance. There’s no way I would have been able to this one without her. MERCI!
I wrapped up a new animated explainer video at the end of last week for a consulting company in Dubai called EngageME. “We make the ordinary, EXTRAORDINARY!” is their motto, and I wanted to highlight this theme of mundane things transforming into incredible things throughout the video.
So, I started thinking of EngageME as a group of superheroes, saving dysfunctional businesses and after that, the rest of the video just fell into place.
Working with the company, I developed a script and storyboard. Scott Fortney did the voiceover and absolutely nailed that retro announcer vibe. Once the voiceover was recorded, I assembled the animatic and Francis Florencio animated it. If you had seen my primitive storyboard sketches, you would agree that Francis definitely made the ordinary extraordinary on this one :}
Last year, I updated my YouTube channel fairly regularly with new episodes of Pencilmation and other cartoons, but then around May it all came to an abrupt halt. Here’s the cold hard truth for the majority of YouTubers: ad revenue from web videos isn’t nearly enough to survive. In other words, if I tried to live off of my income from YouTube videos, I would be forced to relocate to a cardboard box and eat packing peanuts.
I haven’t quit YouTube, but naturally I’m seeking out other sources of income, and fortunately there are plenty of opportunities for freelance animators, particularly in making explainer videos.
An explainer video is typically a brief animated video, introducing a company’s service or product, and you can see some that I’ve produced over the past couple of months in my portfolio. Having spent years making short form content for the web recreationally, it’s been a natural transition into advertising. Of course I’m still learning a lot as I go but so far have been successful at finding clients and work opportunities.
For those of you who miss my cartoons: Rest assured that while in the short term you may be seeing less Pencilmation and Hank Hanky, my detour into advertising functions as a means to an end, and that end is creating funny cartoons for the whole family. In the meantime, I will keep you posted via this new blog.
I asked kids to call a Google Voice number I set up (530-ITS-HANK) and tell a story, then picked one and animated it. Here’s what I came up with.