Creator / Writer / Director / Storyboard Artist / Character Designer
In 2015, I was asked by Nickelodeon if I wanted to re-imagine one of my music videos as part of their 2015 Animated Shorts Program. I was heavily involved in all facets of the production, and I had a blast!
In 2011, I made the original music video for my friend Rich Aucoin titled The Myth of Robo Wonder Kid. It was full of mythological Gods, monsters, and a cute little robot. I made a ruff animatic and pitched it to some friends, who agreed to help make the video.
I loved being able to breathe new life into these characters. I was also lucky to be able to work with a few of my friends who helped make the original in 2011. This project will always have a very special place in my heart, as it opened my eyes to what a few people with a bit of drive can do.
Creator / Writer / Director / Storyboard Artist / Editor / Character Designer / Animator / Compositor
In 2014, I made another animated music video for Rich Aucoin’s song, Yelling in Sleep.
People don’t generally equate Canada with being COOL. I’ve noticed Canadians are usually represented as polite and simple-folk that say “EH!” I think Canada is full of character, so I wanted to make something that reflected that. I pulled inspiration from the NFB’s Log driver’s Waltz and old Nintendo games from my childhood. Aside from my “Make Canada Cool Again” mandate , I wanted to tell a cautionary tale about the dangers of industrialism.
Lumberjacked went on to screen at many of the top festivals in the world, such as Annecy, Ottawa, Klik, and dozens more. It was nominated for the Prism Prize and won “Best Music Video” at the Animation Block Party in Brooklyn. The prize consisted of a million cool micron pens and a sweet t-shirt!
I was lucky to get to work with a lot of the original people who helped make Robo Wonder Kid, as well as a few new talented faces. We were all a little wiser and craftier, so I was much happier with the final product. It was amazing getting to attend the festivals with the crew and celebrate our hard work together. Making this short was such a team sport!
Lumberjacked - 1st rough animatic
Creator / Writer / Director / Animation Director / Pose Supervisor /Storyboard Artist / Character Designer / Voice Actor
In 2015, there were rumblings around these parts about a SUPER CANADIAN CARTOON COMPETITION called Startoon. Each week there would be a new challenge for animators to complete, and the winner got their own development deal. The work was publicly reviewed by a panel of judges who would decide which characters moved forward and which ones were canned. How could I say no to that?
I created each of my videos in under 4 days, so I tried to keep my approach as simple and funny as possible. I did not end up winning the competition, but I got the attention of Wildseed in the UK, who wanted to develop the show with me.
Over the next couple of months we put together a sweet little pitch document, I wrote 2 x 11 min scripts and I made a proof of concept video. These resources helped to generate enough interest in the property for us to make a fully animated and realized 8 minute pilot that is currently floating around in the ether.
This project is the closest thing to a direct plug into my brain and I cannot wait to share it when the time is right.
SPACEMAN & ROBOTRON
Creator / Director / Animation Director / Pose Supervisor / Character Designer
in 2015, I co-created a show with Luckas Cardona-Morisset that was put into development with Teletoon. Apparently, we were such good boys, that they asked us to make a 22 minute pilot episode.
I was responsible for animation direction, pose review, rough animation review, clean up review, character design, prop design and storyboarding the intro. I also acted as the art director, reviewing all BG line-art, BG paint and layouts ensuring that the show's style was consistent.
I love the rounded rectangular feel and sense of geometry in the show’s design. We tried to mix our fave sci-fi stuff like Star Trek and Flash Gordon, with contemporary cartoon sensibilities.
The pilot will be airing on Teletoon in September 2018.
ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MANLINESS
Segment Director / Storyboard Artist / Character Designer / Animator / Compositor
I was on vacation in Vancouver when I received a call from the fine folks at Shadow Machine asking if I was interested in directing a segment for an upcoming adult series. I agreed and was then sent the script that I would be working with. Perfect! Now I had some light vacation reading.
I was then given the radio play, which I used to create the storyboard and the animatic. Once this was all approved, I created the final character designs, assembled the scenes, assembled the crew, managed the production, composited the short, and then delivered the final product to the client. What a mouthful!
The audio that Shadow Machine provided was SO funny. It was really inspirational and made all the other phases a bit easier. Fun Fact: the main character designs are of my friend Tom and I. True Bromance!
Poster Design / Festival Branding / Signal Film Director & Designer / Keynote Presentation
After presenting a keynote presentation at the Toronto Arts and Animation Festival International, the organizers asked if I wanted to design the poster and create the signal film for the upcoming film festival. I was honoured, I was baffled, I was excited.
Much like the beginning of most of my projects, I started by taking a long look in the mirror and asking myself, "Joel, what's your favourite animal right now?" I landed on Australian Shepherd and the rest is history. Trade secrets revealed! END POST.
I really wanted to create something liquidy-funky with a bunch of fun little easter eggs for animators and designers, while still making a piece that a 6-year-old could look at and say "Mom, I want that as a tattoo when I'm old enough." My work was used to promote the festival on social media, press, festival branding, and silk-screened t-shirts and posters being sold during the event.
I generally start extremely rough, laying out any little gags or visual elements I think of as I go. I then dial back the opacity and just try drawing it over again with new and improved jokes and composition. Usually my 3rd and final pass is the most fun for me, as I am just really focusing on the line-work as I continue tightening. I always try to really think about readability, focal points and limiting my colour palette.
I teamed up with animator/musician mastermind, Spencer Moreland, to create the animated signal film that played before all of the screenings.
Director / Writer / Storyboard Artist
I had just graduated from film school, and I wanted to make something that really fused my 2 passions: Film and Animation. My friend Mark Purdy and I submitted a proposal for a program called FILM 5 that would allow us to make a 5 minute short on 35 mm film. Good News! We got in!
This was an amazing learning experience. The program offered us the ability to work with a lot of really experienced industry sharks as well as some hungry young bloods. I also became the proud owner of a pet rat soon after we wrapped.
The short ran around on the festival circuit for a while and won “Best Atlantic Short” at the Atlantic Film Festival. It was also screened on CBC’s Short Film Face-off program.
We are currently resurrecting it from the grave like a bunch of evil necromancers, and will be developing it into a cool hybrid show…for kids! Stay Tuned.
THE BAGEL AND BECKY SHOW
I met the owners of Jam Filled at the Ottawa International Animation Festival where Lumberjacked was screening. We stayed in touch, and later that fall they asked if I wanted to move to Ottawa to do character designs on a new Dave Cooper show. Dave has always been a huge influence on my work, so I was honoured and excited beyond belief.
Working closely with the director and the builds department, I was responsible for creating coloured character designs, rotations, special poses and character specific backgrounds.
This was such an enjoyable character design gig. Jam Filled, Radical Sheep and Teletoon were a huge treat to work with and really allowed me to take the designs in weird and fun directions.
MONSTER IN A BOX
Production Designer / Character Designer / Storyboard Artist / Animatic Editor / Animator
I received a random phone call one day from some guys in Toronto who were making a cartoon. They wanted me to move there for a few months and help get the show off the ground. I hung up the phone and wondered if this was legit, or an elaborate scam to harvest my internal organs.
It turns out, it was REAL! I got to develop the look and feel of the upcoming show with the creator, Brian Smith, and the crew at Eggplant Media. Based on the scripts, I produced character designs, props, locations and storyboards. Then I timed them into animatics for the (26 x 1 min) season 1 for Teletoon. When I was done designs and boards, I even got to animate a full episode called MARTIAN MADNESS!
This was an amazing chance to work alongside a bunch of superstars, while getting to know the Toronto animation scene a bit better. I soaked up as much as I could while I was in-house, and then completed the last 5 months of the project remotely from Halifax, in my underwear.
UDON TRIBUTE BOOKS
A buddy gave me a Street Fighter 2 tribute book released by Udon Entertainment. Characters from the game were re-imagined by artists from around the world. There were so many wicked styles and interesting takes on the classic characters. I really wished I had heard about it earlier.
A few months later, Udon put out a global call for submissions for their next tribute book: DARKSTALKERS. I submitted a piece and it was selected for the book. Pop the champagne!
Over the next few years, I also ended up submitting my work and being selected for their MEGAMAN TRIBUTE and a CAPCOM FIGHTING GAMES TRIBUTE.
MISC. CHARACTER DESIGN
At the heart of every great story, are great characters. I have always been drawn to character design because it feels like trying to solve a complicated puzzle that exists somewhere between story and style.
Here are some of my favourite designs I have been commissioned to do over the years.
Artist / Organizer
I have contributed paintings for a bunch of group art shows over the years. It’s always amazing to see how different artists interpret the same theme.
Since moving to Ottawa, my friend Tom and I have been organizing an annual themed art show during OIAF featuring the work of local animation artists. So far we have put on 4 shows: Fable, Radical, Cerealism and Stellar. Each one MORE exciting than the last.
Nocturne submission 2014
My submission for Nocturne: Art at Night. An AnimJam of local animators and artists each contributed work using the provided background.
After graduating from film school, it seemed like a smart idea to try and start working in film. There were a lot of feature films and series being done at the time, so I was able to find work on a variety of productions.
Some of them included the feature film Rollertown, the HBO series Call Me Fitz, and TV With TV’s Jonathan Torrens. Each of these jobs were quite different, but I was mostly making physical props, signage, logos, product labels, playback animations for screens, or fully animated segments.
On the Jonathan Torrens show, I would be given anywhere from 1-3 minutes of animation per week. I would receive the audio, choose a style, and then complete the work on my own. This was a great chance to try and figure out the workflow of a variety of animated styles like stop-motion, puppetry, and pixel art.
For an episode of Call Me Fitz, I was in charge of making a full Monty Python styled intro, as well as a fully functional board game.
Aside from the film industry, I have also worked in print and logo design.
Animated segment - TV with TV's Jonathan Torrens - Emperor Gumbel
Animated segment - TV with TV's Jonathan Torrens - George Foreman Grill