Mar 082010

A while ago I received an email from this guy called Leano, telling me about a project he spearheaded which resulted in this music video:

15 animators from all over the world each created a small visual clip, and he and his editor stitched them together.  Turns out, I know a couple of the people involved!

Here is Leano, describing how the project came about:

“My name is Arji (or leano) and I’m the lead rapper for The Leano. A year ago I had this concept for a music video and I am currently drumming up views on youtube. It’s a hard finger busting mission but at the end of the day, I am so proud of the music video and the 5000 or so smiles that have been had over the last month.

The story of the video started a year ago. A guy from MTV dangled a carrot in front of me telling me I should think about getting an animation done for the video. I was rather sceptical working with zero budget and I thought for ages about who and how I could get this done. I was inspired by videos of collaborations across the world and one day I awoke with a rather splendid idea.

I thought I would try to get a group of animators to work on this video. Each animator would be given a 5 second segment and then I would stick together these segments to create the music video. But, getting the animators support would always be a challenge, so I came up with ways to make the animators feel empowered.

1. The animators would definitely have to hear the song and feel the vibe of it. I was lucky, many did. In my initial mail I told them there was no money but that the song would win them over and for about 50% I was right.
2. Secondly, I gave them complete creative control on what they would choose and what character they wanted to animate.
3. Thirdly, I would link these animators up through emails, celebrating their work in order to give others the impetus to get it finished.
4. Finally, I gave them the choice on the lyrics. Having got the lines they were interested in I cut the song up and emailed the segments.

It was exciting and tiring, constantly checking up on animators, watching the deadlines slip away. And because it was a volunteer project it was not my place to harass or complain. I just had to be patient.

As they trickled in I began to grow in excitement. I made a couple errors in formatting rules but with the help of Zach Walker (my editor) I was able to convert, switch and stretch animations. Some animators were lost along the way but once I had a couple online I used those to hype the rest of the video. Every month I’d provide an update to the animators praising their work and sharing it with the group. I hope they felt like they were part of a family and I hope I made them feel important… cos they all were.

So then, I had the verses occurring. So I began on the chorus. It was yet another logistical mission. I wanted 40 fans and friends to come to a shoot which would see them Smile for just 15 seconds. I had to split the shoot and was blessed by the response. People were driven by the song. Any that weren’t there were quickly regretting it!

So a year later, we sat editing for hour upon hour, fixing the glitches and the screen sizes and basically making the best out of what we had. There was no chance of asking animators to change or alter their work, it was just too much for no money. So instead ‘we did the best we could with what we had’…. And this has now become my saying.

Finally, I had the video and released it to a whole heap of lovely people. Animators came down and I made sure to exhibit their work and give them a jolly hard pat on the back. Such love without money is hard to find in the world.

And what of the MTV guy I hear you ask? Well, he has more or less not responded to the emails. Like all things in MTV the time had passed for them. How funny this industry is and how separate it is from the beauty of true collaborative art. I learnt an important lesson, the product of this video isn’t about my career, about the money or the fame it’s literally about all the friends I have made across the world. I’ve been promoting it but deep down I don’t really care who watches it and feels it because the beauty was in the process. 45 people who had never been in one place at one time came together to create a piece of art that can actually make you smile. No matter how many hits it gets no one can ever take this away.

Hope you enjoy it.”

A nice way to get to know animators from all over, don’t you think?

Learn more about leano and his future endeavors at his myspace page:

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