When Adam showed me the sketches above of the Benito character, I thought whoa, its like a cuter version of Street Sharks!
That used to be one of my favourite shows when I was growing up! That along with Swat Kats. Not many Animators I know/ have spoken to seem to remember that show: so it was refreshing to hear Adam (3D Artist) say he liked those shows as much as I did.
I could go gallivanting down memory lane on all the awesome shows that existed in those times, but all I remember was that those shows had a lot of action animation! It seems like modern shows are dialogue heavy and very character driven (ego, persona-one man shows)
Now of course Adams' sketches are a lot more rounded, they are not of the same vein as the aforementioned programmes and sway more towards young children's TV so we had to create a story to suit the design. We thought the characters appeal is in his roundedness, although he could be dangerous (He is a shark! check the teeth) he is ultimately lovable, a pet. This made us think of the highly successful Simon's Cat.
The reason why I think the Show works is that its true to life, people who have cats can relate with the events that happen to the cat owner, and laugh at how his cat deals with it "ouuu my cat does that too" etc... Empathy is very important. The way we aim to invoke a sense of empathy is by giving Benito a childlike innocence (he is 6 human years) and placing him in situations we are all familiar with, things that happen to us and people we know...We are all searching for something in life..life is a journey of self discovery and the pursuit of happiness, so by having this cute looking baby Dinoshark look for where it comes from: we hope you identify with and root for him, because after all were all doing just that!
The other thing to mention, is that we worked backwards, usually you have a story and design a character to fit, on this we worked the opposite way round. This presented a few challenges, mainly because Adam just wanted to design a fun character to model, he didn't really think about animating him or a story, but being Mr. Nosey, I was like "Yo! This is Tight Mayne! How about we do this!? and this!? and this!? and that?!" to which Adam responded "errrrm, yeahh, maybe we could that"......and alot of ideas spawned to be discussed and developed.
We talked about shows that we like, and what we like about them, Pocoyo for the Animation, Pixar for the substance and life they breathe into a character and Cartoon Network shows for the gags and humour.
Initially we thought he could be a special greetings, novelty character. (R.I.P Crazy Frog!)....To be Animated Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter cards etc but we thought the character would lack substance and die. He needed to have a personality and longevity, again like Simon's cat.
From many discussions and Ideas we came up with the story described in the first post and we shall be unveiling more details about the episodes as time goes. If there are any questions feel free to post or comment below or send us an email : firstname.lastname@example.org