Attention Human-ographers. Your puny planet is under attack. Lay down your Wacoms and surrender to the awesome might of PX Micron and Calculord 3!
Don’t worry, we’re not really under attack, so don’t go throwing yourselves out of the window (If you had windows, as most of you work from light-deprived basements) as happened when Orson Welles’s ‘The War of the Worlds’ was first broadcast in 1938. But I digress…
PX Micron and Calculord 3 are two rubbish robots. Not rubbish in the sense that they are badly animated or rendered, far from it, they’re great. But rubbish in the sense that they have more chance of taking over the world than I do not digressing on a post, but I digress…
These two tiny robot desperados spring forth from the new comic minds of Tom & Mark Perrett, who go under the cryptic moniker of ‘Tom & Mark’ on the Nexus Productions roster. That’s right, Tom & Mark are commercials directors who’ve adeptly turned their hands to comedy writing.
Now must of us consider ourselves to be pretty funny and now and again we can perhaps crack a funny down the pub and raise a chortle from sympathetic friends. But comedy writing, that’s another thing. So I thought I’d catch up with Tom & Mark (Who actually look a bit like the two robots) to find out a bit about invade ALL OF THE humans!!
Hey Tom & Mark! For those who don’t know, please tell us a little bit about yourselves, what you’ve been up to over the years and what you do for a living.
Hi. We are Tom and Mark! And we are animation directors and brothers from Cornwall in the South-West of England. Now based in London we have been directing commercials with Nexus Productions for the last ten or so years and that’s how we make our living. As well as making commercials to sell things like cars and ovens and different kinds of drinks (both fizzy and yoghurt based) we also perform live animation using an overhead projector to accompany the music of the London Snorkelling Team.
Is ‘Invade ALL OF THE humans’ an idea that’s been percolating away behind the ‘making commercials’ scenes for a while? What prompted you to develop it?
The answer to the second part of this question is we really had to. After several years of working in commercials we needed to do something for ourselves that was ours and that would be fun. We have always had ambitions to make stuff outside of commercials but have found it difficult to keep momentum going on personal stuff when you’re dipping in and out and its often on the backburner. Various projects have got waylaid and abandoned over the years and I’m not going to say how long it took us to make this two minute piece of nonsense but it was actually a ridiculous amount of time for what it is.
How did you get this pilot made? Did you have a budget or was it a good will / lots of people chipping in type of thing?
Lots of goodwill. Goodwill must be the main ingredient of most work that gets done outside of commercials. It was always a bit of a mystery to us why short animated films often have very long credit lists but when you’re put something together like this you realise that a lot of those credits could be for people who helped you out for an afternoon here or there. We spent a long time begging, borrowing and stealing crew whenever we could off our commercial jobs and other peoples. Sometimes there are people sitting around in the studio without much to do but actually that situation is a lot rarer than it used to be. We did a lot of the work ourselves which was painful and laborious because we were learning some of the skills and software as we went along and it would have been so much quicker to get proper people to do it but we didn’t have any money. Eventually our Production company Nexus paid for a bit of animation and comping time and we finally got it finished. We owe a continuing massive thankyou to everyone who helped us on this.
Lots of us think we’re a bit funny now and again, (I know I do) but comedy writing is really tough and scary. You can really set yourself up to fail…badly. But you guys pulled it off in spades and made it look easy. Tell us about your journey from TVC directors to comedy writers. Did you go on any writing courses? Did you test your scripts on audiences?
Comedy writing is scary and difficult. Neither of us have a background or any kind of training in this area so we really were making it up as we went along. We have dabbled in the past and both enjoy the process of writing as complement to visual thinking for generating ideas but this is the first thing we have written and actually made. There is a huge amount of doubt that creeps in over time but you just have to cling to the thought that you did think this stuff was funny at one point, even if you can’t see that when you’re up to neck in production, and that hopefully other people will find it amusing as well. We shared stuff with a few people as we went along and always had good feedback but its always hard to gauge real amusement value until its finished and people can see it as you intended. YouTube was our test audience basically and whilst it can be demoralising to have a tenth of the views that “Baby Turtle Eats a Raspberry” gets we have been very happy that it seems to have gone down pretty well and that some people really want more.
What’s in store for ‘Invade ALL OF THE humans?’ Is Christian Bale slated to play the big black one?
Yes. Christian Bale with his amazing built in voice effects and wooden acting style would be perfect casting for Calculord 3 when we finally make the live action version. But thats jumping the gun a bit. Right now our two little robot invaders have just begun their journey out into the real world of humans and they have a lot of invading to do. Just keep your eyes open. They could be invading a piece of outdoor furniture near you.