“The key to being a successful recording artist is…the smell…” This is a great short about a strange musician named Earl Boone. I asked Tom DesLongchamp about his process making this film, and some other questions that I thought were fun. If you don’t think they’re fun questions, well…then they don’t think you’re fun either.
MELISSA: Earl Boone is definitely a strange character, Tom. Explain how you came up with this idea.
TOM: Several years ago, my older brother gave me a Yamaha keyboard that he had lost interest in. I took it in and named it Abraham. It was loaded with over one hundred melodies that you could play along with, so I called up my friend Josh to assist me with a test drive. That was the evening that Earl Boone was born. The soul, funk, and R&B song presets transformed Josh‘s vocal cords into that of a 50 year old, bearded, white, overweight, ex-soul singer from South Dakota.
MELISSA: So, what about “Boone’s” songs? How did you write those?
TOM: Immediately, Josh began to mash the keys and shout, but he couldn’t think of what to sing, so I opened up a word processor and started to type lyrics for him. As he sang the first line I had written, I was writing the next one. The rush that ensued within us paved the way for over 100 hours of recording during the next two years. Earl Boone Is Alive is the exciting union between those recordings and our visual ideas of who/what Earl Boone is. Click HEREhear full versions of songs and other songs.
MELISSA: How long did it take you to animate?
TOM: I worked on the project for 3 months. I was juggling two other projects, so it probably could have taken less time.
MELISSA: What is your animation background?
TOM: I started doing stop-motion with my parent’s video camera when I was 12. A couple years later, I heard about Flash 4 and bought it. Currently I’m an animation student at the Rhode Island School of Design. I focus on 2D character animation.
MELISSA: What was the most difficult process of making this short?
TOM: A week before production started, I had a crazy accident involving the wind and a tarp. I broke my kneecap,
elbow, and cracked my left eye socket. I had a cast on my drawing arm, but I could still draw ok. It was just hard to get around. Aside from that, getting ideas for imagery was the hardest part i suppose.
MELISSA: What do you do when you’re stumped creatively?
TOM: I usually stop working and do something that’s completely intuitive, like riding a bike, or climbing onto the roof… pretty much anything where I’m not concerned about doing it “correctly”. Hanging out with my friend Josh (voice of Earl Boone) usually helps too. I also pet the cat and think about my childhood. Several people emailed me a link to Adventure Time on youtube within several hours of each other. Stuff like that helps me when I’m stuck as well. That’s also how I found out about Frederator.
Well, we’re certainly glad you found us. Great film, Tom!
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