Last Summer, a high school friend of mine posted an approximately twenty-eight second stop motion video that his son Josh had put together. I was amazed with the video. It was a short clip of Lego’s moving around, as if of their own accord. Josh worked on every step of the process and the attention to detail was apparent. I’ve always been drawn to stop motion videos. The affinity for this type of animation goes back to my formative years watching Gumby. In the back of my mind, I always thought one day it would be great to make one.
Most of last summer we spent driving back and forth from 27 Years Studio in New Ulm recording Hotdish Army. We dedicated the album to Dave and Drew Brown’s nephew, Austin, who passed away from cancer at the age of six. As the album progressed, I began to see a connection between dedicating the album to Austin and the possibility to continue to honor him with a video made by Chris’ son, Josh, who is only twelve. In that way, the youthful energy and creativity of the video could be as much of a gift as we have tried to make the album.
And yes. The Train Song Video was made by a twelve-year old.
I took a chance, out of the blue, and talked to Chris to see if Josh would be interested in tackling such an enormous project. Chris said he would talk to Josh and get back to me. When Chris got back to me, I was thrilled. Josh was into the idea and Chris was behind it. I couldn’t have been happier. Now, Chris works for a pretty neat company called Fusion North. He is a phenomenal artist in his own right and is definitely a creative role model for his son. And because of Chris’ job, the editing software used in the process was a step above what I have on my personal computer.
Josh was in charge of the project and on December 12, 2016 I drove out to the Fusion Media North building and met with Josh and Chris. Upon arrival, I got the full tour of the place and then was brought into the conference room where Josh produced his story boards. I was impressed. He told me he had left the good ones at home and had scribbled down new ones before I had arrived. I knew right then that the project was in capable hands. I gave them both some swag, cds, a handful of pink army men and a couple other possible props to use that were left over from the album art photo shoot. We then shook hands and I walked out of the building into the cold and snow. I left the rest in Josh’s hands.
I contacted Chris in March to check on progress and then again in late April. He told me to hang tight, that they had it under control and I would be very pleased with the outcome. So we waited.
On Tuesday June 19th, Chris contacted me and told me that Josh had a video ready for us. It stopped me in my tracks. I was over the moon. I couldn’t wait to see it. The whole process took a little over six months to complete. That’s half a year! The process is so detailed. You get the theme and the lighting, take thousands of pictures and then you edit them all together. It’s a serious undertaking. We left it in the hands of a supremely capable young man and he delivered beyond our expectations.
Please take a moment to watch the Train Song video Josh worked so hard to put together. Share it on your social media. Show your friends. We cannot thank Josh enough for his hard work. Thanks for listening and watching and reading. This video is for you. Your support means the world to us.
“People who get into animation tend to be kids. We don’t have to grow up. But also, animators are great observers and there’s this childlike wonder and interest in the world, the observation of little things that happen in life.” – John Lasseter