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Trolls: The Beat Goes On!

Last month I was invited to DreamWorks Animation Studios behind the scenes of Trolls: The Beat Goes On! I am so grateful for being part of this absolutely amazing adventure, it was outstanding. I learned so much that day, how animations are created, to the importance of music being incorporated, voiceovers and much more, but the one thing that I walked away with, nurture your child's imagination. An animator's core stems from their childhood, allow your child to dream, encourage their thoughts and have them draw, write, compose, from here they will flourish.Y’all I had NO idea what goes into creating an animation, it’s mind-blowing.

As you know our beloved TROLLS movie was an instantaneous success, Branch voiced by Justin Timberlake and Poppy by Anna Kendrick has evolved into their very own show that our kiddos can now watch on Netflix. Trolls: The Beat Goes On! Enter a colorful, wondrous world populated by hilariously unforgettable characters and discover the story of the overly optimistic Trolls, with a constant song on their lips, and the comically pessimistic Bergens, who are only happy when they have trolls in their stomach. DreamWorks' Trolls is a fresh, broad comedy filled with music, heart and hair-raising adventures.

Poppy is now voiced by Amanda Leighton and Branch, Skylar Astin. Amanda Leighton can most recently be seen recurring on the hit show “This Is Us” on NBC as Teen Sophie. M.D.” Additionally, she can be heard lending her voice to Cartoon Network’s “The Powerpuff Girls” as ‘Blossom’. Skylar Astin ​can currently be seen starring opposite Golden Globe-nominee Nick Nolte in Epix’s dramedy “Graves.” On television, Skylar was the lead in the sitcom “Ground Floor,” and has had memorable roles on HBO's “Girls,” Fox’s “House M.D", “Glee” to name a few. Executive producer Matt Beans landed his first writing job for the Emmy-winning Adult Swim hit, “Robot Chicken,” where he discovered his proclivity for animated, comedy television. Since then, he's ridden a lot of coattails, managing to stay employed on shows like Cartoon Network's “Mad,” and Fox's “Murder Police.” He came to DreamWorks in 2014 to staff write for “Dawn of the Croods,” which ultimately led to him becoming the executive producer of “Trolls: The Beat Goes On!” Talk about a winning cast and outstanding Executive producer, you know the show is super stinking cute.

After meeting with Skylar, Amanda and Matt we were off to recording engineers room for our personalized voiceover of our favorite TROLLS character! I was stunned, A LOT goes into voicing an animated character, yes, you're given a script to follow but you have to create the mood, set the tone of emotion and what the character is trying to portray all by yourself. You're in the room alone so you’re not bouncing off lines with a counterpart. We were lucky to have Ty who’s the recording engineer and Matt our director to guide us in our voiceover journey. I was so nervous standing in the booth but I had so much fun playing Branch. I did a few takes but nailed that bad boy. Dreamworks you now have a forever devoted TROLLS fan with me, every time I watch TROLLS I’ll always tell everyone that I voiced Branch for my very own clip. The excitement I felt was indescribable, the butterflies in my stomach were about to take flight, it was such an honor to experience this once in lifetime opportunity, bucket list item checked off.

I'm BRANCH!!!!!!!! THAT'S ME

If you’re anything like me, certain songs evoke memories especially with movies and tv shows. We met with Alana​ ​Da​ ​Fonseca,​ ​Executive​ ​Music​ ​Producer American Music Award-winning, platinum-selling songwriter, producer, engineer and vocal arranger, and Emmy-nominated and Grammy Award-winning Songwriter and Composer Alex Geringas. Between these two creative genius and their combustible energy it was impossible not to want to get up and dance and or break out into a song. Alana is the Executive Music Producer on “Trolls: The Beat Goes On!” for which she has created all of the shows’ original music.The importance of music should be noted, it’s integral! Music has a number of effects it has the power to make us feel sad, nostalgic, happy and or exhilarated. When a show is properly connected to the appropriate soundtrack it can take you on an emotional rollercoaster ride that will bring on indescribably feelings. Like TROLLS has done, they have mastered their soundtrack and you’ll want to get up and shake your booty.

Supervising Producer Frank Molieri and Jim Mortensen is Supervising Director on “Trolls: The Beat Goes On!” taught us what goes into a finished product that comes to life. Everything starts with a script, the script is written and a story has come to life. Then Storyboards are created, Storyboards are a hand-drawn version of the movie and serve as the blueprint for the action and dialogue. Each storyboard artist receives script pages and/or a "beat outline", a map of the characters' emotional changes that need to be seen through actions. Using these as guidelines, the artists envision their assigned sequences, draw them out and then "pitch" their work to the director. After the Storyboard comes a reel. A Reel is a videotape that allows the cleaned-up storyboard sequence to stand alone, without a pitch person to tell the story. Next up, color scripts, the art department creates art illustrations for the characters. It also designs sets, props, visual looks for surfaces and colours and "colour scripts" for lighting, which are impressionistic pastel illustrations that emphasize the light in screens. The art department designs all the characters, major set locations, props and colour palettes for the film.

Next up, Models, Models are created with animation software, it’s used to create three-dimensional computer models of characters, props, and sets. These computer models describe the shape of the object as well as the motion controls that the animators use to create movement and expressions. After the Models are created the Set environment is created for the film's story. They’re the settings where the action of the film occurs. After the sets are built in three-dimensions they must be dressed with prop models, such as chairs, curtains, and toys, to create a believable world. Once all these steps have taken place Shots are translated, the stories are placed into three-dimensional scenes, the layout crew choreographs the characters in the set and uses a virtual camera to create shots that capture the emotion and story point of each scene. Layout often produces multiple versions of shots to provide the editorial department with choices for cutting the scene for maximum storytelling effect. Once the scene has been cut, the final version is released to animation.

Animators neither draw nor paint the shots, as is required in traditional animation. Because the characters, models, dialogue, and sound are already set up, animators are like actors or puppeteers. Using animation software, they choreograph the movements and facial expressions in each scene. Then a computer program that describes surface characteristics, including textures, finishes, and colors, are added to every object in the scene. These programs, called "shaders," can simulate a wide variety of appearances, including wood, metal, fabric, glass, hair, and skin. Every scene is lit in much the same manner as stage lighting. key, fill and bounce lights and room ambiance are all defined and used to enhance the mood and emotion of each scene. And Voila, Editorial oversees the completion and addition of the musical score and the other sound effects and that is how an animation comes to life.

It’s truly remarkable, I’m so thankful for learning what goes on in making an animation. No matter if it’s a 20-minute episode or 120 minutes, all these steps are taken to create the finished product we see. I hope you appreciate it as much as I do, make sure you catch Trolls: The Beat Goes On! On Netflix now!

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