Nobody does a better job of parodying “retro” styles of animation than J.J. Sedelmaier. He’s done it time and time again from his Filmation-style AMBIGUOUSLY GAY DUO shorts to commercials like the ’50s-style Home Savings Bank ad to his revival of the 1970s interstitial series SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK. The genius of these works is that they’re never so over-the-top as to be instantly obvious as parody. This faithfulness (and reverence) to the original source material is exactly what makes the new works so funny. A perfect example of this can be found in Sedelmaier’s latest commercial, a 45-second spot that spoofs the classic theatrical ad “Let’s All Go To The Lobby”. J.J. kindly sent over a copy of the spot to share with CartoonBrew readers:
Because the spot was produced for the Fellowship Bible Church, the marching popcorn box, candy bar and soda cup featured in the original “Lobby” short have been replaced by a cross, a Bible, a cup of wine and a communion wafer. “The idea was to make it look like it was produced in the late ’40s, and add little things that would appear in the context of that era’s visual language, while having some fun with it,” says Sedelmaier. “The original was most likely produced by moonlighting animators who probably weren’t much better than third-string. Now it’s become a style unto itself.”
The piece was conceived by Jeff Hopfer, a creative group head and art director at Dallas-based The Richards Group and a longtime member of the church. The film theatre analogy is quite appropriate for the Fellowship Bible Church, which recently completed an 18-month project to remodel what had been a three-screen multiplex into a tabernacle that can accommodate 1,200 worshippers. The church’s real lobby is now equipped with industrial-size urns serving 20 coffee flavors and cabaret tables.
A lot of effort was put into capturing the quality of an older piece of animation. From a press release about the commercial:
The creative team wants to give the film a vintage feel, so Hopfer has arranged to output the finished digitally produced animation to film and have Sedelmaier scratch it up, add dust, and distress it manually before transferring it back to digital video – a low-tech technique he’s employed in the past on other projects, including the Episcopal Church spot he did with Hopfer in the ‘90s, the Speed Racer spot he did for Volkswagen through Arnold Worldwide, and the classic “Home Savings Bank” commercial produced for Chiat-Day. In this particular case, J.J. added bad tape splices to cause the film to jump slightly as it travels through the film gate.
Commercial credits are as follows: J.J. Sedelmaier, director/producer; Dave Lovelace, production manager and animator; Dan Madia and Claire Widman, storyboard and design; John Bonarrigo, animation and design; Steve Jackett, animation and assisting; Gene DiCiccio, design and assisting; and Heather Krumm, models, backgrounds and assisting. For more about Sedelmaier’s work, read this great interview with him at HOGAN’S ALLEY.