This week, Paramount+ is reviving the popular Cheers spin-off Frasier, which ended its original run in 2004. Tomorrow, a mostly animated unofficial reimagining of one of the original series’ episodes will debut online, and we caught up with the project’s leader, Jacob Reed, to find out what went into creating Our Frasier Remake.
He also gave us exclusive access to a clip from the episode and a making-of video featuring some of the talent involved in bringing the series together.
In the vein of projects such as Our Robocop Remake, Our Footloose Remake, Shrek Retold, and Star Wars Uncut, the Frasier animated adaptation is a collage of individually produced segments of a single episode from the original series. Each clip was created by a different artist or group of artists and reimagined in their own favored techniques and styles.
The project was launched and overseen by Reed, a comedian and visual artist whose previous work includes Funny or Die and Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Reed selected the Frasier season one finale “My Coffee With Niles” (1994) for the project. The main question asked in the episode is, in a general sense, whether Frasier is happy or not. Reed says he sees the episode as “a thinly veiled question about whether or not a spin-off of Cheers called Frasier was worth it.” Thirty years later, Reed and his project ask the same thing about Paramount’s reboot.
Reed told us that once he decided to go all in on Our Frasier Remake, the first step was to recruit other artists.
I reached out to 30-40 friends, animators and artists, most of whom I didn’t know if they even liked Frasier. I didn’t have a timeline. It wasn’t going to pay. It was very nebulous. So, I expected just a handful of people to back to me, but things took off a bit within the community.
As the project picked up steam, Reed needed to find more talent, so he started putting up Instagram ads using targeted phrases and keywords. He also reached out to Casey Pugh, the mind behind Star Wars Uncut, who provided some important advice on organizing the project. Most importantly, he convinced Reed that he needed to set up a website where the whole project could be managed.
Once Reed had enough artists on board to get started, he established the guidelines each had to follow. According to Reed, continuity was key.
I told the contributors they could use any style. Originally, it wasn’t intended to be only animation, but because the first people animated their clips, I think it took off in that direction. I was strict about some things. Everything had to be 1920×1080, no black bars on the side, so it would maintain continuity from clip to clip.
Rather than send each artist a video of the clip they would be adapting, Reed sent the individual frames as still images, making it easier to maintain pacing across a segment and between individual clips. Animated sections had to be done at 15 frames per second, and the live-action clips shot at 30 frames per second. Reed then went in himself and removed every other frame for the live-action segment so that the entire episode maintained visual fidelity.
As the segments came in, Reed assembled them entirely by himself. “If I ever do one of these again, it would be with more people on the post side,” he half-joked.
The episode features work from BAFTA-winning animator Steven Kraan, The Simpsons animator Chance Raspberry and production assistant David Kantrowitz, Robot Chicken animation director Harry Chaskin, Undone animator Annie Bradley McCall. In the end, more than 100 artists contributed to Our Frasier Remake. The full lineup of artists who contributed to the project is listed below.
Our Frasier Remake contributing artists: Tom Beuerlein, Jacob Reed, Michael Ruffino, John Mancebo, Colbe Schicatano, Ryan Consbruck, Tim Cook, Chelsea DeMott, Caitlin Hazelton, Lori Schkufza, Jess Wade, Sinbad Richardson, Veronica Burke, Joe Bell, Essa Rasheed, KC Green, Ian Newton, Ramin Farahani, Maria “Lupita” Roa, ed.motions, eLLe, Ryan Bray, Thomas Leigh, Zachary Sigelko, Amber Thomas, Jacquelynn Cota, Brianna Moore, Abigail Weber, Graham High, Ethan Harper, Del Almeida, C.E. Downes, Tim Eggert, Abel Charrow, Steven Kraan, Mikael Trench, Clay Larsen, Jon Groobz, Andrew Child, Sofia Diaz, Brian Carroll, Joby Maggean, Stephanie Schaffler, M.K. Komins, Alternative Bazaar Art, Alex Darke, Carrie Runayn and Rachel Scobey, Sunny Rae, Jen Goldberg, James Martin AKA Studio Cartoons Deluxe, Chance Raspberry, George Brown, Lisa aka Shiny Doggy, April Cowgur, John Quinn, Eric CLausen, Brendan Van Meter, Miguel Roselló, Ian Pfaff, Davey Smith, argyle__, Joseph Weidlein, Grace Martin, Ben Batchelder, Sami Kriegstein Jacobson, Alex Oviatt, Dusty Deen, Jake Kahana, Dyna Moe, Gabriel Huff, Motion Standard Time, Kai Movagh, Marko Head, Artem Lomaz, Sofia and Rocky Avalos, Jeremy Holden, Jesse McLaren), Dana Elliott, Lucy Ellis, Emma Ozark, Harry Chaskin, Ashley Campbell, Hans Voegeli and Nick Dorn, Emily Blythe Jones, Robin Griffith, Mike Robida, Noah Ginex, Andy Waugh, Phoebe Kobabe, Leigh Lahav, Will Jasper, Rachel Ogunbowale, David Kantrowtiz, Jim Garrett, Courtney Pederson, Ivie A., Conor C. Long, Krystal Valentin, Rosie Rella, michela buttignol, David Burgis, Dante Cuestas-Thompson, Dana Dale, Brian Carroll, Heather Cardone, NoNo Flores, Warren Muzak, Leilei Xia, Luke Liberty, Adriana Romero-Campbell and Cameron Campbell, Joel Murphy and Molly Regan, Rachel Koukal, Stephanie Brachman, Gabriel Featherstone, Rob Bartholow, Annie Bradley McCall, Marie art unstable, Sam Duggan, Rebecca Avalos, Christopher Kozak, Daniel Gallegos, Match Zimmerman, Jody Cleaver, Jamie Lea Wade, Lindsay Riley, Abigail Weber, Ian Rickert-Dellios, Joey DeStefano, James Noellert.
Headline image credit: Harry Chaskin