Saturday, August 05, 2006

Wecome To The Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! Songs Blog!

Thanks for stopping by! Here's where you can learn all about the original songs in the Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! cartoon on Nick Jr.!!!

Along with the catchy Theme Song at the beginning of the show, there's a specially written song at the end of each episode to compliment the subject of that particular show.

You can watch some of these animated music videos right here now!

Feel free to email us if you have any questions or just want to say "Hi"! Let us know if you want news and updates regarding the Wubbzy songs emailed to you as they come in. We'll also
keep posting on this WubbzySongs blog so keep checking in from time to time.

The Theme Song..."Wow-Wow-Wubbzy...Wubbzy-Wubbzy-Wow-Wow!"

This is as good of a place to start as any! The opening Theme Song!

Bob wrote the lyrics and asked a few composers to put some
music to his words. Here's what we came up with:

This is also the end theme music (at the end of this clip). Bob did an excellent edit by just removing the vocals. The music sounds really nice on it's own as the end credits flash by on screen.  

And even without the singing, it's still really excellent to dance to! See for yourself:

This instrumental version is available for your cell phone's ringtone here!

And now let's enjoy the magical effects of the opening song on one happy fan!

And on TWO happy fans!

AND on THREE happy fans!

How To Create A Wubbzy Song...Step 1: Lyrics

Introducing...Mr. Bob Boyle. Bob created and directs Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! He also created and directs Yin Yang Yo! on the Disney Channel /Jetix!

If you find yourself singing the wonderful words to a Wubbzy song...they're Bob's! He'll send me a batch of possible verses and choruses based upon the subject of the particular episode that the song plays in and I'll edit the lyrics until it gets to a structure that works for me. Also the songs have to be just about 1 minute and 30 seconds so unless we write really fast songs (which we often do!), there can't be too many lyrics.

I'm not sure how Bob comes up with the words and rhymes he does to create a song structure. Whatever he's doing, it sure is fun to make music and sing to!

You can read more about Bob and how he created and continues to create Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! here...

How To Create A Wubbzy Song...Step 2: Music, Singing & Recording

Introducing...Mr. b. Mossman. That's me! Do you like my whiskers?
I've done alot of song writing, music composition and singing for bands, cartoons, films, games and commercials. I wrote many of the songs sung by the talented kids doing the character voices for the Disney Channel's, Higglytown Heroes., usually, if I'm lucky, as soon as I read Bob's lyrics, especially what he wants for the chorus, I start to hear the melody in my head and I strum the guitar or ukulele, or tap the keyboard to begin supporting this melody with chords and other lead instrumental lines. I like to stand up and move/dance around with the guitar to get my whole self into the process and help me find some music!

This doesn't mean that my first thoughts on the song will be anything at all like the final that appears on the show. This is just the first sketch. I rely on Bob's feedback and direction to drive the creation of the song. Sometimes, when lucky, I'll hit a bull's eye and he'll like the first sketch. But mostly I just send him sketch after sketch until he's pleased and approves it to go toward final production. This "final" version then must also be approved by the Nickelodeon network as well before we can really finish up.

So I play through this first sketch over and over and over...and over....and over again....and over.....until I feel like there's a satisfactory and comfortable link between the lyrics and the music that I've written. Then....maybe.... it's time to press the "Record" button to begin laying down the first sketch!

(For the gear geeks out there who might be interested in the set up of my home studio...I use a Mac Pro and record audio with MOTU Digital Performer. I link to trigger Reason,
Spectrasonics and EZdrummer to generate drums and some synths)

Here's some photos of this process in the studio:

When Bob finally approves a version of the basic song that he likes. I can then start making it sound "pretty"! I might re-record some instruments so they sound "better" (this might result in Bob saying, "I like the way it sounded before"... Oops!), add more vocal harmonies to my lead vocal and record some fun sounds to add a little spice. Just like in these photos!

Bob will let me know if he likes all the "bells and whistles" I've added or not until we get to
a version that's ready to be mixed.

How To Create A Wubbzy Song...Step 3: Animation

It just wouldn't be a Wubbzy song without the visual link to an animated piece. How excellent that the show contains these animated "music videos" at the end of a pleasant half-hour of Wubbzy viewing! A cool and cozy way to conclude before signing off.

I'm more on the music end of things but I can somewhat explain the general process that goes from Bob's lyrics to animating.

The final song goes to the storyboard artists who gather around with Bob and they come up with visual ideas to match his lyrics. Bob may very well have written some of his lyrics based on coming up with some visual ideas first.

What kind of images would you come up with if you had to draw pictures for "Pet Party"? What do you think of when you hear the lines, "Lili has a Zorkle! Johnny has a sneet"? Those are, indeed, silly lines but perhaps they might be easier to think up images for than more "plain" ones. For example, what about the lines "Pet Party! Yeah Yeah!...Pet Party! Yeah! Yeah!...If you've got a pet, it's the place to be. Everyone's at the Pet Party." Those are more general lines with less specific description. This is the challenge: To create something effective and fun because it's so wide open to thinking up anything at all. As you can see in the animation for those lines, the Wubbzy creators struck gold! The way the characters move and their timing to the music and lyrics are exquisite....AND FUN!

After they decide on which images they will use as the song plays along, the storyboard artists draw out those images in pencil on panels, one after the other, as they envision it will look.
Here's a couple of storyboard panels from the intro theme song animation at the very beginning of the show:
They erase and draw over continually. They make endless notes. They cut and edit and move things around like a puzzle until it fits. They have to place all the storyboard frames next to each other and make sure they line up with the song from start to finish. It has to be timed correctly to the timing of the song.

The entire cartoon is storyboarded this way but here's how the storyboards look for a song!
When the team is satisfied with the storyboard as it's pinned up on a bulletin board, all the panels are then scanned into the computer and lined up next to each other in an animation program where they'll appear one after the other in a timeline on the screen as the song plays. This "flip book" animation of the storyboards is called the "animatic". The frames are then moved around in the timeline so scenes happen where they are meant to during specific points in the song. Maybe even to match exact beats, notes, sound effects or words (such as "Yeah! Yeah!" in Pet Party).

It becomes clearer how the final will look as the animatic is continually viewed over and over and frames are further edited and timed to the song. Even more edits, cuts and adds are made until it lines up nicely with the song and has a good feel and energy to it.

Once the animatic is locked, the individual frames used will be inked and painted (in this case, in the computer rather than with a pen, paint and sheets of acetate). That really lovely black line around all the characters and the solid colors inside are applied and the beautiful backgrounds are created and placed in too. Here's how it looks when the Wubbzy colorists create a "thumbnail color board" to get a sense of how the final will actually look and feel with color rather than in the previous storyboard pencil (This board is for the song "You're A Star").

Now the song is ready to be animated. This is where I'll jump off because I don't know too much about animating...yet! But using the computer software Flash (which you can learn at home on your own computer to animate your creations, by the way) the talented animators bring these boards to life.

To see, yet another, glorious example of how the storyboard artists, colorists and animators of the Wubbzy crew create such amazing visual marriages to the songs, enjoy "Pet Party" here...YEAH! YEAH!:

Are We A Band?

Bob commented about our collaboration in an interview "....I've always wanted to be in a band so I get to live out my fantasies by writing the lyrics and working with a musician/composer..."

Well..I've been in many bands (nice wig!)...

But, it's true...Bob hasn't actually been in any bands...
Yet....I think that we are currently composing, recording and producing the Wubbzy songs very much like a functioning band. We have our lyricist and songwriters. We have our players. And we have our recording engineer. Songs are the most important thing in a band and songs are all we have!

The reason it feels most like a band to me at the moment is because the songs wouldn't be the same if one of our members weren't involved in the process. Bob's lyrics, my music and singing and Scott's production makes it seem like we're actually recording these Wubbzy songs for an album.

I don't know what kind of band Bob wants to be in but from my experience, this is a really good band for now. True, we don't have any live shows scheduled.....YET! But we have a high creative output with an emphasis on fun and trying new things. We're coming up with songs we enjoy, not usually starting out with any genres or styles in mind.

The main objective is to effectively link with and help drive excellent animation. So far it seems to be working.

What should we name the band?!