Davy Crockett in Outer Space—-Making of…

We just completed a brand new music video for They Might Be Giants and Playhouse Disney.

Making this video was a lot of fun and we got to work with a very talented illustrator, David Cowles.

Here is some production art from the video.

A model sheet for Davy Crockett. I don’t think we ever showed him from behind.

Portion of the storyboards.

This is the final animatic with some rough animation.
You might notice that the beginning is slightly different.

chalkboard/ character animation

Here is the super high-tech super model that we used for video reference.

Yes, I made a paper rocket.

Then we imported and rotoscoped the video footage in flash.

And here comes the most exciting part.

We projected the flash file to the chalkboard and traced it.

It’s actually a lot more difficult than just “tracing” because you have to maneuver your body so that you don’t block the light from the projector.

Then each time we photographed, max covered up the projector with a huge piece of foam board!


My favorite part was creating the theater ! I felt like I was decorating a pre-k classroom.
Crafted puppets were photographed and composited in After Effects.


For the fight scene, we created the smallest green screen ever.

cleaning up

Our studio was covered with chalk. And we coughed for the next few days.
It took almost full day to clean everything. To be honest, that was actually MY favorite part of the process. (Max didn’t help.)
Enjoy the video!

33 thoughts on “Davy Crockett in Outer Space—-Making of…

  1. tinyru Post author

    Thank you! That’s a very sweet thing to say. Congrats on your piece for getting into Ottawa! …and SEE YOU SOON!

  2. Pingback: Cartoons » Blog Archive » “Davy Crockett in Outer Space”

  3. mike

    after seeing all the work you guys did, maybe i’ll forgive you for not hanging out in so long. incredible video.

  4. Jene

    I LOVE IT!!!! I love your production photos too, especially that video of Ru and the paper rocket. Cotton ball fight scenes rock.

  5. Pingback: I Love This World :: I love Davy Crockett in Outer Space

  6. Mom

    At first the video amazed me, but when I saw the making of the video, I got a sense of the amount of work that went into it. What a great job-I love watching it over & over!

  7. tinyru Post author


    that’s my high-tech 3D skill! can’t wait to see yours, too!

    i can’t believe you still remember that….you know i never meant it. lol.

    thanks! i need to craft with you soon!

    you girls are awesome, too! go penguins!

    super old school trying to make it look like new school!?

    thank you! how are you and jim?

    it sure did take a long time to make…but it was worth everything!

  8. Pingback: Davy Crockett In Space by They Might Be Giants | Laughing Squid

  9. Pingback: FEED » Blog Archive » Davy Crockett in Outer Space

  10. Mariann

    Ru and Max,

    I really enjoyed the video.
    You guys are so talented and creative!!

    I especially like the behind the scene stuff.

    Keep up the amazing work!!


  11. Pingback: Offsprung > Zooglobble » The Coolest Use of a Chalkboard All Year

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  13. Pingback: Ru Kuwahata (’05) works with They Might be Giants « Words and Pictures

  14. tinyru Post author

    Yup, super high-tech! Hope to achieve super duper high-tech soon.

    Thanks thanks thanks!

    Wow! What a nice compliment. That means a lot to us!

    Behind the scene adds another flavor. I can’t wait to see your work from this year.

    Thanks. I hope this will help other animators to try something low-tech and have fun.

  15. Tim Rauch

    whoa, you guys are out of your minds in the best way possible. makes me feel like a chump with my pencils and paper. i dont know how you wrangled what SEEMS like a complex process in to such a seamless, beautiful and thoroughly fun video, but hey, you did it. I really really love the final product and will definitely be following this blog!

  16. tinyru Post author

    Thank you so much!
    It was fun because every week, we were experimenting with new materials. And my arms got muscular from drawing huge on chalkboard. Win-Win situation.

    I must remind myself that I should write more often.
    Thank you for being a regular!

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