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IdeaRocket Helps Launch Eighth Season of the SHOWTIME Comedy Series "Weeds" with New Show Open

The hit SHOWTIME series "Weeds" is back for its eighth and final season, which called for a new show open to deftly provide the backstory of the entire seven seasons. The show's producers were fascinated by an animation technique they came across called whiteboard and asked IdeaRocket to run with the format.

Since we're fans of the show, we were thrilled when 'Weeds' called," said IdeaRocket's creative director and founder William Gadea.  "Their creative staff was very clear on what they wanted from the beginning.  They had been entranced by the whiteboard style they had seen on the Web, and they wanted to create something that used that technique to re-tell the 'Weeds' odyssey that viewers have watched over seven seasons of the show.

"We pitched them more elaborate takes, but ["Weeds" executive producers] Jenji Kohan and Roberto Benabib were keen on keeping the simplicity and purity of the style."

Whiteboard animation took form with the drawing hand of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), a British non-profit dedicated to promoting enlightened thinking. Starting in late 2009, they started producing a series of videos that carried the soundtrack of a thinker expounding on a theory or concept. What attracted attention, however, was the way these talks were supported visually: a stop-motion camera captured an artist illustrating the speaker's words. These clips proved to enormously popular on YouTube, with one video in particular, a talk by Dan Pink, receiving more than seven million views.


Since then, many businesses have been attracted to this technique, known as RSA-style, whiteboard, or sketchboard animation. The reason isn't hard to figure: watching an illustration materialize as it is created is a hypnotizing experience and a hard-to-beat way of (literally) drawing out a concept.

Although IdeaRocket's take on the whiteboard resembles the You Tube RSA videos, the studio used a different technique.  Instead of shooting stop-motion or speed-up video footage of a hand drawing an illustration, it employed a digital simulation.  The drawing hand was shot against a green screen and then placed over art that was created in Photoshop on a Cintiq screen.

"We've developed a technique that allows us to capture the actual drawing as it occurs. Using a totally digital workflow gives us and our clients more flexibility in making tweaks at any point in the process."

Why has this style captured the imagination of so many?  "I think the reason the RSA style is so hypnotizing," Gadea suggested, "is because you are witnessing a creative act."

"We were huge fans of the RSA videos and we really love how they took that model and created an awesome title sequence," said Kohan.

Created by Emmy(r) Award winner Kohan and produced by Lionsgate, "Weeds" has been honored with multiple Emmy and Golden Globe(r) Award nominations and wins over the course of its seven seasons on air. Viewers have watched and marveled as Nancy Botwin (series star Mary-Louise Parker in her Golden Globe Award-winning performance) has progressed from a suburban widow who turns to selling nickel bags to make ends meet for her family to a full-fledged marijuana queenpin.

Production on the final season's 13 episodes is currently underway in Los Angeles for a Sunday, July 1st at 10 p.m. ET/PT premiere on Showtime. "Weeds" is executive produced by creator Jenji Kohan, Roberto Benabib, Matthew Salsberg and Mark A. Burley.

Show Open Video:
Password: Weeds
After Effects
Producer/Creative Director: William Gadea
Designer/Director/Illustrator: Robert Kopecky
Animator: Jonathan Parson
About IdeaRocket
Idea Rocket is a traditional animation house working in Web videos, corporate videos and commercials.  The studio provides end-to-end production services, including writing and conceptualization, storyboarding and animatics, voice casting and recording, flash animation (2D), 3D animation, mixed media animation, motion graphics, compositing and special effects, editorial, music and sound design.
Its specialty is explainers, but it also produces video presentations, demos, tutorials, broadcast commercials-any application requiring animation that communicates.

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Related Keywords:Weeds, IdeaRocket, Whiteboard Animation, Broadcast Television

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  • IdeaRocket Helps Launch Eighth Season of the SHOWTIME Comedy Series "Weeds" with New Show Open by DMN Editorial at Jul. 10, 2012 5:03 am gmt

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