When M. Sasek meets NBA

NRDC NBA Adds Up PSA - Ward Jenkins/Paul Golden from FFAKE Animation on Vimeo.

It's been a while since I'd directed anything lately, so it was a welcome pleasure for Paul Golden of Ffake to contact me about co-directing this fun public service announcement for the NBA and NRDC. That's National Basketball Association (of course) and the National Resources Defense Council - they're all about going green and recycling, etc. The PSA was a simple walk through of all the ways that the NBA has been working with the NRDC to make sure the league is going green - mostly through the basketball arenas and facilities.

Paul wanted to emulate the look and feel of M. Sasek and his "This Is..." children's book series, and I - of course, couldn't say no to that. It was quite a fun adventure working on this spot. Below are some of the first sketches I did of the NBA player and the NRDC scientist guy: Sketches 1 Sketches 2 Sketches 3

After some more sketches, finally got it down to a decent look for the scientist - more of a goofy guy who's a little behind the times with his basketball outfit: characters 3 NBA/NRDC characters in color

Of course, we ended up having to change the gender of the scientist, which is perfectly fine with me. Just meant there was more work to do, while the deadline never changed.

Here are some of the rough, penciled layouts:
rough layout sc02a rough layout sc02b rough layout sc03a & b rough layout sc05 rough layout sc06

And now, here are the final backgrounds with final color treatments for the characters (they were all eventually reworked and animated in Flash).

Scene 01:

Scene 02: This scene required the most work. I referred to a lot of Sasek's books that had lots of downtown buildings to get the look right. Here's the regular version of the arena scene:
sc02 main
And here's the same shot, but with a cutaway of the arena:
sc02 open

Scene 03:

Scene 04 with the characters:

And here's Scene 04 background only:
NBA/NRDC sc04 background

Scene 05 with characters:

And here's Scene 05 background only:
NBA/NRDC sc05 background

Scene 06:

Scene 08, wherein we have to put all the appropriate logos at the end tag:

I know that I've shared a lot of images here, but you can see all these as well as a few more in this Flickr set: NBA/NRDC PSA.