Rescue Food is a campaign for the New York-based City Harvest charity that encourages residents of the Big Apple not to waste food, but to donate it -- along with time and money -- to the city's homeless. To promote the campaign, the organization commissioned a series of videos, of which the latest is Suicidal Cabbage by Nathan Love, the animation house run by its eponymous director. The spot combines a humorous tone, an engaging central character and an unusual painterly artistic style.
We sat down with executive producer Mike Harry to find out how the project was created.
DA: How did you come to be involved in the Rescue Food project?
MH: We became involved with the Rescue Food project through [agency] DraftFCB, after we were awarded the Chips Ahoy campaign last year. Producer Michelle Carman and creative director Will Tran had taken on the Rescue Food campaign for City Harvest around the same time, and Suicidal Cabbage was one of a series of animated shorts created by various studios and individuals.
DA: What was the brief?
MH: The clients’ initial direction was an eerily hilarious concept and script. Placing a suicidal cabbage on a ledge high up on a skyscraper offered a lot of possibilities regarding the character and environment design. Fortunately, our collaboration with Michelle and Will allowed us enough creative freedom and support to really give this spot a lot of attention and love.
DA: What were your original thoughts about the concept for this piece?
MH: We wanted to create a piece that was visually unique from anything else out there. The team is always experimenting with new styles and techniques to showcase our animation and storytelling skills. The idea was for every single frame to look like an individual painting, but have it work seamlessly in motion as well.
From a creative perspective, we handled all steps of production including: character design, storyboarding, animation, lighting, compositing, FX, rendering, sound design, voiceover, and music. We pulled a lot of reference and completed a ton of R&D to develop the final look and feel of the piece. One of our character animators even spent an afternoon on a ledge outside of our office ... but now that we think about it, that was well before we were awarded this spot.