I am doing something a little bit different for Animation Monday this week. This week, I am featuring a special YouTube channel called Action Movie Kid. This YouTube channel features very short videos mostly under 20 seconds long. The videos feature a 3-year-old boy named James. James is not an average, ordinary kid. He jumps across some lava on the couches. He lifts off into space from a McDonald’s Playplace. He takes a Star Wars light saber off of a shelve and makes it real! James does not do this by himself, he has the help from his dad Daniel Hashimoto. And it helps that Daniel is an animator at DreamWorks Animation, who’s worked on Kung Fu Panda 2 and How to Train Your Dragon.
When a dad whose career is an animator, makes videos of his son look a million times cooler, this dad has earned the father of the year award, hands down! Here’s how these videos work. The father, Daniel, takes short clips of his son James doing average things a 3-year-old kid would do, like playing, jumping around, and having an active imagination. Then Daniel uses his computer animating skills (CGI) to add in special effects to make it look like James is using dangerous weapons and doing cool things only adults would do. Daniel uses Adobe After Effects plus a few third party plugins to make these videos! And yes, James is not doing these things for real, it’s all special effects made from a computer!
One thing I think is cool, is what James will think about these videos when he gets older. Imagine this, James is a teenager, and he can show off these videos showing how cool his dad is! Also, James could get inspired to become an animator when he gets to be an adult, and his idea for a cartoon could become the next viral sensation like some of the Dreamworks Animation movies we see today. Daniel, keep on being a cool dad! You help turn make-believe into maker-believe. I hope the folks from Dreamworks sees what you do in your off time, they should be proud! Check out Action Movie Kid on YouTube, here are some of my favorite videos from the channel!