VH1 has teamed with San Francisco-based design and animation house Gunshop to create a series of animated tales from Scott Baio's past to set the stage for each episode of SCOTT BAIO IS 45 & SINGLE, in which he finds himself having a mid-life crisis of mythic proportions.
Beginning with the show's first episode on VH1, which premiered July 15, 2007, each animated short reveals another chapter from Scott's past, ranging from naked twins to pooping bums. Creative director Stacy Nimmo achieved a quick turnaround for a tight deadline by using Flash for the eight episodes.
"We developed a bunch of character designs for Scott, and settled with a simple flat color approach, refining his character to simple shapes, subtle details like the 'SB' initials on his gold chain, and of course the very Scott Baio feathered hair," said Nimmo. "And for the overall look of the animations, we took inspiration from when Scott reigned supreme on the dating scene."
Nimmo employed a combination of photo collage and illustrations to get a retro approach to the cel frame-style animation. From Scott's wide collar to the lounge and tiki-inspired backgrounds, GUNSHOP set an exaggerated tone for Biao's earlier days, contrasting with the more introspective present day depicted on the show. "Some sight gags, like the hotness meter or the 'no sex' sign, were influenced by old Warner Bros. cartoons," Nimmo noted. "But to match the tone of Scott's escapades, we added a fun, but sophisticated influence, like the Pink Panther."
The end of each open tied in to the larger themes of the show. In order to reflect Scott casting off his old habits, Gunshop had him tear off his old outfits to show a sharp tuxedo underneath. Often the background falls down to reveal a stage, in the same way the real Baio has to let go of his myth to face his reality.
"Keeping the opens fun and over-the-top without overshadowing the series' content was the biggest challenge," according to Nimmo.
Gunshop (www.gunshop.tv) is a design-based production company dedicated to creating on-target branding with motion graphics, live action, 3D and character animation. The small shop fabricates top notch design work for advertising, broadcast and corporate clients including: Adidas, Comcast, Footlocker, Gap Inc., HBO, Jet Blue, Microsoft, MTV, Nike and VH1.