Created by Jesse Korman, Jimmy Lazer and Richard Nardo, the cartoon universe filled with heavy metal monsters, mutants, and misfits gets its first animated short about DJJ, the youngest son of the Grim Reaper, as he attempts to start a band for all the wrong reasons.
Jesse Korman, Jimmy Lazer, and Richard Nardo of Napalm Rainbow, Flux88 Studios, and Ngagency released their first “Lil Thrashers” universe 2D animated short, No Weenies Allowed! The cartoon universe consists of heavy metal monsters, mutants, and misfits who have found a community at The Catacombs - an all-ages rock venue in their hometown of Grimstone!
Friends from the rock community are helping build “Grimestone” to create a place where parents who grew up on heavy rock can share the music they love with their kids - in a way that is accessible and impactful.
According to the creators, No Weenies Allowed! centers around DJJ (Death Junior, Jr.), youngest son of the Grim Reaper, as he attempts to start a band for all the wrong reasons. He is an imperfect yet lovable scamp, driven mainly by jealousy and over-confidence. He's just kinda sick of feeling left out of his brother's activities and overall feeling like an outcast, despite knowing he is capable of so much more- and so begins his journey into the wonderful realm of music. It's a tale as old as time. He is imperfect yet lovable, driven mainly by jealousy and over-confidence.
Written by Lazar, the story was unveiled via short-form standalone social media clips leading up to the short film's release.
Watch - Lil Thrashers Presents: Death Junior Jr. in...NO WEENIES ALLOWED‼️
“We tried a new concept (to us anyway) that one of our producers, Rich Nardo, has aptly referred to as ‘beat-to-short,’ where we put out a bunch of quick little zingers that are formatted for short-form social media content, but they tie together to form a longer narrative,” explained Lazar. “The concept was inspired by the story arcs of old ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ comics, where the dailies often delivered excellent punches on a single theme, that usually carried out for a week or two (or five). Bill Watterson has a masterful way of injecting humor along with deep meaning into those bite sized nuggets, and we thought that it might work as a good format for the tik-Tok generation.”
The “Beat-to-Short” approach made the challenge of animating a large-scale series, reliant on social media, more manageable. As the sole-animator Lazer shared how this method helped him manage the tremendous workload.
“I'm a self-taught animator, so in my free time it has been my ultimate goal to somehow manage to animate a series on my own,” added Lazar. “It's a passion project that has infinitely benefited my day job (as a video editor and animator) and it's been a really great way for me to learn new tools and experiment with workflows I normally wouldn't use in my normal professional gigs.”
He continued, “By creating this content for social media in bite size bits, it's given me an opportunity to not be so hung up on the details and afforded me the freedom to experiment with new techniques and ideas, without being tied to a singular format. Even with all the new tech that's out there to help in the production pipeline, it's still a lot of work to produce even short bits like Thrashers. By some miracle, I've managed to not lose my mind, and I've actually really enjoyed the process. It deepened my appreciation of good storytelling, and conversely it has really helped me to let go of imperfections and look at everything with a wider lens, focusing more on the narrative.”
The film’s cast includes Ben Katzman of DeGreaser; Quinn McGraw and Ryan Card of Living Machines; Nardo; Lueda Alia (former AbsolutePunk editor and current producer/consultant); and T.J. Rowe. They join Korman; Eva Korman (Rollo Tomasi); Kaleigh Goldsworthy (Singer/Songwriter); Derrick Davis (stage roles in: Phantom in the Phantom of The Opera, The Lion King); Arson Alfaro; and Morgan Lander (Kittie).
The short also saw the release of “Divergent Path,” a track from Grimstone legends Woodland Child (written by Jen Coogan, LAZERSLAB, Quinn McGraw, and Sarah Joanne Draper). This is the third piece, of what the team refers to as “foundational” stories, released from the Lil Thrashers Universe, following the Get Mean official video by TEENIE MEANIES and Episode 0 of Lizzie Wilding, Heavy Metal Werewolf entitled “TIME OUT!.”