Glen Hanson, Director, Shiny Toy Guns’ Ghost Town Video

It’s always a pleasure to see a cool new animated music video that goes beyond the standard limitations and clich’s of the genre. The Shiny Toy Guns video for their new video single Ghost Town is designed and directed by L.A.-based artist Glen Hanson. A Sheridan college alumnus, the acclaimed illustrator has designed characters for Babar, Beetlejuice and Daria and was nominated for an Annie Award for his art direction and design on MTV’s Spy Groove. We caught up with him recently to find out more about his latest creations:

Animag Online: Tell us how you got involved with Six Point Harness and the new video:

Glen Hanson: My friend Dan Krisher at Roland Keyboards who works directly with Shiny Toy Guns connected me to them. When I put out the word I needed a production company for the video, Leah Hoyer at Disney recommended 6 Point Harness to me. I was blown away by their reel and couldn’t have been more thrilled that they wanted to work on the video.

Animag Online: You are quite famous as a wonderful illustrator and comic-book artist/creator. I was wondering if you could give us a brief history of your work in animation.

Hanson: I actually studied animation at Sheridan College in Ontario and my earliest jobs were in the field at Nelvana on Babar and Beetlejuice. After moving to NYC I worked at MTV Animation studios on Daria and, then, Spy Groove. Since moving to L.A, I’ve worked with Film Roman, Disney TV, Soap Net and Studio B on various animated projects. I’ve always kept one foot in animation and one in illustration.

Animag Online: Since the music video is done with 6 Point Harness, I take it that it was all done in Flash? How long did it take to produce?

Hanson: This was a super quick production schedule ‘ just six weeks including the holidays. We all worked day and night, seven days a week to meet the deadline and make it look as good as we could.

Animag Online: Can you tell us a bit about the creative process nd how you decided on the storyline/content of the project?

Hanson: I was sent the song ‘Ghost Town’ back in August. After discussing it with the band, I went off and listened to it a million times sketching rough images and ideas as they came to me. I saw this song as an almost primitive electro/rock chant of rebellion about breaking free from a dead world of mediocrity. I wanted to set it in a more stylized dark post0apocalyptic expressionist world and make the band very powerful and almost superhuman, sort of ‘Lords of this Nightworld.’

I also wanted the dead creatures to be very alternative/contemporary and kind of sexy. Once I had a storyline, I presented that along with some preproduction sketches to the band and, luckily enough, they loved it immediately. By late September I was storyboarding.

Animag Online: What was the toughest part of the gig?

Hanson: LOL. The tight budget and schedule!

Animag Online: What do you love about working in animation today? How are things different from when you started out in the toon world?

Hanson: When I started it was totally old school’hand-drawn on paper, xeroxed cels, ink & paint, the whole deal. Now that everything is digital, you have much more freedom to make changes immediately. Anything you can come up with in your imagination is doable at the click of a mouse.

Animag Online: What is the best advice anyone gave you about working in animation and staying true to your vision?

Hanson: To learn the tools of visual storytelling; design, color, sound, cutting, character, etc. and to discover your own personal ‘voice’ that will make it distinctive.