Making of Cheerios “Right on Tracks” with Johnny Kelly

Nexus director Johnny Kelly lets Stash fans in on the challenges and process behind his new music-driven, puppet-filled brand films for Cheerios produced through 72andSunny.

Johnny Kelly: “Cheerios and 72andSunny wanted to help spark conversations for parents and teachers – a resource to show kids how to react with kindness to whatever tricky or unusual situations they might encounter.

“So there was a balance to be had — the songs covered weighty subject matter but with playful delivery, and my initial approach was a naturalistic documentary-style feel, but with silly puppets.

“One challenge was making something that appealed to kids. I love 3D animation but as a dad of two kids under five I’m only too familiar with the visual assault they’re used to with the likes of Paw Patrol and PJ Masks.

“Using puppets was a deliberate attempt to step back from that level of intensity, to make room for the message we wanted to get across.

“We shot these films live action, and coming from an animation background the spontaneity and ability to do multiple takes is always a treat.

“That said, precisely because it’s live action, there’s a limit to how much you can control the characters, how emotionally expressive they can be.

“Inspired by the work of people like Joel Trussel and Jim LeFevre, I knew we could track facial animation onto moving puppets. Even a strategically placed blink is enough to bring a static puppet to life.

“So instead of mouths and eyes, several puppets had tracking markers allowing us to apply 2D animation in post-production. This meant that characters could react or sing along with the song.”

Client: Cheerios

Agency: 72andSunny
Executive Creative Director: Justine Armour
Creative Director: Devon Hong
Senior Writer: Eric Dennis
Senior Designer: Gustavo Dao
Director of Production: Lora Schulson
EP, Film: Julia Lafferty
Producer: Samira Mostofi

Production: Nexus Studios
Director: Johnny Kelly
ECD / Co-Founder: Chris O’Reilly
Senior Producer: Isobel Conroy
Production Manager: Rebecca Archer
Lead / Supervisor: Mark Davies
Character Design: Nous Vous
Environment Design: Callum Strachan
1st Assistant Director: George Cassavetti
Director Of Photography: Matthew Day
Camera Assistant: Toby Goodyear
DIT: Matthew Hutchings
Gaffer: Max Halstead
Puppet and Set Fabrication: Andy Gent
Art Department: Marina Ralph, Mich Chippington, Robin Jackson, Sofia Serrano, Nadine Patterson, Colin Armitage, Peter le Pard, Tom Sinden, Maggie Hayden, Nathalie Ellner, Jade Gerrard, Ola Kucharska

Lead Puppeteer: Matthew Cooper
Assistant Puppeteer: Molly Freeman
CRS Studio Managers: Elizabeth Day, Jen Newman

BTS Cameraman: James Alexander
Catering: Konrad & Cissi Hammarborg
2D Animation: Alasdair Brotherston

Compositing / Tracking: Germán Díez, Ken Hau, Chris Glew, Ewelina Freuer, Gareth Tredrea, Gökçecan Gürsoy, Robin Yoojin Rhee, Peter Bailey
Editor: David Slade

Music: Walter Martin
Music Supervisor: Jessica Dierauer
Sound Design And Mix: Mark Hills @ Factory

Special Thanks: Elizabeth Day

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