Global Mechanic inspires kids in PBS vids

Well, this is a fun way to end the week. Long-time animation company, Global Mechanic, has released three of six minute-long video shorts for PBS Kids.

With the overarching theme, “You, Me, Community,” the charming and colorful videos were created with the intent to reinforce civic themes such as hope, diversity and inclusion.

The first music video, “Together We’re the Key” aired on PBS Kids October 3rd.

“This was such a great project to work on,” says former Chicagoan Bruce Alcock, creative director and co-founder of Global Mechanic. “Strong messages about diversity, community, responsibility, all delivered musically with a light touch that is ideally suited to the preschool audience.” You can watch the first video below which features MC Serch from the 1980’s hip hop band, 3rd Bass.

If you’re not familiar with Global Mechanic, the company was founded in 2000 by Alcock, who had the intention of creating an entity that reached far beyond the parameters of the typical animation production company by utilizing experimental techniques and hybridization.

Bruce Alcock
Bruce Alcock

The company has been Oscar and Emmy nominated and are well decorated in festival and ad circuits. They’ve earned their expertise from years of problem solving and exploration, valuing aesthetic every step of the way.

So, it seemed only natural that PBS Kids would approach them about such an idealistic project. According to Alcock, the production launched after a positive conversation with PBS Kids VP of Children’s Programming, Linda Simensky.

“PBS approached us seeing the need to bring education to kids about diversity and community and awarded job to us,” he explains. “After a great creative call, we got started.”

From April to July of this year, Alcock’s team put together the first four of the videos. The second video you can see below.

One of the striking things to note about all three videos are the music tracks. Alcock was thrilled to work with someone who was no stranger to PBS Kids to compose the first four videos, Joey Mazzarino.

Mazzarino was a performer on Sesame Street since 1989 and a writer since 1992. He wrote his first sketch for the show, the Columbo parody “Colambo,” as an audition piece, and soon found himself cast in the title role. He was eventually promoted to head writer in Season 40.

Alcock, who majored in classical music, was a fan of the tracks Global Mechanic received, but touched on the challenges of matching the right animation to the music during the storyboard process.

“The lyrics are stuffed with information, which worried us when PBS Kids chose the geometric look. We hoped it wouldn’t be limiting. But it turned out remaining simple helped us go nuts with material. It was Fun discovering how far we could push it. The simple geometric look and tight rhythmic timing allowed Global Mechanic to deliver a surprisingly dense amount of material, resulting in a series of videos that flow, and punch, and really get the worthwhile messages across to kids.”

A fourth video is said to be released next week. Alcock also says all of the videos include little Easter eggs to reward repeat viewers. Chicago advertising staple, Liz Laine Rep, Inc reps Global Mechanic.

   VP Children’s Program – Linda Simensky
   Creative Director – Matthew Kennedy
   Producer – Judy Harney
   Assistant Director – Chloe Gould

   Director: Bruce Alcock
   Executive Producer: Tina Ouellette
   Producer: Rachel Welsh
   Designer/Lead Animator: Joe Bichard