Wednesday, May 23, 2018
  • Friday, Dec. 16, 2016
"Dream" Brings Stark Reality To Light For WCFF, Headlines Quarterly Top Ten Tracks
Stephan Altman, Mophonics
Mophonics' music & sound resonates for DDB NY

To generate buzz and attract attention to the recent Wildlife Conservation Film Festival (WCFF), DDB New York created a stop-motion animation video, entitled “Dream,” which captures the plight of four distinct animals suffering at the hands of humans. Set to a newly recorded version of the classic song “I Dreamed a Dream,” the emotional portrayal begins with animals in their natural habitats singing when their life was good.  As the song shifts in tone, the animals continue to sing as their lives are put into peril by man-made threats to their lives and environment. DDB worked with the animation production company Zombie Studio in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and music/sound house Mophonics to bring both story and song to life.

“Dream” was an online hit, generating 1.5 million collated views across all postings with zero paid media in just two weeks. Along with the outpouring of support for the video, the number of partnerships with the WCFF has increased this year and now includes NatGeoWild, New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, Natural Areas Conservancy, SCI Foundation and Roaring Earth. The number of international film producers and scientists participating in the festival also increased.

As a result, the creative team is continuing to use this video to raise awareness for the WCFF as the organization keeps up its efforts to shed light on the plight of endangered species worldwide. DDB New York updated the anthem to include assets to drive donations.

For SHOOT, “Dreams” scored on several levels, earning inclusion in our The Best Work You May Never See gallery, finishing second in this quarter’s Top Ten VFX/Animation Chart, and topping our quarterly Top Ten Tracks Chart. Additionally, in terms of year-end honors, “Dreams” took the second slot in our “Best of the Best Work You May Never See” for 2016, came in fifth for the Top Five of 2016 in VFX/Animation, and copped second place in our Top Five of 2016 in Music and Sound.

The original “I Dreamed a Dream” is from the musical Les Misérables. The music is by Claude-Michel Schönberg, with English lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer based on the original French libretto by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel.

The rendition of the song for WCFF features guest vocalists Natalie Bergman (as the rhino), Ryan Merchant (whale), Kenan O’Meara (pelican) and Tal Altman (seal). 

The Mophonics’ ensemble of talent on “Dream” included music arranger/performer Roberto Murguia, sound designer Jeffrey J. Byron, creative director Stephan Altman, sr. producer Amanda Fink, creative director Kristoffer Roggemann, audio post mixer Michael Haziza and Casey Gibson, who was responsible for additional production/mixing.

Altman said of “Dream” that “re-creating such a well-known song was one of those enjoyably intimidating challenges: we wanted to create something original enough so as to have its own identity, but also something good enough to delight Susan Boyle fans!” (Boyle’s performance of the song is one of its most stirring renditions).

Altman explained, “While we wanted to connect emotionally with viewers, we really didn’t want the music to be theatrically dramatic or emotionally over-wrought. So we made our track just a little understated, ethereal and dreamy, and we worked with singers from bands (as opposed to theater) who could lend their own personalities to the piece to provide that uniqueness.”

Relative to backstory, Altman related, “We’ve worked with DDB a few times on music-rich projects where we were brought in early to help develop lyrics and concepts. On this one we came in early, mainly because the animators needed locked music to animate to--and also to help set up the song correctly, (i.e. to help determine whether males or females would be singing the part of which animal). Funnily enough, we had recorded the song with a male singing the part of the rhino, but late in the day DDB found out that male rhinos have no contact with their young, and since the piece featured an adult and baby rhino cavorting together, we had to switch it to a female singer and switch all the singers to the opposite gender!

“The singers were of course a big part of what made the music work,” continued Altman, “and they were integral to keeping this away from the theatrical realm. So we brought in some artists from bands we know, people with unique voices who would bring their own take to the piece.

“Finally we thought a child singer would be a nice fit for the baby seal, so my 7 year old came in to record vocals while watching the animation for timing. While we were recording, she started getting upset, and we realized that this was in fact her first introduction to man’s cruelty to animals. We totally took advantage of this moment of borderline child cruelty and kept the tape running.. and that’s the wonderful performance you hear today! (My daughter is doing fine; thank you for asking and she is very proud of her contribution to this beautiful film).”

See the Top Ten Music Chart here.

Credits for ScreenWork: 

Client Wildlife Conservation Film Festival (WCFF) Agency DDB New York Icaro Doria, chief creative officer; Thiago Carvalho, creative director; Bruno Oppido, head of art/creative director; Guilherme Racz, associate creative director/art director; Lucas Casao, associate creative director/copywriter; Ed Zazzera, head of production; Amanda Van Caneghem, sr. producer; Linda Bres, music/talent manager. Animation Zombie Studio, Sao Paulo, Brazil Natalia Gouvea, EP; Paulo Garcia, EP/story supervisor/prodn designer; Bruno Monteiro, supervising animator; Guilherme Oller, story supervisor; Saul Fonseca, Thiago Hoisel, lead concept & storyboarding; Mauricio Sampaio, Steferson Rocha, lead modeling team; Gustavo Soares, Guzz Soares, Marcel Fukuwara, Otavio Liborio, modeling team; Alex Angelis, Bruno Carias, Dreek Henriques, Diego de Paula, Jonathan Edward, Jorge Zagatto, Mallo Ryker, Marcelo Zanin, Michel Denis, Paulo Lombardi, Rafael Polanczyk, Raphael Sousa, animation; Heber Conde, effects lead; Claudio Jr., Gabriel D’orazio, Mauricio Alvarenga, Paulo Sampaio, Yohannda Geb, shading, lighting & rendering; Amanda Andrade, Arhur Mask, Paulo Tornio, Thiago Almeida, Walfrido Monteiro, concept art & storyboarding. Directed by Zombie Studio. (Toolbox: Maya, 3D Max, Photoshop, Corona, ZBrush, Phoenix, V-Ray, Deadline). Music “I Dreamed A Dream” by Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schonberg, Jean-Marc Natel and Herbert Kretzmer. Music & Sound Mophonics, Culver City, Calif. Roberto Murguia, music arranger/performer; Casey Gibson, additional production/mixing; Jeffrey J. Byron, sound designer; Stephan Altman, creative director; Amanda Fink, sr. producer; Kristoffer Roggemann, creative producer. Audio Post Mophonics, Culver City, Calif. Michael Haziza, mixer; Casey Gibson, additional production/mixing.