This month I had the pleasure of directing Zombeh Picnic, a new musical short for Eddsworld. A collaboration with Mr Weebl, ZP is the first instalment of Eddsworld Beyond to feature zombehs—eight years after the premiere of Fun Dead. It’s my first directing credit on the series, and I was determined to make something memorable…
We started working on the video at the beginning of August, about a month before the release of Surf & Turf Wars pt. 1. It took just two and a half months from start to finish.
Our first step was a call with Jonti (Weebl) to brainstorm ideas. Matt and I had various ideas to bounce around—not all of them were Halloween-related—but we landed on bringing back some zombie action. At some point someone suggested it be about zombies but really happy. We literally blinked and Jonti was already playing something and singing the first line, ‘zombehs, zombehs, having a laugh…’ True to form, he finished the entire song in one sitting on a live stream later that week.
I had a really clear vision for the video from the start. I’ve directed music videos in the past, and I wanted this to feel like those—colourful, kinetic, full of dynamic transitions and camera movement, with a gentle story arc that motivates us through different scenes. Every major shot and movement was conceived in that first two weeks, using Jonti’s lyrics as a starting point.
For more storyboards and behind the scenes, join the Eddsworld Patreon!
At this point I enlisted the help of Andy to improve some of the more complex storyboards. I needed the touch of a true artist, clearly…
Throughout the production I maintained a rough timeline in Final Cut Pro, adding new versions of shots as they came in so I was able to appreciate them in context. During the middle part of the production phase I had regular meetings with the animators (Collin, Kas, and Jon), and towards the end I spent a lot of hands-on time with Mill on backgrounds. To make the deadline we enlisted, at the last minute, some extra help from Brandon and Billy.
This is one of my favourite shots from the video, when the lyrics first come in and we see two zombies pop up, followed by a rotating background transition from day to night. Lots of little things happening at once: the background rotation, including a slight blur automation from blurred to sharp, the foreground crossfading from warm to cool colour tones, and the foreground and character elements shifting to a slightly different angle. This is what I live for.
The final timeline came together in Premiere, exporting 4K PNG sequences from Animate, then compiling them in After Effects and adding some finishing touches myself (like parallax movement on some of the backgrounds). It forced me to revise some of my AE skills, and I learned a few new things about Flash that I had never done before. After a hurried final pass to check for layer issues and glitches (we found some and had to replace a couple of shots), it was ready to go!
Zombeh Picnic was a very rewarding project, and easily one of the most exciting things I worked on this year. I think it really showcases the capabilities of the Beyond team, capturing the new and the old whilst also pushing the visual language of Eddsworld to new places.
Check out my Twitter for more behind the scenes! – C x