Busytown Mysteries – 2007
Busytown Mysteries is a children’s show I worked on in 2007 at Helix digital in Sydney, Nova Scotia. This show was instrumental in changing the course of my life.
After graduating from Sheridan College in 2007 I got an e-mail from someone claiming to be an animation director of Helix Digital, a studio located in Sydney, Nova Scotia. He was offering me a job as an animator for a CBC children’s program. Of course I did not know if this was a legitimate offer or a prank, or a scam. After some correspondence with the company I realized it was a legitimate offer. Like most things I do I life, I jumped head first into the opportunity hoping for adventure and decided to take the bumps as they came. It was hard to leave my home and my loved ones, but I knew that this first job could be the key to many doors.
I packed all my necessities into a suitcase and left Toronto, the 5th biggest city in North America and moved to Sydney, a city with a population of 30,000 people. Like a loser I showed up to work straight from the plane, with no place to stay, and only $200 in my pocket. I sat down at my desk and the director asked me “How much do you know about flash animation?”. If my memory is correct I said something like, “I know the basics”. I could tell he was frustrated, I don’t blame him, he was probably thinking here is another unqualified noobie. Needless to say my first week did not go so well.
I was trained in 3D animation and I have never used flash before, I was struggling with the software and the principles of 2D animation. On top of that I felt all alone in a new place, with failure looming behind me. It took me 5 hours to do my first walk cycle, the director was not impressed.
I was at a fork in the road, either quit and look for a job in Toronto (one that I can do), or stay in Nova Scotia and power through it. Let just say I would not be writing about this experience if I decided to quit. Eventually after lots of research, technical practice, help from others and many long hours of work I finally made my first animation quota. Let me tell you that measly first paycheck was the sweetest money I ever made.
Working on this show was one of the best decisions I ever made. I also met my wife, the love of my life while working in Sydney. I have to say if it wasn’t for Busytown Mysteries I would never have met my wife, or started my journey in my animation career.
And that how one children’s show set me on the path I am on today. Thank you Busytown Mysteries.
After all this time much of my work has gone to the land of lost files. Here is a collection of some of the scenes I worked on:
*The video content displayed in this post is property of Cookie Jar Entertainment. The footage is displayed for demonstration purposes only.
Busytown Mysteries went on become a very popular show. It is still broadcasted on the CBC Kids channel all over Canada and watched daily by a whole new generation of children. The show was also syndicated in England, USA and Italy. It also available for viewing on Netflix and for purchase on DVD. It went on to win a 2009 CFTPA award for best children’s program, and nominated for the 2009 Pulcinella award for best preschool series.