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Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Profile Of The Canadian Animator And Musician Duo Adam Goddard and Warren Brown, The Makers Of Nick Jr. UK's "Big Block SingSong"

In a special article, below, NiagaraThisWeek.com, a community online newspaper which covers the Niagara region of Southern Ontario, Canada, profiles Toronto, Canada-based Adam Goddard and Warren Brown, also known as Goddard/Brown, purveyors of fine audio/visual works and the talented animator and musician duo from Grimsby, Canada, who make Nick Jr. UK and Ireland's new musical interstitial animated preschool series "Big Block SingSong", which features block-like characters who sing topical, humorous songs in each episode:

Big Block Singsong makes waves

Talented animator/musician team hail from Grimsby



Big Block Singsong makes waves. Colourful blocks of animation tell stories and impart important lessons in Block Block Singsong, a series of animated shorts from Warren Brown and Adam Goddard. The two men grew up in Grimsby, and their work is now being seen internationally. Images courtesy of Goddard/Brown

Sometimes, even a blockhead can give you some really helpful advice. Kids and parents across Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom are figuring this out, thanks to Big Block Singsong. Episodes of the show are barely two minutes long, and feature colourful block-headed characters who sing and dance their way through catchy tunes.
"Breathe out. Breathe in. Take some time, count to ten. Now you're ready to begin, to cool it down," sing the characters in one video, providing sound advice to viewers young and old who are sad or frustrated.

The kid-friendly music, positive message and quirky animation have been a hit on the CBC in Canada, Disney Junior in the US and Nick Jr. in the UK. The professional quality of the production might lead some viewers to assume the animation is the creation of a large studio team. In reality, there are just two men behind the show, and both hail from Grimsby.

Adam Goddard, 40, and Warren Brown, 40, have been working together for over a decade. Goddard composes and performs the music in every episode of Big Block Singsong, while Brown creates the animations. The two men first met early in life, and attended the same high school, but never suspected they'd be creative collaborators later in life. Friendship, and professional partnership, came later, when both men had were out of school and living in Toronto. Brown was working at Cuppa Coffee Animation in Toronto, and found himself in need of a musician.

"I was looking to connect with some musician, and was talking to a mutual friend of Adam and I. That fellow connected us, and we just started to talk about music and animation," said Brown. "That went on as a once in a blue moon thing, until the studio I was working with came up with a show. I was the director of that show, and decided I wanted Adam to do the music for it."

The show, Bruno, was a one-minute animated short with narration and music, focused on the antics of Bruno the monkey. Bruno was a success and ran for 50 episodes in 2004, and was seen internationally through Nickelodeon cable outlets.

"It had a narrator, but it was really Adam's score that told the story. The voice of the monkey was Adam's music," said Brown.

The partnership on Bruno cemented Goddard and Brown's friendship and professional cooperation. They have worked together ever since, typically on kid-friendly productions like Big Block Singsong. Brown believes that the show's humour and aesthetic also appeal to adults, comparing it to "Terry Gilliam crossed with Mr. Dressup."

"When Big Block Singsong came about, we weren't necessarily aiming for a kid show, to see what could be done with full face singing characters bringing the song aspect to the forefront of the story telling," said Brown.

Goddard said the animations are a perfect vehicle for his song writing. He said he strives to include a positive or educational message in every episode.

"If there's a story to be told or a character to be described, it's through a song of some sort," said Goddard. "It's primarily entertainment, but the message is always positive."

Both men credit their upbringing in Niagara as an influence on their current creative output. Their similar background gives them a wealth of shared experiences from which to draw inspiration.

The inspiration comes out of the process, of how we collaborate together. We are on the same page with a lot of things, and that had a lot to do with our upbringing and where we are from. There is a certain culture that exists where we come from," said Goddard.

For more on Big Block Singsong, visit www.bigblocksingsong.com.