Jarring Lightning: Mondo Cozmo's Big Universe - Working with "Plastic Soul"
Sometimes, when you put your mind to something, what feels like trouble and pain can end up being the silver lining that ties it all back together. Choices we have to make without necessarily knowing if the outcome will reflect the intention can otherwise be known as "Heartfelt". What I am referring to, is the ability to take negative and harmful things and turn them into positive ideas or outcomes, but then again, who's the judge of what is ultimately positive or negative and their relationship together?
There is a finesse to true beauty, and sometimes we find this finesse as we maneuver through the chaos of the world. Many profoundly moving and beautiful things come out of sadness and desperation. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction; the worse it gets, the better you can make it based on how you react. Let's not be hasty, take it slow. Opportunity finds you, and there is no better time to remain calm and maintain patience than in the worst of times. Don't mistake patience for laziness either, that is just an internally generated excuse for ones self.
Recently, I got to be a part of something very heartfelt. I had a lucky opportunity of working with an extremely well versed and talented artist. Upon this opportunity knocking amongst the noise, I made the decision that it needed to happen by whatever the means. Talent and change were pounding at my door and I needed to embrace them. This artist was Mondo Cozmo (@MondoCozmo) and as chance would have it, a mutual friend and tour band member Drew Beck (@DrewBeckMusic) had seen some animations I tossed at him, which I put up on youtube. It just so happened that Mondo was searching for someone like an animator.
One day, we got on the phone. "I like your style!" said Mondo in a positive and vibrant tone.
Holy shit, that's right, I have a style! cool.
"Hey man, thanks! I like your music!" I genuinely responded.
And that's how it all started. We talked some, getting to know each other briefly. He told me the track he wanted to work with, "Plastic Soul" the title track from his debut album. Then he said something like... "If you check out the lyrics you'll get a better idea, but the song is about time travel and seeing someone you love in another life, throughout time."
Sweet Jimminy-Crickets! Little did I know what type of musician I was about to get involved with. This was the type of person who cannot be called simply a musician, but an artist, as the confines of creative outlets do not chain Mondo Cozmo. This guy and his force are danger talent. The project was pretty open and simple. I have yet to work with anyone who can create a working stream of content behind a cause with such great passion, commitment and positive energy.
Mondo had this idea of what he wanted to try and achieve, but he did not know if he could get it all together at this point. We determined, as a team, he and I would create as much content as possible, with a theme in mind. So that is exactly what we did. He had some footage that he had shot and sent over of his dog Cozmo, and his cat Santee; both of whom are rescues. It was not clear if he had a camera operator and an editor at this time, but it appeared that way. I did some roto-brush work on the footage and sent it back. Turns out; he was filming it predominantly on his own, with his cell phone... and editing it on his laptop... all in 4k.
Oh how times have changed. It was evident we could pull off this project remotely, which would be a huge benefit given he was on a national tour while filming half of the footage that he would eventually gather from Best Friends Animal Society Shelters. All the while, we created an animated 2D narrative to convey the colorful and tragically cute relationship between Cozmo and Santee. Every hour and day spent at this project was not only fun and fulfilling, but it even drew out empathy and emotion in trying to convey the needs and feelings of real animals who are in need of human love, and in need of it soon.
In about three weeks time, we had a cut which was an animated portion mixed in with some of Mondo's home footage, from concept to delivery. We had a larger time window to spare, for some more extensive roto-brushing and other custom features to be added. During that period, the footage, names and locations of the other animals started to come in. That's when the time window became less about expediency for our own comfort, and rather hasty for the well being of these animals that needed, and still need adoptions. Mondo was the one who pointed out that; many more animals were likely going to be highly displaced due to the hurricanes, thus the hurricane theme. We worked in segments, running roto passes on footage, then working with the timing and cuts. It opened my eyes as to how vast the talent of this artist was, a natural story teller like many and his main outlet is his music.
Needless to say, it was an excellent, fulfilling experience and privilege to be a part of for one reason; attention and energy was focused somewhere it is needed, and will be needed for some time. I am an owner of several rescued pets. I do not remember ever buying a puppy or kitten from a pet store. I do not look down on this, I just see the bond, love and loyalty in their eyes, especially when you are the one who saved them. This is what made this project special and gave it a unique momentum.
On December 1st, the video debuted. It had several thousand hits on facebook in just a few hours. It was going well, when I noticed a beautiful and unique characteristic that was coming from those listening to the song and viewing the video, something I don't think was foreseen. The twitter and facebook streams were becoming filled with one comment after the other of people posting images of their rescued animals. It was like watching some viral stream of meme reactions, accept no post was really meant to be funny or draw attention, other than to these rescued animals. There was a sense of heartfelt emotion as the comments and pictures kept popping up. Take it for what it's worth, but I find that kind of reaction very particular and rare to produce these days. It's one of those things that happens and you cannot force; like lightning in a bottle, so to speak.
I leave you with a reference to the quote Mondo chose to lead the video; "No act of Kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted" ~ Aesop
To rescue now please visit BestFriends.Org
The opinions or ideas presented in this article are strictly those of the author. This article is in no way related or endorsed by any of the websites, people or organizations presented and/or mentioned within it.