What do TV shows, comedy, music, and 2D animation all have in common? Me!
Hi, my name is Daniel Thrasher! I’m a Client Services Specialist with UrbanLink Group. By day, I manage websites, create content, position brands, and execute marketing campaigns.
But at night, my alter ego “Clever Dan” comes out. His claim to fame is writing, recording, and performing comedy music, typically accompanied by his own animated videos. Currently, the product of this disparate set of skills is a side project called “What It’s Like to Watch,” a series of animated comedy music videos about popular TV shows.
For example, the video below is called “Game of Thrones Blues.” This is a humorous look at the experience of watching the HBO series Game of Thrones. (Video contains mild spoilers.)
What It’s Like to Watch
So, what’s the story behind this “What It’s Like to Watch” concept?
Well, there’s obviously a lot of content out there that offers comedic commentary on popular work. I’ve been an avid consumer of everything from RiffTrax making fun of movies to “Weird Al” Yankovic offering his satirical takes on popular music.
As a diehard fan of television, I realized that many people have similar feelings and experiences when they watch popular TV shows. I thought it would be a lot of fun to hone in on that common reaction to TV shows – in song and video form.
That’s where “What It’s Like to Watch” was born. This series of comedy music videos features an animated character named Stevie – a TV watching superfan who gets really caught up in any show he’s watching. With a combination of funny lyrics and humorous visuals, I pay homage to great television – and in some cases, poke fun at it as well.
Clever Dan’s Creative Process
So, what does it take to create something like Game of Thrones Blues? It can be broken down into a five-step process:
1) Ideation - Come up with a funny or interesting take on the subject.
2) Writing - Craft humorous lyrics and music.
3) Recording - Record and arrange the finished song, including vocals and instruments.
4) Animation - Conceptualize visuals and create the accompanying animation.
5) Video Editing - Edit and polish the video, combining everything into one finished product.
Like any creative endeavor, this process is not an exact science. Sometimes, the writing process leads to a brand new idea, or a shot in the animation requires a tweak to the lyrics or the timing of the music.
Much of this process is focused on planning and thinking ahead. I’ll typically do a rough version of the song that’s just guitar or piano with vocals to make sure it works. I also do a shot list and animatic of the video before I ever start animating.
Ultimately, the result is a video where the music and the lyrics complement each other and tell a visually appealing, humorous story.
The Origins of Clever Dan
Over the years, I developed a range of creative skills out of a passion for the process of creating. While I have a professional background in writing and marketing, I’m also a self-taught multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, 2D animator, and video editor.
However, that marketing background has come in handy. Putting out comedy content is still a serious gig, so my knowledge of SEO, web design, content, and marketing to different channels has been crucial in getting started. That’s why I created the brand “Clever Dan” to house all of this creative content, complete with brand colors, a logo, a website, a tagline, and a unique value proposition for the realm of online content.
To see more Clever Dan, visit my YouTube channel or my website.
A Clever Way to Grow
I’m confident that my creative side project will continue to grow because I’m utilizing the very same strategies and tactics we use to help our clients succeed at UrbanLink. From branding and social media marketing to building an email list and creating video content, these are the tools that the UrbanLink team turns to every day.
What’s more, working on this humble side project continues to expand my knowledge of storytelling, content creation, media, and marketing strategy – all skills that make me a better marketer at UrbanLink. As Clever Dan grows, so do I.
All of the creative professionals at UrbanLink have side projects and passions that make them better at their jobs. Click here to see their stories.