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Music & Sound for Animation: Frog Legs

Animated Short, Frog Legs, by New York’s non-profit studio, The Animation Project.

In December 2019, The Animation Project (TAP) released multimedia short, Frog Legs. The film is a product of TAP’s internship program. Over the course of this program, interns applied a wide range of new skills to an earlier version of the project under the same name. Upon the hiring of former creative director, Dan Shefelman, work on the final version began. To fine tune the project and develop the interns, he paired the dedicated group with a handful of industry experts. From there, Flavorlab Score and Flavorlab Sound provided sound design, mix, and original music to the film.

“I said, ‘Let’s take that concept and make it shorter. We can have experts and interns work on it together.’ I wanted to push the limits of what TAP was already doing and get some professional sound and music in there to elevate it.”

– Dan Shefelman, former TAP Creative Director

While Flavorlab received a first pass on sound effects, it was up to the team to fill out the sonic environment. Ambiences were added in the kitchen, as well as exaggerated clashes against various appliances. The frog boings and sizzles in a heating pan. The chef topples into full supply crates. In the live action world, they added key strokes and chair noises to fill out the animator’s environment and meet the more cartoonish landscape partway.

“When the frog leaps out of the screen, I kept the cartoon bounce, but landing on the desk is a slightly more realistic wet plop sound,” explains sound engineer, Eric Stern. Beyond sound, the music team scored closely to picture. They created a laid back, adventure style guitar tune. To bring life to our characters, voice over artist Elena Melener lent her voice to the frog. Our partner, Glenn Schloss, took on the chef. Check out some behind the scenes of the remote recording below:

Elena Melener remote recording the voice of the frog with Flavorlab engineer, Eric Stern.

Coming out of this experience, at the start of 2020, Shefelman struck out on a new path. Mud Pie Labs. The mission of Mud Pie is simple: to be a full service animation studio with an inclusive and sustainable hiring model. Mud Pie aims to diversify hiring in animation by creating a more direct bridge into professional studios for young talent with a more team oriented mentorship approach. Dan explains more on what’s next for Mud Pie and their expert/mentee model in our interview with him below.

Mud Pie Labs: Animation studio founded by Dan Shefelman in 2020

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