Last week’s Freak of the Week winner, Jenna Ugero, demonstrated that when it comes to creating the perfect holiday atmosphere, using sound and music in your display can make all the difference.
You may already know that several of our family-friendly digital decorations feature unique, Halloween-inspired songs, and many of you have asked how we create these special scenes. Today, we sat down with our studio heads, Pete Reichert and Pete Williams, to get some answers to some of your most commonly asked questions.
How many songs are currently available?
Pete R. - There’s a total of five: two from Jack-O’-Lantern Jamboree and three from Witching Hour. In fact, we just released the third Witching Hour song as a bonus digital download today!
Pete W. – We have more coming out for new AtmosCHEERfx digital decorations. We have Santa getting into the mix soon, too.
Who wrote the lyrics for the songs and stories featured on these digital decorations?
Pete R. – Pete Williams.
Pete W. – Pete Reichert.
Both – We collaborated.
Do you write the songs and stories to fit the decoration’s characters, or are the characters created to fit the story?
Pete R. – The character is created first. We want to create characters that make the most sense from a digital decorating standpoint.
Pete W. – Once we have our characters or theme figured out, we think about the kinds of stories or songs that would be fun to create.
Pete R. – I always ask myself, “Self, would this make Pete Williams laugh or cry?” If so, it’s a go.
Is the music featured in the songs original compositions? If so, who wrote and arranged each piece?
Pete R. – The majority of the songs are original compositions created by our very own Pete Williams. Fun fact: he can play something like 23 instruments.
Pete W. – I can actually only play one instrument…the keyboard. Fortunately, it has at least 23 instruments built into it. When possible, my preference is to compose original music for our songs. However, every once and a while, I’ll borrow an existing melody from one of the classics, like Grieg’s “In The Hall of the Mountain King”, which we used as the foundation for one of the Jack-O’-Lantern Jamboree songs.
Who is your audience for the song and story scenes?
Pete W. – Kids aged 3 to 133. We aim to please everyone.
Pete R. – We take the same approach that writers take when creating a blockbuster feature animation film. It should have songs and a story that kids can enjoy but have enough substance that adults will also be entertained.
How long does it take to write and compose music for digital decorations?
Pete W. – Unfortunately, inspiration doesn’t always adhere to production schedules, so it can take a couple of hours or it can take up to a week of banging away at the keyboard until the right melody starts to take shape.
Pete R. – It’s usually takes at least one or two days longer than Pete Williams promises.
How do you get the characters lips to sync with their songs? How long does this process take?
Pete R. – After the voice over track has been recorded and laid out (or edited), it gets passed on to the animation team.
Pete W. – This also varies, but it can take several weeks to lip sync a song or story, depending on the length. Every syllable in the song requires a unique mouth shape and key frame, so it’s a very tedious process.
Do you have plans to release songs in other languages?
Pete W. – We’ve had requests to release the songs in different languages and given the popularity of our products globally, we need to get on that soon.
Pete R. – PW’s been blazing through Rosetta Stone. Fun fact: he can speak something like 23 languages.
Pete W. – 24. But they’re all alien languages from the Star Wars universe. Want to hear me say “Happy Halloween” in Huttese?
Will we ever see a Jack-O'-Lantern Jamboree 2?
Pete R. – We definitely want to revisit Jack-O'-Lantern Jamboree.
Pete W. – In fact, we have some material recorded already but haven’t had a chance to animate it yet. I think we’ll have something new ready for next year.
Thanks, Pete(s) – this is great stuff!
If you want to add some extra musical ambiance to your Halloween party or trick-or-treat display, it’s not too late! Each of the songs from Jack-O’-Lantern Jamboree and Witching Hour are available as instant digital downloads, so be sure to pick yours up today.