My Son the Video Director
On the eve of his thirteenth birthday, my older son Campbell completed his first music video – a Flash animation for the Uncle Rock song “Playing Possum.” I’ve written about Uncle Rock many times before here at iJamming!; part of the new generation of kids’ musicians who play music for their young audience, not at them, who write songs that reflect the attiudes of children, not of the parents, Uncle Rock has become something of a fixture round our way, a perpetual favorite of the pre-school and early grades set. It would not be too much of an exaggeration to say that our younger son, Noel, has learned much of his language through Uncle Rock songs, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that never a day goes by when Noel doesn’t pick up his acoustic guitar and sing “Playin’ Possum,” “Uncle Rock U” or the “Superhero Medley” while giving it some of his three-year old Pete Townshend attitude.
Given that Uncle Rock – real name Robert Warren, by which name he has also recorded as a singer-songwriter and played in other groups, including the Fleshtones – is also a close friend of the family, it made sense for Campbell to try and utilize his new-found love of the Flash software to create a full video for Uncle Rock’s first DVD. You can see the results below, via YouTube. (Caveat: for YouTube, the Flash animation had to be converted to a QuickTime movie, which YouTube then further crunched. The Flash animation product as seen on the finished DVD is, of course, of a much higher resolution.)
This is mostly Campbell’s work, but not entirely. The video would never have been completed without his mother, Posie. It was her idea in the first place. And while Campbell and I were at Burning Man, she used the time to teach herself Flash so as to ensure the video could be completed upon our return, in time for the DVD deadline. In early September, she sat with Campbell night after night, helping animate and color, coming up with plot suggestions, pushing him to meet a deadline that was much tougher than the average piece of homework. The pair have not fully settled on their shared credits, but while the vast majority of drawings, animation, photos and plot ideas were Campbell’s, this was certainly a collaboration between mother and son. I’m thrilled for both of them. (And a little over-awed!)
The Uncle Rock DVD, featuring a live concert shot in Bearsville and several other promo videos, will be out in mid-November. Parents with kids under, say, the age of nine, could do a lot worse than pick up a copy as a stocking-stuffer. (Or for any other reason.) Any other musicians in need of a top-notch Flash animation video, Campbell’s your man. Teenager. Whatever.
Permanent link to the “Playing Possum” video
Uncle Rock videos at YouTube
Uncle Rock website
In coming weeks, Uncle Rock will be gigging in Brooklyn (hello Southpaw), San Francisco, New Paltz, and Bearsville. Full calendar at
Uncle Rock’s MySpace page