Tag Archive: Animation


annie-awards-2014

2015 is starting incredibly well, I am currently signing on some very exciting projects and we started it off with an incredible news:  Polarrifc, the latest Hallmark Channel animated special I scored for the holidays was nominated at the prestigious Annie Awards — the highest recognition in the world for animation!

In Chel White’s own words, here is what Polariffic is about:

497236095_640“Taking place in the North Pole, “Polariffic” is a story about a foursome of Arctic friends that takes a journey from fear to friendship. Snowby a gentle polar bear, Jaz a be-bopping penguin, Flitter a light-on-her-feet artic fox and Cupcake a thoughtful baby seal are the best of friends, until one day they encounter Charlie, a young Yeti who tries to befriend them. At first terrified, the four friends find themselves face-to-face with the Yeti and must muster the courage to trust him in order to save themselves. In the end the gang learns appearances aren’t always what they seem.

Our little film was nominated for BEST ANIMATED SPECIAL PRODUCTION.  And the other contenders for the prize were pretty huge, no less than DreamWorks Animation with “How to Train Your Dragon,” “Cosmos: A Space Odyssey,” Pixar Animation’s “Toy Story” and Universal Television’s “How Murray Saved Christmas.”

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Polariffic was nominated for Best Animated Special, and we were up against some pretty serious contenders!

Unfortunately for us, “Cosmos: A Space Odyssey” won the award.  But it’s ok, because we love Cosmos.  Such a great show.  I had the pleasure to attend the VIP Red Carpet event with my beautiful wife Jennifer and with Polariffic’s director Rob Shaw and my dear friend — director and owner of the animation studios Bent Image Lab — Chel White.

Jennifer Ingle and Charles-Henri Avelange attend the 42nd Annual Annie Awards Red Carpet in Los Angeles, CA. (2015)

Jennifer Ingle and Charles-Henri Avelange attend the 42nd Annual Annie Awards Red Carpet in Los Angeles, CA. (2015)

Even though I have been working with Rob Shaw for at least the past 2 years, it was the first time that we were meeting in person.  And I haven’t seen Chel since him and I worked on Jingle & Bell’s Christmas Star.  It was great to spend time all together.

Rob Shaw, Jennifer Ingle and Charles-Henri Avelange on the Red Carpet at the 42nd Annie Awards

Rob Shaw, Jennifer Ingle and Charles-Henri Avelange on the Red Carpet at the 42nd Annie Awards

Charles-Henri Avelange, Jennifer Ingle and Chel White on the Red Carpet at the 42nd Annie Awards

Charles-Henri Avelange, Jennifer Ingle and Chel White on the Red Carpet at the 42nd Annie Awards

The Red Carpet was very impressive of course, legend of animation were present, as well as legendary Disney’s composer Richard Sherman, who is probably one of the sweetest person on earth!  I also had the pleasure to meet Jen Rarey from Hallmark who produced Polariffic.

Scoring Polariffic was an amazing experience.  The film is probably the cutest thing I have ever seen on screen.  The animation is so well done and director Rob Shaw had some great ideas for the score.  I also had the pleasure to have my first collaboration with one of the best session guitarist in Los Angeles, Michael Ripoll.  Michael has done some extensive work for composer John Powell (Bourne Identity, Rio, How to Train Your Dragon…) and working with him was one of the most amazing experience I’ve had.  And here’s a hint:  I’m working again with Michael on another project (more to come soon!)

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The fun thing about Polariffic, is that the film is supposed to be part of Hallmark’s main holiday feature film, which is called Northpole. In the story of Northpole, there is an animated TV series that everyone is fond of, and it’s called Polariffic.  In the film, you get to see only 30 seconds of it.  But then the full episode, which I worked on, is available as a bonus on Northpole’s DVD or on the Hallmark Channel website.

If you get a chance, you can watch the full short film on the Hallmark Channel’s website, here:
Polariffic on The Hallmark Channel

Everyone really liked the score and thought it was amazing.  I was very happy we managed to convey Rob’s vision through music.  I even ended up whistling in the end credits theme 🙂

For the score Rob wanted something not too orch10872785_10152432459951097_8449932734552322982_oestral, trying to step away from the Disney style.  That’s how we ended up with Mandolin, Mandola, Ukulele (yup, for a Christmas movie… that’s right)  all sorts of guitars and electric basses.  Trombone, fiddle, flutes and voila!  The recipe for quite an original score.

The wonderful Royce Hall at UCLA was a full house.  The ceremony was also on TV and people were able to stream it live online.  Chel, Rob, Jennifer and I were sitting right in the middle of the Disney people. Which was quite fun 🙂

The ceremony had the particularity this year of not having a host, instead, we had a series of people presenting each category of awards.  We were very well treated and the animation community is warm and welcoming.  A big thank you goes to the IAFS-Hollywood for all the attention and care they put into this event.  The food was delicious and the staff charming.

All that to say, see you next year the Annie’s!  I certainly look forward to attend once again, and who knows, maybe this time we will win that beautiful statuette!

Charles-Henri Avelange Annie Awards 2015 4

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Chel White, Rob Shaw and Charles-Henri Avelange sitting inside Royce Hall during the ceremony.

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Hallmark: Jingle All The Way

In summer 2011, I was proposed to score a very special project. I was commissioned to compose the music of the Hallmark “Jingle All The Way” animation special which premiered on the Hallmark Channel on November 25th 2011, and then played several time all through out the holidays.
Jingle All The Way Premiere

Working on “Jingle” lead me to a wonderful collaboration with director Chel White, whose work I already admired for a couple years prior to meeting with him. So working with Chel is kind of a dream come true. His studio is the one that produced the film, Bent Image Lab, one of the best stop motion animation studios in the US.

Scoring the film had its own challenges of course. First of all, The film — about 22 min running time — needed constant music. All orchestral. The version of the film I was scoring still had story board inserted for scenes that weren’t done yet. So for example one shot was having the animation, but the next one would be rough black & white drawings moving. However they would last the exact length of what the animated scene is supposed to be. All dialogues and sounds FX where in place as well, so that was helping a lot.

This is where working with Chel was great. He knew exactly what he wanted and was very good at leading me into what the music should accomplish for the pictures. This score is definitely the fruit of my collaboration with him. One other challenge that I also had to deal with, is that “Jingle” is part of the whole “story bud” product line, which at the beginning started as a book and an interactive plush toy, that reacts to certain key sentences when you read the book. Well, so is the film! The kids are supposed to watch the film with the plush, and certain dialogues in the film trigger the puppy plush to bark and make all sorts of noises at those moments. My responsibility as the composer was to make sure that the music does not interfere with that process at those very moments. And it was tricky… it was hard to determine which type of instrument/frequencies were interfering (high violin lines were most of the time the killer), so I had to take it into consideration while scoring the film.

I was invited to go down to Portland, OR and visit the animation studios, and saw pretty much an army of artists at work! It was like walking into Disneyland. Man, a live “Making Of”! I saw all the machines involved to take the shots, the lights, the multiple sets, how they make the puppets from the metal articulated skeleton to the silicon used to make their skins! It was awesome.

As Chel was giving me the tour, I just couldn’t help but notice all these bags and buckets full of… powdered sugar! Lots of it. I mean, TONS of it! What could they possibly use it for?? Well guess what… in “Jingle All The Way” there is a lot of… SNOW. Yes, snow. That’s how the snow you see all along the film is made: with powdered sugar. As the people at Bent were telling me more about it, I ended up hearing stories about ants problems etc… imagine that. I asked Chel “Does the company you order all that sugar from have any idea what you are using it for?” and he replied with a smile “probably not” 🙂

In the end the whole project turned out fantastic! The New York Times called it “By far the best of the bunch!” in their review of all the animation films for the holidays (You can check out the review here: http://tv.nytimes.com/2011/11/24/arts/television/jingle-all-the-way-the-elf-on-the-shelf-and-more-christmas-cartoons-television-review.html). See for yourself on this video below: a 3 min little overview of the whole film, featuring some of the music I composed:

You can also listen to more music from “Jingle All The Way” on my website (http://www.charleshenriavelange.com)
Of course, being the composer of this film leads to cute little trivias, such as the one time I walked by a Hallmark store in Seattle with my wife: We were looking at the display with the whole Jingle set — Plush, book and DVD — and an old lady comes to me saying “Isn’t it adorable? Have you seen it?” and I replied “Oh I am glad you like it so much, I made the music for it!”. She stared at me for a few seconds, completely immobile just like she could have seen a ghost… only to finally answer “Well, congratulations, young man!”

But then you also browse the internet and find the cutest things just like the video below, where young Lukas’ REAL husky pup named JAX interacts with Jingle (and what a thrill to hear the music through his TV’s speaker!!)

Director Chel White and I at the Portland premiere of Jingle

Director Chel White and I at the Portland premiere of Jingle

Holding the original puppets of Andrew and Jingle used for the film!