AWESOME SPOTLIGHT: AVENUE Q

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Avenue Q has been a dream project of mine for a very long time, and I am so happy to say that I have now lived the dream! And not just on the performance side of things, in which I was honored to bring Princeton to life alongside (fellow Kablooey Group member) Rachel Roettger’s Kate Monster. I was also fortunate enough to be able to bring this production’s many video interstitials to life, including several animated bits. Such a wonderful experience, led by director Jerry Johnson (another Kablooey Grouper!) and A.D./Stage Manager Janet Patterson along with a great cast and crew and audiences hungry for what Theatre 7 was serving. I actually teared up on stage singing the show’s final line: “Everything in life is only for now.” This is one that will not be soon forgotten!

The Latest Awesome

Recent Project Highlights

Animation: Theatre 7's Avenue Q Opening Theme

My animated take on the Ave Q opening sequence– featuring the original Cast Recording for the purpose of sharing this animation only!

Commercial: The Gordfather

Sequel to the original Stahl’s Furniture movie parody spot, “Couchablanca,” again starring Gus Gordon and Julie Staley. My contributions include: creative director, writer, director, editor (the actors, not furniture montage), composer of the original score (not the jingle), and the end board’s Godfathered Stahl’s logo. Co-produced with Jim Cloney for Falcon Multimedia.
Sold out our first ever live Kablooey Group performance "Improv: Games

Performance: Kablooey Group's Sold-Out Improv

Sold out our first ever live Kablooey Group performance “Improv: Games & Stuff” at the premiere Loft 125 event! Such an awesome night– our crowd was fantastic and came ready to play!
While working on a revamp for Theatre 7's website I decided to give the organization's longtime unofficial mascot "JayJay" an official fresh look. I don't often flex my Dinsey-esque design skills so it was fun throwing this one together!

Illustration: Theatre 7's "JayJay"

While working on a revamp for Theatre 7’s website I decided to give the organization’s longtime unofficial mascot “JayJay” an official fresh look. I don’t often flex my Dinsey-esque design skills so it was fun throwing this one together!
For their one year old portrait I took photos of these two at a park, and the clear favorite of the bunch was them on the stairs with polar opposite attitudes on display. Four years later for their five year old portrait we recreated that pic to delightful effect!

Portraiture: Twins Redux

For their one year old portrait I took photos of these two at a park, and the clear favorite of the bunch was them on the stairs with polar opposite attitudes on display. Four years later for their five year old portrait we recreated that pic to delightful effect!

Film/Acting: Weight

A rare occurrence: I largely let go of the production side of things and concentrated solely on the performance for this one. I did do a rewrite of the original script from Chris Phillips (who also directed) and suggested various shots for coverage sake, but other than that I was pretty much hands off, putting on my acting cap for a first time director wanting to give this a go.
I am writing an original musical along with my fellow Kablooey Group mates Doug Bishop, Jerry Johnson, Rachel Roettger, and music director Doug Nicholson. There is no cooler feeling than seeing your name on some sheet music! Aiming for the Holiday season...

In-Production: Kablooey Group's Original Musical

I am writing an original musical along with my fellow Kablooey Group mates Doug Bishop, Jerry Johnson, Rachel Roettger, and music director Doug Nicholson. There is no cooler feeling than seeing your name on some sheet music! Aiming for the Holiday season…
I multi-hyphenated as director and actor in Theatre 7's 2015-16 season opener, "The Explorer's Club." I produced this show poster as well, which I am extremely fond of.

Design: Theatre 7's The Explorers Club

I multi-hyphenated as director and actor in Theatre 7’s 2015-16 season opener, “The Explorer’s Club.” I produced this show poster as well, which I am extremely fond of.
Along with Jerry Johnson, Rachel Roettger, and Adam Lewandowski. Spent the night interacting with kids of all ages (including some adults) as we shared our love of Star Wars via games, crafts, photo ops, etc!

Volunteer: DAAC Star Wars event

Along with Jerry Johnson, Rachel Roettger, and Adam Lewandowski. Spent the night interacting with kids of all ages (including some adults) as we shared our love of Star Wars via games, crafts, photo ops, etc!
The latest print ad for Vita as seen in the Herald

Advertising: Vita Center for Women

The latest print ad for Vita as seen in the Herald & Review.

Additional Awesome

A few more recent works of note

Stahl's Furniture: Couchablanca

A faithful homage to a cinema classic or a commercial for a furniture store? Why not both? Starring Gus Gordon and Julie Staley. My contributions include: creative director, writer, director, editor (the actors, not furniture montage), composer of the original score (not the jingle) and end board animator. Co-produced with Jim Cloney for Falcon Multimedia.

Theatre 7: Avenue Q -- Princeton's Nightmare

Another fun bit of animation from Avenue Q! The music here is a click track recorded on my phone, included for presentation purposes only (it was played live during performances). This was actually the second bit of music used for animating this– you can see the ending doesn’t quite sync up here. The idea was to give Princeton’s nightmare a different look from the other videos in the show, since technically this is from his head. So I went for a Sunday comics look and am pretty pleased with how it turned out! My contributions: All of it! Except the music, which is being played by Andrew Rauff.

Vita: General

Really pleased with how this one turned out. The script focuses on exactly what stands out at Vita: the faces that greet you, talk with you, and take care of you. I was able to capture some really nice moments of the staff that captures the atmosphere of Vita really well. My contributions: All of it, aside from the golden pipes of Dr Pfeiffer on voiceover.

AWESOME THROWBACK:

ELF ANTHEM w/BRYAN ABRAMS

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I had the pleasure of working with Color Me Badd and, separately, lead singer Bryan Abrams for a spell. And in that time I helped Bryan bring a long-desired project to life: recording and releasing some Holiday music! 

So many fun elements to this one, largely revolving around the song “Elf Anthem.” Bryan had an unused CMB demo lying around and, my brain working the way it does, I suggested that the whole thing could be rewritten to be about Santa’s elves. One plane ride later and I had the lyrics set, including a rap that I ended up performing for the track as “Elf Elf Cool J” with Bryan and producer Hamza Lee in OKC.

Recording the “Songs for the Season” EP was a blast all around, but let me just hit once more on that last part: I got to record, with Hamza Lee on the boards and Bryan Abrams giggling away while I did it, a high-pitched rap as the character Elf Elf Cool J. Bliss, people. Creative bliss.

Once the music was done the fun really kicked into high gear. After I designed the cover artwork for the EP I pitched the idea of holding a contest for fans, where I would illustrate an alternate cover featuring caricatures of the winners as elves (as seen above). Additionally I produced a series of elf Countdown to Christmas illustrations, leading up to a Christmas Day debut of the alternate cover! You can check those out in the gallery below. As you scroll through you’ll see how they became increasingly more involved, especially once I hit the Twelve Days of Christmas. Just for fun I’ve also included the original thumbnail sketch of the alt cover, the original pencil sketch of the “Fry Their Brains” elf, and a coda of sorts that was posted after Christmas.

I actually produced several more illustrations during my time with Bryan and have included an additional favorite below. Its one I know he and I both really enjoyed, and it struck a chord with many of his fans, too.

And while I’m sharing, check out the cover for single “Do It Sexy,” featuring the logo I created for Bryan. The Do It Sexy font is mine as well.

I encourage you to hit iTunes, Amazon, or the digital store of your choice to pick up the EP. Bryan’s voice is still one of the strongest instruments in the game, and now that he’s touring again with Mark (Calderon) as Color Me Badd you should def try to catch ’em live! They’re great guys and they put on a helluva fun show.

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AWESOME AWARD WINNERS:

Pre-HD, The WB, and Beyond — all Telly Award-winning spots

WBUI: Gotta Be

Pre-HD! My final BIG image piece for WBUI. “Gotta Be” was a massive 13-hour night of outdoor filming. All of our dancers were performing arts students and total champs. We had a truck on site full of lights and equipment and we used damn near all of it. This is an extremely lo-rez version, which I feel horrible about and if possible I will upload a better version. My contributions: creative director, songwriter, song vocals, producer, director, editor. The track was produced by Lewis Lux. Cayla Hittmeier choreographed. Jeff McCullum and Mitch Morrison handled filming and on-site production duties. McCullum additionally did some color coding on the footage.

WBUI: Running Man

Pre-HD! To this day I still get recognized as “The WB Guy,” and this is the spot that started the series of spots featuring me as that character– the guy who was always preoccupied with watching WB23. My initial intent was not to feature myself in this promo, but I was convinced it was silly for me NOT considering my history of performing, the fact I had already appeared on-air in a host capacity for special programming, and most importantly that I was already on the payroll! It was a fun series of spots and I’m happy to have been “the face” of WB23. My contributions: creative director, writer, producer, director, actor, and editor. Jim Cloney and Mitch Morrison lensed it. Jim Cloney contributed the end board animation. Mitch Morrison handled lighting.

WBUI: Singing Reindeer #2 - Blue Christmas

Pre-HD! In addition to a Telly Award, this spot netted me a prestigious WB Network “Froggy” Award, complete with a Michigan J Frog trophy! While far from a full 24 frames-per-second (I simply didn’t have the time to do that), this is still a fun, traditional hand drawn animated bit of silliness. My contributions: All of it! Except the snow effect, which was a key-able effect provided by The WB Network for various station use. And I used it!

Block's Brewery: Horror Hotspot

This one was fun. Every jump of the film was hand designed and animated, I got to zombify a bunch of peeps, and I finally had a reason to purchase a pair of freaky all-black contact lenses. Clearly I was aiming for a horribly cheesy horror film, right down to my looking ridiculously off-camera for my expository download as “Professor Jay.” My contributions: creative director, writer, producer, director, makeup, performer, editor. WBUI production reunion alert! Jim Cloney lensed it (and is the pool player eaten by zombies). Mitch Morrison designed the lighting.

WBUI: Trekmation 1 & 2

Pre-HD and a Telly Award-winning animation! Well, the second one is. I’ve included the first animation simply because it feels right to. WB23 needed something fresh to remind folks we were airing Star Trek Voyager. What’s fresher than taking characters and pushing the Ridiculous Button? My contributions: All of it! Aside from pal Mike Donaker providing one of the voices.

Creative Sunroom Designs: Bugs

Pre-HD! Originally entitled “Fly Guys 2” but for some reason shortened to “Bugs” for the Telly entry. This was the sequel to my first animated spot for WBUI. Not fully animated but some decent stuff here with compromises made for time on the project (the end board, for example, is partly from the first way-less animated spot, which you can clearly see). There are flaws here, sure, but considering my animation muscles hadn’t been flexed in years? I’m happy! (And so was the client!) My contributions: creative director, storyboards, writer, producer, director, character animation, voice (the tubby fly, announcer). This was before I had really had time learning the ins and outs of our editing software so Jim Cloney edited and provided the sunroom “demonstration” animation in the middle and end board layout. He also voiced the other fly guy.

WBUI: Vote PSA

Pre-HD and a Silver Telly Award winner! My first stab at steering a commercial from concept to completion. A simple message filmed simply, using my personal Canon XL1 to give it a more unique “film” look from spots lensed with the station cameras. It was intended to be a one shot spot but Jim Cloney, who edited the spot (I was not yet fully in the production department when tapped for this PSA), added the flag in the beginning. Four years later, someone on the corporate level asked to view this spot again, and ended up forwarding it on the The WB, where they took my concept and shot several variations using various stars from the network. They altered my tagline slightly, changing it to, “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.” A very cool process and a huge honor. My contributions: creative director, writer, producer, director, performer. Jim Cloney co-produced, lensed and edited. Mitch Morrison ran sound.

Truth be told, I’m fairly certain I could have additional Tellys to my name, but I stopped entering. Part of me is curious to see how my work has progressed (I only have one Silver Telly, the top Telly awarded) but overall I’m content with the work itself and don’t feel the need to go back to the awards well. Still… I’m honored to have my work recognized and hope you enjoy them!

Random Awesome

Because why not?

Troupe Dynamic: Timmy Turns Fifty

Troupe member Tim Haworth’s sister contacted me about producing something fun for Timmy’s 50th birthday, to be screened at their family celebration. We didn’t have a lot of time to turn it around but OF COURSE I agreed to do it! The idea for a movie trailer came early and made sense: short, sweet, and the ability to show lots of random bits building to the main gag. I ran with it. The Troupers all delivered stellar performances, we filmed in record time, and the edit came together like buttah. My contributions: creative director, writer, producer, director, performer, camera operator, editor. Additional camera operators include Teddi Albright, Doug Bishop, and Janet Patterson. This version is a Jayson Albright exclusive! The original Troupe Dynamic version was presented in color, but I always thought black-n-white would enhance the feel of it all. So here we are!
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© 2016 Jayson Albright