Nostalgia hits everyone at some point in their lives, and freelance video editor/motion graphics animator Brandon Braswell is no exception. In 2012, while recalling how certain cartoon shows in his childhood like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have made a lasting impression, Brandon had a eureka moment--creating cartoon characters with matching toy versions to boot!
“Toys have always filled a special place in my heart,” he shares, “especially collecting toys from my childhood. That instant nostalgia a figure can bring back is really amazing. I wanted to create something for the generation growing up now.”
Without wasting time he started to work on his concept. His “9 to 5 Warriors” characters draw inspiration from an ‘80s toy line called “Food Fighter”, except that it’s not food but office supplies that come to life and wage battles against each other.
“I chose office supplies because when I was younger there was a book that always stayed with me called ‘Horrible Harry’,” he explains. “Harry would make figures/creatures out of school supplies he found on the floor. When I was in grade school I started doing this myself, playing with paper clips, broken crayons, etc.”
Failing to create the figures from a bag of random supplies he bought at a store, he decided to turn to 3D printing to breathe life into these characters. Stunned by the hefty US$ 2,400 price tag for just one 3D model of a single character, he turned to Freelancer.com, the world’s most preferred outsourcing solution. And within minutes of posting the project, he had people bidding—and he means this literally.
“I had been contacting a lot of independent 3D studios and toy production companies. Every time I sent them the exact same photos and exact same work description I was always given an extremely high estimate and usually less than ‘personal’ response,” he reveals. “With Freelancer.com, I had quotes within my budget flying in, and more important, people generally interested in working on the project and eager to learn more.”
As a freelancer himself, he understands the needs and concerns of those he hires on the platform; thus, the process goes smoothly. To ensure that he hires the right freelancer for the job, he reviews the résumé and portfolio of the bidders to get an idea of how their real-world abilities match against their claims, and then check their ratings and feedback. “This is the best feature of Freelancer®. I make sure that the work they had completed is on the same caliber as what I needed done. I’m addicted to reading reviews before buying anything. I want to know exactly what I’ll be getting. With Freelancer.com I am able to the same with my projects.”
Apart from the 3D models, Brandon also had an animated movie made on the platform to introduce the characters and toy line. Reminiscent of the typical ‘80s/’90s cartoon shows with a montage and catchy beat, the animation is intended to grab people’s attention. The toys, which will be minifigs or minifigures, are targeted to the independent toy community, which has shown considerable growth in recent years. “I’m approaching this market with the 2D animation and detailed character backstories. Many artists just produce a toy with no story or heart behind it and I feel that by having a magical cartoon intro that shows the characters in action will not only appeal to this market but also branch out and grab the attention of many more.”
What started out as a small yet fun idea has metamorphosed into something grander. Brandon is now busy designing stickers and trading cards to complement his existing lineup.