Our discussion about the making of the iPad story app “A Present for Milo” continues. . . .
7. What art media did you use? And what computer apps did you use yourself?
Mike Austin: I use a lot of scanned textures in my illustration, so before I began I gathered up a folder of all the things I wanted to use (different kinds of paper, cloth, banana leaves, etc.), I worked in Illustrator and Photoshop on the Mac.
8. What was the approval process or protocol between you, Rubin, Sequel Digital, and The Ruckus Media Group? Time frame?
Rubin Pfeffer: It was an iterative process — we approved it as we went along. I touched base with Ruckus at key points along the way.
Ruckus had the same objective: Great storytelling. They were actually more resolved to avoid gratuitous clickables that might suggest anything gimmicky.
The intent all along was to deliver a delightful reading experience that very young children would enjoy, and in turn, would be endorsed by parents and educators.
Mike Austin: It was a great collaboration between everyone. It went very smoothly. Sharon, Ken and I would communicate just about every day, with cc to Rubin.
We focused on one screen at a time. I would send the layered Photoshop files of the finished screens to Sharon for review. Ken would program the screen, and then send a prototype app that Rubin and I could upload to the iPad for proofing.
It was so funny, because I would get the app loaded, and then start jumping up and down, screaming “THIS IS SO COOL!!!!” The farther along we got the funnier our video Skypes became.
Joy Chu: Could you address the topic of voice-over? That is, did reading the text aloud have an effect upon who was selected to do the vocals? Who was responsible for that end of it?
Rubin Pfeffer: Mike’s reading was the most natural. He recorded a preliminary track that we planned to use only for visual pacing.
We’d always intended to bring in a professional reader. When it was time to do the actual voice-over, we did a test with a professional. It was very good, but it lacked the authenticity that we’d come to enjoy from Mike’s voice.
So we sent Mike back to the studio to re-read the manuscript. This time he was the voice celebrity. It just wouldn’t have been the same with someone else.
Most of the sound decisions were invented and decided between Mike and the Sequel Creative team, Sharon and Ken Streger. They had great fun “illustrating” with sound!
I got to see what a silly kid-at-heart Mike is, by listening to the many sounds that he himself is able to make up, right there on the phone.