We are happy to introduce 'Dotzy', a new web series from Treehouse Republic (formerly known as Box Creative). Dotzy is a series of short animations following a young Dublin lad, as he gets kicked off the dole and starts looking for a job. We interviewed Dale Robinson, who directed and animated the series to find out more behind Dotzy's story and about venturing into the world of online animation
Where did the idea for Dotzy originate?
Dotzy originally came to life as a once-off little short I made exaggerating a friend of mine completely out of context. It didn't take long to make as it was pretty simple, but it got such a good response we felt it would be a shame not to do something with it. So I took the character and added a few more of those crazy traits you see around Dublin and out came the new Dotzy.
I'm sure a lot of Irish people will be able to connect with Dotzy's story. Every one of us has probably met a character like this at some stage. However do you think the 'Irish humour' will appeal to a wider, international audience?
Yes and no. I think that there is a Dotzy type character in every society in every country, its just a matter of whether people have encountered his kind or not, he's a caricature of 'The world owes me something' attitude we see more and more of nowadays, I think that's what people really connect with.. He is not a reflection of the Irish and there are people here in Dublin who wont get what Dotzy is all about, but he has fans on facebook from as far away as Bangladesh, Singapore and Mauritius, they have met their version of him and understand whats going on.
Dotzy doesn't seem afraid to tell it like it is. With so much content control and censorship in commercial work these days, do you think the Internet is a good place for animators to push boundaries that would otherwise be seen as controversial on television?
Defiantly. You cant expect a network to let you voice your opinion on their time and money (although sometimes they will), if you want to get a point across that would be frowned upon in other media the Internet gives you the opportunity to say what you want about anything you want. In saying that, what Dotzy says is his way of thinking and not mine and it’s his attitude to life that makes the series funny, if he was a more balanced character his story wouldn't be as interesting to watch. What I think the Internet does is really give the power back to the people, instead of the networks and marketers deciding what we should watch.
Do you find that animation has advantages over live-action in terms of addressing tough subjects such as unemployment ?
It’s all about the story. I believe that if you have a good story then it doesn't matter what you create it in. If your story captivates someone’s attention they will watch it whether it was filmed on a camera phone or animated in high end 3D. This is true of any subject from silly to serious issues.
In the current economic climate here in Ireland, do you see more advantages in publishing animation online and getting oneself 'out there' rather than the focusing on the unpredictable job of looking for funding or regular project work?
I believe that if you are looking for work then the more stuff you do the better chance you have of getting a job because every time you do something you’re only getting better. There is nothing more rewarding than making your own short films and web series and you might just have the next big thing floating about in your head. If you don't do it and get it out there then how is anyone, including employers, ever meant to see it. No one knows where lightning may strike, but you can certainly increase your chances of being struck by chasing the storm and flying a kite.
Would you have any advice to give to someone who would like to promote their own work online or indeed publish their own web series?
Learn social media! Facebook, Bebo, Twitter, Linked in are all great tools for promoting online content (I'm only learning myself so I wont go to deep into it!) Also animation forums and any other forums related to the subject and tell your friends to tell their friends, you'd be surprised at how far you can spread your content through word of mouth.
Whats the future for the Dotzy series?
For the answer to that you'll just have to tune in and keep following Dotzy.
Here's the link to Dotzy's youtube page if you would like to watch the episodes.
and to see more work from Treehouse Republic, please follow this link
Special thanks to Dale for the great answers and for sending us a link to Dotzy. We look forward to seeing more from him and Treehouse Republic.