Just when you might have thought HBO’s Game of Thrones couldn’t get much cooler, they drop this awesomebomb: a series of animated shorts filling the gaps of history, background and knowledge of the Westero’s Universe! Wicked!

Yea, this is most wonderful for any fan, IMHO. Beside the great big bits of background on how the epic story is stitched together (House by House, Castle by Castle), these wonderful shorts summarize that supply of history brilliantly. Engaging, edifying,  and generally just really cool. Have a look after the jump-

Lookey here- there’s a pickle barrel full of these things! 12 in total, actually. No telling how long these gems will be online and for perusal, so steer yourself over to i09.com for a look at the batch of brilliance ready to be had. If you’re already a fan of the series (either book & TV, or both), this will be insightful and likely, educational.

Inasmuch as story-world building goes with Game of Thrones, these short films are a great move by HBO: fill in the the gaps in the epic story while supplying the rich texture, aesthetic, and humanity of the universe where all this Machiavellian action takes place. Smart, I say. The animated shorts are well done and not hugely expensive to produce. Wonderful illustrations, animated camera movement versus actual character animation- moving the animated camera is far more cost effective, timely, and efficient than animating a host of characters. A lot of shorts for the money, in the end. Ok, great- you may ask; “HBO did it, so how would I do something equally as awesome for my own project(s)?

Here’s how, in  nutshell…

It’s a small team, and maybe even one talented individual, that could illustrate your characters/ story points from your script, maybe even pulling excerpts from  story / dialogue/ script itself. Record dialogue with a brilliant actor/ actress. The illustrations are ‘cut apart’ into separate layers in Photoshop/ After Effects/ Image Manipulation program of your choice. Animate as motion graphics in your non-linear editing package (or have an editor do this for you),  and cut this thing together. Drop these online. No live action, no shoots, all done on a desktop. Brilliant!

A great thing about this approach is the shorts complement the series itself– nay, maybe not as grand and epic or post-perfect as the show itself– but the animated shorts do service in regards to deepening the story experience. It’s a value-add; a multi-device, cross-platform giveaway. The shorts are found as extra features on the DVD release, and can be found online, free for all (for a limited time, surely)! It’s about fanning the flames of current fans, and creating new ones via the interactive site, animated shorts, trailers, etc.

I know, I know, this is basic– but it works.  Risking redundancy, I feel it’s a key point to acknowledge; this can work for your project, too– be it a book, film, online series, transmedia project, etc. I’ve seen all the shorts and will view them time and again as we go along– because I like them, I learn something, and I just think it was a smart way of handling a story world with such dramatic scope. And because of the shorts, I’m keen to avail Game of Thrones on DVD.

What’s not to like?    Jump in and enjoy!

See you over there, and feel free to leave a comment below!

–    M.

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