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Retail: A cartoon for customers

Posted by Margot / April 26, 2009

The Retail Show : Mr. Benson and his 2 cents from Otto Tava on Vimeo."Mr. Benson and His 2 Cents" by Antoine Tavaglione

Check out this clip from Retail, the series by Montreal-based animator Antoine Tavaglione, and read on to learn more about Otto and the gang.

As with many works of art, Retail sprang from real-life experience. Before the flashy, two-storey Apple Store, the corner of Crescent and Ste-Catherine was home to Mens, a fashion retail outlet where Tavaglione sold fine clothes to the perennially well-dressed. His experience at the store became the basis for the animation series, set in a high-end retail shop, and featuring the characters Otto, Mannan, Penny, and Mr. Benson (who are based on real people - they know who they are).

By Tavaglione's design, the fictional City of Chrome is an international amalgam, blending the European flavour of stylish Rome and the urban modernity of Dubai with a recognizable Montreal face; the street scenes are drawn directly from our city's landscape, and you'll probably recognize familiar storefronts like Ogilvy's and references to the Main. He wanted to set Retail in place that was densely populated, where people had a work-to-live mentality, but still had a where-everybody-knows-your-name feel. And thanks to the beauty of animation, it's also a place where Snoop Dogg and Barack Obama can drop by from time to time.

20090422-retail2.JPGI'd be curious about that question mark box, too

Tavaglione graduated from Concordia in 2003 with a major in Film Animation, and since has been doing artistic directing work for various different projects. Now, with his own Motionbox Producitons, he's finding a new and welcome challenge in Retail, doing everything from storyboards to animation, voices, and production. With some help from soundman Peter Ricq and other colleagues, as well as constructive criticism from friends, bloggers, and comments on his website, he finds that each episode is tighter, better, new-and-improved. In coming episodes, stories will develop the characters and focus on everyday life in the store (which, of course, includes epistemological conversations about Facebook poking and interactions with nose-picking customers.)

20090422-ottorretail.JPGOur Vespa-riding protagonist

Like any good modern man, you can friend the series' main character, Otto Tava, on Facebook and follow him on Twitter. You can even see Tavaglione's work in real life (wait - there's an outside world?) featured at AM 68 in Les Cours Mont-Royal. And check out Motionbox's website on a regular basis for all the latest Retail episodes.

All images from the Motionbox website.



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