Space Nicks Sound

A Shout-out to Mr. Gori

The talented Rolando Gori, a musician and producer from Hell’s Kitchen, NYC,  got me over the finish line with this project. After compiling the music loops, sound FX, narration and Quicktime movies into Premiere Pro, I went to his studio and enlisted his ear. Rolando went through the complete audio bed tweaking the levels and making a few sound FX suggestions, all of which, made my work sound so much better.

Rolando is a co-founder of Musa212, a creative enterprise which specializes in music and sound production. While Rolando’s focus is primarily in all things musical, Musa212’s mission is to build or be a part of an artistic community where art, in any and all its manifestations, can be created and shared in a supportive environment.

A very talented man indeed.


Here’s a little background on my decision to redo the Space Nicks audio and the subsequent choices I made. Going into the job I knew I’d have to go back to the drawing board.

Hello Drawing Board

When I did the original animation I knew nothing about sound design. Assembling a musical score and sound FX were just above my pay grade at the time. That being said, I was able to do the basics.

The Krulwich narration and two wonderful songs written specifically for the animation were imported and used in the editing system I created the animation on. The songs were used as the opening and closing credits, bracketing the clean Krulwich narration. What I couldn’t do was add a score underneath the narration. So John Cain, who wrote and sang the songs, enlisted his producing partner, Kenny Mack.

I exported the ‘clean’ audio track – with the songs and narration in their finished positions – and gave them to Kenny, who added a score and a few well-placed sound FX underneath the narration. Kenny did an amazing job, and John Cain’s songs were fantastic. But, unfortunately, circumstances dictated scrapping everything except Robert Krulwich’s original clean narration.

In the new version, I tinkered with the Krulwich tracks, retiming and trimming where necessary. Since I like to do as much as possible myself anyway I enjoyed the challenge of putting my stamp on the whole project.

The hardest part was cutting the two songs from the new  finished project. 

Having having four-and-half minutes of credits (the opening song was two-and-half minutes and the closing song was two minutes) attached to a cartoon that’s only six-and-half minutes in total pushed the boundaries of patience for anyone just wanting to get to the story. I decided to simplify and get right to the point. I wasn’t an easy decision.

Music Loops, Instrumental Flourishes and Sound FX, 

Be careful what you ask for…

Assembling the musical loops and creating a fun bed of flourishes and sound FX to compliment Krulwich’s narration was an exciting and very satisfying process, but time consuming. Very, very time consuming. I did this first, assembling all the tracks in Adobe’s Soundbooth. When I was happy  with the results I started the new illustrations in Photoshop. I didn’t return to the audio until I completed all the After Effects animations and rendered Quicktime movies of all the separate scenes. Then I stepped on a rake (so to speak). Before starting the After Effect animations I was still working in Adobe CS5 for everything except Photoshop. I had upgraded to the CC version of that last year. So, I upgraded to the Master Collection to have the most up-to-date AE. The problem I encountered immediately was Soundbooth no longer operated properly. It was enough of an issue that I ended up bringing all the separate audio clips into Premiere Pro and redoing everything. A pain-in-the-ass but necessary and worth it.

Having that control over the final animation was something I couldn’t claim before. But, speaking of loops, I needed an expert to run through my results. That expert was Rolando Gori. Loop up to the top to hear about him again.

Space Nicks Cartoon Animation

Based on the original ‘Out of this World’ Christmas Children’s Book, written by Richard Mears & illustrated by Bill Westerfield