Random Media’s Taggerz aim to bring 1Xtra to life

Random Media has created a broadcast-quality animation series to be released on the website of 1Xtra, the BBC’s black, urban digital radio station next month.

The consultancy was appointed in March last year by BBC Interactive Drama and Entertainment, the department overseeing the production, after an initial eight-way pitch and a shortlisted three-way, paid creative presentation.

Entitled Taggerz, the sequence of six ten-minute episodes follows the story of a group of graffiti artists – the Ruffneck Crew. This once tight-knit group of five characters has drifted apart and its members now face different problems.

The story will touch on topics such as pregnancy, drugs, music and ambition, and attempts to target a predominantly young, male demographic.

‘We wanted to explore how the series could have some gameplay and mobile elements,’ explains BBC interactive executive Jamie Cason. ‘Random absolutely understood the target market and the group was on the money as far as credibility and tone are concerned, which is important for a new station like 1Xtra.’

The animations use a mix of photography and illustration to create the settings for the characters. ‘We have tried to make it as authentic as possible. The backgrounds look like graffiti, with the colours melting into each other,’ explains Victor Benady, chief executive of Random Media.

Unlike typical on-line animation sequences, which are rendered in Flash, Taggerz has been produced in broadcast quality, allowing transfer to DVD and potentially television.

Random Media handled all the art direction aspects of the production, led by creative director Andy Sandoz. Traditional animators were brought in to produce the animation work and BBC scriptwriters created the storylines.

In addition to the series itself, the group will design interactive content to support the animation, available on a microsite from www.bbc.co.uk.1/1extra.

Taggerz runs daily on this site from 21-26 March.

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