In years past, April Fool's has been no trivial matter at DeviantArt. We have brought you thoughtART, to simply will art into being; DeviantHeart, a dating website for creatives; and even succumbed to takeover by cats. This year was no exception. It all began in early 2018, when danlev set a brainstorming meeting. The ideas were plentiful: from llama-based cryptocurrencies to a Paul Blart site-takeover entitled: DeviantBlart.
Ultimately, it was DeviantArt Originals, a supposed lineup of TV shows and movies by DeviantArt, that intrigued us the most. And with spyed's friends at BentoBox Entertainment (the animation studio behind Bob's Burgers, Brickleberry, and more), we decided to take the idea one step further: we were going to create a trailer featuring the fake shows.
Ultimately, it was DeviantArt Originals, a supposed lineup of TV shows and movies by DeviantArt, that intrigued us the most.
Staff dreamed up dozens of shows, most of which didn't make the final cut. Like Notice Me, Senpai!, wherein fifteen fervent fans vy for the attention of one DeviantArt celebrity, all while trapped in a Beverly Hills McMansion. Or The Con, about an ex-convict and cosplayer on a mission to clear her name. She must contravene the Comic-Con contraband that could convince the constabulary of the conspiracy against her. To keep things confidential, she concludes that she will have to con her way into the Con. And even The Adventures of BooBoo: Experience your favorite guinea pig's adventures in these four adorable original films: "BooBoo's Family Christmas," "BooBoo Goes On A Date," "BooBoo The Magical Wizard," and "BooBoo Goes To Jail."
To help us narrow down which ideas would be best for the trailer, we turned BentoBox for their expertise. As it happened, several of the animators at BentoBox turned out to be deviants, and Ben Jones, their Creative Director, was a big fan of fatpaw. The BentoBox team had lots of good feedback on our show ideas and how to develop the script.
It was down to four shows: 'Shopped, The OC, Bob RossDraws, and The Death Artist. We reached out to RossDraws to see if he could lend us his DeviantArt cred and YouTube chops. bironicheroine put together a script. Within a few weeks, BentoBox had a sound stage, a cast, and a crew ready to go. The call sheets went out and it was time to head to set.
Lights, Camera, Action!
Cut to Friday, March 23rd, when everyone gathered at a soundstage in Glendale to watch the magic happen. Backstage, rossdraws was getting an enormous Bob Ross wig fitted, while on the sound stage the crew hung lights and rigged up cameras.
"I like Chopped and... when I got more info about this being a Chopped thing," Jenny Yang, who played one of the judges, talked about getting the audition. "I was like WHAT? This is like the nerdiest, funniest parody."
An on-set animal-wrangler made many careful attempts to coax Milo into a tiny wig, but despite his experience with bears in wigs on shampoo commercials, it was Milo who won the battle of wills. But like any true diva, when the cameras started rolling, Milo delivered spectacularly.
After Bob RossDraws, the crew re-set the soundstage for 'Shopped, while the 'contestants' donned their custom jumpsuits. The director, Stony, threw out one hilarious prompt after another for the judges and contestants to react to.
In between scenes, GerardUht got photos of the actors posing for the key art that would wind up on the website. After lunch came the most chaotic part of the shoot: all the handheld shots of 'Shopped contestants scrambling around.
The final undertaking of the day was to capture a monologue from the one and only Death Artist. But lo, no-one had been cast. Due to a change in the script, Ben from BentoBox wrote a creepy monologue on the fly in the vein of True Detective or Hannibal, part philosophy, part murder, all hilarious. GerardUht stepped up to the plate, and The Death Artist was born.
Before we knew it, set was wrapped. Our friends at BentoBox would edit together all that we'd shot into the trailer, and create all the animation for Bob RossDraws and The OC.
Watch alternate versions of your favorite DeviantArt Originals shows
Bringing it all together
Now it was time for all this hard work to be wrapped into a website. Some of the ideas that didn't make it in the trailer were too good to pass up, we decided to showcase a whole slate of shows. withloveandheart researched streaming sites and designed a beautiful and convincing vision for DeviantArtOriginals.com, down to a subscription sign-up and application. withloveandheart and the studio team then set out to create key art for each of the shows, bironicheroine wrote up summaries, and dtab428 and symonx worked around the clock to code it all in time for launch.
When the trailer was ready, Heidi headed to BentoBox to grab the hard drive. It had come together beyond our expectations, and we were buzzing with anticipation to finally get to share this elaborate prank crafted just for the community. The site was ready. ggMattB was on standby to share the launch...
Friday night came, and the page was live! It was the moment we'd all been working toward for so long. We knew we'd succeeded when we fooled some of you. And puzzled others. But most of all, we sympathize with everyone that wished DeviantArt Originals were real, because it was as fun to make as it was to experience!
Honestly, some of these are pretty interesting ideas. I'd watch a few these shows.
I was able to access the well designed site before April Fool's, and still can. Some material may be spoofed, but overall the entire upcoming service seems genuine.