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Swinging for the fences

Collaborators James Blagden and Christopher Isenberg created one of the first animated shorts to go viral. Now they’re ready to take on the dream––an original animated series. Here's how portals and reviews help them stay organized as they prepare to pitch to major networks.

How do you make the sizzle before you cook the steak?

Not the question we asked, exactly, but it's what we got served from the masterminds of Dock Ellis & The LSD No-No when we invited them to put our new features through the paces for their latest project.

Dock Ellis was based on the retelling of ‘the greatest athletic achievement by a man on a psychedelic journey' and an early viral hit that kicked off a fruitful, decade-long creative partnership between director-animator James Blagden and sports fanatic Christopher Isenberg, who most folks in advertising know for co-founding Doubleday & Cartwright and the award-winning sports and culture magazine, Victory Journal. Together with British-born writer Yadz Odedina, the three have long dreamed of making an original animated series.

Enter Off Base, a tragicomedy rooted in the dysfunctional family dynamics of a baseball team.

With pitch decks prepped and an opening title sequence underway, the spirited trio is ready to score a hit with network execs. But in light of a pandemic keeping their work marriage long distance, getting to this point has been a tragicomedy of its own. “Working with a teammate in New York has its own unique challenges,” says Yadz who’s based in Los Angeles with James. “Just trying to get us all on the phone at the same time can be quite difficult.”

“WeTransfer makes it possible for us to keep working together.”

Though WeTransfer has long been part of their creative process, helping them send media and video files from coast to coast, portals and reviews keep the crew organized so Off Base stays on track.

With reviews, Chris says, “We can see what the most recent version is. We know what each member of the team needs to get to the next stage.” Plus, anyone added to a review can view the work without having to sign in or download anything.

Keep projects under wraps until showtime
Keep projects under wraps until showtime

What’s more, comments ensure notes stay in context, and password protection means no one can see what the gang’s up to unless they’re initiated.

“WeTransfer is an easy way to share our files and make sure that we’re not confusing one deck with another,” said James, citing a pain point shared by creatives who frequently pitch projects. And despite the distance between the New York streets and Hollywood Hills, he says, “WeTransfer makes it possible for us to keep working together.”

To any big shot network exec reading this––if you’re looking to add a witty tragicomedy to your roster, give the Off Base crew a shout.

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