El Perro y El Gato
At the start, HBO’s tales of an excitable dog, Perro, and his low-key feline bestie, Gato, were bilingual, 30-second learning videos for kids two to eight. Over the course of five seasons the episodes grew longer and more extravagant, even expanding to other media, while winning numerous awards.
HBO contacted us to create the look and feel of El Perro y El Gato, a concept by Alberto Ferreras, Chrissie Hines and Elaine Brown. We illustrated the characters in a lineless style, giving Gato soft curves to contrast with Perro’s wiry angles. The tactile squishiness showed up in the backgrounds as well.
The first two seasons featured 30-second Spanish/English episodes animated and composited in Adobe After Effects. The videos were aimed at young learners, so the pace had to be very slow. Instead of pausing the story, we filled the conversation gaps with fun character animation. In the seasons that followed, we used these gaps to increasing humorous effect. Also growing out of the show’s curricular mission was the “One more time...” vocabulary review at the end, another opportunity for silly gags.
The shorts found big audiences both on HBO Family and HBO Latino, as well as in classrooms. This not only meant new seasons and episodes as long as five minutes, along with the latitude to have more fun with the stories. We took Perro and Gato to the old West, to the glamor of tinseltown and cast them in a hospital drama. We also did musical parodies of West Side Story and the Sound of Music, complete with showstopping production numbers. At this point we also migrated production to Adobe Animate.
As the show expanded on HBO, it also expanded into other realms, including books, home media and streaming. Critics loved how the shorts crossed divides, speaking to audiences in Spanish and English, to children and adults, with learning and humor. The series received a number of awards including the New York Festivals Gold Medal and the Parents’ Choice® Award. Primal Screen staff performed all animation, design compositing, music and sound for the entire series.