below the frame
In the fall of 2016, as "Sesame Street" was starting production on Season 48, my friend and fellow Muppet Performer Matt Vogel had an idea: to host a 20-minute long Facebook Live show once a week from the studio during our lunch break to share some stories and fun secrets about "Sesame Street."
I thought this was a swell idea and immediately agreed to be behind the camera and help produce the show.
(In fact, as soon as Matt had a title for the show I started writing a theme song for it.)
The only problem was, our set was closed during our lunch break and even if it wasn't, the wi-fi signal in there was too weak for broadcast.
So I had an idea: to shoot some video on the set to either "roll into" the live show or post as an "extra" during our hiatus weeks.
I dusted off all of the down-and-dirty filmmaking skills that I learned as a Radio/TV/Film major living in the Communications Residential College at Northwestern University and shot, edited, wrote, voiced, and composed original music for a handful of short videos that I hoped would be educational, fun, catchy, and -- most importantly -- evocative of the classic "Sesame Street" inserts we all know and love.
I really enjoyed making these. I hope that they seem both fresh and classic.
shot on a dji osmo and a sony RX-100
original music and content by Stephanie D'Abruzzo © 2016, 2017
SESAME WORKSHOP ®, SESAME STREET ®, and associated characters, trademarks and design elements are owned by SESAME WORKSHOP.
All Rights Reserved.
A "BELOW THE FRAME" EXTRA: POINT OF VIEW
I came up with this idea when I was in a particularly awkward position on the set and seeing it from an angle I'd never seen before.
This was originally posted as one of our "extras" when the show was on hiatus.
"BELOW THE FRAME" HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO YOU BY… THE COMMUNITY CENTER
We rolled this into one of the live shows (meaning, we shot my laptop screen as it played) so now you can actually hear & see it as it was meant to be shown. I loved doing this character voiceover and the "Carpenters"-style arrangement of the jingle.
"BELOW THE FRAME" HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO YOU BY… THE BIKE SHOP
This was another "roll-in" and I'm glad to be able to share it here so you can really hear that funky bassline and my attempt at sounding like the Bee-Gees. Oh, and I never noticed half the fun little signage and props in the Bike Shop until I shot it.
A "BELOW THE FRAME" GAME!
This was another "extra," and something I spent more time on than you can possibly imagine. I had the idea for it while I was shooting the "Point of View" video, and it was inspired by all of the fun old "games" that used to be featured on "Sesame Street," like "Three of These Things Belong Together" and "One of These Things Is Not Like the Other." Essentially, I was trying to do for "Below the Frame" what those old inserts did for "Sesame Street:" educate through catchy songs. Of course, while I love music and know what sounds good, I am not the best music theorist, so it took me a very long time to record all of the individual intrumental tracks in GarageBand. I would start with a melody line and build everything on top of it. Not the smartest or fastest way to work, but hey.
Basically, this is my love letter to Joe Raposo, Jeff Moss, Chris Cerf, Danny Epstein, Dave Connor, and all of the other incredible musicians, composers, and producers who made the great music of "Sesame Street" the soundtrack of my childhood.