Tully McWatters, 18, enlisted the help of friends and teachers at St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School to recreate the introduction of Disney’s Recess — an animated TV series that was an after-school favourite for many youth.
“I have a huge passion for Recess,” McWatters said. “Every day after school, to be exact, I would go home and I would sit at my couch and watch Recess.”
To do the show justice, McWatters wanted his live-action remake to be in perfect sync with the original cartoon. From the timing of each scene to the characters’ costumes, the clip reveals incredible attention to detail.
The filming alone took three days in early June, plus the preparation of storyboarding, casting and costume design and hours of editing after the fact.
“I couldn’t have done it without the team at all, because everyone has been a huge help,” McWatters said.
Nearly 20 people were involved in the project. Students Nathan Cumber and Hannah Garcia, teacher Ildi Kloiber and St. Benedict Principal Dan Witt all played important roles in making the video, from putting together costumes to acting in hours of takes.
The great detail in the video has not gone unnoticed — it generated more than 127,000 views on YouTube as of Monday.
After watching the numbers continuing to climb, McWatters is in awe of the success.
“When it had a hundred views I was flipping out because that meant a lot of people had watched it at school,” he said. “I did not expect this at all.”
The attention bodes well for the aspiring screen writer and editor.
“Since I was a little kid with a video camera, it’s something that has been innately close to my soul,” he said. “It’s what I’ve loved to do all my life.”
McWatters and his friend Julia Wittmann, who plays tough-girl Ashley Spinelli in video, will be attending Ryerson University’s Radio and Television Arts program in the fall. They share a passion for filmmaking and have collaborated on various projects over the last two years.
They’ve put on a biweekly show called SBTV for the school and planned Recess as one of their installments.
With the amount of detail required for the Recess remake, it has become of the most extensive project McWatters has undertaken. The experience has been invaluable, he said.
“It was a much bigger project than we anticipated,” he said, adding that he had to learn new editing techniques while putting the video together.
As the online world continues to share the Recess remake, McWatters has his sights set on future projects for the summer and possible collaborations with people he’s met online thanks to the viral success.
“I had one more (idea) for the immediate future and it’s kind of a big project so hopefully that will work out the same,” he said. “I’m still in shock that any of this has worked out.”
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