Supa Pirate Booty Hunt:
Animation Gone Wild
By: Donna Letterese
Dahveed Kolodny-Nagy and Steven Sievers, the creators of the award-winning web cartoon, "Supa Pirate Booty Hunt," were introduced by a mutual friend. Luckily, their chance meeting helped to create a world of humor, crazy characters, and mischief on the high seas.
Kolodny-Nagy, a filmmaker and comic artist, always loved animation. Sievers was a writer who created characters. Unfortunately, every time the two of them tried to collaborate with other people, those projects fell through. Although Kolodny-Nagy and Sievers were initially wary when they met, they soon realized that they shared the same ideals. "We were working over our contract with a fine tooth comb-- but one day, I wore a Transformers tee-shirt, and we started talking about all the 1980's cartoons that inspired us to get into animation," Sievers laughed. "Our guards came down. And now, it's like we're best friends." On the professional side, their ideas for developing an animated show were in sync.
The particular show in question became "Supa Pirate Booty Hunt," which chronicles the adventures of rascally pirate Captain Zack Stevers, and innocent Daniel-who happens to be a turtle. Sievers came up with the original incarnation of the show while in college. As the general manager of American University's WVAU internet radio station, Sievers often dealt with careless students who had their own show on the station, yet did not even show up to broadcast it. Sievers wanted quality, consistent programming, and to entertain listeners. Inspired by the format of old-time narrative radio shows, he began running a radio show called "Storytime with Steve Sievers."
Every week, Sievers elaborated on the different adventures Captain Zack Stevers and Daniel the Turtle would go on, while voicing the characters themselves. By consistently airing his show, and bringing in musical guests such as Silverchair, the popularity of "Storytime with Steve Sievers" took off. In 2004, Sievers realized his characters had become Internet superstars. "I was on the Vans Warped Tour across North America," he reflects. "In Vancouver, a fan wanted me to record her cell phone voice mail in Daniel the Turtle's voice." Once in Los Angeles and working with Kolodny-Nagy, the series fully took shape. Kolodny-Nagy came up with the title, "Supa Pirate Booty Hunt," and brought the characters to life with his drawings.
"Supa Pirate Booty Hunt" is geared towards, and most popular, with teenagers and young adults. Kolodny-Nagy believes that part of the appeal is the unique animation and characters. "Our characters are all based on real people," he notes. In addition to Kolodny-Nagy's freelance animation work, he is also a prolific caricature artist. Whenever he is at event sketching funny portraits, he is on the lookout for unique people who could inspire a new character. Sievers points out that what also makes their show intriguing, is that it is not at all typical for its genre. "Real pirates were never kid-friendly, like the ones in children's shows. They were the rock stars of their time," Sievers states. "Captain Jack Stevers loves going after booty: both ladies, and treasure. Luckily, Daniel the Turtle keeps him in line."
In addition to working on "Supa Pirate Booty Hunt," Sievers and his wife also own Level 27 media, a company which offers print, web, and graphic design, as well as film editing. Kolodny-Nagy is working on a documentary titled "Transform Me!," which focuses on Transformers fans. He's also created his first flash game, titled "Teapot Rap It Up." Based on the Nickelodeon cartoon Kolodny-Nagy produced with voice-actor Greg Eagles, the game's players help the world's worst rapper finish his rhymes. Both Sievers and Kolodny-Nagy are thrilled to be working with the nonprofit "Music Saves Lives." This organization aims to educate young people about the importance of blood donation, using music to get the message out. "Supa Pirate Booty Hunt" and "Music Saves Lives" released an educational comic book, given out during every date of the 2011 Vans Warped Tour.
The collaborating companies have also produced animated PSA episodes, where Captain Zack Stevers and Daniel the Turtle interact with a different musical celebrity every episode. Notably, the "Nurse Boobies Please" episode featured Vans Warped Tour main stage artist 3OH!3, while earning six awards at the Burbank International Film Festival. The latest episode, "Metal in My Shell," premiered at the jointly sponsored San Diego Comic-Con after-party, starring guest musicians Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, and Full Metal Jackie.
The next goal is for "Supa Pirate Booty Hunt" to be broadcast on air. While the creators love the immediacy of Internet broadcasting, there's always a time-restriction when working online. In a full season of animation, "Supa Pirate Booty Hunt" would be able to fully expand upon backstories, as well as detailed character story arcs. "But in the meantime, please do check out our webisodes!" Sievers smiles.
To find out more about "Supa Pirate Booty Hunt" and to see Captain Jack Stevers and Daniel the Turtle go on adventures, please go to http://www.supapiratebootyhunt.com/main.html.
To see more of Dahveed Kolodny-Nagy's film animation works, please go to his website at:
To see Steven Sievers' multi-media works, please go to his website at:
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