Flaunt Productions gives insights about what went into the making of Mattel’s ‘Welcome to Monster High’ movie

At a time when our world feels more divided than ever, who would have thought we’d look towards monsters for acceptance? Mattel’s Monster High teaches us that there’s more in the world to unite than divide. For the TV special Welcome to Monster High, Mattel approached Flaunt Productions to produce a revamp of the Monster High brand, telling a story which the fans of the series will love, while also adding a new twist. The project represented a great opportunity for Flaunt Productions, enabling the team to flex its creative muscles across production, from script, storyboard and design to final delivery. Mixing Things Up Flaunt utilised a diverse range of artists for Monster High, with one goal – to refresh the brand while retaining the element that made it stand out in the first place. “Our aim was to create something targeted at six to 11 year old girls and give it a fresh, bold look at the same time,” explained art director, Jon Beeston. “Monster High being a strong brand in the Mattel world, we worked closely with Emily Kelly-Cabal, the art director at Mattel, to make sure we kept things on brand, while giving things a twist.” In order to achieve a unique feel, Flaunt delivered assets with the highest production values, using realistic materials and textures to give characters a tangible feel. It also coined two new terms to fulfil the brief – everything contained within each frame was ‘monsterfied’ and ‘wonkified’. The former involved adding monstrous elements to all of Flaunt’s designs — cobwebs, skulls and bat wings, all make an appearance. As for the latter, a distinct shape language was introduced to the design process. Monster High needed a playful, charming quality i.e. it needed to be ‘wonkified’. This involved skewing the lines of objects throughout scenes, giving the world a strange, off-kilter feel. Monster High Building Character Flaunt’s roster of designers and illustrators worked hard to flesh out each characters’ individual personalities when building them into workable CG models. They even turned to the voice actors for inspiration, mimicking hand gestures and facial expressions from the booth and transplanting them into the animation witnessed on screen. Shane Amsterdam, the creative force behind Welcome to Monster High, and Mattel’s supervising director Jun Falkenstein, challenged Flaunt at every turn to deliver their most colourful work to date. “We wanted to have moments of real heart and emotion,” said director Stephen Donnelly. “These weren’t just dolls; these were real, breathing characters that kids could get emotionally invested in.” Fashionista Monsters Fashion also plays a leading role in the Monster High universe, something Mattel encouraged exploration around early in the production process. “We spoke to some fashion stylists to get valuable knowledge from the fashion world,” said executive producer on the project, Richard Scott. “We wanted to know not only what’s hot and fashionable right now, but also what could be coming up further down the line. The biggest revelation for me was definitely ‘pastel goths’. Never heard of that before!” Pastel Goth, also known as Hipster Goth pertains to chic, pastel haired people who take vintage styled pictures. “There was always a great energy in the team, everyone was excited to be working on this brand and everyone was excited about working on a movie, and that carried through to every department,” said Flaunt’s executive producer, Andrew Pearce. “At the end of the day, we were creating animation and working for a toy company – the two most fun things in the world!”