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Meet Sean Ohlenkamp, creator of the viral video, The Joy of Books

Sean Ohlenkamp‘s animation of books cavorting in Toronto’s Type Books has received over 27,000 hits on YouTube since it was posted yesterday. Quillblog spoke to Ohlenkamp, an art director at Lowe Roche advertising agency, about the making of his viral video.

What was the motivation behind making the video?
Really just doing something fun, interesting, and positive, and doing something that’s both creative for my own sake and for a cause that I stand behind: reading and literacy. Also, helping out small bricks-and-mortar businesses, and the book industry as a whole.

Why did you approach Type Books?
I was considering doing it for the library system, but that is so daunting from a bureaucratic standpoint. Type was very supportive. It’s such an awesome bookstore. It’s independent, has great character and personality, and it has the same spirit I wanted to capture in the video.

Can you describe the creative process?
Very long and tiring. We had to wait until Type was closed at 6 p.m., and as soon as the doors were locked, we went to work dismantling their bookstore. We worked all night long until they opened at 10 a.m. We did this for four nights.

You’ve animated your own bookshelf, so you had some idea of how much work it would be.
I don’t think the people who volunteered for me had any idea, though.

Who were your volunteers?
I contacted Mohawk College [in Hamilton, Ontario] and asked if any students wanted to see a piece of marketing come to life. I got an amazing response from 10 or 12 students willing to drive into Toronto and help out, and then also some of my colleagues at Lowe Roche helped out. This is completely a pro bono project “ people weren’t getting paid.

The one thing that made this as magical as it turned out to be, I think, is the music. That’s Grayson Matthews, a sound and music company here in Toronto. They do a lot of music and production work for our clients, but on a much larger scale, and so we approached them to see if they were interested in doing a bit of good. Tom Westin did the music, and it’s spectacular.

Were you surprised by how quickly word got out?
All of the book publishers got behind it, which was really fantastic. Everyone’s been tweeting, from St. Martin’s Press to Chronicle Books and Penguin. They’ve been doing a lot of work for me.

What’s next?
I posted on my YouTube channel that next up is the Library of Congress. I think I’m going to move away from books, but I will continue to explore this world of handmade animation or film.