The Future of Animation As A Video Feed

Video is undergoing a massive shift as we speak. The video feed is about to supplant television channels. As a form of video, animation is obligated to go along with the direction that the industry eventually takes. So just what form will that be, and how can animation create a place for itself within it? An excellent article on REDEF suggests one particular model that may work well for the artform and the industry.

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Please Watch This Video And Answer the Poll

I came across this video on tumblr yesterday (thank you potatofarmgirl), and as a fan, I felt somewhat obliged to watch it. You should too, then read on.

The notes on tumblr all circled around the description of “epic” and “awesome”, and while the video is exceptionally well done, is it legal?

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What do you think? We’ll do a follow up with a discussion next Saturday.

“The Revolution Is Here. What Are You Waiting For?”

This morning, Fed Seibert has a great post about the ongoing revolution in video we’re seeing thanks to YouTube and he has this choice quote (emphasis mine):

But that’s not where the action is. Remember, Adventure Time first blew up on YouTube; we absolutely never would have sold the show without the explosion of interest from their community.

That’s the money quote right there, and the secret to any piece of entertainment’s success. A community will do more to make you money than any advertising can ever hoper to achieve.

He follows it up with this advice:

There’s ways to make money if you’re popular, and more importantly it’s where the audience is.

The old ways of doing things are falling. You simply cannot expect to make money or reach an audience  the same way they did in the old days.

Thankfully, the tools to do so are so readily accessible and cheap, like Fred says:

Any of you making films should be making more and posting them.

 

Why Frederator Were Right To Pull The Mathematical Video

It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes people make mistakes. which is apparently what happened over on the Adventure Time blog the other day. The show is well known for it’s growing and devoted fan-base that stems from the show’s top quality, it’s quirky and loveable characters, and, most importantly of all, the way the creators, network and studio crafted and actively encouraged the creation of a community around the show.

As part of this, Frederator began putting out two recap video of each episode, one solicited responses from fans, the other contained said responses as art, music, voice messages, etc. The long and the short of the latest video, is that it went out as usual and generated a lot of discussion on the internet before being withdrawn.

The result was that a lot of fans were upset for many reasons, but chief among them is that the felt that Frederator/CN/The Man was somehow censoring some aspect of the show.

This is patently false.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it’s almost a smack in the face, especially as plenty of it has continued even after an official explanation. Understandably though, emotions do seem to be running a bit high, especially given the subject matter.

However, there is an extremely valid reason that Fred touched on but did not go into detail on, and it’s the one and only reason the video was pulled.

Here’s why he was right to do so.

In a handy coincidence, I’m right in the middle of reading a book called Remix by Lawrence Lessig (of Creative Commons fame).

Remix by Lawrence Lessig coverIt’s a rather fascinating book that I’d encourage you all to read, you can even download it for free.

In it, Lessig discusses his theory of RO culture and RW culture. RO refers to Read-Only and RW refers to ReWrite. The difference is that the former allows the creator more control over what they create and how it’s consumed and the latter extends the right to anyone should they wish to ‘remix’ it into something new.

As far as RO culture goes, right now that means anything on TV, film and radio where the creators intend for it to be seen/read/heard exactly as they originally intended it. RW culture is pretty much everything outside of that that is primarily created by fans.

Adventure Time is a show in the RO tradition. It is meant to be watched the way that Pen Ward, the studio and network intended it to be. Fans are free to create whatever they wish, however that is all done outside of the official channels and is clearly labelled as such.

What the recent Mathematical video did was inadvertently insert part of the RW culture into an RO show. In other words, it took the context of the Princess Bubblegum/Marceline relationship and implied something that Pen Ward and his crew never intended to be the case. Their vision for the show was compromised and that puts things at odds with the goals of RO culture.

Therefore the video had to be pulled because otherwise it could have compromised how the characters and the show are meant to be viewed by the audience.

Fans are still free to imply whatever they wish because they are part of the RW side of things. They create many new and wonderful things but it is clear they are independent of the show. Frederator is part of the production team and they are obligated to follow the vision of the creators, whatever it is.

The decision has nothing, repeat, nothing to do with the nature of the relationship. That is completely irrelevant to the discussion and it isn’t fair to insinuate that the decision was made based on that and that alone.

Even if crew members engage in creating their take on the relationship, unless it is officially sanctioned, then they too are acting as part of the RW culture, in other words, they are acting outside of the RO culture of the show and their art can’t be seen as ‘official’.

Fred and the studio acted completely correctly in pulling the video because the longer it was left up, the more and more it would have compromised the original vision of the creator, Pen Ward and how he wanted everyone to see the characters.

Irregardless of the potential future developments in the show or its characters, pulling the video was the best decision given the circumstances and all the criticism that is being thrown about is completely unwarranted.

Is This Music Video Really the No. 1 Animated Video on YouTube?

Yes, yes it is (although the real top video has been removed).

It appears to be of European in origin with versions in French and German as well as English. The question is, what an 139,452,702 views tell us about this video? Probably that it’s aimed at kids and that most people are watching it for the song more than anything else (at least I hope they are). In any case, this Gummybear fella has a stranglehold on the top 10 and I’m sure he’s making an OK living doing it, regardless of how poor the animation is.