…and a 17 year old Alan Becker created the viral smash, Animator vs Animation. A Flash animated trilogy of short films about a rebellious stick-figure locked in deadly battle with his maker inside Macromedia Flash 8, the program he was drawn in. To date, the series has racked up 218 million views across all the various platforms it has been shared on – the bulk of this traffic generated at a time when YouTube was in its infancy, and online video itself was still a strange curiosity.
Today, the online video world is a very different place. YouTube is an established giant, and traditional media is contorting itself in freakish, sometimes beautiful and often horrible new ways to accommodate online video. Becker, now 24 is an adult, no longer dependent on his parents, and with considerably less free time to dedicate to his crowd-pleasing pet projects. Taking to Kickstarter with a $10,000 goal, Becker is curious more than anything, to see if 7 years on, there’s still enough fan demand out there to pay for the 300-400 man-hours it typically takes to produce an animated short of this length, quality and density. $10,000 for a flash animation might sound steep, but the labour (of love?) that goes into every second of runtime is undeniably considerable. That’s why Becker is sweetening the deal for skeptics by giving something back to his longtime audience. For a $10 or more donation, Becker will provide exclusive behind the scenes content detailing the entire production process of his new short – an invaluable resource for aspiring animators who’ll get the unique opportunity to watch nearly a decades worth of experience put to work. As Becker puts it himself -
“I want to make it clear that this Animator vs. Animation IV project is a give and take relationship. Yes, you are helping and supporting me by donating to this project. But I am also giving you something that will be very hard to find anywhere else. One of the rewards is access to behind the scenes tutorials.
I will take you step by step through the entire process. I start by announcing the problem I have to solve, for example, “Okay! I have to make it look like the stick figure is reacting to my finger swiping the iPhone screen left and right!” then I show you how I solve that problem. Now you have a better idea of how to solve problems!
This is in essence giving you access to the knowledge that took me 7 years to build up, including 4 years of college, worth around 100,000 of tuition dollars. The reward costs $10.”
In addition to this, for the first time ever, Becker will be sharing the raw animation data for the original trilogy, allowing budding animators to pick his series apart and figure out how exactly it’s put together. With 16 days to go and $5000 already pledged, Animator VS Animation IV is on track to reach its funding goal, just about. If you’re nostalgic for a bit of 2006 internet history, check out Becker’s Kickstarter campaign. If you’re a bit younger, and don’t remember Smosh as those two Pokemon song guys, then check out the original trilogy, as well as Becker’s other work at his YouTube channel.