Nearly twenty five million (25,000,000) people have watched that “Charlie the Unicorn” cartoon on YouTube.  That’s an “I Love Lucy” headcount.    If there were a science to getting viewers, the world of Jeff Twiller and Slushing Brooks would surpass the billion mark by comparison.

TWILLERAMA II from the Molly Pitcher Rest Stop of the NJ Turnpike

A few years back MTV revived “Beavis and Butthead”.  These are brilliant characters. The show was clever, insightful and an eerily accurate account of teen life -in the late 20th Century.  Are there still thousands upon thousand of disaffected teens in AC/DC t-shirts making “boner” jokes while watching music videos on cable?   Maybe I’m out of touch, maybe babies born in the 90s have grown into replicas from a 20 year old world.  The revival failed just as a series in 1991 which starred two flower-hair kids listening to New Riders of the Purple Sage while burning their draft cards would have failed.

Jeff Twiller, Rod Holcomb, Randy J. Johnson and their retinue occupy a cobwebbed corner of cyberspace.  Movie reviews, blogs, workout videos, Facebook wars.   Within the last decade social media and “nerd culture” have dominated the contemporary discourse.  This painstakingly authored universe uses recent media developments -Youtube, Facebook, et cetera- as a poison pill means of delivery. The central player, Jeff Twiller, could easily be the guy you sat next to in school, or your cousin, your neighbor or even you.

This Saturday, June 6,  the second edition of TWILLERAMA premieres at Videology in Brooklyn.

The animated Jeff Twiller presents a hand picked selection of short films.  Joining him as co-host is his friend Rod Holcomb.  In addition to films by greats like Rose Stark, Caleb Wood, Signe Baumane and not so greats like me, the evening promises guest appearances by the animated likenesses Elliot Cowan and Joe Garden and his Ford Festiva.

This is not simply a screening of animation, this is the entry point to a brilliant and finely constructed parallel reality.  If justice prevailed in our reality, Jeff Twiller would be bigger than a rainbow covered unicorn and every cable network would be fighting to get him.

TWILLERAMA II  • Videology • 308 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11211

June 6, 2015 • 8 PM

Rule Change

Even if you don’t care much about awards, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences’ clarification of animation eligibility is interesting.

image from HERE

The first is simple and obvious:

In the Animated Feature Film category, the rule governing running time for a motion picture to qualify was changed from at least 70 minutes to greater than 40 minutes, which is consistent with the running time requirements for feature films in all other categories.

This will affect two things.

First, it will make more films eligible for the nomination, thereby making it almost certain to have 5 nominees over the usual 3.   The two additional slots will allow for films which might otherwise get overlooked to benefit from the publicity of the nomination.

The Oscar nomination helped “Secret of Kells” box office in the US, and it only stands to reason that other smaller films would get a boost as well.  “My Dog Tulip” or “Idiots and Angels” were both worthy contenders that got the short shrift by the short list.

Second, it weighs in favor of independent films.  Dreamworks, Disney and the other big studios will  be releasing at least one 85 minute animated film every year.  They don’t even consider any under 70 minutes.  Independent animators -40 minutes -that’s a feasible  accomplishment. 

The other significant change regards motion capture:

An animated feature film is defined as a motion picture…in which movement and characters’ performances are created using a frame-by-frame technique. Motion capture by itself is not an animation technique. In addition, a significant number of the major characters must be animated, and animation must figure in no less than 75 percent of the picture’s running time.

This is a statement of the obvious, in my opinion, and I’m glad someone with credentials has put this on the record.

It’s not a value judgment on motion capture, but a clarification of what should be a widely known Funk & Wagnall’s definition of animation.

The disqualification of a Robert Zemekis film or two will be more than offset by the newly eligible shorter feature.