Space Pirates: Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto by Kory Schaubhut
Captain Pepper’s sense of entitlement comes into direct conflict with an entire planet of talking primates and he deals with them in the usual Space Pirate manner.
There are a lot of things in this episode you’ve never seen before, such as the Space Pirates facing enemies who have a fighting chance. With this installment of the series, I feel like we’re finally getting a grasp on how to make the limitations of limited animation work for us. You may not realize it as you view the video, but what you’re watching is a cartoon – with the exception of Mr. Duck, who is a puppet, and one scene where Mr. Roboto wields alight saber. Everything else is animation.
Like our other videos, there are many noticeable flaws in the final product. I mentioned in a previous column that that was deliberate. Let me take a moment here to explain why. By the way, it may seem that the character Hep Cat is my vehicle to say things like this, but he really isn’t. His pseudo-intellectual comments don’t actually mirror my own views so much as they’re efforts to appeal to an audience.
Anyway, with the technical means available these days, anyone at all could invest time and money into producing a great cartoon. After some outrageous length of time – let’s say a year – produce a grand and flawless five-minute video. A lack of animation talent wouldn’t even matter, because the creator could simply trace over live action footage and swipe animation cycles from public domain material and reference books.
But my vision of where internet entertainment is heading strongly leads me to believe that a rapid production cycle is critical to having any shot at success. Homestar Runner and the Ask a Ninja ninja stand as two recent examples of successful precursors to the revolution I believe is entering its early stages. Their success hinged primarily on two things – frequent release of new content and concepts so outrageous and over the top that the viewers are drawn in and overlook primitive (read “easy to make”) visuals. Content came first, obviously, but to sustain it both creators followed up with successful models for commercializing without alienating their viewers.
There are many people who refer to YouTube (the site that hosts our videos) as a “community,” these days. I have nothing against those people, but I don’t tend to agree with them. I see it more as a night club you play at until someone notices you.
Where I think this is all leading is to a point where “video production studios” (three or four people with a mix of talents and a working relationship with a few musicians) create content along the same lines as garage bands create music. The very best of those studios will develop followings, get offers from sponsors, and sell merchandised products to their audience. The concept of “getting discovered” is shifting toward more of a direct democratic process than a matter of being noticed by a major corporation.
Something else I’d ask any skeptics out there to consider is what computer users will be capable of five years from now, given likely advancements in video making software, computational power, bandwidth limits stretched by the introduction of IPV6, and other similar types of progress. I’m arguing less about where we are than where we will be in the not too distant future.
That’s just my take on it, albeit with the possibly of clouding my mind with delusions of grandeur. Of course, I wouldn’t categorize us as “the very best” yet, but we’re working on it. Even if it doesn’t work out as I envision, it’s fun to play with toys and make videos about it and I still have a day job.