Oh right…I have a blog. I should probably use it every now and again, huh? Welp, no time like the present!
First off, Jordan and I are alive and well, which is always a plus.
Secondly, I did a thing!
Tldr: I made a video combining two things I love. Hope you guys enjoy watching it as much as I had fun making it.
Not-tldr: Let me give you a brief history lesson, to give a little (unnecessary) context for this video.
It’s the 1930s/40s. Theatrical cartoons were becoming a thing, a really big thing. There were plenty of animation studios seeking to capture hearts and minds with their colorful cartoon characters, but Disney, of course, was one of the studios that did it best, and for good reason. Disney set the standard with its imaginative settings, adorably expressive characters, and (surprisingly) dramatic but hopeful stories.
It inevitably got to the point that many other studios tried to imitate disney in some ways in order to cash in on that success: designing characters similar to disney characters, borrowing very similar plot beats, or even hiring Disney staff. Of course, diehard imitators of the “Disney Style” never quite achieved the same success as Disney and ultimately wound up fading into obscurity after sacrificing their originality and identities. I mean, how many people nowadays actually know about Walter Lantz Productions or Charles Mintz’s Screen Gems?
The only studios that wound up thriving alongside Disney during that era and beyond were the ones that stuck to their own style, and the animation department of Warner Bros Studios was the best example of this. Sure, it started out as a pale paraphrasing of Disney’s work (It’s no coincidence that WB’s “Merrie Melodies” and “Looney Tunes” sound so much like Disney’s “Silly Symphonies”). And even WB as a whole didn’t think much could come from it’s own animation studio, originally seeing it as a tool to self-promote it’s own work in other departments (i.e music and film) rather than something that could become its own thing. But somewhere along the way, there came a team of creators who weren’t concerned about copy-and-pasting what their competitors and predecessors did. They were enthusiastic about making something new and wild, something that they found funny, even if no one else did (fortunately, a lot of people did).
Unlike those at Team Disney, the boys over at “Termite Terrace” were much less concerned with creating true to life characters and stories and more concerned with getting to the punch line in their animated shorts and in the craziest way possible. WB made cartoons rife with gags, satire, and screwball characters, reaching a level of pure wackiness you’d hardly ever see in a Disney cartoon.
WB cartoons were, well, off the wall, and the animators owned that in every way they could, causing their work to stand out and uniquely reach audiences for years to come. The looney nature of their cartoons evoked a desire to not take things at face value. They valued quirkiness, teaching audiences that, if you tie up life by its shoe strings, things might go alright for you. And that’s arguably the most important thing you can learn from them.
It’s not that we need to go around acting like “scwewy wabbits” all the time, but a key part of life is accepting yourself, even when circumstances dictate otherwise. And don’t just accept yourself, enjoy yourself. Have fun with the way you do things. Play the fool sometimes, but don’t ever be so foolish to believe that you need to stick to the “status quo” in order to do something worthwhile. If a handful of animated characters made by a bunch of dorky animators can do it, then why can’t we?
In other words: “Life ain’t so bad at all if you live it off the wall.”
So yeah, with all that in mind, and then some, I made a humble tribute video that mashes up classic WB animation with my all-time favorite song by Michael Jackson (someone else who’s beloved for sticking to his own style). It’s my heartfelt expression of why I love both so much, and I hope it came across as such.
Thanks for watching!