Explainer Video

PICK OF THE WEEK: Fame in the 21st Century (An Explainer)

Blake Harris 05.24.2016

When we think about explainer videos, we tend to think about those that illustrate businesses, introduce new products or teach valuable lessons. Rarely, however, do we find an explainer video that talks about culture. But given how much cultural trends can influence all of the above (business, products, lessons), such videos can be useful to help us better understand our surroundings. And that opportunity for analysis–and how it’s cleverly brought to life via an explainer–is one of the things that we really liked about Luiz Stockler’s Grooming Your Stardom, which we’ve selected as our PICK OF THE WEEK.

This explainer serves as the first episode of A Word to the Wise, an upcoming series for the fashion video network M2M. The video was produced by Beakus and directed by Luiz Stockler a Brazilian-born animator. Stockler’s story is almost as interesting as his explainer itself: prior to a career in animation, he made his living playing soccer, serving as midfielder for FC Steaua Bucharest. Now though, having recently graduated from the Royal College of Art, Stockler focuses exclusively on design, illustration and, of course, animation. Although he’s relatively new to the world of animation, he’s already done some very impressive work. Including these two spots for Red Bull:

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Red Bull: Dingo and the Walking Ghosts (3:44)

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Red Bull: Surviving a Tsunami in Indonesia (2:59)

In both Red Bull spots (as well as most of Stockler’s other work), there’s a hand-crafted sense of wonder that balances between silly and serious. It’s a fun, unique tone that’s very much on display in Grooming Your Stardom, and feels like a particularly apt way to explore our cultural state of celebrity. Here’s the video…

CREDITS:

  • Commissioned by Made 2 Measure
  • Produced by Beakus
  • Directed by Luiz Stockler
  • Script written by Jordan Backhus
  • Design, Animation and Voiceover by Luiz Stockler
  •  Sound by Marian Mentrup
  •  Production Management by Laura Thomas

3 Things We Loved About This Explainer

1. Framing the Message: This animated short is, essentially, about fame and celebrity in a social media age. But instead of just getting right to that, Stockler (and script-writer Backhus) wisely from the present by comparison to the past. This is useful for a couple of reasons:

  • It enables them to present familiar and universally respected faces (i.e. Shakespeare) who then serve as a contrast to present day.
  • That contrast, intrinsically, addresses the notion of cultural change

From a narrative structure, this approach is highly beneficial. But it’s success, however, still depends on the execution of Stockler’s illustration and animation; both of which he pulls of quite nicely. In particular, how he brings us into the past is wonderfully done.

Typically, the past is just understood as the past because the narrator tells us. Five years ago…Back in the ’60s…Once upon a time…etc. In this case, however, Stockler literally draws us into a different tie and place:

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And then from there, we are greeted with…

2. An Array of Ways in Which Fame is Defined: It would be easy for the animator to simply show that headshot of Shakespeare and say to himself: the audience gets it. But Stockler rises above that temptation and represents fame in a handful of ways. This is particularly useful because A) Some people might not know Shakespeare (or at least might not identify that image with the famous Bard) and B) The collage of different ways that these celebrities are introduced helps provide the viewer cook up a perception of fame (as described in this piece) as something greater than the sum of just these individuals. And it’s expressed through well-crafted diversity of examples:

Some are introduced only by face…

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Some through action…

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And others (or at least the esteemed Michael Jackson) via monument to themselves…

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In fairness, this approach very could have lead to a situation where the lack of uniformity jarred the viewer. But with Stockler’s careful pacing and charming character animation, the diversity of example works quite smoothly.

3. Some Incredibly Memorable Images: For an explainer video to be effective, it is certainly not mandatory to create a set of images that stick with the viewer. The goal, ultimately, is that the message is what sticks. But if you can create such images, these moments can help deliver the message by serving as something akin to a postcard in your brain.

In Grooming Your Stardom, there were several such moments. And in the hopes that these moments in your mind as they do in mine, we’ll end the piece by highlighting a few of our favorites…

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Demonstrating the now-thin distance between celebrities and “mortals”

 

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Depicting our current ability (and perhaps even expectation) to become friends with celebrities

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And last but not least: who wants to play the fame game?!

Questions? Comments? Contact IdeaBlog@idearocketanimation.com

Blake Harris

Blake Harris

Blake Harris is the author of "Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation."
Blake Harris

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