YouTube is a candy cane-colored pit of distraction. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been trying to complete projects or homework and instead have just gotten completely derailed by watching Vsauce and trash crusher videos. Throughout my forays into the digital attention trap that is YouTube, I have managed to compile a list of comedy sketches, unique music videos, compelling horror series, engaging directors, and all other manner of interesting online video entertainment. This feature article is the first of a series in which we will explore the myriad of videos and series created by online content developers which I feel should be more popular.
Themes: unnerving comedy, dark horror, multimedia storytelling, “show, don’t tell” storytelling, performance art
You may already know of Alan Resnick from his work as the creator of short films such as Unedited Footage of a Bear and This House Has People in It on the Adult Swim Infomercials series, but he also has a history of creating media on YouTube. In fact, YouTube is the medium where Resnick got his start. His first creation was a series of performance art clips called Alantutorial, which follows a boy who creates tutorial videos on YouTube in order to make money. However, Resnick’s signature storytelling technique adheres to the phrase, “show, don’t tell.” When watching his videos, the viewer feels like they’ve been dropped in halfway through a story – they have to work out what the story means to them.
Resnick also loves to incorporate themes from his works into other productions. For example: by itself, This House Has People in It seems like a strange, horrific look into some Lovecraftian horror scenario. However, if one pieces the themes of the video together like THIS astute watcher (Channel: Night Mind), then they discover that Resnick created a second standalone video, multiple video and audio logs of the house, and two websites to go along with the story he initially presents.
If you’re looking for a director who pushes the boundaries of multimedia storytelling, then you should give Resnick’s work a shot.
Themes: colorful animation, flowing style, surrealism, subtle detail, humor mixed with horror
Felix Colgrave is an animator hailing from Melbourne, Australia. Watching his videos is like watching a moving version of those weird renaissance paintings – you know the ones.
There is a sort of strange surrealism to his clips; it gives you the sense that you know what’s happening, even though what’s taking place on the screen makes no sense. At all. His style draws from many sources, and one can see the influence of Indian, European Renaissance, and Aboriginal art on his work. If I had to describe what watching one of his videos was like, I would tell you that it’s like watching a fever dream, but like, a hilarious fever dream. The animation in his videos is very fluid, which punctuates the surrealism in a way that is indescribable. His most recent work, Double King, follows the travels of a little man with an addiction to crowns – I promise you, it’s way more interesting than it sounds.