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Animated People: Alan Becker
You may not know him by name, but odds are you’ve seen one of Alan Becker’s Animator vs. Animation digital shorts somewhere online the past few years.
The shorts, in which a stick figure does battle within the confines of a PC, became an unexpected viral hit. Not only have his videos been seen countless times online, he’s teamed up with online humor video site Atom.com to further lift his profile.
Check out the most recent entry in the series, Animator vs. Animation 3, at http://www.atom.com/funny-stuff/animator-vs-animation.
Animag Online: Tell us a bit about yourself: Who you are and why you decided to make animated shorts for the Internet?
Alan Becker: My name is Alan Becker. I am a 21-year-old artist living in central Ohio. I wouldn’t say it was my initial intention to make these animated shorts so that they could become viral videos. Animator vs. Animation was made as a work of art, for people to watch and appreciate. Although I didn’t mean for it to become so popular, I’m very happy that it did.
Did you change your approach or do anything different for part three?
I knew that in order for a sequel to be successful, it needs to blow the socks off of any of its predecessors. So I did all I could to make part three flashier, smoother and more epic than part one and part two. It had been roughly three years since the release of part two, so I had gained a great deal of experience in Flash animation. The rest of the approach was the same, in general. As usual, I sort of made it up as I went along, while keeping a general storyline in mind. What I didn’t mean to happen was for part three to be three times as long as part two. Part three is seven minutes long. But I think it really ought to be a pretty long animation, seeing as people have been waiting so long for it to come out.
How did you hook up with Atom.com?
My first animation (Animator vs. Animation) went viral and was on a ton of different sites all over the web. Atom.com found it and signed it nonexclusively. I realized some financial success even from non-exclusive distribution, so we both took a chance on the next animations (Animator vs. Animation 2) and subsequent two interactive titles based on the animations (Animator vs. Animation: The Game and Animator vs. Animation: Special Edition Game) with a short window of exclusivity, and all four took off and were huge web hits.
I understand you’re in school – what are you studying and do you plan to have any kind of career in animation?
I’m studying at Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio. I’m majoring in film and animation, with a minor in fine arts. Right now, my plan is to work freelance, helping with animated movies or live action movies, making my own animations, making and selling my own art, but I’m still undecided. I’m quite open. Who knows? Maybe I’ll end up being an architect or a doctor. I doubt that, though.
Any advice for other animators interested in making shorts for the Internet?
Yes. If you want anything to be popular, make it surprising. Do something no one would have expected, but at the same time make it relatable to everyone. Always think outside the box. Imagine what you would want to see made and don’t stop until it’s perfect. A cliché truth about life that applies to making shorts for the Internet is that the amount of work you put in is directly related to your chance of success.
For more funny videos, visit Atom.com; for more on Alan Becker, check out his website at www.alanbecker.net.