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'ANiMASHUPS': Exploring the Possibilities of the Animated Podcast

animashupsFor my money, there are few things on this big, blue marble we call Earth more awe-inspiring and superlative than the amalgamation of comedy and animation. Screw off, peanut butter and chocolate. Hit the bricks, mortar and bricks! Take a breather, unstable sociopaths and boxes of abandoned puppies. The good folks from Jash and VPN obviously agree, which is where ANiMASHUPS, their series of animated podcasts, comes in.

ANiMASHUPS, which first appeared on Jash’s sister network the Video Podcast Network back in mid-February of 2013, has released over 58 videos to date and features material taken from over eight different partnered podcasts. We were lucky enough to speak with the series creator along with some of the animators and podcasters involved with the series as they gear up for fundraising and pre-production on season two.

Although podcasts are wildly popular today — Apple claims that its customers have subscribed to more than a billion podcasts since iTunes debuted less than a decade ago — there’s no denying their primitive nature as far as forms of expression are concerned. They lack in visuals and have more in common with the radio serials of the 1930’s than the high-tech entertainment we bombard ourselves with today. Thus the mashup of the podcast and animation — the animashup if you will — was an idea waiting to happen. READ MORE

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Short-Format Comedy: The Forward-Looking Comedians of Instagram and Vine

artisticallychallengedArtistically Challenged, the first native “television” series to appear on Instagram, is a story told in 15-second episodes — 15 seconds being the maximum length of an Instagram video. I just watched the first season, all 32 episodes, in a grand total of eight minutes. Yes, my head hurts a little. “Did I just have a stroke?” was a thought that crossed my mind more than once during my viewing. And before you ask, no I did not smell burnt toast — but I did laugh a hell of a lot.

The series debuted and completed its first season in July; it tells the story of Nick, an aspiring artist hoping to pass off an unsigned painting as his own while he traverses the tempestuous and surreal NY art scene and comes out on top, or at least with the majority of his limbs intact.  

Can a story be told in a mere 15 seconds? Can a career be built out of 15-second videos? The team behind Artistically Challenged is trying to answer those questions. And their answers may impact a world of comedy content creators, who are using so-called “micro videos” — the kind we see on Instagram, Vine, and Snapchat — as a way to bring their vision to mass audiences, relatively cheaply and definitely quickly.  READ MORE