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December 19, 2010 12:09 PM   Subscribe

Creep, a devastating (and oddly seasonal) animated short by Alex Heller.

Now that you're good and devastated, here's The Hairpin's recap of the doll-hoarding episode of Hoarders. Merry Christmas!
posted by hermitosis (53 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
The short was horribly paced. The animate was beautifully creepy, but it really could have been 2 minutes shorter.
posted by nomadicink at 12:32 PM on December 19, 2010


It's 4 minutes, and 30 seconds of that is credits. Maybe Santa will bring you an attention span for Christmas.
posted by hermitosis at 12:36 PM on December 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Maybe Santa will bring you an attention span for Christmas.

No seriously, the animation seemed more like it was made for the song, without really utilizing those four minutes effectively. All the pieces were there for something great, but it spent way too much time in the middle staring off into space and going up and down the chair. Kinda like seventh period math.
posted by nomadicink at 12:40 PM on December 19, 2010


I guess we will have to agree to profoundly disagree.
posted by hermitosis at 12:41 PM on December 19, 2010


Still much prefer this.
posted by Decani at 12:48 PM on December 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


No i think he's right. There was a lot of dead space in the video, but it is a good concept.
posted by empath at 12:55 PM on December 19, 2010


Man, now I'm depressed. I was just reading this other "cruel little girls" type short story this past week.

Reminds me of when I was in preschool and after getting talked to by my mom and teachers about how I wasn't really socializing with the other kids much and how I really needed to play with other kids, I one day walked up to two girls playing in one of those little house things on the playground and asked if I could join. The two girls gave each other a look and one of them said in a theatrically nonchalant way as she continued to play with some sand, "Oh, OK. Well, if you want to play with us you have to know how to times things. You know what that is, right?" Obviously, I did not, this being preschool. She then asked, "so what's 2 times 3?" I highly doubt she really knew either. Just probably heard it from somewhere and memorized it. Anyway I stood there for a few seconds not sure of what to say. I said, "....four?" and they laughed at me roundly.

"No, it's SIX." She might as well have called me stupid or idiot by the tone of her voice. Then they dismissed me by just turning from me and going on to chatter like they were before, like the exchange with me hadn't even taken place. And I didn't talk to anybody in my class for the rest of the school year
posted by kkokkodalk at 1:21 PM on December 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


Not for everyone perhaps, but I actually don't think either of you are right.

I just watched it again looking for what "dead space" I think I would cut, and came up empty. I think it is a very simple and small idea that is given a lot of resonance by the aesthetic of the animation, and that the slow pace draws out a really beautiful sense of dread and anticipation. If anything my only complaint is that I wish it didn't end where it does, because I'd like to see what happens next.

It's just a little bit of art for the sake of itself; if it's not the right thing at the right time for you, that's fine, but it was for me and I thought it was worth sharing. Next time I'll just post cartoons.
posted by hermitosis at 1:25 PM on December 19, 2010


The short was horribly paced.

This hyperbole really starts the discussion off wrong. It was slow-paced, you might say, perhaps a touch too slow, in the service of the song - which, I suppose, might make it more like a music video than a short.

That said, I understood the long shots of the "tittering" movements of the four barbies to intentionally contrast the quiet, immobile solitude of the lonely doll. That contrast was effective, and necessary, to develop how the meditative pain of being left alone on the outside can move one to drastic, though ineffective, action.

re. the "Low Morale" version: the same critique of a too long single angle shot could be leveled at it, but I'd disagree with it on that one too. They're both interesting and effective interpretations.

And dammit, those Radiohead guys are pretty fucking special.
posted by kneecapped at 2:00 PM on December 19, 2010


It was cool, but less "devastating" than I had prepared myself for, but scala and kolacny brothers version of the song alone is enough to make me feel emotional.
posted by exlotuseater at 2:10 PM on December 19, 2010


Question for the haters: What have you created lately?
posted by Zozo at 2:13 PM on December 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


I liked it, but I have a really hard time seeing films with dolls without thinking of this. That can't just be me, can it?
posted by NoraReed at 2:26 PM on December 19, 2010


Question for the haters: What have you created lately?

I made some awesome coffee-butter-toffee candy stuff last night, do I have permission to not love this?
posted by Menthol at 2:39 PM on December 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


This hyperbole really starts the discussion off wrong.

That's a reasonable point.

To give it a longer thought: The animation itself was generally cool but felt rough and awkard in some spots, because the setting weren't completely controlled. For instance, you can see the sunlight shifting around a lot, not a big thing, it was a visual tic that kept dragging me out of the scene. The choice of using dolls with only a single facial expression made it hard to sympathize with the main character, despite having been in her shoes at various points. It's a timeless story, the outsider trying to fit in somehow, but I don't feel the director really "sold" it, just phoned it in because it's fairly universal situation.

The pacing was horrible at times, particularly after she gets the new body, it feels like they're just stretching out time there. I think that scene could have been significantly cut down with a few still and minimal movement shots, as opposed to seeing her climb out of the basket, walk to the chair, then climb up the chair. Generally, the slow pace to match the song was good, but far from perfect and that particular scene was the most egregious.

Not bad, but far from devastating.

Question for the haters: What have you created lately?

Finished Nanowrimo 2010, several logos, materials for a local holiday tour (rack card, ads, book, tickets, signs), several other ads and page layouts, along with a few, admittedly poorly done, sketches.

You?
posted by nomadicink at 2:43 PM on December 19, 2010


That's a reasonable point.

That's a good answer. Thanks.

It's obvious that the more you know the subject matter (stop animation, short film, etc.) the more you see the ticks and misses. And that's fair.

Somehow we've got to figure out a mefi means to indicate the wisdom and experience that says: "hey I've, uh, you know, seen/thought/read a lot of/about these things, 'cause it's what I do, so ..." There are a lot of smart people who get labelled as "haters" and that hyperbole doesn't help a helluva lot either.

Is building single-speed city commuter bikes out of this and that spare parts for your kids creative?
posted by kneecapped at 2:51 PM on December 19, 2010


I think discussion of the pacing is fair.

This stuff likke Zozo's comment, "What have you created lately?" That's misdirected, I think. Lots of FPPs here get sort of content-free dismissal: "Didn't like it." "Yawn." etc. You know what I'm talking about. If that were the case here, I would agree with the sentiment that I would much rather those people didn't comment.

But if their criticism has content, I don't think that's the case.

When one personally likes something, it's easier to react defensively to criticisms of it, and this can make "that's horribly paced" sound like a "yawn." I know I behave in exactly this fashion.

Anyway, I do think the question of pacing in this particular short is interesting. I read the thread before watching the video, and then watched the video with this in mind. Now, I do tend to agree that the pacing feels peculiar: the shot of the chair and the walk to the basket feel too drawn out to me, as if a sort of light idea was stretched to fit the song, as some accusations would have it.

But then, thinking about kneecapped talking about "such-and-such being necessary to develop X", I was wondering how much of the build-up in the song is necessary for the feeling the video produces. There is a growing sense of dread and drama, and I do think that a significant portion thereof is due to the music. So the question suggested to me is, "Does that mean the idea was weaker than the execution? Is it relying too much on the song to create a particular feeling?" And the answer would seem to me that it depends on how much you consider them separate elements. I mean, we're used to considering soundtracks basically an afterthought in feature length films (I know this isn't true, but for the sake of this conversation I hope you know what I mean). But it's a bit different for a song-length video, right? We could say, "I mean them to be thought of as inseparable".

I think the question is further complicated by it being a popular song. It's easier to say, watching this, that this video is a separate thing soundtracked by the music. It would be easier for me to think of them as a single artistic body if the music were original to the piece. I'm not saying that would be superior, but that this factor does skew my reaction.

So I'm glad people brought up pacing. It's got me thinking about when something should and should not be cut to the score. And I'm also glad it was posted. And I do think it was poorly paced but I'm not sure how it would be improved, given that cutting the song might harm it in other ways.

Anyway, maybe the "next time I'll post cartoons" isn't necessary? My 2c.
posted by neuromodulator at 2:58 PM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hello beans!!
posted by pearlybob at 3:02 PM on December 19, 2010


Oddly, I'm cooking beans right this very moment, and flipped back to this tab after double-checking my cooking instructions on another tab.

This is my favourite plate of beans, though: I do music stuff and I'm trying to do video stuff to go with it and spend many platefuls thinking about, "Can I think of them as one thing or do I have to consider the music on it's own?"
posted by neuromodulator at 3:14 PM on December 19, 2010


Question for the haters: What have you created lately?

"You may scold a carpenter who has made you a bad table, though you cannot make a table. It is not your trade to make tables." - Samuel Johnson
posted by DaDaDaDave at 3:15 PM on December 19, 2010 [7 favorites]


I read the thread before watching the video, and then watched the video with this in mind.

That's exactly why I'm irritated with nomadicink's comment. Not because I think everyone should love the video, but because his reaction was pretty jerkily dismissive considering what the video actually is -- over 1500 individual photographs that someone turned into a beautiful little animated video.

Which is also why his "phoned it in" criticisms ring totally false to me. Okay, you didn't like it, we get it.

kneecapped, literally all the things nomadicink didn't like about it are things I DO like about it, including the "ticks and misses" that I think give it a dreamlike Super-8 kind of feel, and especially considering it was photographed by one person in her own home I think the whole thing is pretty excellent. This isn't a matter of wisdom or experience imparting some sort of special powers of critique, it's about how to offer an opinion about someone else's work (the filmmaker's, and mine in posting this) without being a dick about it.

Going to eat a sandwich now, bah humbug.
posted by hermitosis at 3:15 PM on December 19, 2010


Don't you see how all of you just threw this video off the table, man? Don't you see??!!
posted by orme at 3:18 PM on December 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't think nomadicink was being a dick about it at all.
posted by neuromodulator at 3:19 PM on December 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Not because I think everyone should love the video, but because his reaction was pretty jerkily dismissive considering what the video actually is -- over 1500 individual photographs that someone turned into a beautiful little animated video.

To me personally, technique doesn't really matter or is a separate issue from what the actual telling of a story. When it comes to watch the movie, read book or listen to the song, the process the creator used to make the story really doesn't matter, IMO, just the story.

This story didn't work for me. It worked for you. So it goes, enjoy the sandwich.
posted by nomadicink at 3:25 PM on December 19, 2010


nomadicink is the worst person ever, though if his (her?) initial comment had been more thoughtfully paced, I might feel otherwise.
posted by philip-random at 3:33 PM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't mind the little imperfections in technique like the changing light, though. That works for me.
posted by neuromodulator at 3:42 PM on December 19, 2010


HAVEN'T WATCHED THE VIDEO YET BUT LOVED THE HOARDERS EPISODE RECAP
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:45 PM on December 19, 2010


Anyway, I always loved the Brothers Quay's Street of Crocodiles.
posted by neuromodulator at 3:46 PM on December 19, 2010


all those ticks and misses

Hermitosis: Right. I like Dylan or Waits or Cohen because of the character of their voices, which some would say are misses. Still, knowing something about them, the style of their art, etc. helps me make a decision, along with my sense of taste. I don't completely appreciate the impulse to encourage uninformed holding forth on a topic.

Mr. Johnson's point is well-taken, but most of us use tables daily, so we are more or less credible when we say the table is bad, since isn't doing this or that for us. Would he also say that my students, who might read one or two poems a year when I force them into it, have equal footing to hold forth on the quality of one of his poems?

I'm not saying that the relatively naive expression of preference for and enjoyment of a piece of art isn't welcome. I might be saying though, that a neophyte's expression of distaste (and don't you love the word "hate" here?) for a piece of art might be best tempered with a little "but I don't watch/read a lot of these things" self-disclosure?

So I watched it with the sound off, and I'm still uncertain as to whether the problem is pacing, although the new doll's return to the table might be two cuts too long. (The light shifts don't bother me at all.) The film doesn't need the song though, in order to make the point.

I enjoyed my old cheese on honey and rye bread open-faced sandwich. I'm often told that it's gross, but I love it.
posted by kneecapped at 3:57 PM on December 19, 2010


It doesn't sound gross. Who thinks that's gross? Jerks, I bet.
posted by neuromodulator at 4:02 PM on December 19, 2010


Brilliant. Thanks for this.
posted by jbickers at 4:05 PM on December 19, 2010


nomadicink is the worst person ever, though if his (her?)...

'It' will do fine, thank you.
posted by nomadicink at 4:11 PM on December 19, 2010


I enjoyed it. Thanks, hermitosis.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 5:41 PM on December 19, 2010


Thanks to this FPP, I have now seen the Daniel Radcliffe Equus pics… yay?
posted by Nomyte at 5:53 PM on December 19, 2010


If you think anybody in this thread was 'hating', you must be new to the internet.
posted by empath at 5:59 PM on December 19, 2010


The pacing at first kind of threw me off - yeah I was impatient. I figured I'd accept the video for what it is, and not what I thought it should be. It's good. I really liked it.

However, on the technical side, I would offer advice to the director - if people notice this stuff, and it seems awkward to them - it is. No matter how deliberately an artist crafts something, no matter how intentional - if everyone thinks it's wrong, it is. Not wrong as in OMG-you-shouldn't-put-a-crucifix-in-urine-and-photograph-it wrong, but wrong as in "Dude...why in the hell didn't the artist take care of those technical errors? They are so distracting. Wait, what? They meant it to be like that? ...oh."

Good design is not noticeable. It's seamless. It's elegant in its unobtrusiveness. Bad design makes you notice it, every time. I am not talking about hiding things, because that makes them stand out as well, as we miss them or get frustrated looking for them. Things just need to be...right.

Like that performance art where the girl put what was that, Spaghetti-O's in her vagina? The fumbling with the can in the beginning may have been part of the art, but what it looked like was someone who was so unprepared to execute their performance that they couldn't even open a can. Either just open the goddamn can, or present the difficulty in opening it such that it is clearly part of the performance.
posted by Xoebe at 6:18 PM on December 19, 2010


It's 4 minutes, and 30 seconds of that is credits. Maybe Santa will bring you an attention span for Christmas.

hermitosis - was that necessary? nomadicink complained about the pacing; that has nothing to do with length. 2 min, 30 min, 4-hr documentary - any of those can have poor or excellent pacing.

Or, just snark away. It's easier.
posted by IAmBroom at 6:21 PM on December 19, 2010


He said it was horrible and that the video was too long by half. Considering what the video is, and how it was made, and how short it is, I thought that was unnecessarily dismissive, to the extent that it entirely missed the point.

Blah blah special snowflake blah. I wrote to cortex and asked him to delete this thread, because I hate the idea of the filmmaker being faced with all this negative criticism as a result of my enthusiastic posting, and because I hate that the conversation became what it became. I even hate the fact that I let myself get irritated over it. But cortex doesn't feel like deleting it, so I guess because of some apparently GLARING PACING ISSUES which must not be left unprobed, and my own GRAR, this thread will depress and irritate future generations.
posted by hermitosis at 6:38 PM on December 19, 2010


He said the animation was 'beautifully creepy', as well. I've heard more biting critiques from parents about their kids' macaroni art.
posted by empath at 6:52 PM on December 19, 2010


Question for the haters: What have you created lately?

A vocabulary that isn't founded in posturing. Most people who use the term "hater" are insecure and crass and think that borrowing hip hop machismo can effectively mask these traits.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:09 PM on December 19, 2010


I have no soul, and yet it made me slightly sad.
posted by philip-random at 7:13 PM on December 19, 2010


Slow uptake on the eponysterics: nomadicink commented on the pacing.
posted by kneecapped at 7:17 PM on December 19, 2010


I've seen some horribly paced macaroni art, to be fair.
posted by neuromodulator at 7:43 PM on December 19, 2010


I really enjoyed it. Thanks for posting it.
posted by hollyanderbody at 7:56 PM on December 19, 2010


I thought it was a little slow, but also I found something about the story arc, so to speak, here a little trite. She changes herself to join the Barbies but the Barbies tear her apart. I don't know, I feel like I've seen that before, and I'm generally a huge fan of mean girl stories--Margaret Atwood's Cat's Eye and all that. Maybe I'm tired of Barbie as a symbol of Barbie-ish evil. My Barbies weren't evil. They were adventurers.

The Kij Johnson story linked at the top of the thread was much more resonant for me, both in terms of bullying girls (and boy, could I share some stories if I didn't have laundry to put away) and in the toyish nostalgia aspect.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:30 PM on December 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


I enjoyed this, thoroughly, despite the fact I agree with the "pacing issues" discussed above. However, given the fact this is 1500 photographs made into a coherent animation? I'm totally cool with letting them slide.
posted by leo. at 8:34 PM on December 19, 2010


I thought it was amazing, I'm glad you posted it and glad cortex wouldn't delete it. That cover of Creep is haunting; I've always thought the song had more power/pain/impact when sung by female voices. The video does the same thing for me.

Reading the vimeo comments, there was this from the creator: "Fun fact about this video: about 500 pictures in, my dog ate the doll we were working with and I couldn't find another one like it, so I had to order a completely different one off ebay and start over." Holy. Crap.
posted by donnagirl at 9:04 PM on December 19, 2010


bad dog.
posted by philip-random at 10:51 PM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I appreciated it...perhaps because my whole family had gorgeous blonde hair....and mine was (and is) brown. It's illogical and unreasonable..but to this day I feel "left out" over that. Never got dropped off a table over it..but STILL.
posted by naplesyellow at 11:08 PM on December 19, 2010


To me personally, technique doesn't really matter or is a separate issue from what the actual telling of a story.

I will eat no sandwiches made by your hand.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:57 AM on December 20, 2010


He said it was horrible and that the video was too long by half. Considering what the video is, and how it was made, and how short it is, I thought that was unnecessarily dismissive, to the extent that it entirely missed the point.

Blah blah special snowflake blah. I wrote to cortex and asked him to delete this thread, because I hate the idea of the filmmaker being faced with all this negative criticism as a result of my enthusiastic posting, and because I hate that the conversation became what it became. I even hate the fact that I let myself get irritated over it. But cortex doesn't feel like deleting it, so I guess because of some apparently GLARING PACING ISSUES which must not be left unprobed, and my own GRAR, this thread will depress and irritate future generations.


Dude, I hate Christmas and covalently, all of existence now too, but this was a little better than the tar scraped out of the rubble of a house burned down over spurned love.

It didn't make my day any better in any way, but it did add a new flavor of misery and flaech to my generally shitty mood. So, Win!
posted by From Bklyn at 1:04 AM on December 20, 2010


I enjoyed the video. Thank you!
posted by spacelux at 2:51 AM on December 20, 2010


Kind of reminds me of Gemeinschaft.
posted by Kickdrum at 5:25 AM on December 20, 2010


shit sandwich (hold the bread)

lol
posted by the cuban at 10:57 AM on December 20, 2010


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