They Might Be YouTube Watchers They Might Be YouTube Watchers
Internet/BlogsMusic Videos

They Might Be YouTube Watchers

Animator Elliot Cowan recently posted the following animation on YouTube featuring his characters Boxhead and Roundhead. The short uses an unlicensed piece of music by They Might Be Giants:

So how did the band respond to this? They called up Elliot, while he was taking a dump no less, to tell him they liked the animation and that he should change the credit at the end of the video from “Used Without Permission” to “Used With Permission.”

There are so many video sharing website contests and the like which encourage you to submit your work because you’ll get some “exposure.” If Elliot’s story proves anything, exposure is available to everybody, it’s free, and it doesn’t require silly contests. The key is to simply get your work out there. If it’s good, people will discover it and who knows what can come out of that.

  • David Levy

    Congrats, Elliot… and good to hear that you’re getting enough fiber in your diet to boot.

  • Wow. That is very cool. And how nice of Mr.Flansburg to take the time to call. Especially seeing as he was calling to give permission rather than threaten lawsuits.

    A great story and well done, Elliot. You must be well chuffed. You know, you should think about doing this stuff for a living. Just saying.

  • I’d have to say, that’s one successful bowel movement.

    Congrats, Elliot!

  • Chuck R.

    We’ve seen a lot of neat videos on the Brew lately. Most of them are visually exciting, but don’t quite dovetail with the music. I think you’ve really nailed this one, Elliot. It really fits —no wonder the 2 Johns love it. Uh, no pun intended there.

    If they ever do an educational album for adolescents called “Here Come the Birds and Bees”, I hope they throw you a bone!

  • Nice one Elliot!!

  • Thanks fellows.
    You’re all tops.
    When you’re making your own little films at home and sending them into the world, it’s lovely to be given a venue for more folks to see them.

  • AdrianC

    I wish stuff like this would happen more often. Not only does this incident make for a nice little animation success story, but it this it validates the notion that They Might Be Giants are a group of cool, affable fellows.

    Also, I can’t think of a way to achieve a smooth transition so I’ll just say it: I thoroughly enjoy Mr. Cowan’s use of the phrase “going plops.”

  • But “They Might Be Giants” are special since they already did a lot of animated music videos and work with a very wide range of artists. Don’t expect the same friendliness from your average pop act.

  • Thats an awesome story! Way to go Elliot and thanks for posting Amid.

  • Slowtiger – maybe not, but I think it’s a pretty nice film made with care. If it had been a piece of junk that degraded the song they would have been quite right to disapprove.
    And yeah, they are special, you’re right about that.

  • What do you know? They ARE giants after all! :O)

  • Charles

    “exposure is available to everybody, it’s free, and it doesn’t require silly contests. The key is to simply get your work out there.”

    Thats so true. I’ve gotten some work just from having stuff out there.

  • this is the rare music video that, to me, DOES add a little something to the sound. good stuff, elliot, and congrats on the call and the movement.

  • linda beck

    Good Earthlings: 1
    Greedy Jerks: 0

    What a terrific encounter. Congrats, E and TMBG.
    TMBG proves once again to be a good friend to our NY Animation community.

  • “If Elliot’s story proves anything, exposure is available to everybody, it’s free, and it doesn’t require silly contests.”


    It would be nice if more bands/record companies understood the value of exposure and popularity built by word of mouth. I was informed by YouTube last week that one of my videos was “in violation” because I used a copywritten song. I understand that, and I chose to remove it. But what did the record company gain, ultimately? I wasn’t making any money off the video and now more people got to hear the song.

    It’s such non-progressive, antiquated thinking. Get with the program called the Net…will ya?

  • wait

    a famous band…..ENJOYING a fan-made music video? and not suing the animator? or threatening to sue?

    the world is ending

  • I’m betting Elliot Cowan will be a giant in the animation field.

  • Vince – That’s the kind of enthusiasm I like to hear!
    More please!

  • Anyone ever find out how John and John liked the “Particle Man” cartoon from Tiny Toons?

  • Jay Sabicer

    This is what has the recording companies & music publishers are fearing most: Composers/Musicians that have complete control of their intellectual property are allowing other creative people the chance to collaborate for the sake of art, and not commerce. The corporate machine then continues to strangulate themselves by only signing “hit” acts, further alienating the music-lover and forcing them to search for internet-based independents that exist outside the mainstream music industry.

    What I’d love (and pay for) to see is a cable channel/internet site that takes music from beyond the present era and team them up with the animation communities best and brightest. Perhaps old, previously forgotten songs can see new life, and at the same time give animators some steady work and proper compensation to all creative parties. Anybody listening out there?

  • Robert Schaad

    Belated congrats, Elliot!

  • Cheers Robert.
    Nice of you to say.

  • This was really great – can’t wait to see more of your work, Elliot!

  • That video is great, kudos to Mr.Elliot!

    And yet another reason to love the Giants!

  • Hey Melissa – you can find plenty of it on Youtube or on my site.

    Thanks One Weekly Gun.

    Cheers Stefan – you rock!