I’m sure a lot of people have already seen this short. BIG BOX MART premiered on THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO back in October and since then has been seen online by many millions more. Still, I wanted to point it out here because it’s one of my favorite shorts that JibJab has produced. (JibJab, for those unfamiliar, is the six-year-old Flash animation studio started by brothers Evan and Gregg Spiridellis). As is typical of their work, the concept and lyrics are top-notch and the Flash animation is snappy and well timed, but on top of that, there’s a new level of graphic sophistication in their photo cut-out/collage technique that sets BIG BOX MART apart from the studio’s earlier films. The backgrounds have a greater level of detailing with thoughtful attention to color styling, and the layouts and camera moves take good advantage of deep space possibilities. It’s exciting to see this increasing graphic ambitiousness in their work, and as JibJab continues to receive other high-profile gigs, hopefully we’ll see even more of it.
Beyond producing solid Flash cartoons, JibJab also deserves props for doing something that very few other animation creators are able to do nowadays: reach an audience of millions without subservience to traditional studio distribution models. Flash producer Aaron Simpson, of Cold Hard Flash, summed up nicely JibJab’s unique accomplishments: “They create, develop and produce their own properties; they distribute to a massive audience online and beyond; they partner with media empires like MSN – all while maintaining ownership of their properties and brands.” JibJab is fulfilling the promise of online animation in an impressive manner, and they continue to innovate and experiment with progressive ideas like their ‘audience participation’ films. Here’s to their continued success, and to the hope that more animation creators can learn from how they’ve managed to exploit the potential of the Net.