“Dog Skateboard” versus “Dogboarding”

Last month, we posted Dog Skateboard by Nate Milton of The Amigo Unit.

Lo and behold, twenty-six days later there’s the release of the viral hit Dogboarding created by the LA-based duo Daniels (aka Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan).

If the Daniels had somehow built on the idea and turned it into something else, it would be less irritating. But they took a one-note gag, redid the exact same thing using a different technique without adding a single idea of their own, and regurgitated it onto the unsuspecting public. At least that’s how I see it. What’s your take?

UPDATE: Daniel Kwan of the Daniels wrote a lengthy comment that says they came up with the idea of dog-boarding in December 2010 and finished the project last December:

I can 100% understand how crazy this sounds, but this is in fact an insane coincidence that we, the amigo unit and ourselves, as two separate entities came up with the same idea at the same time (the internet-influenced collective consciousness is causing us all to come to similar ideas and conclusions? who knows!). We actually finished this project in Dec, but due to some setbacks and misunderstandings weren’t able to release it until now. So seeing as the amigo unit’s video hadn’t come out until a month ago, it would be pretty impossible for us to have copied them.

I don’t want to have to be a stickler about all of this, but we have documents and emails dating back to early december of last year discussing this project. We even have a treatment that says 2010 on it :p. We shot test footage and did effects test, which we uploaded to vimeo as a private link on Dec 13th. We have meta data on our footage that shows that we shot the entire video on location in LA mid december, and even had a rough cut done by the end of dec that we uploaded a private link up onto vimeo to share with people (and we still have that cut up online, still private, but with the text “3 months ago” on it, as in, this video was uploaded 3 months ago :] ).

You can read Kwan’s entire comment below.


  • http://www.omnitarian.me Omnitarian

    I dunno, I think you have to give them the benefit of the doubt and write this one off as a coincidence.

    Granted, there are ridiculous amounts of cases where Madison avenue types nab the work of independent creatives- but the history of the creative world is also rife with multiple people independently arriving at remarkably similar ideas. There’s nothing in here that suggests to me they stole this concept from Nate Milton’s short.

  • http://metcalflovesyou.com Arthur Metcalf

    Dog Skateboard’s a riff on Pes’s Human Skateboard, isn’t it?

    • amid

      That’s exactly it though. It’s a riff and goes beyond the original source material in some way. There’s a big difference (namely, creativity) between that and blatantly redoing the same idea to a tee.

      • Iritscen

        Wasn’t PES’s Human Skateboard made after Tony vs. Paul did the same thing?

      • http://www.theAMIGOunit.com Bone

        Its a bigger riff on the skateboarding dog videos

  • Sat

    Well I see a huge difference : I can’t help but think how painful it looks for the dogs in the Daniels one, while the first one is just silly/cute.

    I somewhat fails at seeing what’s the problem. Are you saying it takes 26 days to make a video like this one?

    And with such a simple idea like this one, it’s more about how you present it than the idea itself.

    • TheGunheart

      That’s my problem, too. I also like how the dog is visibly running in Nate’s short, as opposed to going flat and somehow growing wheels.

  • http://www.doctorwhom.com gavin mouldey

    I agree with Omnitarian. It’s a fairly simple concept and would seem to me to be more likely inspired by the numerous dogs-riding-skateboard videos on youtube. There’s a million ways the creators could have come to the idea, without plagiarism. That’s not to say they didn’t steal it, just a bit harsh to declare it outright.

    Having said that, they had to put in a lot of technical effort to make this not just look like skateboards pimped out with stuffed toys, and to me they failed as that’s exactly what it looks like. The obvious solution bar spending more money and a lot more hours digitally painting out the decks, would be to animate it, and then it clearly would come across as plagiarism.

  • http://www.fraserntukula.com/ Fraser Ntukula

    But you see, they changed the name so it has nothing to do with the first one at all!

  • http://lipuster.wordpress.com rakesh nanda

    hmmm..so this is the defination of “redoing something with the exact same technique.” i see…

  • http://dana-draws.blogspot.com Dana T

    Whether this was a copy or not these are the two greatest videos to have ever graced the pages of Cartoon Brew.

  • LARRY

    Two people had similar ideas, executed in very different ways with different styles. Happens all the time. There’s no way the second video’s creators fabricated those dog skateboards, shot all that footage, created the greenscreen FX, and edited all that in 26 days after seeing the first video.

  • http://myspace.com/edel_illus edelillus

    I find myself calling out “biters” more often than anyone else I know of but this is a bit of a reach. To borrow from Arthur Metcalf’s point, the 1st thing that popped into mind was the infamous “human skateboard” clip, not that one you’ve placed up on a pedestal for being the beacon of originality for some reason.

    and I vaguely remember seeing cartoons characters ride other cartoons characters like skateboards quite frequently growing up. Ill have to go scour youtube to support that claim…

  • Oluseyi

    Correlation, Amid, is not causation. Similarity in concept is not proof of plagiarism, especially given the number of predecessors that could logically have inspired Dogboarding by virtue of a similarity of their own, like, oh, I don’t know, “Human Skateboard” by PES?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5IqwECL6bo

    In fact, the structural and auditory similarity of Nate Milton’s “Dog Skateboard” to PES’ “Human Skateboard” (which is over three years old) could lead a naturally suspicious sort to suspect that Milton ripped PES off!

    (See how easy it is?)

    It’s extremely unfair of you to suggest that the Daniels are ripping off Nate Milton with no proof whatsoever. Extremely unfair. In fact, you owe them an apology.

  • http://www.danieldaniel.us dunkwun

    Hey everyone!

    My name is Daniel Kwan, and I am indeed one of the daniels. I am a big fan of the brew and have been a reader here for a few years now and just thought it’d be helpful for me to chime in!

    First off, thanks for posting the video again. I guess its helping the video get more exposure (…?) i dunno. :p

    I can 100% understand how crazy this sounds, but this is in fact an insane coincidence that we, the amigo unit and ourselves, as two separate entities came up with the same idea at the same time (the internet-influenced collective consciousness is causing us all to come to similar ideas and conclusions? who knows!). We actually finished this project in Dec, but due to some setbacks and misunderstandings weren’t able to release it until now. So seeing as the amigo unit’s video hadn’t come out until a month ago, it would be pretty impossible for us to have copied them.

    I don’t want to have to be a stickler about all of this, but we have documents and emails dating back to early december of last year discussing this project. We even have a treatment that says 2010 on it :p. We shot test footage and did effects test, which we uploaded to vimeo as a private link on Dec 13th. We have meta data on our footage that shows that we shot the entire video on location in LA mid december, and even had a rough cut done by the end of dec that we uploaded a private link up onto vimeo to share with people (and we still have that cut up online, still private, but with the text “3 months ago” on it, as in, this video was uploaded 3 months ago :] ).

    I know this is all just you taking my word for it, but I am too lazy/busy(?) right now to go and collect all of these little gems of proof for you. If anyone at this community really feels it useful I can go back digging for them. In the end, I hope everyone understands that no one was copying or stealing from anyone. We (DANIELS) pride ourselves in making things that are our own and in our own voice, and also look down on “regurgitation”. We are thankful for any of you commenters who stood up for us – cause thats cool. And Amid, you can apologize to us if you want to, but I also understand if you are going by release dates alone, it would appear as if we had stolen the idea from them.

    But really guys. Guys riding on dogs like skateboards? It’s a pretty dumb idea. I’m just so glad that its been such a successful idea for both us and the amigo unit.

    Here’s to more dumb yet successful ideas!

    • http://danieldaniel.us otherdaniel

      I’m the other daniel.
      Sheesh, what a long comment am I right?

      I’m on Amid’s side. We suck, especially daniel kwan.

      We always dreamed of making an animation worthy of being posted on Cartoon Brew. Close enough i guess.

  • DaDa
  • http://www.shoomlah.com Claire Hummel

    I’m gonna have to err on the side of coincidence with this one- I’ve had so many instances where I’ve sketched up an idea or even finished a piece only to jump online and find something almost identical by another artist. Sometimes it’s plagiarism, sometimes it’s the unknowable communal human psyche.

    Honestly, the two pieces seem different enough.

  • Jordan

    Lets all jump to conclusions!

  • http://www.animateme.me.uk Jens

    If you thought this is such a bad case of plagiarism, why even post it on a well read blog like cartoon brew? Surely this would only get it more attention.
    I don’t buy into the concept of blaming and shaming in this case. If this was a nike advert and someone would make tons of money of it it might be a different scenario. However here are two guys who made a personal project that was inspired by some stuff that is already out there.
    There’s tons of stuff like that, if you’d have to blog about every one incident this blog would quickly be stuffed with posts like this. -I say get over it and keep on posting the good stuff.

  • http://www.matinai.com matt morris

    As much as I love cartoon brew, could you not send a precursory email to allow the accused to reply before coming to conclusions and posting negative press?

    I’m sure the traffic’s great, but maybe they deserve an apology too.

    • Nelson

      Get real.

  • Keith

    [Comment removed by editors. Per our commenting guidelines, "Be considerate and respectful of others in the discussion. Defamatory, rude or unnecessarily antagonistic comments will be deleted.""]

  • mara

    :/ id say this is a folly on cb’s part. theres no need to jump to conclusions in order to make content for the site. the two pieces are different in execution of the idea, can’t we just appreciate them for what they are?

  • http://evananthony.com BaconIsGood4You

    I would like to see an apology from Cartoon Brew. Not only is it bit of a catty post, there was no research made before making such inflammatory comments.

    The Brew is an industry standard read by many, and to target individuals like this without having done the journalistic legwork seems totally unfair.

  • Brad Constantine

    I’d like to see some dogs surfing on humans now…

    • http://myspace.com/edel_illus edelillus

      Or some dolphins riding humans around huge salt-water tanks at sea world!

  • mronoc

    “Dog Skateboard” is clearly more charming, but the facet of expressiveness in the dogs and switch to live action medium adds enough to the idea for the clip to stand on it’s own. It’s not as though original ideas are the only way a creative work can have any value, execution’s got to count for something. Either way, it’s just a short film some guys made for fun and posted on the internet, it’s nothing to get on a soapbox over.

  • http://poptique.blogspot.com/ Matt

    To be fair – Cyriak originated Dog-boarding as far as I was concerned, way back in 2007. You can see for yourself in his original animation mix http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3JCESdFNyw at around the 2’14″ point.

    In fact, the same year we adapted and expanded the gag into an on-air promo/ident for a channel I was producing for at the time, and the following year we made a JibJab style card for another company (that soon after went belly up) reusing the footage.

    So, either they both ripped Cyriak off in the first place, or indeed it is quite possible three people have come up with quite similar ideas. In my experience, it’s most likely the latter…

  • http://www.vimeo.com/edikmitgartz Edik Mitgartz

    I doubt there actually was something to be stolen here. What we have here is a gag, and gags have been reused in animation all the time. Look at those old cartoons- they like a blues song: same chords, same melodic and text patterns. I believe that animation is a Folk art by its nature. It was clear in the early days and it become clear now with all the Youtube animation. Well, my 2 cents.

  • http://theamigounit.com Nate Milton

    HAHA! Hey, whatever. Amid, thank you so much for taking my corner, you are an asset to the community.

    I’m a firm believer in the collective conscientious or whatever. And, if these guys ripped me off, then its even better, but I bet they were just doing their thing.

    5 years ago one of my best friends, Brett Land, an influential skateboarder in his own right, sat down next to me on a curb in NYC and said “I wish I could skate a dog.” and since then I’ve been keeping this idea on the back burner. I’m an enormous fan of PEZ’s work, but I don’t think his human skateboard crept into brett’s weird brain when he said that. SO, there’s many of us out there who can make stuff, and creatives in the skateboard community always end up doing artsy skatey stuff.

    For me, Dog Skateboard was about animating a technical skateline of under the radar tricks, like the ‘pole jam’ because all bart simpson ever does is an indy grab. My mentor from college, Matt Sheridan, always said “why animate this?” Meaning, why animate something that’s not magic or something you could just shoot live action. So, I made it a dog instead of skateboard.

    But thanks again, Amid. And guys, check out the unit, lots of new stuff to come. Good luck to Daniels, or whoever, no hard feelings boys.

  • http://chippyandloopus.com/ John Sanford

    Here is my take.
    The animated one was cute. It made me chuckle.
    The live action one was irritating. I shut it off after a few seconds.
    I don’t care who had the idea first. The animated one is better and the live action one makes me hate everyone involved.
    How’s that?

  • Michigander

    Could… could Dogboarding be made in just 26 days? And the trees are green and full of leaves in the background– this might just be northern provincialism shining through, but was it like that anywhere in the ‘States earlier this month?

  • http://www.leonanimationstudio.com Rey

    It happened to me a while back. I created this short a couple of years ago:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKphP3vSn60

    And just a few months back I saw this:
    http://vimeo.com/18047390

    Both short have way to much similarities. I contacted them and they assure me they never saw my short.
    Coincidence? You be the judge.

  • Oluseyi

    Posting the update from the Daniels is nice and all, but how about APOLOGIZING for casting aspersion on them, Amid? Be as quick to take responsibility as you are to distribute blame!