In February, we spotlighted a smart Twitter thread about directors who transitioned from animation to live action. Now, the writer of that thread, Vincent Alexander, a cartoonist and animator from Columbus, Ohio, has outdone himself with another, even more entertaining thread.
This time around, Alexander gives a potted history of self-referential gags and tricks in cinema, both animation and live action. His subject is those moments in films and shows that riff on their own medium and business. The thread is worth reading in full, but we’ve picked out the animation highlights below.
Early on, Alexander introduces “meta” motifs developed in animation’s earliest days, such as the “hand of the artist” — the interaction between animator and animation, as seen here in the Fleischer brothers’ Koko the Clown cartoons.