The 'Riffs Interview: Animator surprised by virality of his dark 'BOO BOO KILLS YOGI' video
EDMUND EARLE is more a fan of Tombstone-era figures than any of the basket-filching bandits in Jellystone. His new viral video, in other words, is no ode to Yogi.
On Monday at 11:30 a.m., Earle -- a New York-based artist -- posted his virtually one-man animation "Booboo Kills Yogi," a would-be "alternate ending" to the Warner Bros. CGI/live-action flick "Yogi Bear" that opens this Friday. "By 3 p.m.," Earle tells Comic Riffs, "It was a huge success."
By Monday evening, Earle's two-minute-plus video was posted on such destination comedy sites as funnyordie.com. And within 24 hours, his dark spoof was nearing 700,000 views.
Clearly, Earle -- who posted on YouTube under his screen name "estefez" -- had struck a chord with his artistry, if not also with Yogi's grim and violent fate. (Animated though it may be, it's not for the young or squeamish.)
"I grew up watching Hanna-Barbera cartoons in the '90s, but I wouldn't call myself a fan of Yogi Bear," says Earle, 25, who is from Bethesda, Md., where he attended Walt Whitman High School before going on to study film and animation at the ever-esteemed Rhode Island School of Design.
Earle's animation might invoke the pic-a-nic-basket thieving bears of Jellystone, but his video is intended as more an ode to the film "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," starring Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck as the titular gunmen from the Missouri outlaw gang. In particular, that film's dramatic assassination scene is the basis for his parody.
"I'm a huge fan of that film -- it's underrated," says Earle, whose "adult-themed" video carefully evokes some moments from the 2007 Western.
"On the first day, I heard mostly compliments," Earle says, "probably because the first people who saw it are in their 20s to 40s and like that kind of irreverent humor. But today, as it reached more of a broad audience, I heard from some people who don't quite appreciate that [dark] sense of humor."
The video contains a disclaimer that says it's "an independently made parody with no association to Warner Brothers" or anyone else involved with the upcoming film.
"I made all the visuals," Earle tells 'Riffs of the project, which he began work on in September, using 3ds Max and AfterEffects. "I had a friend, Matthew Borgatti, do the voices. And the credits are from the actual film to make it feel more real."
(Earle also admits to one blink-and-you'll-miss-it glitch in his work: When Yogi -- spoiler alert -- becomes the bear rug, his eyes weren't supposed to move.)
Earle works for the West Village-based company Edgeworx Studios, whose clients have included NOVA and the History Channel. The virality of the video has yielded a few job offers, but the animator says he's perfectly happy where he is.
"Besides," Earle says humbly, "I don't expect my fame over this to last past this week."
| December 14, 2010; 4:15 PM ET
Categories: Interviews With Cartoonists, The Animation | Tags: Edgeworx Studios, Edmund Earle, Yogi Bear
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