Radiohead - Helping Up and Coming...Animators?

Winners of the AniBoom Radiohead Contest

Seasoned animators giving young’uns a hand is nothing new. Back in the Depression, Walt Disney and, to a lesser extent, Max Fleischer had to set up schools for animators, if only to meet their personal production demands. These days you have the likes of Craig McCracken and Cartoon Network setting up the Toonstitute. Mike Judge (King of the Hill, Beavis & Butt-Head) and multiple award-winning independent Don Hertzfeldt collect some of the brightest up-and-comers and takes their shorts on the road with The Animation Show.

But a rock band? And it’s Radiohead no less.

Since 1992, Radiohead has been redefining pop music; never sitting still, each CD very different from the last, but always consistently excellent. Earlier this year, they released their seventh studio effort, In Rainbows. How they initially released it (a download-to-own/pay what you want) alone displayed they were out to rewrite the rules of the music industry. Shortly thereafter, they then made their boldest move.

Radiohead teamed up with the site aniBoom ( and sponsored a contest wherein fans of the band could produce one-minute clips based on In Rainbows. Site fans would select the finalists, with the band being the judges for the ultimate winner. The prize was $10,000 and the opportunity to finish off the piece.

“aniBoom once again gave the independent creator community across the globe the chance to have their work seen by millions and the access to an opportunity that typically goes to animators from the major studios,” said Uri Shinar, founder and president of aniBoom. “while generating the highest of quality content at unprecedented cost efficiencies for both ourselves and our partners.”

If that wasn’t enough, Adult Swim decided to get in the mix by providing plugs on their nightly broadcasts. To top it, [AS] did it basically gratis.

“We’re big fans of Radiohead and think they’re one of the coolest, most genius bands in the world,” said Keith Crofford, [AS]’s VP of Production. “Our relationship with the band goes back many years to when Thom Yorke agreed to be interviewed by Space Ghost. We’ve stayed in touch with the band since then and jumped at the chance to be involved with their unique animation festival.”

Then came the extraordinary news. Due to the quality of the submissions, Radiohead decided to choose four winning videos, rather than one. They also decided to pony up the additional prize money so each of the four creators receives $10,000 to produce their full-length video.

“The aniBoom video competition, totally blown me away it has,” said Thom Yorke, lead vocalist of Radiohead. "We are proud that In Rainbows songs were the source of inspiration for so many amazing creations.”

“We are so proud to have provided Radiohead with such a tremendous selection of talent that they were moved to choose a total of four winners,” added Shinar.

The winning video clip submissions and their creative teams are:

• “15 Step V2.0” by Kota Totori, Japan, for the song “15 Step”

• “16 Tracks Vs. Videotape 2.0” by Wolfgang Jaiser and Claus Winter, Germany, for the song “Videotape” ( )

• “Reckoner V2” by Clement Picon, France, for the song “Reckoner” (

• “Transmutation” by Tobias Stretch, U.S.A., for the song “Weird Fishes / Arpeggi” (

“It feels like a dream I've not yet awakened from,” says Stretch, a carpenter by trade and a fan of stop motion animators/puppeteers/pioneers like Jan Svankmajer, Jim Henson, Brothers Quay, Terry Gilliam, Winsor McCay and Wladyslaw Starevicz. “When the film is done I will hopefully awake and have a beer, a shot and a laugh. I had just finished my previous film ‘Illuminant’ when I saw the aniBoom add for the Radiohead contest, I knew immediately that it was the kind of challenge I needed for my next project.”

As for liking Radiohead? “What isn't there to like?” Stretch asks rhetorically. “I really connect to their ability to create worlds you can go to in your mind while listening to the music. I also connect too much of what it's about, the times we're living in etc.”

As for the money? “I'm planning on paying off the part of the credit card debt I accumulated from this project,” Stretch laughed. “Everything in the film is stop motion 12 frames per second. The song is 5 minutes and 17 seconds so that amounts to 3,800 pictures.”

Up and coming animators should be made aware. Just because Radiohead sponsored this contest, that doesn’t mean it’s the only one aniBoom does. Throughout the year aniBoom also engages its community with a variety of creative contests offering prizes of up to $50,000 each.

So while this contest is over, the tradition of animators helping other animators continues.


No. It’s not what you think.

Nickelodeon will go off the air for an afternoon in celebration of Nickelodeon’s signature Worldwide Day of Play. This year marks the fifth annual event for Nickelodeon and its sister networks which will go dark, along with, to inspire kids to participate in the fight against childhood obesity.

Don’t laugh…or have you looked at a mirror lately?

Nick will be shutting down on Saturday, September 27 from Noon to 3:00 p.m.

Next Column: It’s #500. I’ll have something old (Peter Cullen), something new (Tony Millionaire) and some reflection on doing this beast for over a dozen years. See you Thursday.

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