I found this video via Amanda Meade’s MedIa Diary in The Australian yesterday (you may have already seen it – I hadn’t, and even after I had, I wanted to watch it again…)
THE story of The Beached Whale viral video is a modern-day media fairytale. Childhood friends Anthony MacFarlane, Nick Boshier and Jarod Green had a funny New Zealand accent routine which they used to amuse each other. Aspiring filmmakers, the guys decided they wanted to shoot a short film down at the beach dressed up as whales and seagulls—but never got around to it.
So Green told MacFarlane and Boshier to record the audio of the routine—about a beached whale and a seagull that stumbles across him on the beach—and he would try to animate it. Green said he had never animated anything before so the naive style of the art was simply the best he could manage. The young men, all in their 20s and from Sydney’s north shore, put the video on YouTube. They were just after feedback from their mates.
What they got after four months was a viral phenomenon—the video has been watched nearly 5 million times. Now the ABC has commissioned Beached Az—an 11-part digital animation series about the whale who found himself beached on the shores of New Zealand. It will premiere online this Thursday and will be followed by broadcasts on ABC2 at 9.25pm on Thursday, September 10, and then ABC1. “Every artist’s greatest challenge is doing a sequel,” Green said. “We’re not trying to build a 30-minute emotional arc.
“We’re conscious of keeping it random and plotless so the whale is still on the beach, but there is a whole host of new characters that wander up and engage in pointless conversation, which will hopefully make you giggle. We’ve kept them short and sweet.”
Green says the ABC commissioned the series after the trio went in with another TV show idea. “And at the bottom of the pitch we mentioned that we’d done Beached Whale and included the impressive stats. That caught their eye rather than the 40-page document.” After the video went viral, the guys were contacted by people wanting to put the whale on T-shirts, coffee mugs and anything else available. They began selling merchandise via a website and now have enough money to travel and pursue other filmmaking dreams. Perhaps they are the new Chaser?