JibJab Cartoon Creation Goes Viral

Being a longtime fan of both animation and political satire, I sure am glad the fellers at JibJab are still around.

After a end-of-the-millenium bloom of nutty on-line content (especially zany Flash cartoons), the post-9/11 quasi-Depression looked like death to the fun-for-profit business model of JibJab.

In 2002, I was in a bar in Brooklyn and met a kid who used to work as an animator for the creative shop.

"So, what are you doing now?" I inquired.

"Working as a hazardous material inspector for apartment buildings near Ground Zero."

Sheez, the good times really seemed over.

However, with the success of the company's election season This Land and the sequel, Good to Be in DC, you could tell the boys were back. I'm writing of brothers Gregg and Evan Spiridellis.

For their upcoming productions, the Spiridellis brothers are turning to their burgeoning fan base to contribute everything from photos of props to headshots and voice over work. It is a massive casting call being sent out to over half a million subscribers to their on-line newsletter.

Their creations have an insanely high incidence of customer evangelism. In offices around the world, small clusters of co-workers gather around computer screens trying to suppress giggles in cubicles while watching Second Term or Ahnold for Governor.

One usually discovers a new creation through a giddy email from an aquaintance with the tagline: "YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS!!!!!"

Following a model used by such groups as Obtainium Methodologies, Wikipedia and America's Funniest Home Videos, JibJab hopes to both accelerate the production process and augment the creative process through consumer participation.

From the JibJab blog:

For our next JibJab, we’ll be posting a list of all the items we’re looking for and invite you to submit your photos. If we use your submission, you’ll get a credit at the end of the movie. Imagine the bragging rights around the water cooler!

As we mentioned in our last blog entry, we’re only going to accept a limited number of people to join us for the beta launch. Why? If millions of people signed up, our precious community would spiral out of our control and into a spam infested wasteland. We want to make this experiment as fun and productive as possible.

So what happens when Hollywood finally gets a clue and goes viral, too?