Xtranormal videos: Automated deadpan

A couple of months ago, Best Buy employee Brian Maupin ended up in hot water for making a video about someone trying to buy an iPhone. He got in trouble (and was briefly suspended) because his video makes fun of obsessive iPhone fans. Here it is:

I find a couple of things interesting here:

1. The deadpan delivery of the actors is the main thing that makes it funny.
2. There are no actors.

This video, created on a site called Xtranormal, takes your script and turns it directly into a cartoon complete with computerized voices for the animated characters. It seems like a horribly cheesy effect, but I think they’re onto something big here. The animation compels you to watch and listen. If it were just a naked script, you would be unlikely to read the whole thing. So the animation places a critical role, BUT improving technology means the animation is essentially free.

Put it all together, and I’m guessing we’re going to see a lot more of these little movies, and others like it. And sure enough, just yesterday I came across this video about the lame efforts of a film maker to “hire” a sound man for free. The format is similar to the iPhone video above: clueless loser won’t listen to informed hipster. Ironical slacker sarcasm, it would seem, is a good fit for monotone mechanical deadpan. And it really is ironic that this ultra-cheap video is itself about a guy who is trying to make a movie on the cheap.

4 thoughts on “Xtranormal videos: Automated deadpan”

  1. This Xtranormal stuff is spreading fast! I just saw this other video posted on the Face Books last night:

    Nothing like surfing the meme curve.

  2. Good one. And I see that, after watching it, YouTube thought I might be interested in any of the following videos: Orthopedics vs. Medicine, Orthopaedics vs Psychiatry, Anesthesia vs Neurosurgery, OB/GYN & Anesthesia. I have to say, the comments for these videos are much more interesting than the ones on the dancing cat videos. Nothing like a little OR trash talk. Freakin’ anesthesiologists…

  3. Oh man, that clerk sure showed the random customer to whom I’m sure he said none of those things to.

  4. “Vengeance is sweet! I have mocked you not to your face, but rather to many random people online who will be more than happy to laugh at your poorly-chosen, though grossly misrepresented, words. Ha ha ha ha!”

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