In this week’s episode of The New Disruptors, I visit everybody’s favorite Web-animation comedy team, the brothers Evan and Gregg Spiridellis, better known as JibJab. They show me their latest Web video creation, a new series called Starring You that is about to launch later this month (that’s a scoop folks).
Starring You is not just another funny, viral video with singing presidents. It is a software-entertainment product. You can upload a picture of your head, mark the jaw lines with an online app, and become one of the characters in a slick, professionally-produced JibJab video.
Since the application is not up and running yet, I sent the jibJab brothers a picture of my wife, Nadia, and me. They put our heads on a pair of disco-dancing bodies (see screen-grab above). Why is this disruptive? Because it points to a new form of personal entertainment one step above the stuff on YouTube that looks like it was shot on a camera phone.
A single JibJab animation can cost $50,000 to produce. Now you can piggyback on top of all that hard work, put your face in the video, and upload it to your MySpace page. Sure, there are better things you can do with your life. But there’s no denying that people love to watch themselves. Speaking of which, check out my dance moves in this episode.
IN THE SUMMER OF 2004, A LITTLE COMPANY CALLED JIBJAB DISRUPTED THE U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN WITH AN ANIMATED SPOOF CALLED 'THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND.'
That was lightning in a bottle. We did over eighty million views between the time we launched it in July and the election of November. It was everywhere.
FOR CO-FOUNDERS, AND BROTHERS, EVAN AND GREGG SPIRIDELLIS - THIS WAS NO ACCIDENT.
We're saying things that no one in traditional media was saying… and I think… hearing a fresh voice is what made 'This Land is Your Land' such an enormous runaway success.
BUT THAT WAS 2004 AND THESE GUYS ARE FOCUSED ON STAYING FRESH TO KEEP… AND GROW, THEIR LOYAL FAN BASE. THEY ARE NOW ABOUT TO UNLEASH SOMETHING NEVER SEEN BEFORE. IT’S FUNNY, IT’S A LITTLE BIT SCARY, AND THIS TIME IT’S PERSONAL.
If somebody sees the JibJab logo… I want them to know it's worth their while to watch.
We ramped up the staff considerably and we're working towards a new line of products that will start coming out this summer.
ONE OF THOSE PRODUCTS IS A NEW ANIMATION SERIES CALLED ‘STARRING YOU.’ I GOT A SNEAK PEAK.
This is us figuring out how to make the Starring You jaw work.
Basically what we want to be able to do is put people into the JibJab. So we're building some tools that allow people from their desktop to upload their head, cut it out and cast themselves in one our movies. We want to invite the audience to participate more.
TO TEST IT OUT, I ASKED JIBJAB TO DO THE IMPOSSIBLE: MAKE ME A STAR! — AND MY WIFE NADIA TOO.
==INSERT ‘CNN DISCO’ HERE==
[APPROX 15 SECONDS OF VIDEO]
WHEN STARRING YOU LAUNCHES, JIBJAB WILL MAKE IT EASY FOR VIDEOS LIKE THIS TO SPREAD VIDEOS ALL OVER THE WEB.
And you're not only publishing it to Jib Jab but if you want it you can put it on your MySpace page. You can put it on your blog. You can put it on your website or you can store it in your joke box.
The real disruption is the consumer as the distributor. The audience is the network. And so we're looking at how can we make it easier for people to discover content, publish it and then spread it on the edge. There's a seventy billion dollar television advertising market that's going to be looking for a home.
What do you think is the most disruptive thing about this new medium?
People can get their work out there where they never could before. So in terms of disrupting the system; in the past everything had to be filtered through a gatekeeper who decided what was worthy to put out into the world.
Do you feel like the early days of Disney?
Those guys, technology made them. Sound and then color. So we look at the web much the same way as the early days of film. No one knows what it's going to be yet. So there's a lot of room to sort of stake your ground.
I’M ERICK SCHONFELD, YOUR BIZ 2 POINT O EDITOR AT LARGE, KICKIN’IT… ‘OLD SCHOOL’ FOR THE NEW DISRUPTORS