Summer Shorts sellout: My favorite CGI films

19-Jun-13 12:23 PM by
Filed under Films; Comments Off on Summer Shorts sellout: My favorite CGI films

I spend so much time watching YouTube that, in 2009, I applied that knowledge toward creating a Showbits feature: Summer Shorts. Every weekday for a week, I posted a different short film to this site. In 2010, I revisited the format but over a longer period of time, sharing one video every Friday for 17 weeks.

After a two-year hiatus, I'm pleased to announce Summer Shorts is back, though in a new context. Going with a thematic approach and a commercial outlet, I've compiled my nine favorite CGI shorts into a video gallery. "9 animated shorts that give Pixar a run for its money" is my first freelance feature for ITworld, an affiliate of Computerworld, the magazine where I was an editor for six years.

9 animated shorts that give Pixar a run for its money

Who needs Pixar? Here are my 9 favorite CGI shorts that you can watch for free right on YouTube.


Two of the nine shorts will be familiar to long-time Showbits readers. Pigeon: Impossible and Kiwi, though older, stand as some of the most enjoyable and memorable animated films I have seen online. Five other shorts I'd seen before but had not previously shared, leaving Rosa and The Chase as new to me, the result of extensive research into YouTube's library.

There were enough other candidates that ITworld's gallery could have been nearly double its length: six more videos, including The Passenger and Sebastian's Voodoo, nearly made the cut. As is, the final playlist totals an hour, making for an fun and diverse showcase of the fastest, funniest, most poignant CGI films YouTube has to offer.

Spoof of Life

06-Mar-07 2:06 PM by
Filed under Films, Humor, Star Wars; 1 comment.

There's nothing like a good spoof — and most of the parodies I see are nothing like a good spoof.

Originality is a key factor. Star Wars parodies abound, and wading through the morass takes some effort. (Just look at the search results in YouTube.) But be it in Star Wars or elsewhere, there are two rarely-exploited formats of spoof that, when done well, realize great potential.

One approach is to portray a film as a genre other than its own. George Lucas' universe is effectively seen from the perspective of a Cops television show in the legendary fan film TROOPS. This same concept can turn the cult classic Office Space (imagine a live-action Dilbert) into a horror film:

The other parody format is a mash-up of two films that have no rights being amalgamated, which Star Wars accomplishes with Tie-Tanic. Elsewhere, this technique combines two Ben Affleck films into one continuous reality. Though it was funnier and more relevant five years ago when its source material was fresh, Pearlmageddon is still exemplary of such humorous fusions:

There are plenty of other examples of these methods out there; look for The Shining as a romantic comedy, or a sequel to Titanic that takes elements from Awakenings and The Fugitive.

What are some of your favorite spoofs, either fan-made or official? (And did you find the Easter Egg [and yes, that's a hint!] in the links above?)