One of the reasons Twitter’s shortform-video app Vine has captivated the Internet is the extreme creative constraint it places on the creator. The app only gives you six seconds to convey a message and requires you to do all your editing in-camera–combined, these two factors often result in a wildly varied, inspired spectrum of work.
“When you have less freedom, you use your imagination in another way. It gives extra pressure to the imagination,” says actor James Urbaniak, who takes to Vine to capture inventive snippets of comedy. “You can see this in people coming up with new technical solutions to [Vine’s] limitations, and that’s really fun.”
Urbaniak was one of five Vine auteurs tapped by Yahoo! News‘ Virginia Heffernan to create their own Oscars-inspired Vines in honor of last night’s show. Heffernan says she originally reached out to the directors of this year’s Oscar-nominated films to gauge their interest in creating Vine versions of their works, but quickly realized she needed to be reaching out to artists who were already familiar with and thriving on the platform.
“Never has it been more clear that the medium is the message,” Heffernan says of creating with Vine. “Some of these directors haven’t been shooters in 30 years.”
From two very different takes on Lincoln to an Oscars viewing party set in 1976, Co.Create takes a look and catches up with the artists behind the Vines.
James Urbaniak, “Oscar Party ’76”
Oscar Party ’76 vine.co/v/bg7XwaEElh5
— James Urbaniak (@JamesUrbaniak) February 23, 2013
The actor, who plays the voice of Dr. Venture on Adult Swim’s “The Venture Bros.,” often uses Vine to capture strange and delightful comedic moments–a vision of a speed bump on the road conjures a memory of Fergie’s “My Humps” video in one, an LSD trip gives way to a Justin Bieber hallucination in another. “A lot of these Vines are just sudden ideas,” he says. “I’ll tell my wife, ‘I think I’ll be singing in the kitchen for a few minutes.’ ” Urbaniak’s “Oscar Party ’76” is pure sketch comedy, capturing the moment from a 1976 viewing party when Jack Nicholson announces Rocky as the Best Picture winner over contenders such as All The President’s Men, Taxi Driver, and Network.
Adam Goldberg, “Lost Weekend 2013”
“Lost Weekend 2013:” an ode to Oscar (Madison). vine.co/v/bggqYb36pKX
— Adam Goldberg (@TheAdamGoldberg) February 24, 2013
Some have dubbed the actor and filmmaker the “King of Vine” for his use of the platform to unfold an ongoing narrative featuring himself, girlfriend Roxanne Daner, friend Merritt Lear, and a blonde wig. “Lost Weekend 2013,” which pays homage to the 1945 Best Picture winner, is something of a departure for Goldberg, whose interest in Vine lies in the fact that “there are no constraints, no assignments, and the content is original and interesting.” Goldberg also wants to set his skeptics straight: “For the record, I don’t film off the screen,” he clarifies about his vignettes, which often cram many shots into just a few seconds. He assures he’s simultaneously working with many props–“tape recorders and bowls of water and stuff”–to achieve his shots. And that blonde wig.
Tiffany Shlain, Lincoln
— Tiffany Shlain (@tiffanyshlain) February 24, 2013
The Webby Awards founder is no stranger to creative constraint–she enforced a strict, five-word acceptance speech policy for the awards. Shlain, a filmmaker, learned how to make movies by splicing together old footage she’d cull from archives and film collectors’ closets. So for her interpretation of [i]Lincoln[/i], she drew from sources as varied as Wikipedia to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s seminal speech.
Onur Tukel, “Best Actor”
— Onur Tukel (@otukel) February 19, 2013
The filmmaker and animator/illustrator took to Vine to capture an animation he created of a Whac-A-Mole-inspired look at this year’s Best Actor nominees. Tukel, who had never used Vine before creating “Best Actor,” began exploring others’ work on the platform. “It makes me nostalgic for the way we used to make movies when I was younger, when there was no Final Cut Pro or Premiere,” Tukel says. At the same time, the fleeting nature of Vines also makes Tukel a little nervous. “I feel like we’re ADD enough as it is,” he says.
Nina Davenport, “Lincoln”
Though Davenport did multiple takes to achieve the effect of her eerily cerebral tribute to Lincoln, the documentary filmmaker didn’t actually edit her Vine, which refers to the rocking chair Lincoln was sitting in when he was shot. “I approach [Vine] by responding to what I see around me in the world, rather than staging or creating it,” Davenport says of the Vine.