Today, the D23 audience that attended the Disney Interactive panel were treated to the premier of Blank: A Vinylmation Love Story. When I first heard about this venture, I was skeptical of the quality and motivation behind the making of this animated web series. This seemed like a way of pushing a product into the mind set of another group of future buyers. But over time, as screen shots and a trailer hit the web, it was clear this was a more artistic undertaking than I had assumed. Somehow, a team at Disney was given a budget, albeit a small one, to put together a story about Vinylmation. After attending the presentation, it became clear that Disney Interactive is trying to provide quality, short form entertainment to pull audiences toward their web content. While Blank may not provide direct revenue, it will provide content to attract an audience and keep them coming back for more. It should also drive product sales, but not in the overly blatant way I expected.
Blank is a three minute long, stop motion animated short. We saw episode 1 of a series of web shorts that will soon be released at Disney.com/Blank. The story is based around Blank, a 3" Vinylmation who does not get painted at the factory. He soon meets Bow and they go on a truly epic journey that is left to be continued in future episodes. This first part introduces the world these Vinylmation live in, as well as a cast of characters that include a Park Starz squid, a train based on the monorail platform and these non-Vinylmation crane monsters. You instantly care about your main characters Blank and Bow. They convey so much emotion without a single facial expression. But you know what you are seeing. The beginnings of a true love story. And while they face dangers together, you begin to root for them to reach safety. But they are pulled apart. And so begins the struggle for the two to reunite. You forget for a moment that this is a story told with Vinylmation as the medium. It is a story for any time, place or age.
The animation is beautiful. The story is touching and engaging. I can not wait to follow this adventure and see where future episodes take Blank and Bow.