THE BUNNIES TAKE THE STAGE: INTERVIEW WITH CREATOR JENNIFER SHIMAN

I don’t think there’s a single movie geek or animation nut on the internet that doesn’t know what Angry Alien” refers to. When you hear the name of the production company, instantly, you begin to think: Bunnies. Jennifer Shiman insists that the success of her online series of movie spoofs was purely accidental, but it’s pretty obvious when you view the series one after the other that she knew what she had on her hands, and she was well aware that this series was destined to be big. And big it has become, as it’s now taken the internet by storm and Shiman along with her Bunny troupe are gaining more and more notability in the world of animation and comedy.

The concept is so ridiculously simple: Take animated bunnies and have them re-enact some of the best and worst movies ever made, all in thirty seconds. And yet, when you view most of the spoofs on Angry Alien, there’s a certain understated brilliance to “30 Second Bunny Theater.” The spoofs are so rapid fire, so brief, and so funny that you’ll find you can’t get enough.

I became a fan after I was introduced to the series by a friend, and found myself on her site one day. I watched one, and then another, and then another, and before I knew it, I’d gone through the entire library and was hungry for more. Go on to Angry Alien Productions and you’ll find it almost impossible to stop at just one.

Performed with such comic timing, “30 Second Bunny Theater” is another of many facets of pop culture that make you glad to have the internet. Shiman has tackled “Night of the Living Dead,” Donner’s “Superman” and “Titanic” to only name a few, and now with her alliance with Starz! she has the ability to tackle much more films without too much fear of copyright infringement.

My favorite so far has to be “Superman,” and while the series is not an insider’s secret what with the massive fan base, we just had to interview Ms. Shiman and hopefully expose her fantastic online series to the readers that probably haven’t seen what the fuss is about.

Thanks for agreeing to the interview, Ms. Shiman, I know you’re very busy.
No problem!

So what’s your background in animation?
Over the course of ten years, I worked as a freelance production assistant for an animation studio in Chicago. I helped do traditional and digital ink-and-paint, camera work, and soundtrack reading. Overall I learned how the entire process comes together, and I had some great mentors whom I admired and respected.

How did you originally start animating?
I took one formal animation class in college. Prior to that, I had taken various studio art classes such as figure drawing and sculpture. But I’ve loved to draw since I was a kid.

Where was “30 Second Bunny Theater” conceived from?
In early 2004, I began to experiment with developing humorous serial content related to films, in the hopes of finding a sponsor and becoming an online humor columnist of sorts.

Many people either manifest their hatred or love for something through their art, so which category would bunnies fit into?
Love, most definitely.

What compelled you to pay homage to some of the best and worst movies of all time, and in bunny form no less?
I wanted to choose a creature removed from acting (such as a cute woodland animal) to lend its interpretation to movies. The bunnies stood out from the other contenders in my sketchbook. They take their job seriously. Plus they are nice and squeezy.

Was the success of “30 Second Bunny Theater” a surprise to you?
Yes! When I posted the first bunny parody on my website, I was completely surprised by the positive response.

What was the first movie you spoofed on the series?
“The Exorcist.”

How long does an average production take?
About a month.

What are voice recording sessions like? How do you go about garnering the high pitched rapid voices for the characters?
It is hard not to laugh while we’re recording voices sometimes! I use software (Peak or Audacity for Mac) to raise the pitch to bunny levels.

Do you cast actors in the Bunnies shorts, or friends?
Both: I usually cast myself (mainly for convenience, not because I act); some are friends who have voiceover talent; some do acting and voiceover work too.

How did you get Michael Dougherty and Bryan Singer on the “Superman” short?
I was lucky enough to have them participate! They also lent their vocal stylings to “Alien” and “Jaws.” Michael had gotten in touch following “The Exorcist” Bunnies.

Have you been approached by other celebrities about your series?
I’ll be ambiguous and say I’ve gotten some nice feedback on various bunny shorts from certain individuals in some way involved in the original films.

Have you considered a full length Bunny film or have you been approached for one?
No, although I have been thinking about some longer – form pieces (2-4 minutes)…

When did Starz! contact you about the Bunny theater, and how did that originally start?
In mid-2004, Starz emailed me from my website and inquired about commissioning a few bunny shorts for their “Hare-Raising Halloween Marathon.” And the rest is Hare-story (couldn’t resist).

Have they been nurturing with the creative direction and intent of the series?
They have been very supportive, which I’ve really appreciated.

Have any of your other characters caught on like the Bunnies?
I have a bunch of other characters I’d like to flesh out eventually, and some I’ve had for a long time. But the bunnies were the characters in the right place at the right time.

Which titles would you love to tackle next?
Ideally I’d love to do some more classics. My personal wishlist includes “Freaks” and “My Dinner with Andre.”

Which movie has presented the most difficulty in compressing into the thirty second format?
Each movie has its own challenges; one goal is always to preserve the integrity of the movie through the re-enactment. Another is to make it entertaining.

Which short would you say gets the most feedback and praise?
Hard to say because different viewers cite different bunny pieces as their favorites; there’s something for everyone. But I’d say I’ve gotten the most emails about “The Exorcist” and “Jaws” Bunnies.

Are you seeking DVD distribution or a compilation of these shorts?
I would like to create a compilation! Release date unknown.

So, what else can fans look forward to in the coming year from you, the Bunnies, and Angry Alien?
The bunnies are meeting about that right now, and hopefully they’ll let me in on it soon.

We don’t need to tell the readers, but the sake of new fans, where can readers find “30 Second Bunny Theater”?
Readers will find 30 Second Bunnies Theatre at my site: http://www.angryalien.com.

Can we expect an episode featuring “The Big Lebowski” any time soon? The dude in bunny form would be a dream.
It’s certainly possible!




Posted on September 14, 2007 in Interviews by
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