In the spring of 2013, I knew I was going to be making a promo campaign for the new season of Futurama, and I knew that in the course of making promos for that campaign I'd have the opportunity to do a VO record with Billy West (voice of Fry, Professor Farnsworth, Zapp Brannigan, and Dr. Zoidberg on Futurama) or John DiMaggio (voice of Bender on Futurama).

I also knew I wanted to get into Vine, which was a brand new app at the time. If you don't know about Vine, it's a video sharing app in which people share 6-second looping videos. It got bought by Twitter late in 2012 and in 2013 was just coming to prominence. Some things you should know about filming in Vine are

  • you could only do it on an iPhone (at the time). No fancy cameras or computer effects (besides shooting a computer screen).
  • There's no record button, you just hold your finger on the screen when you want to record and take it off when you want to cut.
  • At the time, there was no capacity to edit. You had to get what you wanted the first take or start over.
  • At the time there was also no capacity to send them up for review. You had to post one before you could make another.

I also knew I had a rubber toy Bender on my desk. My office was something of a toy store/comic book shop. Proof below:

I considered my office an installation piece.


But anyway. I put these three pieces of information together- Had potential John DiMaggio VO, had Rubber Bender, wanted to make Vines - and came up with a plan.

Here is how we made Bender Vines:

  1. I scripted out 30 6-second spots featuring Bender. I learned Vines work best if you think about them like comic strips.
  2. We made prototype versions of the scripts on an iPhone, using my voice for Bender. IMPORTANT: We did not post these, just saved them as files. They were pretty fun to make.
  3. We passed the scripts and prototypes by Futurama, and got them approved by show creator David X. Cohen and Executive Producer Lee Supercinski.
  4. We sent the scripts to John DiMaggio (voice of Bender) and got him to read his lines to picture. That was awesome.
  5. We turned the VO lines to audio files and put them on an iPad
  6. We hooked up speakers to the iPad and cued up John DiMaggio VO lines.
  7. Over the course of the month of July, we filmed 22 times, every time filming one spot and posting them. It's important when making Vines to have consistency, to keep building an audience.

The vines came out great and started pulling in hundreds of likes. We made these on-air spots to throw to them, which I believe might go down in history as the first television advertisement for content on Vine ever. Here they are:

This was a TV spot pushing the Bender Vines I did for Comedy Central in the summer of 2013. This was about 3 months after Vine came out, so you couldn't edit vines and you could only record by holding your finger on the screen. They feature the voice of John DiMaggio (the actual voice of Bender).

You can see a few more vine selects below...

If you want to see more of these vines, you can check them out in my work retrospective. Or heck, for you? You can just click here if you want to take the shortcut.