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Special Project

Special Project
From the 7th Annual Shorty Awards

SundanceTV Vines by Avery Monsen

Entered in Vine


The Sundance brand is known for innovation so when SundanceTV decided to build out its Vine account for the network, they tapped the talented, iconoclastic Avery Monsen — a masterful Vine-creator who is perhaps best known for co-authoring the book All My Friends Are Dead. That proved a wise move as Avery quickly put his one-of-a-kind stamp on the six-second videos he concocted on behalf of such SundanceTV series as Dream School, The Approval Matrix and The Returned. In each instance, Avery's work captured the very essence of the show it was promoting in unexpected ways. His Vines for Dream School were consistently inspirational, especially the one built around the wisdom of the reality show's famous home room teacher Chuck D (Public Enemy). For the talk show The Approval Matrix, Avery took a more satirical approach as he riffed on weekly themes like Reality TV, the Narcissism of Fame, and Nerd Domination. Even when working on the cultishly-revered French-language, Peabody Award-winning The Returned, Avery found variously surprising ways of interpreting the story that somehow managed to be both amusing and creepy.

Strategy and Execution

Avery's Vine videos were so inventively wrought that even though they were intended as promotion for particular SundanceTV shows, they never felt like ads and actually were capable of standing alone as entertaining content. If anything, these short looping clips felt as though they were made by an incredibly creative, insightful, enterprising, and oft-times hilarious fan.

Some Vine creators depend on punch lines – visual or verbal—but not Avery, whose talent embodies the SundanceTV brand. What's impressive about Avery's shorts is how they wed the loopy nature of Vine with surprisingly high production values and superb artistic skills. Playing with ordinary items like a television set, notebooks, papier-mache and pencils, Avery repeatedly succeeds in making extraordinary optical illusions capable of delivering thought-provoking (and succinct) messages.

Words change meaning when spun around to be viewed from a different angle. A man sitting on a couch turns out to be the subject of the reality TV show he's watching on his TV. Floating balls spelling out the word NERD disperse then regroup to spell out the word BULLY. These delightful Vines play with your brain in two ways – visually and philosophically. Think of them as video magic tricks with thoughtful messages.

The effort and artistry put into the sets, the costumes, even the scripts of these SundanceTV videos goes way beyond the standard of most other Vine creations. Check out the talking garbage puppet with blinking eyes, the animated baby doll that won't go away, or the funeral scene in which the POV is from the coffin of someone about to be buried alive and you'll see how Avery is consistently able to deliver a slick indie vibe that never feels too DIY. If anything, Avery's work feels effortlessly polished with its seamless execution. Whether the set-up is hyper-realistic or surrealistic, Avery accomplishes his visuals with ease.

Please note: Videos were regularly posted from Avery Monsen's accounts as well as SundanceTV's at the time of their launch so views do not accurately reflect reach as the links below are strictly from SundanceTV.

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