WTF online audiences and animated documentary

Ellie Land, Mark Blythe

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


"Everything Was Life is an animated documentary exploring the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM). It was directed by the first author as a final year degree project and subsequently made available on YouTube. The intended audience for the piece was initially academic but its availability on YouTube has enabled it to reach a wider audience. At the time of writing the video has over 196,000 viewings and 324 comments. YouTube video analytics indicate that it was most popular in the USA, Alaska and mainland Europe. These statistics also suggest that males exclusively viewed it over the age of twenty-four. The paper asks what happens when an animation made for a small academic audience reaches a larger and unforeseen audience. It draws on critical theories such as reader response theory as well as the empirical data on YouYube to contrast the film maker’s original aims with the YouYube response. Comments on YouYube are analysed using a grounded theory approach. Responses include amazement confusion (WTF i.e. what the fuck), cultural distancing and ethical engagement. It is argued that the new media platforms such as YouTube not only offer animators new means of distributing their work but also insights into the ways that audiences other than those intended receive it.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2012
EventThe Animation Machine, The 24th Society for Animation Studies Conference - RMIT University, Melborne Australia
Duration: 26 Jun 2012 → …


ConferenceThe Animation Machine, The 24th Society for Animation Studies Conference
Period26/06/12 → …


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