You may not know Alan Resnick by name, but fans of Adult Swim’s Late Night Programming and infomercials will be familiar with his work.
Resnick has directed a few of the most popular 11 minute shorts including his latest hit, This House Has People In It. He began with short videos and computer animations on YouTube, but eventually worked with art collectives and Adult Swim on higher production works.
During his attendance at art school SUNY Purchase, Resnick would meet Wham City art collective’s Dan Deacon. Resnick joined and formed Wham City Comedy. He has worked with Deacon on music videos, including an animated video for Learning To Relax from Deacon’s latest album, Gliss Riffer. Resnick gained notoriety with his YouTube channel, alantutorial. His ARM Tutorial video spread around the internet, gaining attention from online media outlets for its first-person view and erratic nature. Once he caught the attention of Adult Swim’s, the process changed. “We had never made a video with a budget, so it was like kind of a big jump. Up until then it had all be very much DIY,” Resnick told CommonGeek. He and his collaborators went on to shoot Live Forever as You Are Now with Alan Resnick, Unedited Footage of a Bear, and This House Has People In It for Adult Swim.
“We had never made a video with a budget, so it was like kind of a big jump. Up until then it had all be very much DIY.”
Resnick’s surreal works often go deeper than a simple YouTube upload. Viewers can trip down a rabbit hole by visiting sites related to the video. Navigating to Live Forever as You Are Now‘s companion site will allow users to build their own avatar or even chat with Teddy, an avatar created to replace Resnick at the time of his death (in the context of the short, obviously). Resnick, along with web designer and girlfriend Dina Kelberman, built a website that allowed users to dig even deeper to accompany Live Forever as You Are Now’s follow up, Unedited Footage of a Bear. This was something of a trial for what would become the alternate reality game leading up to This House Has People In It. “When we were coming up with the idea for This House Has People In It we knew we wanted to do that even bigger,” Resnick said. Kelberman’s work was so deep that it even sparked in-depth explanation videos by fans.
Many of Resnick’s videos feature computer animations he created. “I kinda really remember watching making-of featurettes for Jurassic Park and being fascinated by how they did it.” Short animations and test footage can be found on his YouTube channel, but it is Live Forever as You Are Now that displays his ability to utilize CGI comedically. Resnick’s avatar Teddy and the avatars of his “customers” are featured, including footage of the avatars’ structural integrity being tested. “I would make 3D animations and that would inspire videos I would do,” he said.
For Resnick, the process begins with an image. “For me personally, ideas start visually.” He discussed the origins of This House Has People In It with CommonGeek. “It really started with the image of someone on the floor who couldn’t be moved and just the visual quality of spying on a family.” It is this lo-fi, surreal vision combined with actor and collaborator Robby Rackleff’s character improvisation that lead to Resnick’s deepest work yet. “So much of [This House Has People In It] was built around his sense of humor and characters he had done.”
Due to the nature of security footage-style filming, This House Has People In It found a happy medium between the DIY feel of Resnick’s earlier work with an Adult Swim budget. “We really tried to make room in the production when we were filming it to have time to discover new ideas and improvise.” Resnick, along with Rackleff, Kelberman, Ben O’Brien, and Cricket Arrison make up AB Video Solutions. This subdivision of Wham City focuses on video production, making Resnick’s work for Adult Swim possible.
“For me personally, ideas start visually.”
Wham City, including Resnick, can be seen on live tours and shows performed in the Baltimore area. Resnick’s performances range from collaborations with Rackleff and O’brien to solo performances in the vein of Live Forever as You Are Now. More information on AB Video Solutions can be found here and a playlist of Resnick’s works can be found below. AB Video Solutions, along with Adult Swim, gave Resnick and his friends a new medium to work on. “It allowed us to create something that was bigger than what we could create on our own.”