Thoughts on Thought Cafe

For the uninitiated, Nerdfighteria is the community that has grown up around YouTubers John and Hank Green–known as the vlogbrothers–for the last decade. This past February, I had the joy of attending Nerdcon: Nerdfighteria, which was a convention intended to celebrate those 10 years, along with fellow Nerdfighters from all over the world. The basic principles of the community are acceptance and empathy, un-ironically enjoying the nerdy things in your life, being kind to others, decreasing the amount of suckiness in the world, and reminding yourself that every other person you meet is just as complex as you are. Also that we are made of awesome. The number one rule in Nerdfighteria? Don’t Forget To Be Awesome.

What does this have to do with animation? Getting there!

Of all the great things to come from the vlogbrothers’ early start in online video, one of the best was a grant they received from YouTube (back when they did that) that allowed them to create an educational show called Crash Course. And what makes Crash Course stand out among the droves of online video? It’s animation, brilliantly done by a small Canadian studio called Thought Cafe. While fantastic, accurate writing, and complex educational concepts are why we tune into Crash Course, the animation is 100% what makes it so successful; it’s what ties all of the best qualities of an educational show together and really helps the material stick in your brain.

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Review: Kahil Gibran’s The Prophet

The 2014 animated feature, Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet is one of those projects that seems so implausible that one can’t help but wonder how it got the green light. Thankfully, it was a passion project of actress Salma Hayek who, along with The Lion King director Roger Allers, created a truly beautiful and unique gift. Based around Lebanese-American poet-philosopher Kahlil Gibran’s book, “The Prophet,” the film follows Mustafa, an artist and activist who, after being held under house arrest is escorted through town to a dock where he will be sent back to his home country. Along the way, he encounters many locals who welcome his appearance with unbridled celebration and open arms, much to the displeasure of the local government. Mustafa advises the townsfolk, assists them with their daily problems in the form of poetic sermons, which break apart from the larger story, and visually, often to more effect than the main story.

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