Back in the day, my brother Sam Reed, Nige Christensen and I had a production company called Ear, Nose and Throat. While producing interstitials for an ABC Saturday morning show in the late 90’s called Recovery, we started tooling around with claymation, something Sam and I had done a bit of as smelly children.
These little visual doodles struck a bit of a chord, and claymation became a four year diversion for us.
MTV was one of our favourite clients because, basically, they just let us make shit then put it to air. They gave us money too, which we liked.
“Skydiver” won them a garbagetruckful of awards around the world. Karma, people! Karma!
“The Appointment” was the longest ident we made for them, which ensured it got very little airplay.
“Poo Factory” was commissioned by an outgoing creative director, we assumed as a bit of a raised middle finger to the MTV behemoth. After we delivered it, the new creative director rang us to tell us how much she hated it.
It won a Gold Promax. Karma, people! Karma!
Channel [V] was another favourite client, for much the same reason, and Karma rewarded them for their largesse with a lot of pointy doorstops also.
One year they rang to tell us one of our idents had won a Silver Award in Hong Kong the night before. We celebrated briefly, until it dawned on us that a silver award meant someone was better than us, and our elation quickly turned to outrage.
SOMEONE WAS BETTER THAN US?!!!?!?!???!
Then MTV rang to tell us our Skydiver Ident had won a Gold Award in Hong Kong the night before.
Of course! We were better than us!
The moral of this story is “unbridled hubris pays”.
Inevitably 30 seconds becomes a bit limiting, so we decided to have a crack at a TV series. We made a pilot for a claymation comedy about vivisection called Larry Labrat. Larry was the unflappably optimistic hero of the series, which revolved around the tests performed on him and his furry friends by god-like arseholes, played by the three of us. Here's a little teaser:
In the pilot, Larry had a new religion called The Church of Learnt Optimism tested on him with appalling results. He also had his brain removed, proving that a rat with no brain is marginally lighter than a rat with a brain. Side effects included being well suited to a life in politics.
Larry Labrat was briefly in development at the ABC, until the Head of Television was toppled by a new Head of Television, who quickly wiped the slate clean. Larry Labrat was dead in the water, and Ear, Nose and Throat quickly followed.
C’est la vie.