Press

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logo evengelical focus
“Images are a universal language everyone can understand”
Swiss cartoonist Alain Auderset on how his ‘Willy Grunch’ animation video went viral on Facebook. His new project, a “book without words” to share the gospel.
coeur 32
Alain Auderset lives with his family in a typical Swiss house, and loves to be surrounded by nature. In the last years, the artist's comic stories have had a significant impact (110,000 books sold) both in his country and beyond: France, Germany, USA... A part from his designer facet, Alain plays rock music with the Saahsal band and speaks about arts, life and God at schools, cultural associations, churches and any other places he is invited to.
 alain auderset
A 2-minute animation film he created 3 years ago his character Willy Grunch suddenly became viral on Facebook in March when an unknown Russian Facebook page posted his video. After some days, 3 million people had seen it. Auderset explains the details of the story in his Evangelical Focus Magazine section: Buzzzz. In this interview, we also asked Alain about his new project to share the Bible message through drawings, his project “Heart”.
Question. Your Willy Grunch video suddenly went viral. How many visits has it? Did you expect something like this? Answer. What is amazing about this buzz is not only that it has been seen 3.7 million times on the Russian site, but the fact that the same cartoon started to appear on other sites which are not connected to each other. Theen they told me about the video being posted on a site in Egypt, where it had half a million views in only two days. On another site from Venezuela it had 1.7 million more. It also appeared in France, and many other places. Right now we have surpassed the 28 million views, and it continues. So no, I did not expect this. And yet, it all began exactly the same day I asked God for this project. On March, the 5th.
Q. Has this opened new doors for you as an author?
A. Yes, the 20 Minutes newspaper in Switzerland wrote about the video, and 2 million readers could read that God listens to our prayers. But more things are coming. The Moondog Animation Studio, the people with whom I did Willy Grunch, have started to search for the funds to create new episodes. Everyone can participate (here!) and help that new cartoons in the same line become a reality. I wrote two scripts which I think can touch a lot of people, at least as much as the first one!
Q. Speaking of your other new project, “Coeur”. In the whole book there is not one single word, but the message is very easy to understand and is presented in a funny way. What audience were you thinking about?
A. What is great about this is that images are a universal language everyone can understand. From children to adults (although older people are less used to understand visual contents). We are a generation that has grown up surrounded by images from the television, from films, cartoons and comics. So, the book is addressed to everyone, be it Westerners, Asians, Africans… It’s the ‘magic’ of image.
Q. What we do find turning the pages of the book is numbers (1,2,3…) which are connected to Bible verses at the end. Did you build the whole story on biblical texts?
A. In this book I wanted to summarise the essence of the Gospel, which consists in the gift of the life of the Son of God given for us, and salvation by Grace. The blood of Jesus washes us clean. So yes, in the book one finds a concentrated message of the Bible.
Q. Do you think people can identify with this ‘dirty heart’ in your book? Do people see themselves as lost and in need to be cleaned?
A. I think people do not admit their weaknesses in front of others, but when they are alone and honest with themselves, they realise that they have needs. At the same time, most people lie to themselves about their condition. Somehow we all believe we are better than others. Even us, the Christians, isn’t it true? So we need the action of the Holy Spirit to convince people where they really are. If we want this book to be efficient, we should distribute it with the complicity of the Holy Spirit, because it is only Him who touches the hearts.
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Q. One part of the story is when the King harms himself to let something new out. What did you want to communicate with this part?
A. The fact that God gave his Son brought great suffering to Him. Jesus is the most important 'thing' God the Father had. Glory and honour, gold, silver and other things he created, he could re-create whenever he wanted to. But giving his Son for us, who did not deserve it all, must have been terrible. So here we have the most beautiful proof of love one could imagine.
Q. A question you may have heard other times. Does your faith make you a “Christian artist”?
A. I consider myself to be a friend of God and it turns out that I also draw.
Q. Finally, if anyone wanted to get some copies of the book, how can they contact you?
A. Very easy, just write me an email to this address: atelier@auderset.com
to read the original interview, click on the logo Evangelical Focus
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Interview on A cartoon book without words

“Images are a universal language everyone can understand” Swiss cartoonist Alain Auderset on how his ‘Willy Grunch’ animation video went viral on Facebook. His new project, a “book without words” to share the gospel. Alain Auderset lives with his family … More… More…

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 moultrie news

Keeping Willy Grunch alive - A local company’s viral hit and a novel plan to revive it

AR-160429970.jpg&MaxW=840&q=90  

Three years ago, a small animation studio based in France called Moondog Animation Studios created a five-episode series about a lanky, trouble-prone guy named Willy Grunch. The company embarked on the project after Alain Auderset, the Swiss comic book artist who first created Willy, approached Studio Director JM Khayat about animating him.

So Moondog raised some money and made the five two-minute episodes about Willy Grunch, which they put on YouTube and Vimeo for anyone who was interested. Bryan Ransom, the company’s CEO, said they did some marketing for the series, but right around that time, they were also busy relocating the company from France to Mount Pleasant.

In the years since, Ransom said the series would often come up, and they would talk about how they could reinvigorate it, including exploring the possibility of making it a TV show. But for a number of reasons, the animated Willy Grunch stayed confined to his five episodes online.

“It was there, and it would rack up a couple hundred views every month or so,” said Ransom, “but it wasn’t like thousands upon thousands of millions.”

Virality

Then, just a about a month ago in mid-March, Auderset, the comic book artist, got an email. It was from a friend directing him to a Russian Facebook page. Whoever managed the page had posted one of Moondog’s Willy Grunch episodes, and it was popular.

Within a week, the video had three million views, and the guys at Moondog found other pages that posted the video, five in total, and there may be more. Altogether, they counted nearly seven million views from just about all over the world, and everywhere it went, people were talking about it.

“There were hundreds of thousands of shares. There were like three or four hundred comments,” Ransom said. “It was just going everywhere.”

At first, they were mad. After all, somebody on the other side of the world had taken their work, chopped off the intro that attributed it to them and put it online. (The video still had the end credits, so it wasn’t scrubbed of all attribution.)

But Khayat, the studio director, said that feeling was quickly eclipsed by a sense of validation.

Moondog’s founders – Ransom, Khayat and CTO/Technology Strategist Ben Davis – formed the company with a mission, which is exhibited by the Willy Grunch series. Ransom said they want to make animated stories that do more than entertain, but have the power to make people think about big life questions.

Their videos are really geared toward the 15 to 30 age group, and while most animated videos geared at that group err toward the crazy and crude, Ransom said they put more stock in that group’s desire to seek answers to those big questions. So, every episode of Willy Grunch has a theme, a sort of moral constructed by the choices Willy faces and the consequences of his decisions.

Khayat said seeing the video’s popularity and the conversations it provoked felt like evidence – after three years – that there is a real desire and market for that kind of content.

“We had that proof,” he said. “That was a good feeling.”

“Kind of a, ‘I knew it,’ type of feeling,” Davis added. “I knew it could work.”

Free Willy Grunch

The video’s virality also offered them valuable information about what people like. The five videos they created cover a spectrum of themes and how they are conveyed, and one video was more popular than the others. It clearly had a moral, but it was not as specific as in some other videos, and in the comments, people used that openness to interpret the theme how it made sense to them.

“People read into it how they want to because we’re staying at that parable level,” Davis said.

The video’s newfound popularity also gave them momentum to build on to make more Willy Grunch videos. To make the first episodes, they started a campaign on Kickstarter and had huge success. Their goal was to raise $99,999 in four weeks. They raised $117,000, and in the process, they learned a thing or two about how to entice people to donate.

After a mediocre first week of the Kickstarter campaign, they dreamed up Workout Wednesdays. Whenever someone donated five dollars on a Wednesday, the Moondog team made a video of one of them doing five pushups, then calling out the donor’s name. By the last Workout Wednesday, Ransom said six people did something like 250 pushups each, and they tried every way they could to make it fresh by doing the pushups in a hand stand or on top of a car. Plus, donors shared their personalized feats of strength on social media, prompting their friends to look up the campaign and get involved.

“Just awareness is one thing,” Ransom said, “that interactivity of people is where you get that next stage.”

As they move toward launching their fundraising campaign to “Free Willy Grunch” and make more videos, they’ve got ideas for how to once again make the donations interactive, but they’re also doing a few things differently.

For one, they’re getting Mount Pleasant-based developer Chris Wolf to make their fundraising site for them – willygrunch.com – set to go live today.

The episodes will be free, but donors will get access to live Q&A’s and other perks.

But even more unique is there’s no set end to the campaign. Instead, they’ll keep making episodes as long as the money is coming in.

Khayat said that in a time when viewers can stream what they want when they want and their attention is being further divided seemingly every day, they’re trying something different by giving the audience a say.

“We said okay, let’s leave it to the viewership,” Ransom added. “They can give five bucks today as a one time, or they can become a subscriber and give five bucks a month, or whatever they want to do.”

And Khayat said, that leaves it to them, Moondog, to make content worth keeping alive – even after three years of sitting dormant.

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Keeping Willy Grunch alive

  Keeping Willy Grunch alive – A local company’s viral hit and a novel plan to revive it   Three years ago, a small animation studio based in France called Moondog Animation Studios created a five-episode series about a lanky, … More… More…

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  string(4623) "Press release 

A one-man show as an antidote to extremism

Whereas after Paris, the world is asking how to fight against extremism and terrorism, the comedian Alain Auderset replies in an original way to this question by a humoristic show, which breaks from religiosity but still has a profound respect for God. As astounding as this may seem, these two things have nothing to do one with the other!

The Swiss comedian’s show is entitled “A not-practising atheist”: He is interested in the beliefs of each of us on; the couple, life, religion or on atheism. These beliefs, rarely consistent and often strict, but so deliciously absurd are the origin of a series of intelligent and funny sketches playing on words, and full of genuine emotions. At this time when a multitude of atrocities are committed in the name of religion, but where God is rejected, Alain Auderset’s show is of a vital pertinence, allowing us to see things from another angle, and to not throw the baby out with the bathwater! 

The show cancelled

By an unfortunate coincidence, the comedian should have officially launched the DVD of his show by a performance in Paris on the 5th of December 2015, in the prodigious Wagram theatre, which was sold out! The enthusiasm of the public proves that in spite of the spirit of fear, and the rejection of God and religion that the attacks have provoked, people need to interrogate themselves and to dare to laugh in spite of all their apprehensions. In spite of the protestations of the comedian, who wanted to bring a little consolation to this town in mourning, the performance was cancelled by the organisers fearful for the safety of the audience of the show.

The adventure of the DVD

For more than five years now, the author has been on tour in many French speaking countries (Switzerland, France, Belgium and Quebec), and has had a real success. Constantly revised and corrected, his show has become a real gem and the comedian felt that it was time to “box it” by proposing to the public a DVD.version 

The author in a few words:

Alain Auderset is a Swiss cartoon book artist and writer, he has three times won a prize at Angoulême (France), and has sold more than 110,000 copies. Having now become a comedian, we could believe that one of his characters has escaped from his drawing board to express himself on the “boards” of a theatre!

Another coincidence, Alain Auderset’s first cartoon book called, « Conventional Wisdom », which equally questions blind beliefs, came out on the 11th of September 2001, the date was chosen because there was nothing special going on that day (!!!). It makes you believe that Alain Auderset’s message is like Gandalf the Grey, he arrives precisely when we need him; that is, in a crisis situation!

 

+ Information on the show
See the B-A
Contact"
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Press release : A one-man show as an antidote to extremism

Press release A one-man show as an antidote to extremism Whereas after Paris, the world is asking how to fight against extremism and terrorism, the comedian Alain Auderset replies in an original way to this question by a humoristic show, … More… More…

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