This is the first in a series of Streamland blog posts on Show Tracker examining TV shows and shorts made exclusively for a streaming audience. As more and more viewers watch programming on smartphones, tablets and laptops, Streamland will work to highlight interesting and unique offerings from all corners of the digital universe.
It's only 1 minute and 57 seconds long, but the Nickelodeon animated original short "Carrot and Stick" is noteworthy in part because it was co-created by longtime "SpongeBob SquarePants" writer Derek Iversen and fellow animation writer and collaborator Miles Hindman.
It originally aired in April during a block of online programming called "Nick Studio 10," which is hosted by four spunky teens who make and curate wacky web videos for tween audiences.
After airing, it was nominated for an award in the TV specials category at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival in France, and was recently nominated in the shorts for kids category at the upcoming Ottawa International Animation Festival.
Much like "SpongeBob SquarePants," which became a cult hit thanks to its gift for clever double-entendres that made both kids and adults chuckle, "Carrot and Stick" thrives on trans-generational humor.
The short stars a talking carrot and stick, each displaying the personality that you might associate with it according to the popular "carrot and stick" maxim.
"It was just a lark, you know, the old carrot and stick approach. We had them take those different approaches to life, and they made for a sort of odd couple," Iversen explains. "It was just a wacky idea we had one night while hanging out with friends."
In the short, titled "Sweet Rosie," Carrot shows up with a chunk of his head missing at the apartment he shares with Stick. Turns out he's been playing with the dog Rosie, but he's OK with it. She just got a bit rough, Carrot says. Stick, of course, gets really angry.
"Carrot, you've got to stand up for yourself!" he says before charging outside to teach Rosie a lesson, which of course goes terribly awry.
The animation is a hodgepodge of styles, including traditional, puppetry and live action.
"It's a wild mixed-media ride," Iversen says. "It took quite a while. It was developed in bits and pieces. It took nine months, all told."
The goal is to develop the Carrot and Stick pairing into a regular series, Iversen says. But for now he and Hindman are just excited to go to Ottawa.