Stock footage can be an important artistic tool. From its use as the calming background to Joe Pera’s musings or fodder for unnerving Adult Swim shorts to its ability to stand in for the celebrity actors and lavish effects of Hollywood movies, stock art is capable of being used for more than just a good way to find photos of unremarkable people doing ridiculous shit.
Consider, for example, how well it can be used in giving us a low rent, live-action Simpsons intro sequence.
The video was made by stock art maestro Matthew Highton (last seen here taking the same approach to remaking the Buffy credits), and features brand X actors standing in for the cartoon family. There’s a boy aimlessly drawing on a chalkboard and a skateboarder jumping some stairs as Bart, a very professional-looking nuclear scientist and a guy falling asleep in his car playing Homer, a sax-playing teenager as Lisa, and smiling kids pretending to drive with their moms as Marge and Maggie. None of it really fits together. It’s great.
The Simpsons’ intro sequence has been remade plenty of times by people using Animal Crossing models, psychedelic animation, and Cowboy Bebop’s aesthetic, but Highton’s stock footage stands out for its willingness to give us flesh-and-blood recreations of a cartoon sequence burned forever into our brains. Now that this precedent has been set, it’s probably only a matter of time before we get a version of the “Steamed Hams” scene with some would-be actors comically over-emoting in stock roles like “angry man in suit” and “worried home chef.”
Send Great Job, Internet tips to firstname.lastname@example.org