Kong Studio Reanimates The Blind Spot
Kong Studio animates the presenters of the financial deep dive podcast ‘The Blind Spot’ in an opening titles sequence for their YouTube channel.
The Blind Spot podcast is a curious deep dive into finance with an attempt to bridge specialisms and understand different points of view. Concentrating on topics being missed by the mainstream media, the blog and podcast focus on finance, market and media news in both short and long form. The aim is to deliver a healthy mix of analysis and opinion-led commentary. The founder and editor of The Blind Spot is Izabella Kaminska, an alumnus of the Financial Times where she spent 13 years putting together insightful journalistic pieces. She was most recently the editor of FT Alphaville, the Financial Times’s award-winning markets and finance blog. After amassing an impressive 60,000 followers on Twitter, Izabella left the paper earlier this year to venture out and start her own media empire.
Izabella Kaminska said “In a world where people are not reading traditional news and are staying within their own silos, The Blind Spot attempts to bridge the gap between what people think they know and what they perhaps don’t. You don’t know your own unknowns, and you’re not always aware of when you are going into a new knowledge blind spot.
It can be difficult within the mainstream media to be controversial and experiment. I went independent to be able to play around and innovate with how financial reporting is presented online. A key part of this podcast is the interesting, informed and at times provocative guests we aim to have, covering diverse topics from the latest Bitcoin developments to the energy crisis. “
For the podcast, Izabella teamed up with bitcoin expert Juneseth, a former presenter of ‘Bitcoin uncensored’. With a large following of his own, his guests included the ‘bad boys’ of finance and hardcore bitcoin supporters who lined up to take part in his long-form, uncut podcast. With the podcast team and content taking shape, Izabella’s attention turned to finessing the presentation of the podcast for YouTube.
Izabella said, “We originally thought about presenting the podcast as a mockumentary but I didn’t want the pressure of ‘performing’. It was then that our producer Horatio suggested commissioning an animation. We could put our style and humour into an opening titles sequence without having to act or film it ourselves. I went to my friend Linda, an animator herself, who suggested I get in contact with the team at Kong Studio.
Before going into journalism I studied for an Art Foundation, so I loved the idea of the opening sequence being visual and highly stylised. I also wanted to highlight the assumption that finance is removed from the cultural landscape, which I think is a mistake. Finance entwines itself within our current culture wars, politics, and society. Visual media can often be ahead of the curve in predicting where society is heading and how it will change. Remember The Simpsons and South Park predicting President Trump back in the 2000s? Capturing the essence of our financial podcast within a silly yet witty animation, made perfect sense to me. It’s a mash-up of finance and culture and provides a smoke screen for what you really think. Sometimes the truth can be easier to digest in the guise of a colourful and simple animation.”
The animated opening sequence takes inspiration from the rebelliously puerile and subversive satire, South Park. A low-fi Izabella and Juneseth appear as tiny characters with oversized heads in a vast landscape of discarded shopping trolleys and feral pigeons. The exaggerated facial expressions, random happenings, and a liberal sprinkling of f***s, are a homage to the animation loved by The Blind Spot presenters. It is also an instruction to not to take the podcast too seriously.
Kong Studio co-founder Bill Elliott said, “We aimed to create a title intro that was intentionally ‘low-fi’. By this, I don’t intend to do a disservice to the animation, simply that we wanted to create a very ‘cut-out’ snappy aesthetic. Something that would accentuate the humorous silly tone of Izabella’s project outline. I think this reflects the podcast too, which is fun and amiable but is about an incredibly complex and brain- frazzling subject! For me, at least. Honestly, Izabella and I are fans of South Park, and I think it shows.”
On the final animation, The Blindspot’s Izabella Kaminska, said, “Our brief to Kong Studio was to show Juneseth and me in our own blind spots of mainstream financial journalism and the hardcore Bitcoin world. They designed a dystopian landscape with humour and humility. Bill helped us to finesse the idea and executed my vision in unexpected ways. I am really pleased with how the animation has worked out.
It has been a great example of collaborating with a creative to enhance your initial idea. Bill and the team bring with them a wealth of their own experience and expertise. Kong Studio have certainly serviced my own visual and design blind spot.“
The Blind Spot podcast is a safe space for investigation, reflection, and satire: a bridge between different specialisms in a world where we are all navigating the truth. The opening titles animation is an exaggeration of the podcast, and the human side of searching for ‘the truth’. Izabella and Josh are the Mulder and Scully of the online financial world. They can offer their listeners insight and analysis, but they can’t tell you what to believe.
The Blind Spot podcasts are available to watch on The Blind Spot YouTube channel.
Commissioned by Izabella Kaminska, Founder and Editor of The Blind Spot
A Kong Studio Production
Designed and Animated by Bill Elliott, Tom Baker and Amy Wilkinson
3D Design by Wiktoria Lewandowska
Additional Design and Animation by Tomas Eisenburg
Voice Overs by Izabella Kaminska and Joshua Unseth
Additional Sounds by Freesounds
Produced by Emma Burch