Twin Cities Animator Draws Angry Bird Years Before Popular Game

Angry Bird and Cock Tale
Separated at birth? "Angry Birds" and Greg Bro's angry bird

Greg Bro, a Twin Cities animator, spent years working on “A Cock Tale.” He recently released his animated short film, which tells the tale of a weakling rooster trying to get revenge on a cocky, big-man-on-campus rooster who gets, and makes, all the chicks.

I got to know Greg while we both worked at Internet Broadcasting in St. Paul. I’ve followed his release and promotion of “A Cock Tale,” which is an Official Selection at the 2011 L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival.

One thing jumped out at me when I checked out Greg’s site the other day. His angry bird looks an awful like some of those other “Angry Birds” you no doubt have seen, or played with, lately. The resemblance is uncanny.

I was pretty sure Greg’s bird came first. But I figured I’d better ask: Did he create his angry bird character before the game came out?

Greg Bro
Greg Bro

“Ha ha,” Greg wrote in response. “Looooong before ‘Angry Birds.’ I actually came up with the concept and main characters in 2002, while in college. Started animation in 2005-ish, after finishing my first cartoon, but I had my designs well before then. My characters are angry birds though.”

I followed up with a few more questions:

Q: When you first started seeing “Angry Birds,” what did you think?
Actually, the first time I played “Angry Birds” was after getting an iPad this past February. I was using it as a paperweight until someone suggested downloading the “Angry Birds” game. It never really occurred to me that my work looked like the game, as I was too distracted murdering pigs via gravity and exploding birds.

Q: Has the similarity helped/hindered your marketing? Or had no effect?
No effect yet. I am at the front end of marketing my cartoon (which I hope to make future shorts based on) but any juice I could gleam from the “Angry Birds” juggernaut, I would certainly take. There are a few similarities visually, but if you watch about 23 seconds of my film, you quickly see that there are zero similarities in tone and humor. “Angry Birds” is pretty though, so anyone who thinks my work looks like that game, THANK YOU!

Q: Do viewers ever see your short and say, “Hey, Angry Birds”?
Not yet, although I would take no offense if they did. Last time I checked, “Angry Birds” had far fewer abortion jokes than my cartoon. I have not played any of the expansion packs yet though, so I could be wrong on that.

Greg’s animation is top notch. Here’s his film: