Alan Melikdjanian

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Alan Melikdjanian
Melikdjanian.JPG
Alan Melikdjanian as Captain Disillusion - The Amaz!ng Meeting TAM9
Born (1980-04-13) 13 April 1980 (age 36)
Riga, USSR, (now Latvia)
Occupation Independent filmmaker
Years active 1984, 2001– present
Parent(s) Vilen, Tatiana
Website
amelik.com
captaindisillusion.com

Alan Melikdjanian (born 13 April 1980) is a Latvian-born independent filmmaker. He is the founder of Amelik Entertainment, LLC, a South Florida-based video production company specializing in unique and inventive films, web series, commercials and music videos.

Alan has been active in the founding of video-sharing sites Openfilm and Filmnet.com, and is the creator of the YouTube web-series Captain Disillusion, a comedic series of videos promoting critical thinking and skepticism.

Since 2008, he has regularly attended The Amaz!ng Meeting, an annual conference that focuses on science, skepticism, and critical thinking.

Early life[edit]

Alan Melikdjanian was the son of Soviet-era circus performer parents. His father, Vilen, was a particularly well-known performer. He toured the Soviet Union with his parents until beginning school at age 6, at which time he would live with his grandmother in Riga. During that time, Alan assumed he'd grow up to be a circus performer himself:

In Riga, during the school year, Melikdjanian would spend most of his free time trying to copy the styles of Disney animators. During summer, he'd resume his circus life on the road.[1]

At the age of 4, Alan appeared (in scenes deleted) in the 1984 Russian film 'Shutki v storonu' (Jokes Aside) though his image remained on the movie's poster.[2] At the age of 12, Alan and his family emigrated to the United States.

He attended high school at William H. Turner Tech, in Miami, and studied video production and 3-D animation. He continued to do so at the International Fine Arts College, now known as the Miami International University of Art & Design.[1]

He graduated from college with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Film Production.[3]

Career[edit]

Early career, Amelik Entertainment, 2001–present[edit]

In 2001, Alan directed and composed the low-budget independent film: The Realm, about an introverted high school student who worries his teachers because he likes to write short stories full of violence and gore.

Also that year, Alan worked as an animator on the English-language, award-winning film Zelimo, a coming of age film that tells the story of a young Jewish farm boy who embarks on a journey from Russia to America in search of a better life.

Citizen Mavzik[edit]

Alan was the director, writer (with his father), editor and composer of the 2006 direct-to-DVD Russian-language film Citizen Mavzik,[4] the story of a Russian immigrant family's assimilation into American culture. The film was produced by Vilalan Productions, named after Alan and his father Vilen.

The movie took three years to make, and first premiered at the Cinema Paradiso, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The film first streamed live on RTVi, on 4 February 2007. However, it aired during the Super Bowl.[5] The same day, Melikdjanian posted a humorous video expressing his frustration to YouTube.[6]

Website founding[edit]

Melikdjanian is the co-founder and creative director of FilmNet.com,[7] and is the co-founder and chief creative officer of Openfilm. Both are intended as alternatives to popular video-sharing site YouTube, but for serious amateur filmmakers who "don't want to place their work alongside YouTube's mediocrities."[1][8][9]

In 2009, Alan founded his own video production company, Amelik Entertainment, LLC, an abbreviation of what he has called his 'unpronouncable' last name. The company is involved in the pre-production, filming, and post-production of various independent films, music videos, commercials, etc., and showcases its efforts on its official website.

Captain Disillusion, 2007–present[edit]

Captain Disilllusion
Genre Education
Comedy
Created by Alan Melikdjanian
Presented by Alan Melikdjanian
Voices of Alan Melikdjanian,
Penn Jillette[10] (1 episode)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes Regular – 35
Quick D – 12
Specials – 1 (list of episodes)
Production
Editor(s) Alan Melikdjanian
Running time Varies, usually 4 – 7 minutes per episode
Release
Original network YouTube
Original release 2008 (2008) – present

He is perhaps most widely known for his Captain Disillusion videos on his eponymous YouTube channel, which currently has over 238,000 subscribers and 13,776,000 views.[11][12] On his channel, he debunks, amongst other things, viral and paranormal 'hoax' videos, doing so humorously, and with a heavy focus on digital special effects.[13] He edits his videos with Adobe After Effects.

In his videos, he wears a vintage 1980s tracksuit, and the skin of the lower part of his face is covered in silvery paint.[1] He later introduced a sidekick, 'Mr Flare,' also voiced by Melikdjanian.

Alan described how he designed his superhero costume:

[14]

Format[edit]

Firstly, the Captain addresses the audience. A typical introduction to his videos is Hey, kids, Captain D here. Secondly, he goes on to show a popular video, often a paranormal or viral video which is 'too good to be true.' Thirdly, he reviews the footage, utilizing his experience with digital editing, to 'break down' the video and show how the end result was accomplished.

He ends each video with his motto: Love with your heart. Use your head for everything else.[1] His videos often conclude with a humorous ending sequence, which occasionally relates with the preceding video.

Quick D[edit]

In addition to his regular Captain Disillusion series, Alan uploads 'Quick D' episodes, which he describes as "Shorter, crisper "debunks" that will be posted more frequently than regular episodes (which will still continue as well)." There are currently 12 Quick D episodes.

DVD[edit]

In 2011, Alan released a DVD of his Captain Disillusion series, entitled Captain Disillusion – Fame Curve Collection. It contains all 16 episodes remastered with optional commentary and additional bonus features. He debuted it at TAM9, and later made it available for purchase online.[15] The money made from the DVD will go towards future episodes.

Recognition[edit]

His work has gained recognition from The Huffington Post,[16] Kotaku,[17] Russian TV International, Phil Plait,[18] the James Randi Educational Foundation,[19] Fortean Times,[20] Home Media Magazine[8] and Sun Sentinel,[21] among others.

Interviews[edit]

In 2008, during an interview for 'The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe,' he describes Captain Disillusion as a YouTube web series that tackles paranormal and illusion uploaded by others on YouTube.[22] He started this effort as a blog entry on Myspace but later saw these items as ready made scripts for short videos. He notes that Penn & Teller were instrumental to his current interest and eventually found the skeptical movement involved in similar work. He finds that his followers like to learn about the illusions. It is not his intent to spoil legitimate entertainment or spoil a current performers work. His intent in showing how video illusions are created is to clear up misconceptions. Alan also describes the basis for Openfilm.com briefly.

During an interview for The Skeptic Zone, in 2010, he describes Captain Disillusion as a superhero.[14]

and in a following 2011 interview,[23] he describes his work as Captain Disillusion is done "in the maximum fun way possible[sic]". He describes his work with James Randi, Randi calling him to participate in The Amaz!ng Meeting and his video work with Randi in a later project. During an interview by Susan Gerbic for Skeptical Inquirer, he states "I think it’s best to focus on what you know—something you’re already an expert on outside of skepticism—and explore the ways in which it’s connected to skepticism. With Captain Disillusion I connected a random thing—visual effects—to skepticism in a way that people seem to find engaging. I’m sure that can be done with many other fields in different ways."[24]

ShowMobile 2013-[edit]

In October 2013, Melikdjanian became editor and director at ShowMobile, a company which produces a socially interactive web series for children.

Credits[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1984 Shutki v storonu actor Russian for Jokes Aside (scenes deleted)
2001 The Realm director, composer
The Monster Man editor
Zelimo animator Directed by Aleks Rosenberg,
Won—WorldFest-Houston Gold Special Jury Award for Best Feature
2002 Sin neudachnika editor (Television film) Russian-language.
2006 Citizen Mavzik director, writer, editor, composer (DVD) Co-written with father, Vilen. Produced by Vilalan Productions.
Available in Russian and English.
2008 Director VFX artist Directed by Aleks Rosenberg
Starring American rapper Prodigal Sunn.
2010 Crimefighters VFX artist, sound editor
2013 Whoops! digital effects artist in post-production

Additional work[edit]

  • Still Life (2009) (short) (steadicam operator)
  • The Shift (2013) (thanks) Starring Danny Glover

Television / web series[edit]

Year Title As Notes
2007
present
Captain Disillusion Captain Disillusion
Mr Flare (voice)
(Web series) Also creator.
2011 Community (TV series) Pistol Patty (voice) Episode: "A Fistful of Paintballs"[citation needed]
2012 MSNBC's Caught on Camera Himself - Expert Episode: "Viral Videos: Do You Believe?"[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Thorp, Brandon K. (24 December 2009), "South Florida superhero Captain Disillusion talks ghosts, superpowers, and skepticism", Miami New Times, retrieved 27 January 2014 
  2. ^ Alan Melikdjanian IMDb Trivia
  3. ^ "About Amelik". Amelik.com. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  4. ^ "Films – Citizen Mavzik". Amelik. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  5. ^ As stated by Melikdjanian in his video "Movie vs Superbowl."
  6. ^ "Movie vs. Superbowl". Amelik. Retrieved 22 January 2015. 
  7. ^ Our Team, FilmNet.com
  8. ^ a b Gil, Billy (29 Jan 2009). "Openfilm Gives Cash Reward to Filmmakers". Home Media Magazine. Retrieved 2 April 2016. 
  9. ^ Lewin, Elizabeth (29 Jan 2009). "Openfilm Rewarding $500 to Indie Filmmakers". Podcasting News. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  10. ^ CD (5 June 2010). "Off Screen". Captain Disillusion. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  11. ^ "Captain Disillusion - YouTube". Retrieved 24 September 2016. 
  12. ^ Walters, Christian (September 2012). "Skepticism in the Video Box". Skeptical Inquirer: 34. 
  13. ^ Farley, Tim. "Skepticism via YouTube". Skeptical Inquirer Magazine. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  14. ^ a b "Skeptic Zone Archives". Skepticzone.libsyn.com. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  15. ^ Captain Disillusion Fame Curve Collection – IMDb
  16. ^ Barness, Sarah (8 Nov 2013). "WATCH Captain Disillusion Debunk The Viral Ping Pong Knife Act". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  17. ^ Luke, Plunkett (8 Nov 2013). "Surprise, Viral YouTube Smash Is A Total Fake". Kotaku.com. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  18. ^ Plait, Phil (19 Jun 2009). "Captain Disillusion is Amazing". Bad Astronomy. Discover. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  19. ^ Wagg, Jeff (28 Feb 2008). "Captain Disillusion – Fire Angel Debunk". Latest JREF news. James Randi Educational Foundation. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  20. ^ "'Captain Disillusion.'". Fortean Times. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  21. ^ Ratterman, David (23 Jan 2002). "Soviet Block Party". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  22. ^ "Captain Disillusion – Skeptic's Guide". Theskepticsguide.org. Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  23. ^ "Complete Skeptic Zone Archives". Skepticzone.libsyn.com. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  24. ^ Gerbic, Susan (July 18, 2016). "The Man Behind the Makeup: An Interview with Captain Disillusion - CSI". www.csicop.org. Skeptical Inquirer. Retrieved 2016-07-20. 

External links[edit]

Alan Melikdjanian

Captain Disillusion

Additional