Image by Arie (pinguintje)

NOTE: This is not the original PinheadHQ/PinheadAdventure Web-Site but a recreation to preserve and document the legacy of Walter Pinhead, his adventures, trials and tribulations.
Last Updated 08/31/2021


Pinhead's History - by Alley

For those that don't know, Pinhead was originally drawn as a 2D character by my husband "Walter".  Which is why his first name is Walter.  He was created for my friends on the Pinnacle Studio Video Forum - a bunch of people all over the world who decided they would like to do a group video project.  There was much discussion on what the actual project would be and decided we would each do a little video about where we are from.  But we needed something to tie everything together - a common element.  We discussed including a Garden Gnome or something like that but someone brought up the Flat Stanley project - in any case, we decided to create a cartoon character and my hubby drew it for us.  So, people could either make actual cutouts of Pinhead and include them in their video, or they could use him as an overlay participating in some way.  The winner would be able to do the final edit stitching all the movies together.  The movies were not posted on YouTube - they were embedded on our website and Longcross created the website, which is no longer active.  I believe I still have all the videos somewhere - I know as I live near Toronto, we took the kids to the CN Tower, along with our Pinhead cutouts, and Pinhead traveled with us for the day.  I must admit, people looked at us funny with these silly cutouts but we had a lot of fun - my kids were in elementary school at the time.  As they are now 24 and 23, it tells you Pinhead has been around for some time.

One of the original members had a copy of Crazy Talk and he gave me the software as he didn't use it.  We were able to give Pinhead a voice (Australian Lee) and how exciting that Pinhead could actually communicate with his fans.  We started a series of 2D contests on various themes and I would source prizes - the committee were all members of the Pinnacle forum.  Brian from California, Kayla from Minnesota, Paul from Pennsylvania, Joe from Chicago and early on Gerry from Germany (originally Ireland).   But...people move on - and Crazy Talk led me to iClone and I was hooked!

And so, the Pinhead projects started to accept 3D entries, as well as 2D.  Joe, myself, Gerry and Brian became the committee from here on.  Only Gerry and I actually use iClone.  Brian and Joe briefly dabbled in earlier versions.  I was the lead on the committee, so I would manage the website once we let the original one go, do the story animation openings with assistance from Gerry, source prizes, set the ground rules and prepare the final awards ceremony after a community vote decided who the winners would be.  It was extremely time consuming and there was some internal disagreements about how things should be so I walked away.  But, I have always thought we would resurrect the projects after a hiatus.

The focus of these projects, while technical achievement was always important, was mostly on story.  We wanted Pinhead to be a tool for new users to help them learn to animate.  Essentially give people a reason to make a video story.  So the winners were not always the most technically advances users, a video with some mistakes, but a good story, would potentially win over the technically perfect video with weak story.  Prizes were awarded by Committee vote and the "Golden Pinhead Awards" were based by a vote of participants.

Pinhead was originally created as a "Tech Support" kind of guy who worked at Pinnacle.  He was a bit of a looser in life, but somehow always came out a winner.  He is naive, clumsy but completely lovable.  He is not particularly handsome, has bad hair, a pasty complexion, a bit of a paunch - you can see from Gerry's post the evolution of his character.  He falls into situations quite innocently and despite the predicaments, he always seems to stumble through a winner at the end.  As Viking says, at times he is portrayed a little different in videos and we sort of bite our lips hoping that everyone will understand the essence of his character and his history.  I could go on an on but enough for now.

As Viking said, he is a very dear character to a lot of us who have been with him from Day 1.




A Pinhead history recap by JustaViking

Pinhead's origin was in the Pinnacle Studio user forum, way back when we were busy editing home videos of our vacations and stuff like that.  ("Pin" from Pinnacle, combined with some self-effacing humor, since the term "Pinhead" can be used as an insult, similar to calling someone an idiot .)  Pinnacle actually blessed the projects, allowed us to use their logo on his shirt pocket, and generously provided prizes for our community projects/contests.

Given that origin, he was a simple 2D cut-out.  In fact, he was actually a cardboard cut-out used as a prop in a few videos, but usually he was an overlay.  His "animation" was extremely limited.  Gradually people started to use iClone to animate a 3D version of him.  The videos were always "story-based," and were not intended to be limited to specific software.  Even today you could make a Pinhead video using any tools.  In fact, one person actually did a Claymation video, and a young teen did a live-action video with his dad wearing a Pinhead mask!

His personality is important to us long-time Pinhead fans.  Although he has "grown up" a little bit, and has had some dramatic moments, mostly he is a plucky, somewhat naive, and always a good-hearted soul.  There tends to be a lot of tongue-in-cheek humor in many of his videos.  Things often "happen" to him, yet in his own bumbling way, he tends to find a happy ending.  He also tends to talk to himself, "narrating" his own actions.  ("Hmm, maybe this metal fork will help me get the toast out of the toaster.")

The "official" projects were run by "The Committee" who determined the theme and rules for the projects, arranged prizes from various sponsors, created a "project launch" video of some sort, and also produced "The Golden Pinhead" awards ceremony at the end.  We had two types of awards.  Everyone (including friends and family) could vote on various topics, just like the Academy (Oscar) Awards, such as best music, best story, best animation, best use of a specific prop or character, etc.  In addition to that, The Committee made their own selection for the prize winners

After his birth in the Pinnacle forum, his fan base branched out to a "Video Friends Forum" run by a private individual.  That gradually faded away, and as more and more projects were done in iClone, this became his new home.  (The use of iClone is not a requirement, even now.)  There was a Pinhead web site where we uploaded our videos, but (long story short) that was closed down for various personal reasons, and the replacement site never gained traction.

One of the best things about Pinhead projects is they are a welcoming place for people of all skill levels.  Even a video with poor technical quality might win a Best Screenplay award.  But the prizes, though greatly appreciated, are always secondary to the participation itself.  Friendships form, many lessons are learned, and many times the contest guidelines take us out of our artistic comfort zone.