A world without: the story behind the hitera Argentine animated series

Can you imagine what a world without music would be like? And without religion? And without windows, stairs, ducks, elbows, names or hugs? That simple but powerful premise became the creative big bang of a world withoutthe animated series that managed to carve out a place among the ten most viewed videos of 2022 on YouTube Argentina. There, next to Ibai Plainsfrom the popular youtuber MrBeast and the goals of the Scaloneta.

The project was born in 2019 at the head of matias sinaya young screenwriter from Córdoba who was then working in the web medium playground. From his experience, he knew that the idea had potential, but he still hadn’t found a way to do it. Until one day, scrolling through social media, she came across his fate.
“I remember that it was thanks to Martin Garabal –says Matías in dialogue with ROLLING STONE–. On his Instagram he always recommended the work of other illustrators and animators who were just starting out. There I came across the profile of Santi (Perez Silva) and I thought: ‘Hey, this humor, this style of illustration, they go perfectly with this idea I had written down.’ So at the touch I wrote him a message. I didn’t know him at all, but I told him to meet in a cafe and there I told him the idea. He was turned on immediately, there was no doubt. I had only written the first script, I think, that of A world without… pockets. And we put together a pilot to see how it could work.”

A world without the story behind the hitera Argentine animated
Matías Sinay and Santiago Pérez Silva, the brains behind A World Without, pose with one of their first YouTube “trophies” (Photo: Courtesy Daniela Spina)

Santiago Perez Silvaalso know as @PichoBrazois from Burzaco, grew up among drawings by cartoon Network and always wanted to be an illustrator. Influenced by Alejo and Valentina, a classic from the early days of the Internet in Argentina, began to take its first steps in the Flash animation program. This is how he found a taste for one-minute shorts. “Dumbs up with friends, out there we came up with a funny idea, we made a comic and then the animation. The first one Mati saw is the world championship for postponing the phone alarm. There is a stadium with many little tables with telephones and the competitors go by and turn off each alarm. There are even other shorts like this, which at the time I made and sent to a festival, but they came to nothing”, says Santiago.

“When Mati contacts me, he tells me: ‘Look, I have an idea that I can’t tell you here. We should see each other, we have to talk about it’. She came up with a very neat PDF where, from the start, it was not obvious that the proposal was in animation. But as soon as he told me about it, it occurred to me how it could be resolved. The characters have to have this aesthetic, the universe has to be built like this so that, from episode to episode, it’s not difficult to reconstruct it. It had to be plastic and simple enough to be able to prolong it,” she explains.

With the first episode finished, they faced anxiety and knocked on every possible door before showing it to the public. They knew that the biggest “hook”, as Matías calls it, of the series was his concept. And that, sooner or later, someone was going to be willing to finance it. “A lot of people rejected us until an independent Spanish medium was interested and we did some chapters with them. There we saw that it began to go viral in a strong way. It worked a lot in Spain, despite being made in Argentina. And also in Mexico, where today 30% of the public of the series is. The chapters had thousands of views. We started doing it for Instagram, but it went on YouTube and it exploded. We realized that we had to open a channel on our own, become independent. We had never had on YouTube. We did not know how much or how it was paid, nor how it was monetized”, says Matías.

At the beginning of 2021, they started uploading the episodes of the series to their own channel and people responded immediately. Subscribers went from 10,000 to 50,000, then to 100,000 and in less than a year and a half they exceeded one million. A world without… pain, which was among the most watched in 2022 in Argentina, has more than 10 million views and is part of the third season. During that year they also released the fourth installment and reached the maximum peak of repercussion.

“A few months ago a friend wrote me and said: ‘You’re doing super well on TikTok!’ And I tell him: ‘But we don’t have TikTok’. When I entered, the series had 200 million views without having uploaded anything. The people themselves share it everywhere.”

The fan community of a world without she is faithful and very imaginative. Matías and Santiago –who, although they continue to lead the project, today lead a group that works on every detail of the series– like to read the public’s feedback. “The series is 100 percent humor, comedy, we try to make people laugh and it also helps them think a little. It touches a certain fiber of curiosity and they begin to invent new worlds or think about what their own daily life would be like if this or that did not exist”, explains Matías. For this reason, to continue feeding the state of permanent brainstorming, they decided to transform the channel into naisekaian animation and humor factory that seeks to open the game to other projects (such as Dictator Peachfrom Nobody Toons) and artists in an ecosystem that does not usually reward animation.

“We were quite lucky,” admits Santiago. Many times guys come and tell us they want to do their own series and it’s difficult. We bet the resources very well at the beginning, we were careful. Now we are taking advantage of this whole wave to create a kind of small industry where it serves the creators, us, the brands, so that it closes the complete circle ”.

Thanks to the advertising that YouTube places, a world without allows Matías and Santiago to focus almost exclusively on the project, together with a team of collaborators, dubbers, sound engineers and production assistants. And not only are they dubbing everything into English to try to conquer other markets, but a spin-off starring the three scientists who appear recurringly throughout the, for now, four seasons.

“What happened this last year is crazy,” reflects Santiago. I record all the voices. I’m not an announcer or anything. In fact, I speak badly and listening to myself in a video that has 10 million views seems incredible to me. It is something that constantly explodes in our faces and that never ceases to amaze us”.

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A world without: the story behind the hitera Argentine animated series

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