The knife-sharpening video which prompted Brandon Sheard of Farmstead Meatsmith to start slicing animal flesh was very informative. But it was "just horribly boring," recalls Andrew Plotsky, who produced Sheard's first instructional online video, a 24-minute overview of whole hog butchery released this month.
"That was the inspiration to make ours beautiful," says Plotsky.
The first episode in a planned series intersperses captioned images of Sheard breaking down a pig - "knife on flesh, saw on bone," he counsels - with images of him preparing the cuts he's isolated. A hock is braised in milk, then served at a warmly-lit family dinner. The cleaving and cooking is accompanied by a musical soundtrack featuring Louis Armstrong and Animal Collective, among other artists.
"It was a new process for all of us, and I think the most exciting thing was trying to incorporate entertainment into education," Plotsky says. "It's the everlasting pursuit for all educators."
So Sheard doesn't drone on about how farmers used to raise and slaughter their own animals, until supermarkets sanitized the process. Instead, there's an illustrated story about a Frenchman named Augustus.
"I was trying to make it as non-patriotic as possible," Plotsky says when asked why he located his narrative overseas.