About Small Mammal

Small Mammal is a creative studio that produces original short films and branded content about science and technology. Whether it’s flying into the heart of a nebula to witness the birth of a new solar system, visiting an offshore drill rig for clues about global warming, or explaining a new smartphone app with stop-motion animation, we make videos that people actually want to watch. 

Small Mammal is operated by writer/director John Pavlus out of Brooklyn, NY with a rotating team of international creative collaborators, from London and Japan to Washington D.C. and San Francisco — and many places in between.

How We Work

Video on the web is fundamentally different than television and film, but cookie-cutter formats and half-baked mashups aren’t enough to engage smart viewers. Small Mammal understands what works on the web, and designs each project “from the idea up” to find the best match of subject and style — regardless of budget. 

We’ve filmed in large studios and remixed Youtube videos on a laptop. We’ve worked with feature-film animators for months on end, and done run-and-gun location shoots in a day. We even developed a critically-acclaimed science series solely out of desktop screencasts. Delivering a custom creative package — from original concept to finished product — is Small Mammal’s specialty. 

About John Pavlus

Hi, I’m John — Small Mammal’s founder and creative principal. (I hope you don’t mind if I drop the “royal we” for this part.) I’ve been working in science media since 2004. After working for several years as a writer and producer on documentaries for The Discovery Channel, The Science Channel, NOVA, and National Geographic, I launched Small Mammal in 2008 to bring imaginative filmmaking about science and technology to the world of online video. It’s going great so far.

I’ve also been a freelance journalist for ten years — writing about science, tech, filmmaking and design for outlets like Wired, Fast Company, Scientific American, Technology Review, and others. Here’s one of my favorite pieces, about how Werner Herzog made a weird sci-fi film out of NASA archival footage.

Why “Small Mammal”?

I get asked this all the time, so here’s the short version: my co-founder (who has since moved on to other endeavors) and I wanted to present ourselves as nimble and highly evolved in comparison to the big, lumbering, old-media “dinosaurs” who were producing the bulk of science-related online video. Thus, “Small Mammal.” Eventually we realized that line of reasoning was too pretentious for its own good, but the name seemed memorable enough to keep. So we did.