Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Making "Snot Living"

Here's a short video of some footage behind the scenes of "Snot Living" and some early animation tests. I shot this film over the summer and fall of 1997. All of the live-action shots and most of the animation was shot in the apartment I was living in through the summer. Other animation was shot later in my dorm room or at my parents' house. It's always neat to look back at this, particularly 10 years ago was so much fun to make.

I've also added the actual film to YouTube in two parts (since it's over the 10 minute limit), here and here.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Beer Wars

I've had this particular video for several's one of those circulated bootleg video parodies that was passed around among friends. I don't know the person who created this, but I got it from a high school friend who got it from someone else, who got it from...

Anyway, I'm surprised it has never shown up on YouTube by now, but now it has! Basically it's Star Wars edited with sound clips from Strange Brew and the Great White North album. A masterful mix of American and Canadian culture. Enjoy in two parts.

Animation Drawing Collection

For my birthday, Jay lovingly got some family contributions to get my Ken Harris drawing from 'Thief and the Cobbler' framed. It's drawing #366 from the "Polo Ponies" sequence where the Thief is running from the polo ball. Where I got it is a "military secret" (ha ha ha) we just need to find a wall for it.

Speaking of animation drawings, I don't have these ones framed, but figured I would scan and post them since I got 'em. They are from Ralph Bakshi's Mighty Mouse TV series from the late 80s which I fondly remember watching on Saturday mornings. These drawings might be by John K, but I'm not sure.

Splintered Drumsticks

I watched this Muppet Show episode (Harry Belafonte...the best one) with Ariel last night and it might have provided inspiration for some evening fun.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Animation Haiku

I was up until 1am last night (and Jay with me shading in drawings) meeting a deadline for my latest freelance animation project for Bigfott Studios. Bleary-eyed but satisfied after the long hours of work, I decided to write a haiku.

I sit in jammies,
Pondering how a stack of
Paper can have life.

In reality though, I think I was pondering more how I was going to get up for work a few hours later.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Snot Living (1998)

In honor of its 10-year anniversary, I'm pleased to announce the online debut of my student film from University of Michigan, Snot Living. This film was my final independent study project, which took about a year to complete. It was all shot on 16mm and premiered with live organ accompaniment by Newton Bates at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, on April 19, 1998. The music track was improvised to the film and recorded live in the theater itself.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The San Francisco Treat , Part 1

I just spent the last couple days (Sunday-Tuesday) in San Francisco for preliminary meetings with the Academy of Art University regarding my online stop-motion course. I hadn't been there since 1999 so it was fun to check it out again...quite a beautiful city, I really like it. The Academy staff is very nice and they have some great facilities there for animation. So it looks to be a good experience overall, once I really start crackin' with writing the course content. I'll be returning there in April for the official demonstration video shoots, so lots of preparations must soon be underway.

I don't have any pictures of my whirlwind trip to post, but I can borrow a few to reference the Cartoon Art Museum where I happened to stumble upon the Mary Blair exhibit.

I also got to see many surprising original pieces of animation art, including: original animation drawings, cels, and concept art from practically every classic Disney feature ever made and many others from Hanna-Barbera, Warner Bros and elsewhere. Plus some original 1950s comic strips like an actual Pogo strip, Andy Capp, lots of stuff like that. They even had an original Gertie the Dinosaur drawing, which was outstanding to be in the presence of, even though it was much smaller than I thought it would be.

Hopefully next time I go I'll have a camera with me to make for a more interesting blog.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Jay made me a cake. And it was good. Yay for cake!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Books and another Movie Review

Currently I'm reading a fantastic book by VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer, about the rise and fall of his visionary company. Definitely an engaging, funny and amazing read and highly recommended for animators and business-folks alike.

Also today (while I'm home with a cold) my copy of Barry Purves' book arrived. I have a few comments printed in this book as one of many other stop-motion animators who contributed their thoughts on the bizarre art of pushing puppets around. I'm just starting to flip through it...Barry did a great job and I'm still kickin' myself for not being home when he phoned my house to thank me.

And last but not least, I've finally added another review for Hollywood Jesus, for the film Imagination. This is my first time I've actually interviewed filmmakers for the site, and it was really nice talking to some other kindred spirits who like puppets and weird images.

Clicky right here to read!

Presentation Days (or Daze?)

So the last week has been one of many presentations in a row, enough to certainly curb whatever apprehensions I may have about public speaking. Last Sunday I was proud to speak in church about my thoughts on animation as worship, and it's looking like I'll get to reprise it at another church at some point. Afterwards we had an open sign-up for volunteers to help us put together an Animation Festival at the church as an outreach event. Hopefully it will come together sometime in May, given that there was an overwhelming response from people wanting to help out. Quite a blessing.

Later in the week I got to introduce the King Kong and Jason screenings, and also host a Q&A with Brett Purmal and "Kong" himself. These photos were graciously taken by Jason Vanderhill, who also brought his Colargol collection.