Thursday, August 30, 2007

Ever been in Prison?

This is me with inmates, a guard and Sheriff Mike Wade at Henricho Jail, VA, last fall. I was doing research for an upcoming film. It's the same prison featured in Morgan Spurlocks "30 Days". This film has brought me to several other federal and state prisons, as well as spots like Alcatraz Island, where I was able to spend the day sketching various locations within the infamous prison. It's proven to be the most difficult project I've ever started, but I really think it will be well worth the time and effort (don't hold your breath, it's a long way off).

I was in Jail once, as an inmate that is. It was High School, I was arrested for Grand Larceny (long, dumb story, if you ever hang out with me I'll tell you over a drink). Anyway, I thought it was interesting what people do in jail when they are waiting. I did push ups and sit ups. I didn't sleep. all i did was exercise. I've always wondered what that meant. do i have to keep busy?

Monday, August 27, 2007

MTV ID: "Swallow-Face"

This was one of the first things I've ever animated. Interesting story actually. In 1994, I was in college, and one night decided to animate something strange. I didn't know how to draw, let alone animate, so I just did something abstract. A friend of mine told me I should put an MTV logo on it and send it to them. So I mailed a VHS of it to "MTV Networks" the address I got from the phone book. About two weeks later I got a call from a guy named Abbey, who said that they wanted to buy it. I remember the day he called, because it was the same day that I got my rejection letter from Cal Arts. The budget was $8k. I re-animated the same thing, a bit tighter, and I had to re-do the logo and sound. The spot won a BDA award(Broadcast Design Assoc.) and a Jury Prize at the 1995 Holland Animation Festival. After I finished the ID, MTV offered me a job in layout on "Beavis and Butthead", which was my first ever studio job, and which brought me to New York City. Those were the days.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Animation in Israel

This article came out this week in an Israeli magazine, anybody wish to translate?

I've been a fan of Israeli animation for years, one of my favorite animated films from the last decade is called "Vered Don't Die" by Yanai Peri (a difficult film to track down to say the least, thanks Amid for the link!), so it was an honor for my last film to be invited to the 7th annual Tel Aviv Animation Festival, which starts this weekend, Aug. 25th. It seems like a good event (although very under-promoted, I can't seem to find much about it on-line), it includes the premiere of a joint Israeli-Palestinian animated feature entitled "Super-Camel", as well as a documentary on the making of the film. In addition, there's a Bruno Bozzeto retrospective scheduled. I hung out with bruno once, and he kept calling me Peter.

Monday, August 20, 2007

"Puppet" on Nicktoons.

Click the image on the left for a Video Message from Pat Smith. This Thursday at 10pm (eastern) my latest film "Puppet" will air on the Nicktoons Network as part of the Nicktoons Animation Program. Be sure to text in your vote so I can win a BOATLOAD of cash! This is the official on-air premiere of "Puppet". For more information you can check out the annoyingly well done website for Nicktoons. Nick has been pretty good about airing my short films. My previous film "Handshake" was featured last year, and I was really happy with the program.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Influence: Pink Elephants on Parade

Before Bozzeto, "The Wall", or Plympton was a fantastically elastic and dark segment from "Dumbo"(1941) it's called Pink Elephants on Parade, I posted a solid resolution movie here. This is the scene when Dumbo gets drunk (don't see that in disney films anymore) and hallucinates about Pink Elephants. The first time I saw this clip I was in college, and it tripped me out. It's quite scary really, the black eyes of the elephants, the conformist marching, and the demented music. The sync with the score in flawless, those animators utilized musical rhythm to perfection. There's a piece of animation I did for the music video "Moving Along" which is a direct bite from this Dumbo scene (see image). You can watch a high resolution movie of "Moving Along" here. Again, I hate viewing movies on the computer, but at least this looks decent (unlike youtube, a sorry excuse for a venue, i mean, why does it have to look like such crap? it doesn't take that much to post quality resolution).

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

"Drink" and "Handshake" On-Line

I've finally found a nice compression level in order to put animation on-line. Click the image above to see the diff, on the left is Youtube. I'm not a huge fan of on-line viewing. It looks like crap, and I'm always impatient, likely to click away and check my email while the film is playing. The computer just isn't a very good venue. But, there's little I can do about that. And since these films are out there anyway, I thought it would be a good idea to at least post good quality versions. So, here's "Drink" higher res, and also "Handshake", Enjoy. Since I'm giving away two of my films here, you may feel obliged to Join my mailing list.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Darkness of "Little Mermaid"

Disney's "Little Mermaid" DVD has a great extra, a pencil test of the scene where Ariel makes the deal with Ursula (this youtube link is for the scene full color, still pretty good). Dark stuff. It's an evil scene, the climax of which is downright violent(when she gets her legs). This is what animation is capable of portraying, emotion on the level of any live action movie, perhaps beyond. This may be the greatest Disney Villain scene of all time. The problem is that nobody ever explores that dark place, build characters around it and tell a story from there. Why did they have to make the color and lighting all bright and fuzzy? (thats why it's better to watch the pencil test version). Imagine if Disney didn't have the whole kid thing attached with it. I wish Scorsese directed that film.(btw supervising animator for Ursula was Ruben Aquino)

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Time Lapse of a Painting by Patrick Smith

Time Lapse of a Painting

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Here's a time lapse I did of a recent canvas. I tried really hard to do this painting in one sitting, but we had to break it up into four days. (well, there's actually a pencil drawing under everything that took an additional two days). This painting, as well as over 20 other works, and an installation of animation, will be exhibited in my first solo show this September, here in New York, more to come on that. In the movie with me is my fab assistant Noelle Vaccese, check her stuff out here. The painting measures 36" wide and 72" high, I'm using pencil, acrylic and enamel. If you're interested in a proper photo of this or any other of my paintings let me know.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Pinocchio, Puppet, and Disney

I threw together these drawings for comparison (fairly bold i think, putting my drawings up there with Disney masters, but anyway). And next to that, somewhat related, is a great photo of Disney animators John Ripa, myself, and Randy Haycock during a visit last year.

This famous sequence from Pinocchio really helped me figure out the "burst" of the hand puppet coming out of the kids chest in "Puppet" click here for movie. Disney films are just the best reference for animation, if you're trying to figure out something, they've already done it, and better than you could ever possibly do (and almost 70 years ago to boot).

These drawings are grabbed from a pencil test sequence re-shot a while back by Andreas Deja, given to me by a buddy of mine at Disney. I have a strange fascination with Disney, although I never wish to work there, I admire Disney animators (classic and current) to an idol worshipping extent.