Monday, July 30, 2007

Be in my next film!

I hung a ton of these posters up all around New York and other cities. I've gotten hundreds of calls, some of which I'm animating to. Some people are really nutty and make for an interesting translation into imagery. but... I'm not done with the film yet, and the signs are still being posted around new york. maybe you should call. 800-817-2964.

the idea of a mask fascinates me. as does the concept of an anonymous call. a certain type of truth exists when identity is hidden. And it's surprisingly easy to spot the real thing, the individual who has something to share, a comment about why they or others hide what's underneath a metaphorical mask.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Overlooked: Pink Floyd's "The Wall"

Frames from my film "Drink" and "Moving Along" next to frames from "The Wall", a massive influence, not that my stuff comes close. I've posted a good quality quicktime of this sequence here, by far the most impressive bit of animation in the film. When I play this clip, it reminds me of what i want to try to accomplish within this amazing medium.

I think "The Wall" is an overlooked film. I rarely even hear it mentioned. There are segments in that film that I see as some of the most original, emotional, and effective animation ever. I don't say that lightly. The particular segment that begins with the flower sequence, during the song "Empty Spaces", was originally responsible for getting me into the medium. The film has over 15 minutes of animation designed by artist Gerald Scarfe. I'm not a huge Scarfe fan, but his style worked well here. Some of the Animators include Mike Stuart(yellow submarine), Chris Caunter(watership down, little mermaid), Bill Hajee(rescuers) and Angela Kovacs(roger rabbit) all brits, i believe.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Workin' Summer Style

Detail from painting, and Drawings from new film "Masks".

It's summertime now, that means everyone is cramming to finish work for the fall, whether it's a gallery exhibition, or a film festival deadline (all the big one's have deadlines around or close to October). I'm cramming for both. In addition, summer has always been a busy time for commercial work, a good thing, but it's tough to be animating a commercial while more exciting projects are a few feet away begging for attention. A heavy workload can be tough this time of year because most of us take off on friday for weekends outside of the city (a survival tactic). I'm no exception, I drive every week up to Montauk, where I can do work outside of my studio (and larger pieces within my garage, the Tribeca studio has no freight elevator), as well as go to the beach and actually have a life outside of Tribeca.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Platfrom: Why I didn't attend most competition screenings.

Top:Pat Smith, Lisa LaBracio and Biljana Labovic with cosmo. Bottom:Don Hertzfeldt, Amid Amidi, Pat Smith, Dan Mountain, and Lee Rubinstein at Frederator party.

First off, what a fantastic time i had at the first ever Platform Animation Festival, Portland. The people were great, and it really is a special city. The "Cartoons from Hell" screening I hosted went off better than I could imagine, and the special screenings, retrospectives and panels were top notch. OK. you know what really sucked? It was the fact that so many of the competition films were older films. I didn't go to a lot of the screenings because I had seen way over half the films. I don't mind showing films that are a few years old, that's what special programs and out of competition are for. But IN competition was films like the Igor Kovalyov film "Milch" or Run Wrakes "Rabbit"(which has screened at every possible venue world wide for the last two years), not only is it old, but it's LONG. I had to wonder how many quality currrent films they rejected in order to put that in competition. Here's the kicker, one of the grand prix winners was an installation piece by Gregory Barsamian that I had seen in a New York gallery over TEN YEARS AGO!!! are you telling me you can't find current work to put in competition, and put the older (albeit brilliant) work in out of comp programs(which there should always be plenty of, gotta respect the old).

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Top:Drawing from the film "Masks". Bottom: Enamal on Canvas detail of painting "Configuration #2".

"The City" being New York City, it's a bad habit New Yorkers have of referring to our city at "The City", even when we're in other cities. And "Animator" as in, an independent animator, who works out of the city. One of the things I would like to accomplish with this blog is to give others a glimpse into the life of an independent animator in New York. So allow me to introduce myself, I'm Patrick Smith, my studio is called Blend Films, and it's located in Tribeca, which is way downtown Manhattan. It's a small art studio, just me and an assistant. I make independent animated shorts, as well as other cross-over media art such as paintings and public installations. I love animation, but I'm not the biggest fan of the type of animation that is ingested in mass, supplied by the majors in this industry. I like animation to be a bit more personal, have some gravel in the gut and spit in the eye. On a technical level, I like to see animation with texture and soul. I never think about CG, don't desire to work with those techno puppets. I like to draw, I like to create a real drawing with a pencil on paper. artwork that exists when the power is out, that exists as more than 1's and 0's. I like smudges, I like the bottom of my hand to get graphite on it. So, I'll always try to keep these entries short(neither of us should be doing this, we should be drawing or doing whatever, and that's what i'm off to do right now!) cheers- Pat