Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Woodstock Film Festival this weekend...

(photo above: Bill Plympton, Arthur Metcalf, Patrick Smith with champagne at Woodstock Film Festival 2007) This year, since my new film isn't ready, I'll be a judge at the Woodstock Film Festival in Woodstock, NY. I love this festival for so many reasons, but primarily, it's always my official way of welcoming the autumn, my favorite season. My fab producer Noelle Vaccese and her sister Joy animated the signal film (an animated intro to each screening with the woodstock logo at the end), so they will be in attendance, along with Signe Baumane and Bill Plympton, who are also judging. Any filmmakers out there, i highly encourage you to submit your work to them next year! (photo below: Noelle Vaccese and Patrick Smith at Woodstock 06)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

That was a busy summer...

You know, i always forget to talk about what me and my studio are up to. This has been a busy summer (not that i'm short on montauk beach excursions). We've been slammed with a commision of nine segments for the new Electric Company for Sesame St. workshop. I know I slag off doing projects for kids, but i really enjoyed animating these.
In addition to the Electric Company Job, we've been busy on a number of fine art commisions, including a colossal mural for the new Salvation Army headquarters in Manhattan, a project that i'm really excited about.
Recently, we just wrapped up a music video for Disney featuring the bird filled "Tiki Room" (above). It was a fun project because I love the challenges of animating along side live action characters. We also did several segments of a childrens music video for "Ralph's World", another Disney show, both were done through Ghost Robot productions. ALSO we animated a Three minute video for Samantics Productions, kind of a jazzy school house rock type thing.

And, as always, on the forefront is a new independent animated film, which I've mentioned very often, the film "Masks", a collaboration with the composer of "Drink", Karl vonKries. We had a sneak preview of it last week at Marthas Vinyard Film Festival, and I was stoked about the reaction it got. It's by far my best work. What are you up to?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Chillin' with Richard Williams...

It's not every day you get to have a drink with a legend. Me and Bill Plympton met up with Richard Williams and his wife mo up at his hotel, he's in town for his MOMA show, and over the course of an hour, I was able to talk to him about everything from working under Art Babbit, Ken Anderson, and Milt Kahl, to their techniques, personalities, similarities and differences. (below, a really crappy iphone photo of me and Dick)I was hesitant to get the conversation away from regular stuff like what we're up to, and how the weather is in Bristol, (i'm always up for convos about England).. but then i just finally said, "richard.. i'm sure tons of people ask you this.. but what was it like to work with Art Babbit?" i was happy to see his eyes light up.. and he just talked for 1/2 hour straight, his jet lag seemed to disappear. One of the things that stood out was that Art Babbit did a lot of "pick up and trace" animation... which is the process of picking up the top sheet of paper, pivoting it at the joint of the character, and tracing the new position. This is a technique that I do all the time and i've always thought it was a lame cheat. We also talked about the value of solid drawing, as well as a personal theory i have, that animators spend so much time finding the "easy" way to do things, that if they just did it the hard way, they would finish quicker! he slapped me on the knee and told me he couldn't have said it better himself. I also LOVED the stories of how Art and Ken were IMPROVING even into their 80's. Dick said he witnessed it personally. These guys were the real thing. Outside of that, we discussed self taught animators, something we have in common. After we had a drink, I cabbed down to a party for Woodstock Film Festival, which I'm judging the first week of October. stayed out too late talking endlessly about Richard Williams to other filmmakers who didn't even know who he was.