Friday, December 20, 2019

Two Big Deals

I've got two very exciting announcements to make - so get ready, fasten your seat belts!

The long-awaited DVD collection of "The Simpsons" season 19 has just been released by Fox Entertainment.  Unfortunately, they chose not to put my artwork on the front and back cover, they decided to go with their staff artists for that.  However, everywhere else - inside the package - is Bill Plympton art!  There's an inside fold-out with 10 panels, an illustrated booklet, plus original animation for all the disc menus, guides and intros.  All of these have true, new, Plympton art!  There's a "family road trip" theme to the art, and I feel very honored to be involved with this DVD collection, especially since I didn't start animating any "couch gags" for the show until Season 23!

The producers over at "The Simpsons" hinted that this may be the last set of DVDs released this way, now that all the old episodes of the show are streaming on Disney Plus.  So it may behoove you to go out and get this co-production of Matt Groening and Bill Plympton before it sells out - and if you see me at any event, please ask me to sign this DVD set.  Then it may REALLY be collectible.

The other big deal is a new book put out by CRC Press called "On Animation: The Director's Perspective - Interviews with the Most Talented Directors in Animation".  About five years ago, Ron Diamond, Bill Kroyer and Tom Sito began conducting interviews with some of the biggest hot-shots in animation, including me!  But also giants like John Musker, Ron Clements, Andrew Stanton, Brenda Chapman, Nick Park, Tomm Moore and Chris Wedge.


I haven't finished reading the book yet - but each chapter is full of gems of animation knowledge and gossip.  For me, the most exciting thing is hearing about John Lasseter's travails at Disney, then the astounding success of Pixar that totally revolutionized animated feature films.  I was spellbound to hear about his unique ideas and challenges to change the world of animation.

One curious side note is the fact that all of these animators have strikingly similar stories to tell.  They all grew up in woebegone areas in the middle of nowhere, loving Disney animation, hoping to one day work for Disney.  A lot of them, like myself, bought and were influenced by the Bob Thomas 1950's era book "Art of Animation" about Disney, and of course, the great book "Animation" by Preston Blair, one of the great animators.  I actually met him in his house in Carmel, just before he died - one of my favorite meetings.

But if you have any interest in animation or filmmaking, this book is so illuminating and inspiring. After reading it, you can't help but want to run out and make an animated film.

I give both of these products my A+ recommendation.

Happy holidays and a Merry Christmas!

--Bill P.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Christmas Shout-Out

It's almost Christmas time - I'm sending out cards and trying to wrap up a bunch of animated productions.  So I thought this would be a great time for some promotions.  Here at the studio we have lots of unique gift ideas for holiday shopping, so if you're still stuck on what to get for the people in your life -

We have great deals on DVDs, my entire library of features and shorts, most DVDs are just $15 and some are even cheaper.  And we have new BluRays of the features "Cheatin'" and "Revengeance" available.

Also, we have a number of books available, collections of my print cartoons like "We Eat Tonight", "Sloppy Seconds" and the very impressive coffee table book "Independently Animated: Bill Plympton".

Plus, some very rare artwork from my films, including original art from "The Simpsons" and shorts like "Your Face".

And then there's one of our most popular items, an original caricature of yourself or a loved one, drawn by the master himself, Bill Plympton.  If you ever wondered what you might look like as a cartoon, here's your chance!  We started offering this as a special holiday promotion several years ago, and it was so popular that we never took the offer down, and I probably draw two or three caricatures every month!  One family even recently requested for Christmas to be drawn as the Simpsons family, sitting on that famous couch!

Just visit the main store here:  http://www.plymptoonstore.com/

You'll probably see the caricature offer first, but then you can navigate through the site to find the DVD or book or piece of artwork that you can't find anywhere else!  You might find one of my DVDs or books on Amazon or eBay, but my own web-site is still the best place to get them!  And if you have any special requests or can't find the film you're looking for, just contact John H., my office manager, at:  john@plymptoons.com

And if you buy anything between now and Christmas, I'll include for free my handmade 2019 Christmas Card!  And if that's not enough, we're going to be posting a little Christmas short film called "Santa's Other Talented Reindeer" for FREE!  How about that for holiday spirit?



I wish you all a very merry Christmas holiday - and I'll see you in 2020!

--Bill Plympton

Friday, December 6, 2019

New film round-up

As an Academy member, each day I get a shipment or two of DVDs containing Oscar-eligible hopeful films.  Some are well-known films that I missed in the cinema and others are obscure docs, foreign films or even more obscure art films.  But I endeavor to see everything - which is an impossible task since I'm still trying to create two feature films of my own, and I have very little spare time.  So I'll avoid talking about the "duds" and only review my favorites here.


"Yesterday" is a curious film that was released over the summer, it's about a failed musician who discovers that nobody remembers the Beatles or their music except for him.  And as he begins to perform their music, he becomes a giant genius of rock.  It was written by the great screenwriter Richard Curtis of "Love, Actually" and "Four Weddings and a Funeral" fame.  It was directed by Danny Boyle, who made "Slumdog Millionaire" - somehow these two worked miracles with the storytelling, humor and great Beatles music.  I love this film.  It's a delight and already on my top ten for this year.


The other film that's way up there is "Booksmart", directed by Olivia Wilde.  The film came out earlier in the year and I think the problem was that the title really turned me off. It seemed like it would be an intellectual teen drama, so I never watched it when it was in theaters.  But I got the Academy screener DVD, and the minute this film began, I was laughing out loud, and that continuted throughout the entire film.  And that doesn't happen often, it must be very hard to do.  The humor was raw, in-your-face and outrageous, which makes sense with associate producers like Adam McCay and Will Ferrell.  Definitely check out "Booksmart" - Olivia Wilde is going to be a superstar director.


And finally, I just screened "I Lost My Body", directed by J√©remy Clapin, which won the Audience Award at the Annecy Festival and the Grand Prize at the Cannes Critics' Week.  It's a very clever story of a dismembered hand who is searching for his original body.  It's kind of a love story - there are some wonderful moments in the film and you can see why it won all those awards.  It's made for film festivals!

But for me, it's too serious and arty.  The style is 2-D rotoscope - it looks nice but I prefer more stylization and caricature in my films, and also definitely more humor.


The other event I want to talk about is my recent trip to Spain for the Bilbao International School Zinema Festival.  They screened "Revengeance" and I held two Master Classes there - they didn't draw huge audiences but I got very enthusiastic receptions.

I was able to go to the fancy Guggenheim Museum, the one designed by Frank Gehry - it's a beautiful building in a beautiful city, but the shows were so boring!  One entire floor of boring photo portraits.  Then on the bottom floor was a large room of Richard Sera's large rusty metal slabs - I see the same thing every day at NYC construction sites - why do I need to go to Bilbao to see that?


I'll be reviewing more animated features here in the future - there are still a lot more eligible films from 2018 that I need to see!  Now, please enjoy this week's gag cartoon!

--Bill