Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Trip to Animated Exeter

My feature film “Idiots and Angels” is doing moderately well all over the world, selling in around ten territories. But there are two countries that I find almost impossible to sell- Japan and the U.K. I don’t know why that is. I know they both love animation but I always have a hell of a time trying to sell my films there. Perhaps my films are too adult? I don’t know.

So I decided to visit “ole Blighty” to try and make a connection with the U.K. I took off one day after a 10” inch snowfall blizzard and worried that my flight would be cancelled because of the snow on the runway. So I invented a solution to clear off the snow (see sketch).

Well the plane took off on time and I landed in Bristol and got a ride to Animated Exeter, which takes place in the Exeter Phoenix (an arts community center).

Susannah Shaw and her wonderful staff were very helpful in helping me with my shows. I started as Simon Cowell in an event called “One minute pitch” where students presented their projects in hopes of getting funding. I tried to be fair and helpful and not too mean. There were some fun projects.

Then I did a presentation of “Idiots and Angels” that the audience seemed to like a lot. The next day I did my masterclass, which are always fun, lots of students.

The next day, Claire Violet was kind enough to drive me down to the village of Plympton where my ancestors came from. It’s a typically quaint little town and we visited my Plympton castle, which my folks always claimed as theirs. Except it’s basically a pile of rubble on a hill with two to six foot high mounds of rock and plaster. I guess I won’t be moving in soon.

I then traveled to Bournemouth by the sea- a lovely town. I took a tour of Bournemouth University with Peter and Astor Parr, old friends from Annecy. I did my masterclass there to a full audience and they seemed to like the new stuff, “The Cow Who Wanted to Be a Hamburger” and “Cheatin’”.

I stayed in a very posh Sea Cliff hotel by the beach, it reminded me of Santa Monica- but very cold water (I had to go in!).

But unfortunately I couldn’t get distribution for the U.K. if anyone can help me out, I’ll give them a free drawing. By the way, what does “blighty” mean?


  1. I can't believe I missed ANOTHER chance to see Idiots and Angels! I was in Angouleme last year and was going home the week before you went there. And this time I couldn't afford to travel to Exeter. I don't know why you have such a hard time distributing in UK Bill... I have all your films on DVD, but I have a hell of a time aquiring them. Apparently "Blighty" comes from British ruled India. Their word for foreigner "Bilayati"

  2. I have no distribution contacts either, but I'm definitely in support of more plymptoons in the UK.

  3. Thanks again for coming to see us in Bournemouth, Bill. I am currently enjoying the DVDs I bought from you!

  4. The "blighty" in Old Blighty is a derivative of an Indian word (for something like foreigner).

    It became popular when the Brits were bossing India about the place and has stuck as a term of endearment.

  5. Perhaps it has something to do with being 'island nations'. Don't know about distribution, but it's hard enough to find funding in the UK especially now the arts funding is being segued into the 2012 olympics budget. I agree with Doug, it's very difficult to find a lot of the animation which is widely available elsewhere. Maybe because although there is a dedicated market in the UK, it's really a relatively small niche...