Monday, April 27, 2015

CHEATIN' Tour, Part 3

From Seattle I flew to San Francisco, where I had three screenings of CHEATIN' in the area.  The first was at the historic (1910's), Roxie Theater.  It used to be a porn palace in the 1970's, and now they switched to indie films and serving beer to give a boost to the audience.  (I had to hope that the pissing guy from Seattle didn't show up at the Roxie.)

The next day, I went out to Berkeley to screen at the Rialto in Elmwood.  It wasn't a big crowd, but it was the most enthusiastic crowd ever.  There was even a guy who had my face tattooed on his arm!

                                    Now THIS is a Bill Plympton fan!  Check out that tattoo!

From there, I went to Sebastopol for a screening of CHEATIN', and afterwards I took a side trip to Santa Rosa, the setting for Alfred Hitchcock's "Shadow of a Doubt", and also the location of the Schulz Museum, home to "Peanuts" and "Snoopy" art.

The next morning, I flew to Los Angeles, where I met with the great and hilarious Patton Oswalt, to record his voice for my new short film (we're keeping the title secret, prior to making an official announcement to follow).

That night, we had a preview screening of CHEATIN' at USC's School of Film.  It was a wonderful event, even Rob Clampett (Bob's son) was there.  Also, the great Tom Sito was on hand to direct a Q&A session for an inquisitive gaggle of animation students.

The next day, with I met with the wonderful writer and voice artist on "Revengeance", Jim Lujan.  We spent the afternoon talking about the Kickstarter campaign and the progress of the film itself.

                                                    With Jim Lujan and Ken Mora in L.A.

Jim then drove me to the special screening of CHEATIN' at the Arena Theater.  This was a star-studded event to promote the release of CHEATIN' on Vimeo on Demand on April 21.

Lots of bloggers were invited to the screening, and press people were there to photograph TV and movie actors, none of whom I recognized.  However, the reigning Playboy Playmate of the Year was there, and also David Silverman ("The Simpsons Movie") was Master of Ceremonies.

It was a packed house, and we all gathered at the awesome W Hotel after to party into the night.  What a great time! 
                                               With David Silverman at the Arena Theater

                                               With Jim Lujan at the CHEATIN' screening

                                    With Alexia Anastasio, David Silverman, Theo Dumont,
                                                 Jim Lujan and Kevin Sean Michaels.

Part 4 coming soon!

--Bill P.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Revengeance on Kickstarter

I've got very exciting news - we've just begun a big Kickstarter campaign for the new feature film I'm making with Jim Lujan.

I've had to keep it under wraps for a long time, because we promised the exclusive for a big-time publication, but now I'm finally free to talk about our Kickstarter campaign.

As some of you know, I met Jim at the San Diego Comic Con and he kept giving me his DVDs to watch (I get a lot of DVDs) but I never did until one rainy afternoon when I had nothing to do.  I slipped on his "Rod Rosse" DVD and became totally obsessed with his characters and voices.  I called him up to propose making a feature together, and that's where "Revengeance" was born.

We've got some really cool rewards available for the contributors.  For example, one of the funnest rewards is a caricature of the backer that I will personally animate as a character in the movie.  So you can be immortalized in a Bill Plympton film!  Imagine the joy of telling your grandchildren that you're a famous cartoon character, like Bugs Bunny or Bambi, in an animated film.  Pretty awesome, huh?

You can also get the film on DVD or BluRay as a reward (you'll have to wait until we finish making it, though...) or rewards like my book "Independently Animated", or my Super Fan Package.

So, please check out our Kickstarter campaign via the link below.  Thanks so much for your support!


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

CHEATIN' Tour, Part 2

My next stop was Seattle, Washington, the NW Film Forum -

It's a delightful independent cinema where ten years ago, I screened my feature "Hair High".  At that screening, some drunken fan stood up on his seat, pulled out his wang and started to piss all over the audience.  I was waiting outside, heard the screams and saw throngs of horrified attendees stampeding out of the theater.  We were finally able to wrangle the drunken guy out of the cinema and on to the street.  Unfortunately, after we cleaned up his mess, there were only three stalwart audience members who remained to watch the end of the film.

Fortunately for this screening of CHEATIN', we had no drunk assholes to ruin the night, and the audience enjoyed the film without any "scattered showers". 

After Seattle, I rode up to Bellingham, Washington, to a small cinema there called the Limelight, part of the Pickford Film Center. 

They held a nice wine reception for me at the opening.  I had visited Bellingham when I was a child, and my aunt, Hazel Plympton, lived there and taught art.  It's a beautiful old city on the shores of Puget Sound.  I was able to walk around the old logging and fishing city and explore its turn-of-the-century architecture.

I'll be posting Part 3 of my travelog soon - but I'm still out on tour, so don't forget to check the schedule and come meet me in person at a screening of CHEATIN'!

Monday, April 20, 2015

CHEATIN' Tour, Part 1

So my booking agent, Michael Tuckman, set me up on a 15-cinema, 10-city tour to help promote my film CHEATIN' as a theatrical release, and also to help get some national publicity for the film's Vimeo-On-Demand release on April 21.  And he did a great job - it's extremely complicated to arrange all of these screenings in all of these locations, plus to figure out travel, hotels, publicity and screening formats.  So far Michael and John Holderried, my office manager and itinerary planner, have made my trip work like a fine watch.

My first stop was the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago.  It's a wonderful arts cinema and I had a lot of young animators studying at the Art Institute show up to hear me talk about animation and how I survive as an independent filmmaker.

                              With Emily Esperanza at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago

The next stop was Minneapolis/St. Paul, a screening at the International Film Festival there, which is located in a huge multiplex cinema right on the banks of the Mississippi River. It was a beautiful day and everyone was sitting out in the caf├ęs and taverns, feeling the cool spring breeze.  What a great location for a film festival!  It's called MSPIFF - so it sounds like you're spitting when you pronounce it. 

                                       Drawing sketches at the Minneapolis/St. Paul screening

I got to hang out with Rebekah Maysles, she's Albert Maysles' daughter, and she had a film there called "Iris", which her father directed.  So we talked about documentaries and getting releases, since I'm working on a new mockumentary called "Hitler's Folly". 

It's a wonderful festival, you should all enter your films there and be sure to attend!

Part 2 of my tour blog to follow shortly!


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Village Voice

As I hope you're aware, my new feature film, CHEATIN', is being released in theaters across the U.S. this month.  See my earlier post for the full schedule.

It's going to be a crazy month - in addition to the hundreds of interviews, I'm doing a cross-country caravan, hitting 15 cities to promote CHEATIN' (the movie, not the act...)

So, it's a very tense and nervous time.  Will I be receiving great reviews or rejections in each city?  Will there be packed movie theaters or cinemas that look like ghost towns? 

I was greatly relieved to get the reviews that came out around the time of the NYC opening.  The Village Voice, the paper based in the neighborhood where we were screening, said things like "more inspired gorgeous wonder than late Malick films" and "don't-miss-it chance to see a master dream up a pungent freak-out".

Wow, how can I top that?  And then I got the review from the New York Times.  Among other great things, they said it's a "lusty film-noir dreamscape" with a "volatile blending of the sensual and the grotesque".

But the best one came from IndieWire - they called it "the best animated movie of 2015".

I'm so relieved that people like the movie - after spending all my savings on it and drawing for three years on the project, it's finally going to find its audience.  So please check my Facebook page or the schedule here on my blog, or follow me on Twitter to find out when CHEATIN' might be coming to your city! 

I hope to see you there -


Bill Plympton

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

CHEATIN' release update

It's Day 5 of the theatrical release of CHEATIN' at the Village East Cinema.  We only have two more days to go, and the chances of breaking even don't look good.  We had great opening audiences on Friday, and a few of the evening shows have been crowded, but not enough to make a profit.

Since we couldn't get the type of distribution we wanted, we decided to "four-wall" the cinema, that meant we essentially rented the theater for one whole week for a lot of money, hoping that the buzz for the film would fill the seats.

Well, an empty theater seat is a terrible thing to waste - and even with the stellar reviews we got (we have an 80% rating on Rotten Tomatoes) we're just not bringing in the crowds.

I believe the big problem is our lack of a sufficient advertising budget.  All the big Hollywood films pump out millions of dollars to promote their films - I think we spent just $800 on ads.

Yet, in the Village East Cinema, CHEATIN' is kicking Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart's asses - and they have "Get Hard" on two screens, while we have only one.

Next week, I start my 15-city tour - so hopefully I'll be able to bring you better news from the hinterlands.  Thanks for all your help, spreading the word about independent animation!

--Bill P.

                                                 Hey, look, CHEATIN' is on the marquee! 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Crazy week!!!

April will be a very busy month for me - I'm juggling numerous projects.

The first project is my new short film "The Loneliest Stoplight", it's about 6 minutes long and it's all colored and it looks beautiful.  I'll be in L.A. later this month and I'm going to have a famous comedian record the voice-over.  I'm very excited about this new short, it may be my best.

Also, I'm in the middle of animating my new feature film, written by the hilarious Jim Lujan.  He also designed it and is doing most of the voices.  I'm about 1/3 of the way through the animation, and in all modesty, I think it looks amazing and I'm having a ball.

The third ball I'm juggling is "Hitler's Folly".  I've shown a very rough cut to some friends who make documentaries, and although they think it's funny, they're having trouble with the main character's personality.  I think I know how to fix it, however I'll have to do some reshoots and that's going to take some time and money.  And I'm hoping to go to the final edit next week, so I'd better hop to it.

And the final big ball is the release of CHEATIN' in theaters across America.  It opens at the Village East Cinemas in New York on April 3, for one week only.  We decided to "four-wall" it, since no distributor was willing to take a chance on a hand-drawn animated feature for adults.  (Idiots!)

So we need to do a big publicity push to get some buzz going, and hopefully we'll get a big crowd to go to the Village East Cinemas.  I'll be there every night to talk and give sketches to all of the attendees.

From there, I go on to a 2 1/2 week tour of the U.S. to promote the film in 15 theaters.  You can see my schedule in my last blog post - I'm going to Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle, Bellingham WA, San Francisco, Berkeley, Sonoma CA, Denver, Portland, Salem, Eugene OR, Corvallis OR, Columbus OH, Boston. 

And on April 21, we're offering CHEATIN' exclusively on Vimeo - and this is where we hope to cash in on all of our hard work.  I've been working on this film since 2009, and it's so great to finally see the fruits of my labor available to the public.

So, if you were a Kickstarter contributor, or just a fan of my animation, please help spread the word through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, whatever - tell everyone to check out CHEATIN' - I think you'll fall in love with the film!

Thanks for your support!

--Bill Plympton