Friday, February 19, 2016

Trip to L.A. and Santa Barbara

A couple of events were set to occur in L.A. and they seemed to coincide, so I decided to make the trip out to the West Coast and also catch up with some friends.  My office manager straightened out my frequent flyer accounts and came up with a bunch of miles, so he got me a free plane fare there and back. 

One event was the screening of "The Loneliest Stoplight" at the Santa Barbara Film Festival.  I've heard great things about this festival over the years - since it's essentially the last big festival before the Oscars, and close to L.A., a lot of Hollywood celebrities appear there to promote their projects.

They put me up in the luxurious Fess Parker hotel on the beach - I thought I'd take a nice swim in the ocean, just across the street from my hotel and as I was basking in the 90-degree sun, feeling the good California paradise vibe, for some reason a lunatic on a bike started swearing at me, then threatened me.  Whoa!  That was weird - did this guy follow me from NYC?  He seemed so out of place in such a mellow environment.  I had to run back to my room to escape from this psycho!

Tuesday night (Feb. 9) was the first screening of my film in the shorts program.  There was a packed audience, but what I hadn't realized was that Santa Barbara is basically a retirement village, like Palm Springs.  So my audience consisted mostly of older folks, definitely not my kind of crowd.  But since my newest short is probably the most innocent of all my movies, it got a good reaction. 

Earlier that afternoon, I had met with the "Simpsons" creative crew at Sony Studios to do a sound edit on my latest couch gag for the long-running animated series.  Of course, they were very professional and had the job done in one hour, leaving me plenty of time to drive to Santa Barbara.  I love that.

                                       Showing Jim Lujan the new "couch gag" for a certain
                                           FOX animated series.  OK, it's "The Simpsons". 

The new gag is about some hanky-panky between a couch and the TV - you can see it on FOX possibly as early as March 6 - so check it out! 

It was a bit of a weird trip, because I started in L.A. and then drove up to Santa Barbara, then back to L.A.  And the festival only covered one night of hotel, so I stayed in four different hotel rooms in four days, my office manager nearly went crazy setting all that up. 

                                            With Rick Farmiloe and Christi Haydon in L.A.

When I got back to L.A. I hung out with my buddies Rick Farmiloe, PES, Sarah Phelps, Biljana Labovic (my old producer) and then I had a session with the great Jim Lujan to go through a very rough cut of "Revengeance".  We're now in a fun part of the process - sound, music, voices, coloring and animation are all coming together, and we're starting to get a sense of how the film is going to look.  It's so exciting - and soon you'll be able to check it out.

                                           With Jim Lujan and Ken Mora in old-school B&W

                                                  With PES on the beach in Santa Monica

                                                   With Biljana Labovic and Sarah Phelps

--Bill Plympton

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