Friday, February 10, 2017

Annie Awards 2017

Wow! What a great event!  The Annies were so cool!  I got there early so I didn't miss anyone - although, as always, there were some people I missed.

I arrived at the Royce Hall with Khorvash, who was one of my artists and was looking forward to making some industry connections, because she wants to move to L.A. for job opportunities.

At the opening reception, we talked to Jerry Beck, animation historian and president of ASIFA-Hollywood.  He's also hosting animation specials on Turner Classic Movies.  We got to chat with Henry Selick of "Nightmare Before Christmas" and "Coraline" fame.  We both got our start at MTV - he's working on a new feature film.  I also got to say hello to Ron Clements and John Musker of "Little Mermaid" and "Moana" fame - it seems they love stories about girls and water.

                                                                  Me with Jerry Beck

                                                                  with Henry Selick

I chatted with legendary animator Caroline Leaf - when I was just starting out in animation, she was riding high with "The Street" and "Two Sisters".  She was there to receive the Winsor McCay Award for lifetime career achievement.

                                                                  with Caroline Leaf

I met up with J.J. Sedelmaier, who was the producer of the Ford commercial I directed, "The Importance of Paying Attention: Teeth", which was nominated for the Annie Award for best broadcast commercial.

I also saw my old buddy, Ralph Eggleston from Pixar, the creator of the Oscar-winning short "For the Birds".  He's now working on Brad Bird's next feature.

                     with John Hays, J.J. Sedelmaier (2nd from left) and Ralph Eggleston (far right)

After a lot of drinks and hors d'oeuvres, we filed into Royce Hall for the presentation of the prizes.  One of the surprise presenters was Kobe Bryant, the great Lakers basketball star.  He took the stage with another star, Glen Keane, animator par excellence.  They were quite good together - they should have their own TV reality show.

The awards were fairly predictable - "Piper", the Pixar short, won and also "Zootopia", the billion-dollar box office champ won Best Feature, among other prizes.  We then all retired to the buffet dinner to chat and have more drinks.

I hung out with my buddies from "The Simpsons", Matt Groening and David Silverman.  I also got to chat with my old friend, Michael Dudok de Wit, maker of the Oscar-winning short "Father and Daughter" and the Oscar-nominated feature "The Red Turtle".  We both started out in the animation business in the mid-80's, and I'm so happy to see his great success using 2-D animation.

                                                         with David Silverman (far right)

                                                          with Michael Dudok de Wit

As the evening wound down, I was also able to talk to Jan Pinkava and Glen Keane about perhaps doing some work for Google, which would be so much fun.  Glen had a great success with "Duet" on Google.

                                                                   with Jan Pinkava

                                                                     with Glen Keane

I know this blog sounds like a lot of animation name-dropping, but all these people I mentioned are my heroes, and coming from New York, I'm very jealous of the great success these people are having.  So I'm hoping to learn the path to animation success from them.

                                                  with Rick Farmiloe and Christi Haydon

By the way, be sure to check out another New York animator, Signe Baumane, and her Kickstarter campaign.  She needs your help to make her next feature, please visit


Bill Plympton

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