Friday, June 30, 2017

Animation School successes

As most of you know, over the winter months I held a semester of the Bill Plympton School of Animation - and already we've received word of success from two of the students -

Shawy, a student from France, just found out that his short film "Giftaway", made as a school assignment was accepted into the glamorous Oaxaca Film Festival in Mexico -

And then, I just found out that another of my students, Brian Giovanni, who made an excellent short called "When Comes the Rain" just got it accepted into the Animation Block Party, which is a very important festival here in NYC. 

Now, I wish I could say that their success is solely a result of my brilliant teaching - however, both of these students are also excellent artists and storytellers before taking my class, and I'm just happy that I was able to guide their wonderful talents to such success.

I've seen work from a number of the other students and I feel that there will be more festival success stories to come - and hopefully we'll be releasing a compilation of the excellent work from these students on DVD - so watch for it! 

--Bill P.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Cars 3

As most of you know, I have a young son, Lucas, he's now 4 1/2 and beginning to draw a lot.  And what does he love to draw?  Cars, all day long - cars.

Plus, he watches "Cars" a lot on his iPad, so I figured this would be the perfect time for him to enjoy the new Pixar feature film, "Cars 3". 

We went to my local multiplex, loaded up on popcorn, Coke and hot dogs, and settled into our La-Z-Boy leather chairs to enjoy the film.  It was preceded by the new Pixar short, "Lou", directed by Dave Mullins - it's a crudely animated look at articles in a "lost and found" box getting revenge on a schoolyard bully.  Very ho-hum.

"Cars 3" the feature started off with a bang, as Lightning McQueen loses his mojo, and the race, and has serious identity problems.  From then on, the film goes downhill - too much talking and psycho-analyzing.  So after Lucas finished his hot dog and popcorn, he was ready to go home.  For both me and Lucas, the best part was the demolition derby that Lightning gets stuck in, where he is chased by a demonic fire-breathing school bus.  That was hilarious.

Lucas and I both give "Cars 3" a low C- grade.  But who cares, the film will drive a new generation of boys to buy more "Cars" merch - and it will probably make a billion dollars.

--Bill P.

Friday, June 23, 2017

San Diego Comic-Con 2017

It's hard to believe another year has passed, and we're getting ready again for Comic-Con in San Diego.  This year we've got three exciting events taking place that I can't wait to tell you about...

First off, my new animated short "Cop Dog" is going to screen as part of the Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival (CCIIFF).  This will be on Thursday, July 20, at 4:30 pm in Grand Ballroom 3&4 at the San Diego Marriott Marquis, 333 W. Harbor Drive, which is right next to the convention center (closest to Hall A).  I'll be there to do a quick introduction for the film, which is (believe it or not) the FIFTH film in my very popular "Dog" series.

Then on Friday, July 21 at 5 pm, Jim Lujan and I will have a panel in Room 25ABC (on the upper floor) at the convention center.  We'll show some of my new shorts, like "No Snow for Christmas", a clip from "Revengeance" and "Modern Lives", one of the new music videos I've been working on for Jackie Greene.  Jim will moderate the panel and we'll take questions from the audience and have a fun time, and if the audience is really good, I may show the first look at the next animated feature I want to make....and everyone who comes to the panel will get a free sketch from me.

(Please note: the Panel schedule is not posted yet.  Panels will post confirmed times about 2 weeks before the convention.  So this information is slightly subject to change...)  

And on Friday night, 7/21 at 10:35 pm, we're going to screen the full film of "Revengeance", this will be the first non-film festival screening in the U.S.!  This is going to take place in Grand Ballroom 8 at the San Diego Marriott Marquis, 333 W. Harbor Dr. and admission is going to be FREE for anyone with a Comic-Con badge - WOW, that's huge!  The seating is limited, so to all my fans going to Comic-Con, I recommend that on Friday evening, when the main show floor shuts down, go out and have a quick dinner, but come back to the Marriott Marquis in time to see "Revengeance".  Come on, stay out a little late, treat yourself to a free screening, you deserve it!  You can sleep when the convention is over, right?
Now, most of the rest of the time I'll be hanging out in my Booth, which is #1537 - look for us in the 1500 aisle, which we call "Animation Alley" (I wish SDCC would call it that, too...) because you can usually find ASIFA-Hollywood, Animation Magazine and Spike & Mike's booth nearby.

While I'm at the booth, I will be doing caricatures for my fans - they've become very popular in the last few years.  It seems everyone wants to see what they would look like if they were one of my cartoons!  As long as I'm there and I have the time, and I don't run out of paper, I can draw you too!

If you're coming from the south side, where the concession stands are, this is how to find our booth:

Yes, the show floor really does look that crazy.  This event becomes more of a madhouse every year, but that's all part of the fun.  I'll have Sandrine and Lucas with me, and my office manager John, who's a veteran at running the booth by now, and you just never know who's going to stop by my booth, so please come visit and check out the stars! 

I know that if you go to Comic-Con, there are so many things to do - panels, screenings, parties - but please make some time to come out and see "Revengeance" if you can!  I promise you will have a great time!

--Bill Plympton

Friday, June 16, 2017

Jackie Greene videos

Jackie Greene is this fantastic blues-rock musician, who I met through my cousin in Sacramento - and he's hired me to animate 6 music videos, plus a wrap-around story.  It's a huge job, but fortunately I love Jackie's music -

I get a lot of musicians contacting me about doing music videos, and usually I don't like the music (electronic, pop, rap, etc.) but Jackie's music is right up my alley. 

I want to animate each video with a different technique, so there will be a lot of variety in the styles and storytelling.  I asked Jackie how he wanted me to draw the animation, and he said, "Do whatever you want - the more far-out the better!"  Wow, that's what an artist loves to hear! 

So I'm going to show you a few of the drawings from two of the videos I'm working on now - "Modern Lives" and "Good Advice" (a classic song from Willie Dixon, the blues great). 

From "Modern Lives": 

 And from "Good Advice" (still in the rough-cut stage):

Also, I want to give everyone the great news and a heads-up.  I'll be in San Diego again for the big Comic-Con, July 20-24.  My booth number will be 1537 (same space as the last few years) and in just a couple days, we'll publish my events and schedule here.  Come by and get a free sketch from me and Jim Lujan.   I hope to see you all there -

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Fantaspoa Festival, Brazil

I've been going down to Brazil for over twenty years - the first time was for the wonderful Anima Mundi Festival that takes place in both Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.  Then, just last year I did a two-city tour with an exhibition and collection of my shorts and features.

But when I got an invitation for a festival called Fantaspoa, I mistakenly assumed it was connected to the Fantasporto Festival, which is in Portugal.  After accepting the invitation, I came to realize it was in Porto Alegre, Brazil.  Then I thought, "Wow, that's not so bad, Brazil is one of my favorite places!"

So off I went to Porto Alegre, a cowboy town of 2 million, located in the Pampas, with gauchos and country music, and great churrascarias - yee haw!

The festival is wonderfully run by Joao Fleck and Nicolas Tonsho, and I came to discover it's a horror and sci-fi festival (I should have guessed by the "Fanta" part of the name "Fantaspoa")  No matter what the title is, the films were fantastic: "Dave Made a Maze" by Bill Watterson (not the cartoonist of "Calvin and Hobbes" fame) "Game of Death" by Sebastien Landry + Laurence Morais-Lagace from Montreal, "Prevenge" by Alice Lowe and "Tragedy Girls" by Tyler MacIntyre.  They were all great films!

They also screened both "Revengeance" and "I Married a Strange Person" to packed audiences.  Plus I held a Master Class that was so crowded they had to turn away dozens of my fans - so drove all the way from Uruguay (a 4-hour drive) to see me!  Very tragic.  They also presented me with a great prize for career achievement.

Unfortunately, I was so busy showing and watching films that I didn't get a chance to visit the city - so I guess I'll have to go back next year.  If you have a short or a feature that's along the lines of horror, sci-fi or fantasy, definitely send it to Fantaspoa in Brazil - and if you get a chance to go there, definitely "Vamos" - I give the festival a B+.

--Bill P.

                                                      The festival director's great t-shirt!