Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Christmas Gifts!

Hello, everyone, it's Christmas time!

And I have a great gift for you.  Two - count 'em - TWO Christmas cards.  One animated and the other is a storybook song by my son, Lucas.  I hope you enjoy them and thanks for checking out my stuff!

Have a great Holiday 2017!


A link to "No Snow for Christmas", with music by Maureen McElheron:
PW: snowballfight16

And the animated version of this year's Christmas card:

Monday, December 11, 2017

Don Hertzfeldt in NYC

I remember, some time in the 1990's, discovering a crazy little stick-figure film called "Billy's Balloon", one of the funniest shorts I'd ever seen.  Then a little later, I met the animator, Don Hertzfeldt, at one of the Spike & Mike shows in California - he looked like a young Johnny Depp.

Apparently, he was a fan of my short films that were also being shown in the Spike & Mike festivals - so we were mutual admirers.  By then, Don had a string of hits - "Ah L'Amour" in 1995, "Genre" in 1996, and "Lily and Jim" in 1997, in addition to "Billy's Balloon".  Then came his Oscar-nominated short "Rejected", which is of course a classic.  This buddy of mine, Gabe Levinson, decided to put together a collective screening of our shorts, called "The Don & Bill Show", which started in Austin and then screened all over the country, it was a big success.

In Austin, Mike Judge (of "Beavis & Butt-Head" fame) asked me to introduce him to Don, which resulted in them producing the glorious "Animation Show", which was a huge hit for a number of years.  I remember we had a booth in San Diego Comic-Con to promote "The Animation Show" and whenever Mike stopped by, a crowd of autograph seekers would ensue. 

Don's from Santa Barbara, but now lives and makes his films in Austin, TX, and he's moved on from the classic animation stand and shooting on film to digital animation production.  And last week he came to town to show his new short, "World of Tomorrow Episode Two".  I got tickets for a show at the IFC Theater as soon as I could. 

When I arrived at the IFC for his show, there was a 2-block long line of people, waiting patiently in the rain for Don's show.  His fans are very dedicated.  Then I found out that my tickets were being held under the name "Bill Clinton", so either someone misheard the reservation, or I got the tickets that belonged to the ex-President.  I wonder if anyone at the theater was expecting the Secret Service to show up and check the place out. 

But will they play "Hail to the Chief" when I walk into the theater?
One of the interesting things about Don is that he doesn't do commercials.  He says he's too slow, so he turns them all down.  Then the ad agencies end up contacting someone who can imitate his style.  I, on the other hand, rarely turn down commercials.  I like doing them and I love the money, it helps keep my studio running. 

Don, in fact, doesn't need the work.  His films sell so well on DVD, TV, internet and in the cinemas that he gets enough money without selling his soul. When I lecture about being an independent animator, and I talk about how it's possible to make money and still stay independent, Don is one of the shining examples of successful indie filmmakers.  What else can I say, he's like a rock star.

out for drinks after with Don, Gabe, Wendy et al.
If you haven't seen his films, please check them out, they'll blow your mind. 

See you next time,