Monday, July 15, 2019

Shout! Factory deal

I've been in the animation business for almost 40 years - and I've had mixed success during those years.  I've won a bunch of awards and received worldwide attention, yet I've never been able to get one of my feature films to break out - in other words, it's hard for my films to get great distribution.

"The Tune" got a theatrical release in 1992 and it's only been recently, through DVD sales, that I've been able to break even with it.  In 1998 my film "I Married a Strange Person" was picked up and distributed by Lions Gate, and I actually got a large advance check - but the film never made a profit.
Later on, my film "Cheatin'" had a limited theatrical release and sold well on Netflix, but that film still never broke even.

All the rest of my features have struggled to get released or make a lot of money (however, my shorts usually break even or do better.)    So that's three feature films out of seven that were halfway successful.  My big problem is that I'm a New York independent animator, and I just don't have many connections with distributors, lawyers, agents, executives with the "juice", power-brokers, or influential Hollywood moguls.  It's just me against the industry.

But I'm not really complaining, because I love the whole process of making films - and I'd continue just for the pure pleasure of it.

Now, though, I think I have a chance to break out of this indie animation ghetto I'm in.  Thanks to my agent, Catherine Branscome, I've just signed a deal with Shout Factory to handle my entire library - seven animated features and over 50 shorts.  It's their vision to sell my stuff all over North America, and get it on as many platforms as possible, which will be good for them and good for me.

For too long, I've dwelled in the bosom of obscurity in the U.S. (although I must admit that in Europe, I'm a lot more famous...).  This is very important for my films and for my career.  I believe that the body of work that I've completed in the last 40 years has some amazing humor, stories and drawings, and hopefully, thanks to Shout Factory, more people can now have access to this great catalogue.

As as all of you are aware, right now there is an explosion of platforms to view animation: Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO Go, etc. and they are all demanding product.  I remember in the days of video stores, the best ones usually had different shelves for different genres of films, and there would often be an animation section, and sometimes there would even be a Bill Plympton section, which I was always happy to see.

So now I'd love to see a Bill Plympton section on some platform like Netflix or Amazon - and I hope that Shout Factory can be the facilitator for that.  I've got some links here where you can read more about my deal with Shout Factory:

Now, here's my cartoon for the week:

--Bill P.

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