Friday, December 20, 2019

Two Big Deals

I've got two very exciting announcements to make - so get ready, fasten your seat belts!

The long-awaited DVD collection of "The Simpsons" season 19 has just been released by Fox Entertainment.  Unfortunately, they chose not to put my artwork on the front and back cover, they decided to go with their staff artists for that.  However, everywhere else - inside the package - is Bill Plympton art!  There's an inside fold-out with 10 panels, an illustrated booklet, plus original animation for all the disc menus, guides and intros.  All of these have true, new, Plympton art!  There's a "family road trip" theme to the art, and I feel very honored to be involved with this DVD collection, especially since I didn't start animating any "couch gags" for the show until Season 23!

The producers over at "The Simpsons" hinted that this may be the last set of DVDs released this way, now that all the old episodes of the show are streaming on Disney Plus.  So it may behoove you to go out and get this co-production of Matt Groening and Bill Plympton before it sells out - and if you see me at any event, please ask me to sign this DVD set.  Then it may REALLY be collectible.

The other big deal is a new book put out by CRC Press called "On Animation: The Director's Perspective - Interviews with the Most Talented Directors in Animation".  About five years ago, Ron Diamond, Bill Kroyer and Tom Sito began conducting interviews with some of the biggest hot-shots in animation, including me!  But also giants like John Musker, Ron Clements, Andrew Stanton, Brenda Chapman, Nick Park, Tomm Moore and Chris Wedge.

I haven't finished reading the book yet - but each chapter is full of gems of animation knowledge and gossip.  For me, the most exciting thing is hearing about John Lasseter's travails at Disney, then the astounding success of Pixar that totally revolutionized animated feature films.  I was spellbound to hear about his unique ideas and challenges to change the world of animation.

One curious side note is the fact that all of these animators have strikingly similar stories to tell.  They all grew up in woebegone areas in the middle of nowhere, loving Disney animation, hoping to one day work for Disney.  A lot of them, like myself, bought and were influenced by the Bob Thomas 1950's era book "Art of Animation" about Disney, and of course, the great book "Animation" by Preston Blair, one of the great animators.  I actually met him in his house in Carmel, just before he died - one of my favorite meetings.

But if you have any interest in animation or filmmaking, this book is so illuminating and inspiring. After reading it, you can't help but want to run out and make an animated film.

I give both of these products my A+ recommendation.

Happy holidays and a Merry Christmas!

--Bill P.

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