Friday, March 27, 2020

Virus update / new music video coming

Because of the Covid/corona virus, I find myself stretched thin economically - I've got three huge jobs on the horizon, but because many other offices are shut down, that horizon seems to be getting farther away. 

The weird thing is that the virus has stopped all live-action motion picture production - so it would seem like a good time for animators, because many of us can do our drawings from the safety of our homes.  So, one fortunate thing during this pandemic is that I've been able to get a lot of work done on my next feature, "Slide".  Maybe it's odd to look for a silver lining in these dark days of a health scourge, I don't know.

One job I'm very excited about is a music video I'm animating for saxophonist Jeff Pearring - the track is a bit different from the other music videos I've made, no country/western, instead it's full-out experimental jazz.  But what's really interesting to me is the opportunity to get really dreamlike and almost abstract with water-colors.  Although it still looks Plympton-esque, it's also going to be very crazy and surreal.

It should come out in a few months, I really don't know the title yet, but I'll certainly let you know when I find out. 

Here's my gag cartoon for the week - very appropriate for shut-in New Yorkers like me.


Bill P.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Short films streaming on Shout Factory!

Hello, everyone, I hope that wherever you are, you're coping as best you can with this terrible virus that is spreading across the world.  As you may know, my animation studio is in New York City, which has quickly become the new epicenter for the crisis.  I am still drawing in my studio, as we have a number of animation projects in different stages of production, but my producer and office manager are now working from home, and we're trying our best to follow the new rules about staying isolated from each other and maintaining "social distancing".  It's funny, New York City has long had a reputation for putting a large number of people close together, and sometimes that's caused a lot of friction - and now after the corona virus hit, they're telling us that we all have to separate ourselves, which is not easy to do in such a big city.

If you remember, back in early March I was supposed to go to Paris, on a trip I was very excited about, and it got cancelled because of the effects of the virus in France. Shortly after that we started to see film festivals in the U.S. being cancelled, and of course now all movie theaters are closed and even bars and restaurants because it's dangerous to have people gathering everywhere.  The whole entertainment industry is being rocked, because it relies on people going out and getting together, watching concerts and movies in a shared experience. 

I heard that a lot of movies are now going to be on streaming platforms much quicker than before, so while we all deal with this crisis and enforced isolation as best as we can, I wanted to let everyone know that my short film library is now streaming via Shout Factory, and you can check my animation out on their web-site at:

Shout Factory has been really great, I signed a distribution deal with them last year, and first they put all of my features on the big streaming platforms, like Amazon, Google Play and Apple TV+.  I had been trying for years to break into those markets, but I only managed to get one feature ("Cheatin'") on Netflix, and that was just for a limited time.  So I really want to thank Shout Factory for getting my library out there in the digital world for the first time. 

I just found out that my short films are also streaming now, thanks to this article from SVA that lists a bunch of other things to binge-watch while you're quarantined at home.  So if you've already seen my short films, and you're looking for more ways to pass the time, give these a try!

I hope everyone stays safe and healthy, and remember, it's important to stay entertained too! 

--Bill P. 

Friday, March 6, 2020

My trip to North Carolina, "Slide" music

I've just returned from my planned week-long trip to North Carolina, and then Paris - except Paris never happened!  The French government apparently ordered a ban on public gatherings in enclosed spaces to stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus, so my big weekend doing a Master Class in Paris was cancelled - damn!  Because I love Paris and I know I have a lot of fans there.

However, my show in Asheville, North Carolina was a big success, with a lot of fans from UNC.  During the day I was able to create 8 songs for my new animated feature, "Slide", with two musical geniuses, Maureen McElheron ("Your Face", "The Tune") and Hank Bones ("Hair High").  To me, this is one of the most rewarding and enjoyable parts of filmmaking, hearing the music come together, and then putting it together with the finished animation just blows my mind.  What you'ree see in the video posted here is a very rough cut of "Slide" with Maureen and Hank creating the music as it plays.

When I came up with the concept for "Slide", my idea was to make a cowboy musical, using old Hank Williams and Patsy Cline's kind of music.  Obviously, I can't afford the rights to their songs, so I brought in Hank and Maureen, who are, again, musical geniuses.  When I start putting their music with the rough animation, it helps so much to define the film for me.

I hope you enjoy seeing this film coming together as much as I do -

Thanks and Ciao,

Bill P.