Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Updates

I'd like to tell you all about what's happening at the Plymptoons Studio.  I'm frantically trying to get the work done on "Slide". As you probably know, I'm finished with drawing all of the animation - and I'm very happy with it.  It looks very different and very close to my illustration style, pen and ink with water color on top.  So now I'm editing a rough cut - putting all my composited shots together - what fun!

But, as I do that, I realize how much more work needs to be done.  There are gaps in the animation that need to be filled, and the storytelling needs more attention.  And when the rough cut is done, then I'll need to add the voices.  I'm having Maureen McElheron, Tom Racine and the epic Jim Lujan create 90% of the voices.  Then I must finish the coloring.  It's a hell of a lot of work but it looks so good!  

Then I'll move on to the music by Maureen McElheron, with the guitar wizardry of Hank Bones.  I'm looking for a Hank Williams sort of sound - and then, finally, the special FX and final edit.  The goal is to finish it by March 2023 but the big problem is, because of the COVID pandemic, I lost a lot of work (movie screenings, film festivals, lecture appearances and such) so my studio is bare bones, with the great assistance of interns (God bless them). 

But, luckily, we sent out word that I'm offering my older animation artwork for sale.  I'm also running out of room in my tiny studio, so it makes sense to sell as much art as possible - I have to make room for storing all the "Slide" artwork.  Fortunately, we found out that there are a lot of collectors of Plympton artwork out there (YEAH!) and so my office manager has been putting in extra hours posting about the sale on Facebook and Instagram, and dealing with all of the requests to buy specific images from my films.  The money that's been coming in from these sales has been financing the post-production of "Slide" and keeping the studio's bills paid, so if you want to buy some art from "Your Face", "How to Kiss", "25 Ways to Quit Smoking", "The Tune" or my couch gags for "The Simpsons", now's the time to check out our sale or get in touch with us by e-mail.  

Speaking of "The Simpsons", my brand new couch-gag for them will be premiering this coming Sunday, October 2, it's pretty crazy so please check it out.  It's called "The Rug" - and I want to thank everybody at the Simpsons, Matt and Al and Tom, for letting me put my crazy animation on national TV. 

Also, I've got a short animated music video in the Woodstock Film Festival this weekend, it's called "Lipstick of the Brave", the song is by Tripping Jupiter, and this music video has been getting some attention on the festival circuit lately, because it references David Bowie and Tim Curry and Marc Bolan and other LGBTQ icons, so if you can get to the Woodstock Festival for the animation screening, please check it out!  My co-blogger Pat Smith also has a film in the program, and Signe Baumane will be showing her 2nd feature, "My Love Affair With Marriage" at the Woodstock Festival, which runs September 28 to October 2.

https://woodstockfilmfestival.org/

Also, remember that I'll be appearing in Artists Alley, Table H-05, at the New York Comic-Con, offering my original animation artwork for sale.  That runs October 6-9 at the Javits Convention Center in NYC.

https://www.newyorkcomiccon.com/

Final thing, last week I took my 10-year-old son, Lucas to see "Luck", John Lasseter's new production from Skydance Animation.  It's directed by Peggy Holmes, who oddly comes from a dance background.  It's not really my kind of film, it's geared for the kiddie audience - But my real problem with it was that 90% of it takes place in the magical world of good luck & bad luck, and trying to understand how luck works there was so complicated, I thought my brain would blow up. I truly expected something better from the great John Lasseter, who I usually rank in the pantheon of animation geniuses: Winsor McCay, Walt Disney, Tex Avery and Chuck Jones.  

--Bill Plympton

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Back from Oregon and Upcoming Events

 Dear Scribble Junkies fans, 

It's been a while since I posted, sorry about that.  In the hot summer I tend to slow down a bit.  In any case, summer's almost over and fall's coming, so there's a lot to report on.

The production of "Slide" is coming along very well.  I'm extremely happy with the finished artwork (see examples below) and the animation (drawing) is done.  I just watched a rough cut and I think it's a great movie.  But I still need to record voices, add sound and music.  We're shooting for a completion date in March 2023.







I just got back from Oregon, where I did a Q&A at the premiere of "Claydream", a new documentary about Will Vinton, the legendary Oregon claymation mogul.  It's really a wonderful and fair documentary about his career in animation, and there's a wonderful cameo from Phil Knight and his son Travis, the head of Laika Studios.  So watch for the film in your local theaters.  

Here are a few events coming up that I want to promote:

I'll be making an appearance at the fantastic Martha's Vineyard International Film Festival, Sept. 10 in Vineyard Haven.  Daniel Leonard, the writer of "Demi's Panic" and I will be there to do a Q&A with the animation program, screening at the Martha's Vineyard Cinema at 4 pm.                         

Then, the following weekend, September 17 + 18, we're throwing a mega Open House Party and Animation Art sale at my studio, 151 West 30th St., 4th Floor, from 10 am to 4 pm, here in Manhattan. I'll be there signing cool stuff - we're selling all my animation art, DVD's, everything - and if you buy anything you get a free poster.  So please come by, say hello, it should be a blast.  Please spread the word among the animation community!

And then in October, the New York Comic Con is roaring back, bigger and better.  I'll have a table somewhere in Artists Alley, so be sure and stop by for a free sketch, at least.  It's October 6 to 9 at the Jacob Javits Center in NY, NY.  See you there!

--Bill Plympton

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Upcoming Studio Art Sale and two film reviews

I've got two film reviews and a major announcement to cover today - 

If you saw my review of "Cryptozoo" you probably remember I voted it the worst animated feature of the year.  Well, now I believe it's got stiff competition.  I just saw "Marcel the Shell with Shoes On" at an Academy screening and apparently the producers have hopes for an Oscar.

As I was watching this technically pretty film, I was wondering,"How the hell did they get the money to make this piece of crap?" It's about a talking sea shell (with a very ugly design) who lives in an empty house and he talks about his mundane life.  The only event in the film worth mentioning is when Lesley Stahl visits to interview Marcel for "60 Minutes". 

Who would invest money is a script like that?  I was fuming, why can't I get money to make my films?  Is Lesley Stahl a big investor?  Is there a huge body of snail fan backers?  Then, after talking to people I found out that apparently Marcel began as a star on the internet with a huge fan base and the investors figured "It's a ready-made audience."  

In any case, apparently it's doing well in the cinemas and has already made a million bucks!!  Imagine that?  My next film will be called "Snail's Face".  I give it a D-

The other film I watched was "The Gray Man" directed by Anthony and Joe Russo.  And it was a gas!! The story has Ryan Gosling's character being recruited from prison to be a U.S. Special Ops hitman who has morals. However, another branch of the Special Ops needs a pendant (McGuffin) that Ryan has, so they send an immoral hitman, played by Chris Evans, with an unlimited budget to retrieve the pendant any way possible.  

What's really unique about this film is that there's so much crazy surreal action.  These set-piece battles are like mini-features that build and build and climax in glorious and surprising ways.  I would guess there is about ten times the action of a James Bond or "Mission: Impossible" film.  It was interesting that the Russo Brothers showed up for a Q&A after the screening and they talked about what fans they are of Hollywood action films and how they were influenced by their predecessors.  I give "The Gray Man" an A.

The last bit of news I want to talk about is a Studio Art Sale I'm having in September to offer a lot of my artwork and merchandise for sale.  This will include art from my classic shorts "How to Kiss", "25 Ways to Quit Smoking", "Guard Dog" and "Your Face", plus original art from my features, from "The Tune" to "Revengeance".  I haven't done this for a few years, but now that my work is a big hit at auction houses I feel like it's time for me to cash in on the many fans I have.  More details will be posted here soon, but we're shooting for the weekend of September 17-18 at my studio in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan.  

I hope to see you there - I have to warn you though, I'll probably have Matt Groening and Steven Spielberg on the phone. 

--Bill P

Friday, July 1, 2022

Film reviews - "Lightyear" and "The Sea Beast"

I've been able to see a couple of films recently, despite my busy deadline schedule.  Both of these films were preview screenings, in order to get some buzz going - so, I took my son, Lucas, with me, and we got free soda and popcorn!

The first film was "Lightyear", from Pixar/Disney, directed by Angus MacLane.  It's the back-story for Buzz Lightyear (from "Toy Story") and his adventures as a young space commander.  It measured up to Pixar's beautiful visual standards - but the film took place over many years, and for me, that took away a lot of the potential in-the-moment excitement. 

The only character I really loved was the cat robot - he was kind of a synthesis of R2D2 and C3P0.  In a film without much humor, he added a lot of laughs, which I appreciated. 

But my big problem with the film was at the end, it got very confusing as to what was going on, there were so many rules and characters that my brain kind of shut down and I just watched the visuals - which were very nice. 

I give "Lightyear" a B-minus.

The next film I watched with my son - to get a little children's perspective - was "The Sea Beast", directed by Chris Williams ("Moana", "Big Hero 6", "Bolt).  Immediately at the beginning of this film, I could feel that this was something very different from your usual Pixar/Marvel-type movie. 

The visuals are exquisite.  I saw elements of Herman Melville and N.C. Wyeth, and characters straight out of an Errol Flynn film from the 1930's and I was hooked.  The action and battle sequences were fantastic - and the point of the film was very meaningful.  I'm sorry, I'm going to give away the ending - but the monster is really a hero and everybody sings "Kumbaya" at the end.  

The hint at the beginning that the beast is really a good guy was that the design of the monster fish was way too cutesy and pink.  That was not a scary monster. But, nevertheless, I loved this film and my son kept yelling throughout the film, "I love it!"  

So I'll give "The Sea Beast" an A. 

If you're looking for some more movies to watch on this long holiday weekend, I just found out that 
"Adventures in Plymptoons", a documentary that was made about me back in 2011 is available on Tubi for FREE.  It was directed by a friend of mine, Alexsiya, and it's really a fun watch, but you didn't hear that from me...

Here's the link:

https://tubitv.com/movies/169474/adventures-in-plymptoons

My distributor, the wonderful Shout Factory, has also made most of my animated features available on Tubi, and they're also FREE, so if you've got some extra time this weekend after the BBQ and the fireworks, you can make a whole movie marathon out of it!  





"The Tune"

https://tubitv.com/movies/506244/the-tune





"I Married a Strange Person"

https://tubitv.com/movies/506258/i-married-a-strange-person





"Mutant Aliens"

https://tubitv.com/movies/506254/mutant-aliens





"Hair High"

https://tubitv.com/movies/506256/hair-high





"Idiots & Angels"

https://tubitv.com/movies/506255/idiots-angels






"Cheatin'"

https://tubitv.com/movies/506265/cheatin





"Revengeance" (co-directed with Jim Lujan)

https://tubitv.com/movies/506250/revengeance







Well, I guess you don't have to ask me what my new favorite streaming service is... (It's Tubi.). My thanks to Tubi and Shout Factory for making all of these films available for FREE!  I think you have to watch a few ads, but so what?  You could watch all my features in a day, instead of waiting for the DVDs to arrive in the mail!  But if you still like DVDs, too, which is OK, I sell them on my web-site...

Boy, when did the Fourth of July get so commercialized?  Anyway, if you can't make it to the movie theater this weekend, I've given you another great option!  

--Bill Plympton

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Mendocino Film Festival, June 2-5

I've just returned from my exciting trip to Mendocino, CA - 

I was invited by the great Herb Stratford to do some programs at the Mendocino Film Festival, in this Northern California gem of a town, which was made famous by the classic 1969 hit by the Sir Douglas Quintet.  Also, it was the filming location of the famous 1950's James Dean movie, "East of Eden" (along with Salinas and Monterey).

But my first stop was in Sacramento, where two of my cousins were promoting their business, Nitty's Cider, by having a lively party at their tasting bar in downtown Sacramento.  Since I designed the company's logo, I was invited to do caricatures of all their guests.  They had a great lap-steel guitar band, which seemed very appropriate since that's the favored instrument of Slide, the main character in my upcoming animated feature, also named "Slide".  

By the way, their cider was delicious and next year, they'll name a cider for Yours Truly.  Yum yum!

The next day, I drove the winding narrow back roads, 200 miles to Mendocino.  It's a charming, historic, cookie-cutter town overlooking a cliff above the shark-infested Pacific Ocean below.  Herb put together a great list of films.  He also kept me busy, with an animation panel, a work-in-progress screening of clips from "Slide", a Master Class, and finally a screening of 10 of my favorite Plymptoons.  

I was lucky to stay at the Stanford Inn, a delightful hotel nestled in the forests of Mendocino.  I even got my own fireplace - lah-de-dah!

The opening night gala was terrific!  And even though I knew nobody there, and the weather sucked, it was all rain and fog - they had unlimited fresh oysters and wine, now THAT'S how to throw a party.  I eventually met a lot of people and fans, and had a great time there. 

Even though it was a crazy drive to get there - it was still worth the trip.  I love the Mendocino Film Festival!  

--Bill P.  

Friday, May 27, 2022

"Demi's Panic" in Boston, "Lipstick of the Brave" , Mendocino FF and Weird Al

Last weekend I was up in the Boston area, at the Regent Theatre in Arlington, MA.  Danny and Lorena Leonard of Rock Farm Productions, who wrote and produced "Demi's Panic", arranged a show to thank their Kickstarter backers, where we screened "Demi's Panic" and a curated selection of my other short films.  The extra tickets were available to the public - I introduced the shorts and then after we took questions about the making of "Demi's Panic" and we talked about how great it is to be back in theaters, doing live events again.  

Also, Danny announced that "Demi's Panic" is now playing on YouTube, on a channel called Omeleto.  So please, if you can, check the film out on YouTube and please post a message there about how much you liked it, or what you liked about it, that would really help us out.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pt2gDo1rLtQ

"Demi's Panic" won another award in May. while I was traveling - a Gold Remi award from the Worldfest in Houston, TX.  This means the film has won four awards now, including the First Place prize for animation at the USA Film Festival in Dallas.  

"Demi's Panic" will be playing at three more festivals in June - 

1) The Philadelphia Latino Film Festival, May 29 to June 5, in the "States of Reverie" shorts section of "Bloque Dos". For tickets and schedule please visit:

https://www.phlaff.org/festival/2022/film-guide/demis-panic

2) The New Media Film Festival in L.A., June 1-2, For schedule and tickets, please visit:

https://www.newmediafilmfestival.com/demis-panic/

3) The Southside Film Festival in Bethlehem, PA, June 14-18.  For tickets and schedule (coming soon), please visit: 

https://southsidefilmfestival.com/festival/tickets/

If you're near any of these cities, please check these festivals out!  

Speaking of festivals, this week a new music video from Tripping Jupiter played at the Big Apple Film Festival's spring edition here in New York, it's called "Lipstick of the Brave".  I animated it a few months ago, and it's just starting to get some festival appearances - I wasn't able to make it to the screening on Thursday, but I love the Big Apple Film Festival, "Demi's Panic" won an award there last year in their fall edition.  "Lipstick of the Brave" is a video that pays tribute to David Bowie, Lou Reed, Tim Curry, Lady Gaga and Marc Bolan and how inspirational they've been to music fans and the LGBTQ community.  If you want to catch "Lipstick of the Brave", please follow Tripping Jupiter on Twitter or Instagram for more news about screenings. 

And next week I'll be off to California, I'll make a stop in Sacramento and then drive up to the Mendocino Film Festival - on Saturday, June 4, I'll be on an Animation Panel in the Cafe Beaujolais Garden at 9:00 am, then I'll show clips from my upcoming feature "Slide" in Crown Hall at 10 am - then later on Saturday at 2 pm I'll host an animation Master Class in Preston Hall.  Finally, on Sunday June 5, a special screening of my classic animated Plymptoons shorts in the Festival Tent at 10:00 am.  If you find yourself in Northern California that weekend, I hope to see you there!  

https://mendocinofilmfestival.org/festival/artist-spotlight/

The news also broke this week about "The Illustrated Al" - this is going to be a large-format comic book - or perhaps "graphic novel" is a better term, because it's going to be GRAPHIC.  Z2 Comics is hiring a bunch of famous illustrators and cartoonists to interpret the lyrics to some of "Weird Al" Yankovic's greatest songs!  And I'm so excited to be part of the project, because I made two music videos for Al in the past, "Don't Download This Song" and "TMZ", and they were both so much fun to animate!  But this is going to take me back to my illustration roots, and the project is going to focus on Al's ORIGINAL songs, not the parody songs.  I think Al's out on tour right now, performing those same songs, on something called "The Unfortunate Return of the Ridiculously Self-Indulgent Ill-Advised Vanity Tour".  If you want to go see Weird Al on tour, and you KNOW you do, please visit:

https://www.weirdal.com/tour/

Oh, yeah, the illustration.  I don't think I can talk about which SONG I'll be illustrating, but I can't wait to get started on it.  (You know the one. No, not THAT one, the other one. Yeah, that's it.). I have to confess that my office manager helped me pick the song, because John H. is a huge Weird Al fan - I think maybe he only started working for me 28 years ago because he thought it might get him closer to Al.  It turned out he was right, because John got to go see Weird Al in concert at the Beacon Theater after I did those music videos, and he got his picture taken with Al, and really, he shows it to everybody and won't shut up about it.  He even left my booth at San Diego Comic-Con 2 hours EARLY one day in 2016 because Al was playing a concert up at SD State University.  I probably should have fired him for that. 

I'm getting off track again.  You can pre-order "The Illustrated Al" at the link below, in standard, deluxe or super-deluxe editions.  Super Deluxe editions will be HAND-SIGNED by Weird Al and come with a bunch of other cool goodies.  The cover art is by Drew Friedman, the foreword is by Emo Philips, and the other interior artists include Peter Bagge, Sam Viviano, Danny Hellman, Aaron Augenblick and more!  Order now at:

https://z2comics.com/products/weirdal

Sorry, no gag cartoon this week, I've been too busy drawing other projects while my staff is coloring and compositing scenes for "Slide".  But I hope everybody has a great Memorial Day weekend, get out there and enjoy some BBQ but watch out for monkeypox!  

--Bill P.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Anifilm, Czech Republic

Yeah! The film festivals are back in operation!  I'm starting to get invitations to far-flung festivals again, and that's very important to me for a number of reasons: I get to travel, I get to reconnect with my international animation friends plus I get income from screening fees and merchandise sales. 

The last time I was in the Czech Republic was years ago, when it was held in a cool spa town called Trebon.  This year, it was moved to a larger town, Terebec.  I stayed at an 18th century chateau - I felt like an Austrian prince without the sword.

The best part was hanging out with two of my best animation friends, Michaela Pavlatova, who was there with "My Sunny Maad" - a wonderful feature about emigrants in Afghanistan.  And then I got to hang out with my rock-star animator buddy, Hisko Hulsing - he's now the director of a smash Amazon hit, "Undone".  It's a very surreal drama using rotoscope in every frame - it's very cool!


If you're living in Northern California, I'll be making an appearance at the Mendocino International Film Festival from June 3 to June 5.  I'm doing a bunch of shows, one's a retrospective of my previous animated shorts and another one is a sneak peek at my upcoming feature "Slide", a country musical comedy along the lines of "Blazing Saddles". 

And I'm sorry if this is late notice, but I wanted to remind you again that this Sunday night, May 22, I'll be at the Regent Theatre in Arlington, Massachusetts for a special screening of the award-winning short film "Demi's Panic", written by Danny Leonard and produced by Danny and Lorena Leonard, preceded by a curated selection of my classic animated shorts.  It's going to be a fun film event with lots of guests - I hope you can all make it.  I'll do a free sketch (on a postcard) for everybody who attends, so buy a ticket now, there are still some available.

Again, it's the Regent Theatre, 7 Medford St., Arlington MA - Sunday, May 22 at 7 pm.  You can buy tickets at regenttheatre.com or use this link:

https://ci.ovationtix.com/36186/production/1120877?performanceId=11066006

Hope to see you there!  

--Bill P.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Thoughts on Ukraine and April/May events

 I can't believe April's half over already, and my schedule is really starting to fill up. I've been mostly isolated indoors for the past two years, just like everyone else, but now the travel restrictions and the mask mandates are getting lifted, and events are starting to happen again!  Last year I only went to New York Comic-Con and on one festival trip, to the Malaga Festival in Spain - and so far in 2022, I've only appeared at that sneak peek screening of "Slide" at SVA with co-presenter Signe Baumane.  (By the way, it looks like her film, "My Love Affair with Marriage", is going to screen in June at both the Annecy Animation Festival in France AND the Tribeca Festival here in New York.  That's incredible!  My congratulations go out to Signe and Sturgis and their team.  

Before I get to other events, I want to talk about the tragic war in Ukraine.  I must say, I've been to Ukraine and had a delightful time - and I was very impressed with the city of Kiev - or Kyiv, as they're now calling it - such a beautiful and warm city!  In any case, I have a wonderful solution for the current war situation.  If everyone in America who owns a few guns could just ship them over to the Ukraine and the heroic fighters there, the war could be over in just a matter of a few days.  Also, this would help cut down on the number of shootings in the U.S.  And yes, I'm available to go to Sweden to accept the Nobel Peace Prize.  

OK, now on to the April and May events.  First, I'm off to Brazil to make a new compilation of shorts featuring my "Guard Dog" character, who is really popular in Brazil for some reason.  The shorts will show him visiting Carnival celebrations around the country - they got delayed this year because of a COVID outbreak down there, but my sponsors say I should be able to attend some of the rescheduled Carnival events myself, which I'm really excited about.  So I'm leaving tomorrow, and I should be back in about two weeks.  

As soon as I get back in town, I'll be conducting an online talk with Signe Baumane for the Stuttgart International Festival of Animation, which runs from May 3 to May 8 as a hybrid event.  Our talk will be live-streamed on May 7, it's going to be a little like the show Signe and I did at SVA last month, where we'll each show clips from our upcoming animated features and also talk about film production, fundraising and life as independent animators trying to complete features during difficult times.  In addition, the Stuttgart Animation Festival will be screening/streaming one of my features, "Idiots and Angels", so please check that one out if you haven't seen it before!  

https://www.itfs.de/en/

Then, I'm flying to the Czech Republic, to attend a festival called Anifilm, where I will serve on the jury to award the prize for Best Animated Feature.  While I'm there, I'll also be presenting a Master Class drawing demonstration, and the festival will be showing one program of my classic short films, from "Your Face" and "25 Ways to Quit Smoking", "Guard Dog" and its four sequel films, up through "The Fan and the Flower" and "The Cow Who Wanted to Be a Hamburger".  Also, the Anifilm Festival will be screening TWO of my features, "I Married a Strange Person" and "Cheatin'"!  Wow, I may be too busy screening features on the jury to attend these screenings, but you can!  Check out the whole program at:   

https://www.anifilm.cz/en/

And the weekend after that, I'll be riding up to the Boston area for a special show in Arlington, MA where we're going to screen "Demi's Panic" for some of the Kickstarter backers who helped make the film happen - this will take place at the Regent Theatre, 7 Medford St. in Arlington - and after the backers get their tickets, then the remaining tickets will go on sale to the general public.  But you won't just get to see ONE Bill Plympton short, I'm putting a whole program of shorts together, in addition to "Demi's Panic", you'll get to see "Your Face", "Guard Dog", a couch gag from "The Simpsons", and a whole lot more!  Plus I'll introduce the films along with writer Danny Leonard and producer Lorena Hernandez Leonard from Rock Farm Productions, who made the whole thing happen!  This special screening will happen on May 22 at 7 pm - again, at the Regent Theatre in Arlington MA. 

You can buy tickets for the Arlington event at the Regent Theatre here:

https://ci.ovationtix.com/36186/production/1120877?performanceId=11066006

You'll also have time in May to catch "Demi's Panic" at a few other festivals around the world, like the Stuttgart International Festival of Animation, May 3 to May 8, where it's going to play in a special program called "Pandemic Animation" featuring films that were about or produced during the pandemic, the Philadelphia Latino Film Festival, May 29 to June 4, and the New Media Film Festival in Los Angeles, June 1 to June 2. 

And then I'll be appearing at the Mendocino Film Festival in California, June 2-5.  I'll also be doing two shows there, one program of my short films and also a Master Class, which will include short films like "Eat", "Santa the Fascist Years" and "Demi's Panic".  

https://mendocinofilmfestival.org/

I've posted a new "Making of" video for my upcoming feature, "Slide".  It's a clip of me coloring the backgrounds for the new film.  We are also coloring the film digitally, but I'm coloring keyframes for each scene so my new interns will know what color everything should be.  It's a lot of fun for me, and I want to do more "behind the scenes" videos that show examples of my animation method.  

I hope you can come out and see one of my shows in May or June!  

I've also included a new gag cartoon below - enjoy!

--Bill P.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Crazy Town

There's a lot going on, all of a sudden, so I'll start with the easy stuff.  Signe Baumane and I appeared at the SVA Theatre on March 23, the show was called "Secrets of Indie Animators Revealed" and we had a very good turn-out - my thanks to all of our fans who attended, and thanks to everyone for bringing their vaccination cards and wearing masks so we could all comply with the COVID rules that are being observed at the venue.  The theatre is run by the School of Visual Arts, so they haven't waived the mask rules like some other theaters have, they have to think about the health of the students, which was fine.  

Signe showed her trailer from "Rocks in My Pockets" and then a clip from her new feature, "My Love Affair with Marriage", and talked about how she ran a Kickstarter campaign to raise the initial funds for her feature, then applied for grants from arts organizations, and then found co-producers in Latvia and Luxembourg to help finance the completion of her feature.  She's been tirelessly working on this film for over six years, and it's very close to being done, so I'm very envious.  

Then I came on stage and I talked about my fund-raising process for "Slide", I also ran a Kickstarter campaign (with some of the same people working on it...) but then turned to other sources like making commercials, music videos and "Simpsons" couch gags to keep my studio running during production.  And of course, we've both been making our features during the pandemic, a time when most other film productions had to stop working.  I showed two new clips from "Slide" and then we took questions from the audience.  

After the show, we both sold DVDs out in the lobby to our fans, so thanks again for all who attended, and to Terrence Masson for setting up the show and acting as moderator.  I'm going to start traveling again next month, and this was a great way to get back into the habit of speaking before an audience!



I just saw Richard Linklater's new animated feature, "Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood".  I saw it at the New York International Children's Film Festival, it was their closing night film and also a bit of a sneak preview.  Richard has made two other animated features, "Waking Life" and "A Scanner Darkly".  The style is sort of a hybrid of rotoscoped live-action and computer animation.  It's a very fresh new style of animation that is fun to watch.

The new film, "Apollo 10 1/2", is more of a memoir of Richard's own childhood, growing up in Houston, Texas during the midst of the 1960's space race - and the film concentrates on his memories of the culture of his youth.  So to me, the film was too personal for me to enjoy it - even though I grew up during the same time (I'm a few years older) I thought that what cereal I ate or what toys I played with just isn't that interesting.  I wish that the film had a little more tension and conflict.  I couldn't get excited about the story, I wasn't that involved - but I'm still a big fan of Mr. Linklater.  He usually makes great films, but "Apollo 10 1/2" isn't one of them.  

The other big news, of course, was last Sunday's Oscar telecast - I was sorry to see "Encanto" win Best Animated Feature - yes, it's a lovely film to look at, but the plot left me cold and there were just too many characters.  My favorite animated feature was "The Mitchells vs. the Machines", probably the funniest film I've seen in a long time. When I think about the film, I still crack up laughing - and it had a brilliant concept.  

The winning animated short was "The Windshield Wiper", it reminded me of "Apollo 10 1/2", since the style was also a hybrid of rotoscoping and computer animation.  The story was a bit minimal but perhaps that was what the Academy liked about it.  I much preferred "Affairs of the Art" by the genius Joanna Quinn.  I believe this is the best film she's ever done, and it makes me want to give up drawing animation, because I'll never be that good.  Keep going, Joanna!

And of course, I can't talk about the Oscars without mentioned the Will Smith / Chris Rock fiasco.  What's that old cliché about "sticks and stones"?  I hope the Oscars aren't turning into a thug festival.  And then there was the gag when one of the hosts - Regina King - brought four of the handsomest male actors on stage and patted down their bodies to check for COVID.  Now, I thought it was funny, maybe some women out there did not - but just imagine if a male hosts asked four cute women on stage and patted them down - he'd never work in this town again!  

I'm not against the comedy bit - I'm just sorry that people are so afraid of sensual humor.  And it seems like a bit of a double-standard if a woman can openly make passes at these men when the MeToo movement has been discouraging men from being this overt.  

In any case, the ratings for the Oscars were up this year - better than last year, anyway, and perhaps all this publicity will do them some good. 

As I mentioned, I've got a number of trips coming up this spring, to various film festivals in places like Brazil, Czech Republic and Northern California - I'll try to post my scheduled appearances here and on my Twitter feed and Facebook account.  My short film "Demi's Panic", co-produced with Rock Farm Productions, is also still on the festival circuit, and you can catch the film at the following festivals:

Cinequest, San Jose, CA, April 1-17 (virtual) and August 16-29 (live)

Florida Film Festival, Maitland FL, April 8-17 (screening before the feature "As Of Yet", another pandemic film set in NYC!)

Ashland Independent Film Festival, Ashland, OR, April 14-28

Festival of Animated Film, Stuttgart, Germany, May 3-8 (playing in the special program "Pandemic Animation")

I hope you can get out to a film festival or other in-person event very soon, that's all the news I have for now!

--Bill P.

Friday, March 11, 2022

Signe Baumane & Bill Plympton screening on March 23 and a new "Slide" clip!

I'm now going crazy, trying to finish the "Slide" pencil test - all of the artwork is done, and it looks great - but the art now has to be scanned, cleaned, composited and edited - but here's a new set of shots that we've been working on!

I also want to remind you all about the "Secrets of Indie Animators Revealed" Extravaganza at the SVA Theatre on March 23 at 6 pm.  It's a FREE SHOW, so come one, come all.  Remember that the theater is located at 333 WEST 23rd St. (do NOT go to East 23rd St., where the main SVA campus building is, you'll miss the show that way).  Also, remember to check with the SVA Theatre's web-site for the latest COVID protocols - we haven't heard yet that anything has changed, so you still have to be double-vaxxed - and you need the booster shot if it's been a few months since your second shot.  Also, you'll have to keep your mask on indoors, but that's a small price to pay, right?  Again, it's a FREE SHOW.

We'll be showing clips from "Slide" and from Signe Baumane's second feature, "My Love Affair With Marriage".  And we'll be discussing our different processes of making independent animation these days!  It's a rare look "behind the curtain" with two independent animators!  Plus I'll meet people after the show and give out free sketches at the merch table, until they kick me out! 


Now here's a new cartoon gag for you, also - see you on March 23!

--Bill P.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Save the Date - special screening on March 23

I've got some exciting news for animation fans.  The School of Visual Arts (my alma mater) has invited both Signe Baumane and me to do a 2-hour show at their terrific SVA Theatre on 23rd Street, showcasing our new feature films and talking about the entire process of creating and selling an independent animated feature. 

Signe, who just finished her second feature film "My Love Affair With Marriage", will show excerpts from that and talk about the whole experience - and I will show clips from my upcoming feature, "Slide", a comic Western, and talk about how I survive as an indie filmmaker. 

Then, in between our talks, we'll discuss the difference in our methods.  We've done this before and believe me, it's not very polite.  We take the gloves off and get down to the real nitty-gritty of the animated feature culture and industry.

The event will be moderated by the Chair of the SVA Computer Arts Department, Terrence Masson - and then we'll open the stage up for a lively Q&A session with the audience. 

But that's not all - everyone who comes will get a free sketch from me, after the performance and we can hang around and chat.  

The whole event takes place on March 23, from 6 pm to 9:30 pm.  I know this is still a long ways off, so I'll be doing periodic updates and reminders as it gets closer.  Please tell ALL your friends, it should be a blast!  

Now, here's my cartoon for the week - 

Bill P.

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

The Latest Donald Trump Scandal

As you all know, I never use this site for politics - but I just have to tell you what happened a while ago, it's all just too weird.

I came home from work one day in December, and while checking my mail, I noticed a large, brown-paper package addressed to me.  As I took it up to my apartment, I noticed a curious thing, it had no return address on it. Now, I'm not a paranoid kind of guy, but in these days of threatening phone calls and such, could this be an explosive package?  Dare I open it? 

"Oh, what the hell" I said, my curiosity was just too much.  So I put on a very heavy overcoat, and very heavy gloves, averted my eyes and gingerly opened the damn package.  Examining the contents, I realized it was just a bunch of typed papers - nothing dangerous there.  Or was it?  

As I began reading, I discovered the papers were from some whistle-blower, describing what he discovered while working in the Trump administration - some kind of scandal, as if there weren't enough of those already. But why send it to me?  He explained it in the preface - apparently the guy is a really big fan of my animation, especially "Your Face" - and he wanted me to create a film that would expose this "fiendish" plan of Trump's that was so strange, only animation could do it justice, it was so surreal.  

So here's the Trump plan: because Trump realized that his hold on the Presidency was lost, because of Biden's victory, he cooked up a cockamamie idea to invite Mike Pence to his lavish, gold-plated Trump Tower penthouse for a planning session on how to hold on to power - he had no plan to stop being the President of the U.S. 

And, as Pence would be walking up Fifth Avenue to the so-called "meeting", from the entrance of Trump Tower, Trump would step out on to the sidewalk with an AR-15 and fire 20 quick rounds into the body of the ex-Vice-President.  Of course, the entire scene would be witnessed by all the people on Fifth Avenue.

No one would know what to do - this is the President of the United States, who's gonna arrest him?  Plus, he still has a fully-loaded, smoking assault weapon.  So Trump would then probably casually return inside the golden entrance of his tower, laughing at full volume.  

The papers went on to explain how the President of the U.S. can not go on trial for any illegal act because he's so damn busy, so he's immune from prosecution.  Then Trump would move himself into the vice-Presidency role - I know this is a very unorthodox action, but Trump is famous for breaking rules and stereotypes.  

And now I see the purpose of this Machiavellian move - Trump realized that Pence didn't have the cojones to declare the Electoral College count a sham, so Trump had to get rid of Pence, any way he could, so this was Trump's way of solving the problem.  Of course, this was just a "Plan B" solution for Trump's re-election dilemma - it was cooked up by Rudy Giuliani and his gang of sleazy attorneys (wait, that's redundant...).

Apparently, Trump never executed Plan B, the rumor was that he was afraid that the bad press from the assassination of his stalwart Vice President would have depressed the rental value of his precious Trump Tower suites.  

You probably don't believe my story - but just watch when the January 6 committee commences in person and releases the results of their investigation on worldwide TV. Some of these wacky plans are going to spill out into the harsh light of the TV cameras - and them come and ask me about the notorious Plan B - and I'll laugh in your face!

Next time, I'll have a big announcement about a fabulous upcoming event that I will be a part of - Stay tuned!

--Bill P.

Friday, January 21, 2022

"The Tune" - 30th Anniversary of Sundance screening

Well, it's that time of year again, the Sundance Film Festival is happening again, though it's all virtual this year, as it was last time around.  

About 30 years ago, I went to my second Sundance Festival, to screen my epic "drawn by one person" feature film, "The Tune". I had been there once before with my short film, "How to Kiss" - and Sundance was just kind of taking off as the place to be to see indie films.  In fact, weirdly I was kind of a media star at the time - because they were running my shorts on MTV.  I got to meet and hang out with people like Ethel Kennedy, Faye Dunaway, the beautiful Jennifer Beals and a young first-time filmmaker and big fan of mine, named Quentin Tarantino.  He was there with "Reservoir Dogs", which was a nominee for the Grand Jury Prize that year.  

It was a great event, the audience loved "The Tune" and I was very high on the experience.  

Just last week, I got an e-mail from a fan named Randy, who gave me his take on the Sundance screening - and so, here it is:

Mr. Plympton, I hope this short e-mail reaches you so that I can thank you personally. In early 1992, as a college student, I was set up on a blind date and being in Utah I thought the perfect idea would be to attend the Sundance film festival.  I chose your film "The Tune" because it was described as a musical and I am quite fond of all styles of music. I bought two tickets for the film and was told they would be waiting at the Park City ticket office until 7 pm. At 6 pm I picked up my date in Provo and we headed toward Park City thinking we had plenty of time to arrive. However, after being held up in traffic for the first 30 minutes I began to be quite nervous and, needless to say, I began to drive a bit fast and maybe even reckless. I was NOT going to miss this film. My date was clearly nervous by my driving and hardly said two words the entire drive. We arrived at the ticket office  *wipes brow* with 5 minutes to spare and collected our tickets to the film. All the way to the theatre and on the way to our seats she was again quiet and serious. My jokes fell flat and it was clear this date was bombing. I remember thinking to myself that there would definitely not be a second date and the sooner the date could end, the better. And then a miracle occurred. "The Tune" played to a packed house (as I recall) and it was both incredibly funny and wonderfully entertaining. At one point I remember looking over at my date and literally seeing her laughing so hard she was crying real tears. This is not an exaggeration. I thought to myself, "Hmmmm, I guess she does have a sense of humor after all. I suppose I could ask her out again." And that is exactly what I did. This year is our 30th wedding anniversary. 4 kids and 2 dogs later, we are all big, big fans. Of course I bought a DVD copy of "The Tune" and it has been watched dozens and dozens of times in our home. My kids know all the songs and it is often quoted at the dinner table. And I expect the love will be passed along to the next generation. But most importantly they know it as the film that enabled Mom and Dad to fall in love. I have read your coffee table book cover to cover and it brings great insight to your struggles and successes over the years. Thank you for making "The Tune" and thereby bringing us 30 years of marital bliss. I am forever in your debt. 

Randy also made a picture book out of this story and sent me a couple of pages: 


That's such a great story! My thanks to Randy for sending this along, and allowing me to post it!  

If you have any great stories about seeing "The Tune" 30 years ago, or any of my other movies, please share them!

--Bill P.