Friday, May 18, 2018

49th Annual ASIFA-East Awards Ceremony

If you're around NYC this weekend, one of the biggest and best events of the year is the annual ASIFA-East awards.  ASIFA-East is the East Coast chapter of the International Animation Society, and their award ceremony is like our version of the L.A. chapter's Annie Awards (which itself is a bit like the Oscars, but for animation only...)

What's great about it is that anyone can enter, and also that all of the ASIFA members get to vote on films in several categories: student films, independent films, and commissioned work - plus there are special awards given out for excellence in writing, sound, design and both educational and experimental work.

It all culminates each year at the awards ceremony, which is a FREE event and is open for everyone to attend.  You can hang out, meet all of the best NYC animators, see the winning work, and enjoy the reception afterwards. 

This is all taking place on Sunday, May 20, from 6 to 10:30 pm, at the Tishman Auditorium, 63 Fifth Ave. (at 13th St.) in Manhattan.  And did I mention that the admission is FREE?  How often do you get a chance like that?  So if you're not going to be traveling to London for the Royal Wedding, swing on by and I'll see you there! 

For more details:

https://www.asifaeast.com/festival/

--Bill Plympton


Friday, May 11, 2018

Three Projects

There are three big projects to talk about - the biggest one is that I just finished the storyboards for my next animated feature film, "Slide".  I can't remember how much I've talked about this already, but it's a very personal story for me because it's about a musician who plays the slide guitar (like me!).  And it takes place in the forests of Oregon (where I'm from) and the soundtrack will be music in the style of Hank Williams (which I grew up with).  Basically, it's a musical about a mythical musician who come to a corrupt gambling town and cleans it up (something I've never done, though...).



I'm about to start the animation phase, and I've love to release occasional shots from the work in progress, periodically so you Plympton fans can follow the production of my newest, and perhaps most ambitious, animated feature.


The second project - and I may have already mentioned this one, too - is a series of animated political cartoons using real sound bites from our President, Donald Trump, as a backdrop for my animation.  As some of you may know, for 15 years, way back before I became an animator, I was a successful political caricaturist and cartoonist.  So it feels great to get back into that trade, and it seems that the urgency now to do so is much more intense. 


These cartoons will start to be broadcast soon and we want to coordinate the release with a Kickstarter campaign, because what the broadcaster is paying isn't really enough to cover the costs of making these films.  Of course, I'm not doing these shorts to get rich, but I would like to break even.  So watch this space for an announcement about where you can see these "Trump Bites" cartoons.  I'm working with a company called 110th Street Films to produce these short pieces.

But what a perfect team for Kickstarter, right?  Bill Plympton and Donald Trump.  How can it fail?  (Maybe it will even be YUUGE!)


My third announcement is an upcoming screening at the Nitehawk Cinema in Brooklyn of my brand-new, 30-minute epic music video for blues rocker Jackie Greene, "The Modern Lives".  But that's not all - I'll be showing some of my more celebrated music videos for Madonna, Weird Al Yankovic and Kanye West.  (Kanye's invited, however, he's probably too busy praising Donald Trump to attend.)  

And to top things off, we'll be showing footage of Jackie performing one of the songs from the music video (recorded live in front of an audience) - how about that?  The show will be on May 22 at 7:30 pm, and I'll be there to introduce the program and talk about the music video as an art form.  Also, everyone who comes gets a free Bill Plympton sketch.

If you don't know the Nitehawk Cinema, it's the coolest cinema in NYC.  You can get food and drink while you watch a film!  If you're into it, Jackie's music is perfect "stoner" music.  (So come prepared.)  See you all there!

You can see more information and get tickets will be on sale (soon) here:

https://nitehawkcinema.com/williamsburg/showtimes/bill-plympton-jackie-greenes-music-video-extravaganza-52218-730-pm/

Bill P.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Stuttgart Animation Festival 2018

Once again, I returned to the International Trickfilm Festival in Stuttgart, Germany.  This time I was there with a short music video, "Tupelo", in the Panorama section, plus I was invited to be a judge, along with my friend, Jean Thoren, and German producer Fabian Driehorst in the Kids TV series section of the festivl.

I started going to this Stuttgart Festival back in 1988 with my short film "One of Those Days".  This was back when the festival was only six years old and I had just started animating.   It was a great experience - in fact, that's when I first met Joanna Quinn and Peter Lord, two of my favorite animators.  At that time, it was a very bare-bones kind of festival.  I remember taking our cinema breaks on an old WWII concrete bunker, sitting in the sun and getting drunk - oh, those were good times. 

The Stuttgart Trickfilm Festival screening my short "The Loneliest Stoplight" outdoors.
Of course, now the festival is one of the top festivals in the world, thanks to its success and wonderful sponsor support.  This time, I ran into my old friends David Silverman ("The Simpsons"), Mark Shapiro (from Laika) and of course, Andreas Hykade (a great animator and this year's head of FMX, the digital version of the festival).

Some of my favorite films there were "Sog", by Jonathan Schmenk of Germany, "Enough" by Anna Mantzaris of Great Britain, and "Hybrids" by five great computer students from France.  The best for me was an animated feature from Italy called "Cinderella and the Cat", even though it was a CGI film, the technique and story were very edgy and very adult.  I loved everything about it.  If you ever get a chance to see it, GO!

With two of the filmmakers of "Hybrid" after they won the Amazon Prime Video prize.
As you may know, Stuttgart is also the home of Mercedes Benz and Porsche.  And I've always wanted to visit their respective museums - so Sunday I had the day off (no films programmed) and that was my day to immerse myself into the car culture.  I liked the Porsche museum because of their history of making racing cars.  They had a lot of the early prototypes, that was fascinating.   But I found the Mercedes Museum much more interesting, because of the educational angle, plus it featured a lot more vehicles.

I've heard many Germans complain about how Americans think that Henry Ford invented the car.  Well, this museum has the lowdown on the invention of the automobile, separately by Gottleibe Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach and also Karl Benz.  It's interesting because both companies submitted their patents in the same year, 1886!  I loved seeing the very early transformation from a wooden buggy powered by a tiny one-cylinder engine to a sleek, powerful luxury roadster of the Roaring 1920's.  They even covered the extent of using slave labor during World War II. 

On Saturday, the Festival celebrated its 25th Anniversary, and I was invited to tell a few anecdotes in front of a crowd of VIP's.  They introduced me as "The World's Greatest Animator" (not true, by the way...) and that's why I love going to Stuttgart.

--Bill P.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

New Short "POUR 585"...

I figured it was a good time to announce my latest short, heading into it's premiere next month.  It's a simple short addressing indoctrination, and the individuals role in hierarchy.. a bit of a cautionary tale, and very much a typical pat smith short.  I hope you enjoy the trailer.  On another note, stay tuned on Scribble Junkies, me and Bill have some big news we want to share!

"Pour 585" Trailer from Patrick Smith on Vimeo.

Monday, April 9, 2018

MoCCA Arts Fest 2018 Report

As you already know, the MoCCA (Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art) Arts Fest, presented by the Society of Illustrators, is one of my favorite events of the year.  What's cool about it is the fact that all the great independent artists from around the world are represented there.

This year, I met great artists from Spain, Norway, China, Argentina, and Mexico, and they all travelled here for MoCCA.  Their ideas and techniques were so varied and unique - this is where all the creative geniuses are emerging from. 

I was there selling a lot of my art (art from my "Simpsons" couch gag was especially hot), DVDs and books, and I got to catch up with a lot of old friends.  So pardon me if I name-drop a bit. 


My illustrator buddy, Arnold Roth and his wife, Carolyn, who's a painter - he just had a stroke, but he looked great.


Mike Mignola of "Hellboy" fame was there to sign books - and we chatted a lot about Guillermo del Toro and his big success last year with "The Shape of Water". 


Mo Willems, animator of "The Man Who Yelled" and "Sheep in the Big City" and author of children's books like "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!"  He's now doing theater, we gossiped about John K. 


Patrick McDonell of "Mutts" fame, which is one of my favorite comic strips.  He's moving into animation, apparently. 


My good buddy, John Cuneo, who just completed a fantastic poster for the Woodstock Film Festival. 


Roz Chast, the Queen of New Yorker cartoons, was there to promote her new book and chat with the young generation of cartoonists. 


And the great actor John Leguizamo was there signing his new comic book.  Since I did some animation for his film "Fugly", we were like old friends and we talked about perhaps doing another project together.

It was a very fun, very busy two days and I left the event totally inspired and anxious to get going on my new projects.  To all those who stopped by, thanks for coming - see you again real soon!

Bill P. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

MoCCA Arts Fest


Coming up this weekend, the glorious MoCCA Arts Festival is taking place, April 7-8 at the Metropolitan West, 639 West 46th St. in Manhattan - put on by the wonderful Society of Illustrators.

I've been attending since the beginning, it must be 15 years now, and it's one my favorite events of the year.  It's a gathering of all of the best independents, graphic artists, cartoonists, and animators.  No big-time companies are allowed, no Marvel, D.C. or Dark Horse.

For that reason, some of the artwork is a little more mature, more up my alley, closer to my line of work.  Crazy, sexy and brilliant.

Last year, interestingly enough, it seemed the women had taken over the MoCCA Festival floor.  I would guess 70% of the tables were staffed by women.  And honestly it was a very refreshing change for ideas and art.

And, as usual, the place was packed.  So I'll be there showing my new Simpsons animation, plus some great books and DVDs.  Also, I'll be doing caricatures - so please come by, I'll be at Table C136.

For more details and tickets, please visit:

https://www.societyillustrators.org/events/mocca-arts-festival-directions-tickets

Monday, April 2, 2018

Odds and Ends

I don't have one big topic for this installment of Scribble Junkies - because there's so much to talk about:

1. Our big Jackie Greene music video extravaganza was a huge hit.  We filled up the large screening room at the SVA Theatre, with fans of my animation, of music videos and of the man himself, Jackie Greene.  

I showed some of my earlier music videos, made for Madonna, Kanye West, "Weird Al" Yankovic and the European group Parson Brown.  I then introduced Jackie, he played two wonderful songs that had the room rockin'. 

Then we showed the world premiere of his 30-minute video "The Modern Lives", which people seemed to love.  Then Jackie ended with a third song, "Gone Wandering" that blew me away - what a great live performer! 

We did a short Q&A session together and then went out to the lobby and gave everyone autographs and I did little sketches.  It was so wonderful to hear such positive feedback from the audience!  I hope the songs get a great audience on line.

Here are some pictures from the event:

The marquee at the SVA Theatre
The line outside, which started to form an hour before the screening!
A still from "Modern Lives" that was used as the welcome screen
Introducing Jackie before we showed "The Modern Lives"
Live performance of "Modern Lives"
Live performance of "Tupelo"
Jackie and me with my cousins Nick and Christian Vellanoweth
Signing autographs after the show at the merchandise table
Jackie talking with his fans and signing autographs
and somebody filmed some of the songs, you can see "Modern Lives" here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3CUYcHHPFw


2. I just came back from a screening of Wes Anderson's new film, "Isle of Dogs".  As you may know, I'm not a huge fan of Mr. Anderson's animation.  Although I did love his film "The Grand Budapest Hotel", I thought it was very funny. 

This new film, however, has very little humor, just a lot of his quirky ideas.  The plot wasn't very engaging to me.  I never really rooted for the dogs - in fact, I fell asleep at one point.  The concept of using Japanese dialogue with no subtitles seemed like a poorly conceived affectation  - I wasted half of the film listening to an unintelligible foreign language.  And the music was constant huge Japanese headache-inducing drums. 

And it had Anderson's trademark look, which is that everything was completely symmetrical - which gave it the feeling that he lined up every shot according to a precise design.  It seemed that the whole screen was sitting on a fulcrum. 

I did, however, like the fight scenes where all of the participants were engulfed in a cloud of smoke and dust. 

Thus, I give the film a C-.  It's not a film I would like to view again, or recommend to others.

3. There's just been news on Buzzfeed about apparent sexual misconduct by the creator of the great TV series "Ren & Stimpy", John Krisfaluci  (or "John K." as many people call him.)

I don't know John K. very well, but we did co-host some live shows in Chicago a few years back - and I found him to be a nice, friendly, though a bit eccentric, guy.  But I am a huge fan of his cartoons and stories, he is a genius.

So that brings up the question - can a person admire a great artist, even if his private life is repulsive?  I still love the films of Roman Polanski, even knowing that he's done some very bad things.  And I believe I can still look at "Ren & Stimpy" or "George Liquor" and separate those films from his scandalous life.  But then, that's me and everyone has their own values and entertainment thresholds.

--Bill P.

Monday, March 26, 2018

The Simpsons "Homer's Face"


Usually, I like to use this forum to tell people about upcoming events - however this time I'm using the blog to talk about last night's premiere of my latest "Couch Gag" for "The Simpsons, with animation of Homer Simpson singing the song from my Oscar-nominated film "Your Face". 

Unfortunately, my new couch gag got bumped from its original premiere date of March 18, and we had just finished announcing the on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram when we found out the airdate was being changed.  There was some kind of schedule snafu, I guess, or maybe it had something to do with that O.J. Simpson confession special.  Anyway, we had to go back on all the social media platforms and announce the programming change. 

So now my new couch gag aired against the "60 Minutes" report on Stormy Daniels and their exposé on Mr. Trump's sex life.  I guess the NCAA basketball ran into overtime, so people had to choose between "60 Minutes" and "The Simpsons".  Fat chance I'll get anyone to see my epic animation (at least in the East Coast time zone.) 

Nevertheless, it looked great and we got some terrific comments on YouTube.  (Also, some very crazy ones...)  

If you missed the new couch gag "Homer's Face"", you can see it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbI8kJuSkkY



Friday, March 23, 2018

"The Death of Stalin" + MoCCA Arts Festival


I've always felt that the most interesting characters in a film are the "heavies" - Hans Gruber, Wile. E. Coyote, Cruella de Ville are just a few examples.  These are the fun characters.

I don't like the "goodie" heroes that save the day, I want to see imperfect, flawed, venal anti-heroes that ruin the day.  That's why I love film noir, where everyone is evil.  The more evil characters, the more noir, the better.  And that's why I was excited to see Armando Ianucci's new film, "The Death of Stalin". 

I had seen one of his earlier films, "In the Loop", a rollicking political satire, which I truly loved.  So I was anxious to see how he managed to make a comedy out of the death of Stalin, one of Russia's cruelest dictators.

The cinema was packed and people laughed uproariously.  The picture stars Steve Buscemi, Jeffrey Tambor and Paddy Considine, and was advertised as "A Comedy of Terrors".  It is truly a dark comedy.  In fact, I have an idea for a parody of dictators that I've been working on for years - so that's why I really wanted to see what Mr. Ianucci created.  In my mind, it's the funniest comedy of the year - and in a not so subtle way, it's a brilliant reflection of our current administration here in the U.S.  Please tell all your friends to go see it at once, especially if you like black humor. 

Another reason I wanted to see it is because a couple years ago I created "Hitler's Folly", a mockumentary that imagined what if Hitler had not only gotten into art school, but also went further and decided to become an animator. 

Well, the response I got from many people was - how could I make a comedy about Adolf Hitler?  He's too evil to make jokes about.  Yet it's possible that Stalin had many more people killed than even Hitler, and yet it's somehow OK to make a comedy about him.  (It's very hard to compare two dictators on some kind of evil scale...) 

But fortunately, you can compare the two films, this comedy about Stalin and my comedy about Hitler.  My film "Hitler's Folly" is available on-line for FREE.  I can't charge any money because there's some copyrighted material in it that I wasn't able to clear.  But please check it out on my web-site at www.plymptoons.com  and if you like it, a donation would be appreciated. 

By the way, I give "The Death of Stalin" an A+.


Also, if you're around NYC on April 7 and 8, I'll be at the great annual MoCCA Arts Festival, sponsored by the Society of Illustrators.  This is a fantastic opportunity for everyone to see the best independent writers and cartoonists from all over. 

You'll see amazing new styles and humor from the graphic novel stars of tomorrow and I'll be there at Table C136.  The MoCCA Arts Fest takes place at the Metropolitan West Pavilion, 639 West 46th St., right by the Intrepid Museum (the one that looks like a big aircraft carrier - you can't miss it!)  Bring your friends, and I'll see you there!

For information, hours and tickets, please visit:

https://www.societyillustrators.org/mocca-arts-festival

--Bill P.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Oscars 2018 / "Mind Game"


As most of you movie fans did last night, I watched the Oscars telecast - and here are some of my observations. 

Jimmy Kimmel did a super job as M.C. - he was low-key, relaxed and very funny - I loved the bit where he too some celebrity actors across the street to a screening of "A Wrinkle in Time", and of course, the audience went nuts.  The only problem is, if they were such great cinema fans, why weren't they watching the Oscars? 

I also loved his jet-ski prize for the shortest speech, it was hilarious.  If I were a winner, I certainly would have given a very short speech - I love jet-skis! 

I was hoping that Frances McDormand would win for "Three Billboards...", she totally deserved it.  And I was amazed by her specch and shout-out to other female nominees - however, why couldn't she get a decent gown for the event?

Also I totally agree with Sam Rockwell's win for Best Supporting Actor for "Three Billboards" and Allison Janney's win for "I, Tonya".  I thought "I, Tonya" and "Good Time" (starring Robert Pattinson) should have received much more attention.  But of course, they were comedies and you know how the Academy prefers serious, issue-oriented films. 

Regarding "The Shape of Water", it was my second favorite film, after the great "Three Billboards", and I love Guillermo del Toro (he should have directed "Ferdinand", the bull - get it?) and I'm very happy that he won Best Director, and that "The Shape of Water" won Best Picture.  It's a great "genre" film. 

As for the animation categories, "Coco" was a shoo-in, there was no real competition.  But I was surprised about "Dear Basketball" - I believed that either "Lou" from Pixar (which I was not crazy about) or "Nursery Rhymes" would take home the Oscar.  Plus, "Dear Basketball" was hand-drawn, not a technique that the Academy tends to favor. 

Even though Glen Keane is a master and a legend of animation, I believe "Dear Basketball" could have been done better.  Glen used rotoscoping, which I don't mind, except that the result was so realistic that it missed the whole exaggeration and stylization available for animation.  If I had done it, the drawings would have been a lot more distorted and bent - it could have been so cool.  Yet the combination of NBA All-Star Kobe Bryant and Disney All-Star Glen Keane was too powerful to lose.

On another note, the great animated feature "Mind Game", directed by Masaaki Yuasa and Koji Morimoto, is being released for the first time in the U.S. by GKids.  Please run, don't walk, to a theater near you to see this brilliant film.  In my opinion, it's the "Citizen Kane" of animation - you can thank me later.

--Bill

Friday, February 23, 2018

"Early Man"



I've been a big fan of Nick Park since I first saw his amazing short "Creature Comforts" in Annecy, way back in 1989.  He's such a nice guy, very modest - but what a terrific talent!

He now has a new feature film produced by Aardman Studios - and I went to see it last night.  It's a pure Nick Park film, in terms of style, design and humor. 

But one of the problems with the film is that it's about soccer (called football in the rest of the world) and even though that's a popular sport in the U.S., it's not as popular as the other U.S. sports.  However, soccer (football) has a massive audience worldwide. 

Also, it just wasn't as funny as all of his other films, like "Chicken Run" or "The Curse of the Were-Rabbit".  The script is clever and has a great message, but the audience I was with seemed very subdued. 

To me, Nick Park is a singular genius in animation, so I was a bit disappointed that the film wasn't a laugh riot.  However, not to worry, the film should do well everywhere else. 

I give it a "B".

Bill Plympton

Friday, February 16, 2018

My Favorite Films for 2017 Oscars

Now that it's Oscar season and the nominations are out, it's a wonderful opportunity for my to declare my favorite films of last year.  Because of my busy schedule (I just completed a 30-minute long set of music videos for Jackie Greene) I have to admit that I haven't seen all of the nominated or eligible movies, so this list will be just from the films I've watched. 

I'll start with the foreign films, with a brief description of each: 


"The Insult", a very engaging look at the long-simmering political battles between Catholics and Muslims in Beirut.  A very dramatic film directed by Ziad Doueiri.


"Foxtrot", directed by Samuel Maoz.  A wonderful mix of amazing style, great acting, humor and tragedy on the Israeli border. 


And "The Square", directed by Ruben Östlund from Sweden.  A hilarious look at an avant-garde art gallery director and his problems with thieves, the press and a crazy lover.  Not to be missed!

And next, here are my favorite films of the year:


7. "Good Time", directed by Benny and Josh Safdie.  The darkest and strangest film of the year.  Robert Pattinson stars as a totally corrupt grifter who attempts to save his mentally deficient brother.  And he barely escapes one disaster after another using his lying charms.  A crazy move that was barely seen. 


6. "I, Tonya", directed by Craig Gillespie, starring Margot Robbie.  My sister was one of Tonya Harding's teachers in West Linn, Oregon, and she said that the portrayal of her mother in the film is not really a caricature - it's true!  I loved this film!  And even though it's a true story, it's still the funniest film of the year.  Every character is true-to-life and hilarious. 


5. "Get Out", directed by Jordan Peele.  It's a true horror film, with a racial twist.  I'm not usually a big fan of the scary film genre, but this one is so well done and truly frightening, I'm putting it on my list.

4. "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets", directed by Luc Besson.  A truly visionary film.  His visuals are wonderfully mind-blowing.  A while back I did a blog post about stoner films, and this one should be at the top of that list.  The only problems is that it ends on a whole bunch of talking, which ruins the momentum.  Too bad, because I loved the movie.


3. "Coco", directed by Lee Unkrich.  I've written about this Pixar movie before in an earlier post, nevertheless, it's still an amazing and emotional film. 


2. "The Shape of Water", directed by Guillermo del Toro.  It's got everything I love in a film - 1950's alien paranoia, surreal monsters and an alien/young girl romance.  One of my favorite films from one of my favorite directors.


1. "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri", directed by Martin McDonagh.  Both Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell should win Oscars for this movie.  A very powerful story told with wit and very dark humor.  You've got to go see it, my favorite film of the year.

And here's the film that I think is the most overrated film of the year - "Call Me By Your Name".  All the reviews say how beautiful it is and what a terrific love story it has - but I've seen a lot of films that were more visual, I thought the acting was mediocre and the music sucked.  They must have spent a lot of money on promotion, because to me, the film's a big loser.

--Bill P.

Friday, February 9, 2018

"Have a Nice Day"


I heard about this new animated film from China from two of my closest friends, it's called "Have a Nice Day'.  They both loved it and said it was done by an indie filmmaker from China.  I didn't even know that China HAD indie filmmakers - and with me being the "King of Indie Animation", I thought I should go check it out.

Fortunately, the film was still playing at a cinema very close to me, the Angelika Film Center down on Houston St., which has really good popcorn.  I raced down there and really enjoyed myself.  The film's backgrounds are very realistic and grainy, the characters are done in a very limited rotoscope technique, which basically means that the director, Jian Liu, took still photos of the actors and then animated small parts of their bodies, like their lips or arm or whatever.  So, it's almost like a slide show.

The story is very noir-like and violent - which is why the film was pulled out of the Annecy Animation Festival, because it showed the darker, sleazy side of China, and politicians felt it would be bad P.R. for their country.  However, the film premiered at the prestigious Berlinale, and now it's getting good distribution in the U.S.

I have a few complaints about the film - it was hard to follow the story because the timeline is all chopped up.  And also it was difficult to keep the different characters straight, who they were and how they get involved in the drama.

But listen, I'm a big supporter of adult indie animation, and I believe it's going to be the next big thing.  Plus it seemed like this guy did a lot of the film by himself, like I do, so I'll wish a great success for this film.  I give it a B-.

Also I want to remind everyone about THREE big events coming up:


1) On February 27, my new animated feature film "Revengeance", co-directed with Jim Lujan, will be screening at the famous Nitehawk Cinema in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where they fashion food to match each film.  I wonder what they'll cook up for "Revengeance" ?

2) Then on Sunday night, March 18, you'll get to see my brand-new epic couch gag for "The Simpsons", which came in at two minutes long, I think that's a record for couch gags.  This is the SIXTH couch gag that I've been able to animate for this amazing cartoon on FOX, and if you're any kind of Bill Plympton fan, you WON'T want to miss this one!


3) Finally, on Wednesday, March 28 at 7 pm I'll be appearing at the SVA Theatre, 333 West 23rd St. in Manhattan, with great singer-songwriter Jacke Greene for the world premiere of our 30-minute long music video compilation "The Modern Lives".  Jackie will be there to perform two songs LIVE and we'll talk about the process of making music videos.  I'll also be showing four of my previous music videos for Madonna, Kanye West, "Weird Al" Yankovic, and Parson Brown.  (Sorry, Kanye and Madonna are not scheduled to appear...)

The best thing, it's a FREE show and everyone who attends will get a FREE sketch from me!  So please tell all your friends and I hope to see you there!

--Bill Plympton

For more details:

"Revengeance" at Nitehawk Cinema:
https://www.facebook.com/events/2083713115190369/

"Jackie Greene's Music Video Extravaganza" at SVA Theatre:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1960550730863347/

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Big Show !!!

Boy, have I got hot news for you!  As you may know, for the last 8 months, I've been working night and day on an epic set of music videos for blues rock phenom Jackie Greene.  Well, it's finally finished and we've scheduled a world premiere at the great SVA Theater on 23rd St. & 8th Ave. in Manhattan. 

But even cooler than that, I'm going to make it a music video extravaganza. 

As most of you probably are aware, I got my start doing animated music videos and interstitials (aka station ID's) for MTV back in the early years.  So, I've decided to show some of my early music videos as a warm-up for the world premiere of Jackie Greene's "Modern Lives". 

I'll be showing my work on Madonna's "Who's That Girl?" Also a very strange video for Parson Brown, called "Mexican Standoff", and of course, a video for "Weird Al" Yankovic called "TMZ".  Then there's my classic Kanye West video, "Heard 'em Say".  I'll be talking about my experiences working for MTV and making these music videos - how I got the jobs and how they work. 

Then I'll introduce the great Jackie Greene and we'll talk about working together on this epic featurette, "Modern Lives".  All this before the world premiere of this fantastic film - and to top it all off, we'll have the pleasure of hearing Jackie perform one of his songs LIVE and in person.

OK, if that's not enough to explode your head, how about this - it's all FREE!!!

Yes, thanks to the nice people at the School of Visual Arts, like Adam Natale and Reeves Lehman, we're able to put on this fantastic show without charging admission.  So please, tell all your friends, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  March 28, 7 pm at the SVA Theater, 333 West 23rd St., NYC.

You'll soon be hearing these awesome songs all over the net and on the Grammys, but here's your chance to hear (and see) them first!  See you there!

Bill P.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Live-action Films

Early in my career, back in the early 1990's, after I had a modest success with my first animated feature film "The Tune", I was feeling like I could do anything.  My ambitions were flying high (and my animating hand was tired) so I decided to make a live-action feature film.  After all, hadn't Frank Tashlin, the great Warner Brothers writer, successfully moved from animation into directing some of the funniest Jerry Lewis films, like "The Geisha Boy" and "The Disorderly Orderly"?  Didn't Tim Burton move from being a Disney animator to a very successful live-action director?  Also, didn't David Lynch start out as an animator?  Well, if they could do it, why couldn't I?  Also, this was around the time of low-budget DIY films like "Clerks" and "El Mariachi".

I had what I thought was a great idea for a live-action film, and proceeded to create a feature film named "J. Lyle", it was a moral fable about a lawyer who owned a building and was trying to evict all of the tenants so he could make more money by turning the property into a toxic waste dump.  Only he fell in love with the attractive last tenant, while a magical talking dog tried to show him the error of his ways by "zapping" his soul into the bodies of the people he was mistreating.  Despite an incident during the shoot where I got attacked by a naked transvestite in the street, I finished the film and took it on the festival circuit with very little success.  However, it's still one of my favorite films, it's very weird.  (There is SOME animation in it, a little stop-motion and a dog with a "cartoon mouth"...)


I was not to be denied, and my next idea was a surefire, can't miss winner - it was a mockumentary about the making of a fictional Western film, sort of a cross between "Blazing Saddles" and "This Is Spinal Tap".  It was shot mostly on my folks' place on the Clackamas River in Oregon, which saved a lot of money, and it was called "Guns on the Clackamas".  This film did a little better, I actually made some money on it, but, alas, not enough to pay off my investment in it.  You'd probably love it, it's a crazy film, part of the inspiration came from a film titled "Saratoga" that had to be completed after one of its stars, Jean Harlow, died.  So they hired a stand-in and shot her only from the back or with her face covered.  (see also: Ed Wood finishing "Plan Nine From Outer Space" with a stand-in after Bela Lugosi died)

At this point, my savings were starting to run low, so I decided to make one last stab at a live-action feature film.  I had a buddy from Oregon, Walt Curtis, who was a crazy, brilliant poet.  I thought it would be funny to follow him around Portland with a camera and make a documentary about his memories, feelings and poems.  I know it might sound incredibly boring, but it's not - Walt has a sense of humor very similar to mine, which is surreal, provocative, and outrageous.  This 70-minute film is called "Walt Curtis, Peckerneck Poet".  And this film actually showed a profit, because after Walt became known as the writer of "Mala Noche", which became Gus Van Sant's first film, then a DVD company bought the rights to my documentary to include it on a special DVD release of that film. 

Walt Curtis reading poetry in front of a painted flag, in the summer of 1995
You may ask why I'm talking about all of my old live-action films.  Well, the situation is that moved my studio to a smaller space last year, and I'm finding that I have boxes of DVDs that I'd love to sell to make more room for new items.  Plus I'm finally going through all of my master tapes after the move and getting these films out on DVD has been on my to-do list for quite some time.  So it's great news for any of my fans that want to complete their set of Bill Plympton films! 

I've decided that once we get copies of "J. Lyle" and "Walt Curtis, Peckerneck Poet" available on DVD, I'm going to sell all of my live-action films at a tremendous discount, just $5 each!!  Can you believe it?  Four Bill Plympton features for only $5 each? 

Here are all the films that will be available from my web-site store for 5 bucks:
"J. Lyle" (1994) - coming soon
"Guns on the Clackamas" (1995) - available now
"Walt Curtis, Peckerneck Poet" (1997) - coming soon
"The Flying House" (2011) - available now

That last one is a documentary I made about the world's greatest animator, Winsor McCay, in which I also update his famous silent animated short "The Flying House" with spoken dialogue, music and color. 


So for all you "completists", here's your chance to get every feature film from the King of Indie Animation, even the ones made in live-action.  Tell your friends, it's an amazing offer.  Check my web-site next week for the "new" items and the updated prices.

Thanks,

Bill