April 03, 2014

Bill Plympton and "Cheatin'"

I had a terrific day at the Atlanta Film Festival on Tuesday.  I got to meet Bill Plympton and Linda Beck, and even hang out for a little bit!  Bill Plympton gave a workshop about his career and his unique approach to animation both as an artist and a businessman- it was very enlightening.  You wouldn't expect the King of Indie Animation to be a proponent of commercialism, but he brought up some very important points.  You have to sell your work if you wish to continue to do your own work.  Sounds simple, but that mindset has to inform the kind of work you do.  Short, cheap, and funny is the way to go if you want to support yourself in independent animation, with the idea that everything you create must be uniquely "you"- a product of value that could come from no one else.  And its also nice to hear someone talk about the satisfaction of having ownership of your own work as opposed to working for a big studio, which is something you don't hear many animators expressing.  Bill Plympton's latest feature "Cheatin'" is packed with all of his trademark surreal humor, but also has so much heart.  His animation is so unlike anything else, and for all the morphing and exaggeration the characters still have a sort of structural integrity that I could never emulate even at my most fearless.  He animates everything by himself, with his own hands, on real paper with real pencils, and he is a success.  It sounds impossible to conceive this day and age, but it is true.  As I've said before, this is my year to figure out what I'm doing with my career, and now I have even more to think about.  

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