Friday, May 19, 2017

"Your Face"

I've been hearing from some fans who love my Oscar-nominated short "Your Face", and some even make their own versions of the film - which, by the way, I totally enjoy.  I'm not one of those lawsuit-happy artists.  (Just don't post the original version on YouTube, my office manager will find it and you'll get in trouble...)

Anyway, the question popped up in my brain - how many versions are there of "Your Face"? And wouldn't it be cool to put them all on a DVD, sort of like a "Your Face" collection. 

Then the thought occurred to me - if there are some real "Your Face" fanatics, perhaps they'd like to try and make their own versions of the short 3-minute film, how awesome would that be?

I know there's a sped-up version, where you can hear what Maureen McElheron really sounds like on the vocal track before it got slowed-down to make her sound like a man, and there's a "global jam" version in progress, where a bunch of people each get to animate a few seconds in their own styles.

So, here's the deal: if anyone out there has a new version of the "Your Face" animation (or song) or wants to create their own version of it, please send me a copy (or a link to a downloadable file) and I'll put it on DVD and on my web-site and promote the hell out of it.

Unfortunately I don't have the money or accounting services to pay the artists, I'm only asking people to do this for fun - and in fact, that's the reason I'm in the animation business in the first place - for the fun.

So I'll give all you animation freaks a deadline, any submissions would have to be finished by September 1, 2017.  I'm so excited to see how you all interpret the film - please tell your friends and spread the word.

Good luck,

Bill P.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Stuttgart Animation Festival

After Annecy, I think Stuttgart is my favorite animation festival - I've been going there since about 1989, when I showed my short "How to Kiss" in a WWII bunker-style screening facility.  The audience then was quite small, because it was a young festival - but I met a lot of great animators and had a lot of fun.

Well, since then the festival has grown by leaps and bounds, because Stuttgart is the home of Mercedes-Benz, and they are one of the sponsors.  The festival takes very good care of the filmmakers and offers some of the largest prizes on the festival circuit.

It was a busy week for me in Stuttgart this year - I had my new feature "Revengeance" (co-directed with Jim Lujan) in competition, plus two new shorts, "Cop Dog" and also my environmental music video "No Snow for Christmas" (music by Maureen McElheron).  Plus, "Guard Dog" was included in their "Best of" animation program.  And then, as I was taking a break on the giant lawn, I saw my film "The Loneliest Stoplight" being projected on the jumbo outdoor screen.  Finally, they had a work-in-progress presentation, where I showed clips from my upcoming feature, "Slide" - so all that should give you an idea about how busy I was!  

Recently, they've added a new section called FMX - basically, a gathering of artists interested in special effects, games and new technology.  This year, the emphasis was on virtual reality.  The FMX has become a giant magnet for digital artists from all over the world, and that only adds to the prestige of the Stuttgart Festival.

Because of FMX, I got to hang out this time with a lot of my favorite filmmakers, like Peter Lord and David Sproxton of Aardman fame, Jan Pinkava of Google, Jean-Michel Blottière (the manager of FMX), Joanna Priestley, Ann Marie Fleming, and my new favorite animator, Robert Valley.  I went to his (very) late-night presentation and was blown away by his style, storytelling and sexy women.  He lives in Vancouver, so I rarely get to meet him - it was great to hang out with him a bit.

But the "creme de la creme" came on the closing night, when I got to honor the great Bruno Bozzetto with a Lifetime Achievement Award.  He's been such an inspiration to me, so it seemed perfect for me to present him with this prestigious award.  And what a modest gentleman he is - definitely check out his short films, and of course, his classic feature, "Allegro non Troppo".

I want to personally thank the festival team for making me feel so comfortable in Stuttgart.  The only bad part of the festival was that the weather sucked.  The last time I visited Stuttgart, it was very hot.  So this year I only brought shorts and t-shirts, then felt like an idiot all week.

In any case, send your films to Stuttgart - it's a fabulous festival, I give it an "A".

--Bill Plympton

Monday, May 8, 2017

Pat's Weekly Gif...

Here's a good one, very timely, from Ted Ed animation "McCarthyism" enjoy..

This piece is approaching 500k views, check it out at Ted Ed.  And for those interested, please follow me on youtube, I have a few playlists of my favorite Ted episodes.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Follow us on Twitter!

So much different media, just make sure you're following me and bill on the twit. 
Bill Plympton and Pat Smith.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Worldfest Houston and Nashville Film Festival

Back in the nineties, I used to go to Charleston, S.C. quite regularly for the Charleston Worldfest - I fell in love with that town, the southern charm, the great food, the picturesque harbor and the fantastic beaches.

The director of that festival was a charming man named Hunter Todd.  But for various reasons, he moved the festival to Houston, Texas.  I think there was more financial support there.

Fast-forward to 2016, and I was appearing at the Gijon Festival in northern Spain (another of my favorite festivals) and it so happened that Hunter's wife, Kathleen, was a juror there - so we had a wonderful reunion dinner and Hunter invited me to his festival in Houston.

So, just last week I took a JetBlue to Houston for the Texas premiere of "Revengeance".  (I stayed at the Marriott Hotel that just happened to serve the best pancake breakfast I ever had.)  The film was playing in three festivals last week, in addition to Worldfest it opened at the Nashville Film Festival and the USA Film Festival in Dallas.  Worldfest Houston was, I think, the third screening in the U.S. and as I introduced the film to the audience, Hunter appeared and presented me with a Grand Jury prize for the film, which is very prestigious.  And then Kathleen presented me with the Career Achievement Trophy - Wow! What a bounty of honors! 

Not only that, but as soon as I returned to New York, I got word that "Revengeance" had won the Grand Jury Prize in the Nashville Film Festival's Animated Feature Competition - and that comes with a $1,000 cash prize!  Wow, what a weekend, three prizes in two days! 

I think festivals (and audiences) are really starting to dig "Revengeance".  I believe that the film, which is crudely underground, is beginning to resonate with people.  The long applause and standing ovationss are proof that the movie is something very special - we're now talking to distributors about a U.S. release - so watch this space for an announcement.

Thanks to the festivals for screening "Revengeance" and thanks to you all -

Bill Plympton

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Pat's Weekly Gif..

This weeks gif is from a music video I animated years ago by The Planets, enjoy.  Weeky gifs will be a regular thing now, I'll get Bill to do the same thing.

Morphing is one of the things that first drew me to Bill's work, and I'm still a big time practitioner. Although, it seems to be a lot more effective when working with pencil.  Here's something similar I did recently in Flash (for PBS Digital, Blank on Blank series), and it just doesn't have the texture..

Stay tuned for more.  For full episode of Blank on Blank (Frank Zappa), and also for the full music video by the Planets.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Jackie Greene

I've got great news - one of my favorite musicians (after Emmylou, of course...), Jackie Greene, has partnered with me to make a mini-musical feature film, using 5 of his most recent songs.  His new album, "Modern Lives", containing those songs, will be released shortly and the animated version should be done some time around Christmas.

Now, I get a lot of requests for music videos, but there's usually only one requirement to my acceptance - I must like the music.  As most of you know, I have certain prejudices in my musical tastes.  I don't like pop (even though I did a very successful video for Kanye West - that's because he was Kanye) and I don't like electronic or experimental. 

There are two types of music I love - country and western - and although Jackie Greene's music is more blues-influenced, I just fell in love with his sound the minute I heard it.  As you may know, he's played with all of the greats, Phil Lesh, the Black Crowes, Larry Campbell (who has played on a bunch of my films, like "The Tune" and "Idiots and Angels"...)

Occasionally I will be posting updates on the program of this mini-feature and also showing some of the cool artwork.  Just the other day, Jackie stopped by the new Plymptoons studio, and we discussed what he was looking for in my animation - he said "weird and psychotic".  Inside, I was jumping for joy, because I felt like I was set free to create images that I'd always wanted to make.  Now I hope I don't get too weird!

Oh, fuck it - let's get TOO weird.

                                      Jackie Greene drops by the studio and meets the crew!

Also, I want to thank my good friend and cousin, Christian Vellanoweth, for connecting me with Mr. Greene.  I think we're going to create some amazing videos!

--Bill Plympton

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

"Revengeance" premiere in France!!

As you all probably know, a company called E.D. Distribution, based in Paris, has been my major distributor in France and French-speaking territories since 1999 or so - they've released all of my feature films throughout France to great success -

In New York, hardly anyone knows me, however when I walk down the street in Paris, everyone says, "Bonjour Monsieur Plympton!"

E.D. Distribution is very excited about the potential success for our (Jim Lujan and me) new feature film "Revengeance".  However, they decided to change the title to something more French, "La Vengeresse". 

So, two weeks ago I flew over to Paris to do a bunch of interviews and appearances at theaters.  It was a new kind of strategy - because in the past, I'd meet with the press a few weeks before the premiere.  But this time, they decided to do the press interviews as the film was being released. 

There were two problems with the release - first, the weather was spectacularly gorgeous - who wants to go to a cinema when it's a great day to sit in a café and talk about Jean-Paul Sartre?  And secondly, since the interviews and reviews appeared just as the film was being released, the early turnout for the film was a bit disappointing.  However, at each appearance I noticed the crowds got a little larger and more enthusiastic.   In fact, at the last few shows there were lines around the block and full houses with rapturous applause.  So apparently E.D.'s release strategy was working.  Vive la France!

Near the end of the trip, I also stopped at the Pivaut school in Nantes, France to give a Master Class, where I screened my shorts and talked to the students about animation and how I manage to survive as an independent filmmaker.  The students were great, they asked a lot of good questions and I had a fun time!

Why is it that the French appreciate my humor, art and storytelling so much, while in the U.S., which represents a much larger audience it's like pulling teeth for me to get any kind of decent distribution?  Does anybody have an answer?

--Bill Plympton

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Me on the Tonight Show?

That's right!  A few days ago, people started telling me that I was mentioned by Jimmy Fallon on "The Tonight Show".  What???  Then while I was in France, everyone seemed to know about my appearance on that show, so when I returned, I decided to Google it to see what really happened.

So apparently they had a segment called "Kid Art" where some kids made drawings of members of Donald Trump's cabinet and Vice-President Pence, and Jimmy Fallon said that the drawing of Pence looked like it was made by Bill Plympton - then a whole on-camera debate started over who Bill Plympton is.  So right there on national TV, they Googled me to determine that I was Bill Plympton, the cartoonist, and not "Bill Plimpton the author".  I'm pretty sure Jimmy's sidekick confused me with journalist & author George Plimpton (different spelling, but it's happened before...) because he mentioned "Paper Lion", a book that George Plimpton wrote.

Then someone in the band (Questlove?) seemed to recognize my name, but he said I was the animator who worked with Frank Zappa - unfortunately, that wasn't me either, that was Bruce Bickford - but it was fun being the topic of conversation on a late-night talk show!

Here's the clip, if you want to see Fallon talking about me and looking me up:

In fact, I'm going to try to contact their guest department, and demand to have equal time to clear up who I am.  Maybe I could draw a caricature of Fallon, Pence or even Trump - then America will finally discover me and my work.  Hey, I've got to start promoting "Revengeance" somewhere, why not an appearance on Jimmy Fallon's show?

The weird thing is, I knew George Plimpton, we didn't really run in the same social circles but we did both live in New York in the 1970's, and we figured we were probably distantly related, though we weren't exactly sure how.  He wrote an introduction for one of my caricature books, and in return I drew this caricature of him: 

So that's a PLYMPTON caricature of a PLIMPTON - and maybe in that drawing, he's making a drawing of me?  Who knows... 

--Bill Plympton

Monday, April 3, 2017

MoCCA Arts Festival

I love the Society of Illustrators!  It's my favorite institution in NYC, and every year they have what's called MoCCA Fest (MoCCA stands for the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art).  What's great about it is that it's exclusively for independent artists. No DC Comics, no Marvel, no Disney, strictly artists who have unique styles and make their own illustrations and comics.  I've been working a table there for years (I don't remember the first year I went) and I'm usually the only animator in the bunch, which is good because I don't compete with all the other comic artists.

Lately, I've noticed that my DVDs don't sell as well as they did in the past, so I concentrate more on my original art - and it seems my art is now very collectible, especially pieces from my early films, like "Your Face", "How to Kiss" and "Guard Dog".  Thank God people remember my old films.

Also, it's great to see a lot of my illustrator friends there - people like Steve Brodner, John Cuneo, Felipe Galindo, R.O. Blechman, Arnie and Carolyn Roth.  I'm also looking for a publisher for my new book, "The Art of Revengeance", so I was able to cruise the indie publishers and talk up the book. 

                         with Felipe Galindo, Andrea Arroyo, Peter Kuper and Steve Brodner

One thing I noticed this year, compared to years past, is that there seemed to be a majority of female artists, which is great!  Their stories seem to be a lot more quirky and relationship-focused, which is the kind of stuff I love. 

So if you're around next year, definitely check out MoCCA Arts Festival - you'll have a blast and you'll be supporting young comic artists.


Friday, March 31, 2017

Catching up...

After the studio move, I'm still catching up on what's been going on in the last few weeks -

I went to a wonderful festival, FICAM, in Meknes, Morocco that was run by Mohamed Beyoud.  It all takes place in the Institute Francais estate (Morocco used to be a French territory) and screening hall.  It's located in a very fertile forest, with Arabic tents located everywhere, with a wonderful large central tent where we ate all of our meals.  The audiences were terrific, lots of fans with a great appreciation for and knowledge of animation.

                                                       with Alexis Hunot at FICAM

Plus, there was a preponderance of great animators there - Michael Dudok De Wit ("The Red Turtle"), Michel Ocelot ("Kirikou"), Ann Marie Fleming ("Window Horses", "La vie en Rosie"), Claude Barras ("My Life as a Zucchini"), Jean-Francois Laguionie ("Louise in Winter") and the great David Silverman,  who was a complete rock star there because he directed "The Simpsons Movie".

                                                    with David Silverman in Morocco!

We were never able to just sit and talk without a line forming to get sketches of Bart or Homer - yes, "The Simpsons" is an international phenomenon.  So if you have a new film next year, definitely enter it into FICAM, and try to go - it's a lovely festival and they have the most succulent oranges I've ever eaten.

Next item, I've just finished my newest "Dog" film, called "Cop Dog", and I believe it's my best one.  Fans have been bugging me for years for another sequel to "Guard Dog" and "Guide Dog", so I came up with what I think is a very funny story.  It's going to premiere at the Florida Film Festival in April, and you should be seeing it soon at other film festivals.  Watch for it, you'll love it!

Also, I've decided to start a Patreon account, so my fans can follow up on the studio's new projects.  We'll be deciding on the rewards soon - that's always a critical decision because if it's something to mail, it's a big chore and if it's something people can download that's so much easier, but maybe not as valued.  So I have to figure out something that's cool but also easy to send.

And finally, I don't know if you saw it, but my most recent "Couch Gag" for "The Simpsons" premiered a couple of weeks ago, to universal applause and acclaim, and if you missed it, you can see it on Twitter here:

I love working for "The Simpsons" - they're all great guys and the shows are seen all over the world!  Weird...

So those are my excuses for the delay in my Scribble Junkies posts.  I promise to be a good boy and post a weekly or bi-weekly report.  Thanks for your attention.

--Bill Plympton

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

We've moved!!

I suppose you're all wondering where I've been lately - I haven't posted in a while.  Not to worry, I'm back - I've been too busy with a number of projects, which I'll post about in a couple of days.

But first, I decided to move my office - my landlord increased my rent by $2000, which I can't afford, so I had to find a new location - and as usual it was a tough chore.  But I finally found something I can handle, even though it's a little smaller than the space I was in on 27th St. for 10 (or was it 11?) years. 

                                                 Packing up the old studio on 27th St.

So last Thursday we made the big move.  My friend Signe turned me on to these Russian movers out of Brooklyn that she used when she moved her studio last year...  The day came, and a lot of people showed up to help pack everything up, while the Russians started moving the desks, tables and file cabinets.  Everything seemed to be going well, and we even stopped for a pizza break - but when the freight elevator shut down for a lunch break, that set us behind a bit.

It looked like there was no way we were going to finish in time - because the freight elevator in the new building was scheduled to shut down at 5 pm, and there was still a truckload of furniture and merchandise that needed to be loaded in.  Meanwhile, the Russians were thinking that the best way around this was to take the truck full of my office furniture back to Brooklyn and put everything into storage until Saturday - then suddenly they were talking about finishing the job on Monday. 

Somehow, my office manager, John Holderried, was able to convince the movers to stay on track and finish the job, which saved the day.  Then he magically got them access to the freight elevator in the new building for another couple hours, so the rest of the stuff could be loaded in.  And he and Wendy stayed late to tell the movers where to put everything, so it all could be done in one day, which was a minor miracle.  

                               The new space on 30th St., waiting for the rest of the furniture

All the order we had in the old studio is completely gone, now we're trying to get our computers, merchandise and files back in some kind of order - not an easy task.  Plus the new studio is chock-a-block with mysterious boxes without labels and we just don't know what's what.

                                                   We don't even know where to start!

Anyway, here is our new studio address - 151 West 30th St., Suite 405, New York NY 10001.  We're trying to get the old phone number moved over to the new studio - but right now, there's no phone or decent internet - so if you need to reach us, please call us on our cell phones! 

We'll be back to regular business really soon!

--Bill Plympton

Friday, March 3, 2017

Loose Ends

I've got a few bits of scattered news this week -

My Plympton Animation University course is coming to an end.  The students have done terrific work - it's been really fun to watch their films come together.  Next week we'll have some kind of class film festival, and I'm excited to see all of the (semi-)finished films.

I also just found out that the newest "Couch Gag" I created for "The Simpsons" is scheduled to premiere on (probably) the March 12 episode.  So please keep an eye out for that.  This will be my FIFTH couch gag, and I don't think any other guest animator has done more than 1 or 2.

There are actually two endings to this short piece, one suggested by Mr. Matt Groening himself, and the other one by me - it's a pretty cool spot, so check it out and let me know what you think. They told me one ending will be for TV and the other is for the internet - and I'm curious to see the kind of sound they added to it.

Finally, congratulations to Signe Baumane and Sturgis Warner, who reached their Kickstarter goal of $126,000 for their new animated feature "My Love Affair With Marriage".  Their campaign was very successful in the final week, and they even exceeded their goal, raising over $132,000 - I thought maybe they were crazy to set the mark so high, but they did it!  Hooray!!

Also, speaking about crowdfunding, my brilliant animator friend Alex Budovsky showed my the first 20 seconds of his new short film, "Breezin' Along with the Brooklyn Breeze", and it looks like it will be the best thing he's ever done.  He's got an IndieGogo campaign, please check it out and support it if you can.  It's going to be a fantastic film!  Please follow this link:


Bill Plympton

Images from "Breezin' Along With the Brooklyn Breeze":

Friday, February 24, 2017

"Revengeance" Festival Premiere in Portland

Being from Oregon, I thought it would be very cool to have the U.S. film festival premiere of "Revengeance", co-directed by Jim Lujan and myself, at the Portland International Film Festival.

I was very excited to be with my family and friends from the Portland area to show them what I'd been working on for the last three years. 

The great LAIKA Studios (whose feature "Kubo and the Two Strings" is up for an Oscar this year) helped to sponsor the show - they flew me to Portland and got me a room at the fanciest hotel in Portland - first class, all the way. 

Jim Lujan and his wife, Leann, decided to drive up from L.A. to experience Portland - unfortunately, that was the weekend of the worst storm in California in years - so they spent most of the drive dodging fallen trees, landslides and flooding rivers.  I gave up my hotel room and stayed with my sister so they'd have a place to recover from all that. 

Once in Portland, though, they experienced the warmth and charm of the city.  Our first screening was at the classic Laurelhurst Theater - we had a full house and the audience laughed throughout the film, even though they weren't necessarily all our usual core audience. 

"Revengeance" is really targeted at a younger crowd, maybe 16-30, and the Portland Festival is usually an older crowd, used to some very sophisticated films.  So it was very satisfying to learn that our film appeals to all viewers (though, still not suitable for children...)

It was fun to do the Q&A, because I was the straight man, talking about the history and creative process, and Jim was the comic relief.  You could call us the "Abbott and Costello" of animation. 

There was a second screening on Sunday, 2/19, at the Whitsell Auditorium, which is inside the Portland Art Museum. 

From here, the film goes on to other festivals around the country (it's already playing at festivals internationally) and then it opens commercially in France in early April.  So, if you know anyone who wants to help distribute a kick-ass film in the U.S., please contact me.

--Bill Plympton

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

"Revengeance" - U.S. festival premiere in Portland, OR!

Hey, animation fans - and I know you cartoon fans are out there - do I have good news for you!

My latest and greatest film is having its U.S. festival premiere this coming weekend at the prestigious Portland International Film Festival (Feb. 9-25). 

As you probably know, Portland, Oregon is where I was born and raised, where I began my career as a cartoonist and animator - so it's especially sweet that I get to premiere the new film there, and I will be there in person to present the film, and give a free sketch to anyone who attends -

Also, as a great added surprise bonus, co-director Jim Lujan will be driving up from L.A. to help me introduce "Revengeance".  Jim wrote the film and in fact is the main creative force behind this crazy political biker film.  He also designed the characters and backgrounds, did the music and created aboutu 80% of all of the voices.  I storyboarded and produced the film, co-directed and did all of the animation. 

So, if you or anyone you know lives in the Oregon-Washington area, I encourage you to attend, or at least help spread the word, to support one of the craziest underground films around.

Screenings will take place on Saturday, February 18, 8:45 pm at the Laurelhurst Theater, 2735 E. Burnside Street, and on Sunday, February 19, 2:15 pm at the Whitsell Auditorium, 1219 SW Park Ave. (inside the Portland Art Museum).  Tickets and more info are available here:

By the way, a number of reviewers are comparing the villain of this film, Senator Deathface, who was a TV star that turned into a corrupt politician, to a certain elected personality who is all over the news these days.  However, Jim wrote the script about three years ago, so perhaps it's just the luck of history that these two characters are so similar.  But please come out to the screenings and see for yourself!

We hope to get a big crowd there, so I hope you can all come, and bring your friends!  Help keep Portland weird! 

Bill P.