Monday, September 26, 2011

Conversation at Burbank International Film Festival 2011 with Bill Plympton, Animator

Burbank International Film Festival 2011 September 15th -18th 2011

Interview by Jasmina Nevada

My name is Bill Plympton. I am an independent animator from New York City. I am out here for the Burbank Film Festival I have a number of projects involved in the festival I have 3 or 4 shorts : -

-Special Screening Guard Dog Global Jam
-A Summer Bummer
-The Flying House

also a film that I did some design on – Into the Woods it's a little documentary about Ingrid Pitt who is a famous actress who was in a concentration camp (Ingrid Pitt: Beyond the Forest). Then also there is a Feature film about me called Adventures in Plymptoons by Alexia Anastasio. I also received the Lifetime Achievement Award here so I am sort of multi-tasking while I am out here.

You can find out more information at

I am a totally independent and I am proud of that. My films make money and people are astounded that my films make money but I will tell you how...

That's what I do when I talk to young filmmakers I do master classes and I talk about how anybody can make money in Animation and Animation shorts. It's called Plymptoons dogma, these are my 3 rules for anybody to make money in animation:-

-Rule 1 to make your film short minutes or less
-Rule 2 make it cheap -when you ask the question what do I do on my films?... I do a lot....... I write, direct, storyboard, animate, design produce.  I wear so many hats that I don't have to pay a lot of money out to other people to do it. I do have a colorist, musicians and an editor so that's where the money goes..
Rule 3 of my Dogma is to make it funny and everyone will want to buy it..

-Are you saying to make the films succinct as obviously some of the films can wane off in different directions?

I am just talking about short films. in Feature films the rule also holds - you don't want to make a 2 hour film it is really hard to sell if you make a 80 or 70 minute film it is so much easier to sell and save money

All the films on You Tube that are really popular are short and funny, and that is the secret to success.

-Why did you decide to enter all of the entries above into this particular festival?

They asked me, it is my 3rd year of the festival. I think I had a film here last year -The Cow who wanted to be a Hamburger... and it may have won a prize I don't recall. They knew of me of course and were very aware of my work and they thought that they could do a feature appearance by me. They invited me to bring my new projects..

-What are you expectations with all of your entries this year? 

First of all I can't win a prize as I am a judge.. there is a Bill Plympton Animation prize named after me so it wouldn't look good if I won the Bill Plympton prize.. so basically I am just here to show off my work and show people what I am working on. They can talk to me about how I make my films, how I get distribution, how I come with ideas, the techniques I use it is more of inspirational techniques ..

-So you are providing a source of information to those just starting out and/or providing inspiration to those already in animation?

-What's next for you?

I had a workshop here at the Festival and I showed some of my works in progress. One of them is a new feature film called 'Cheating'- it's kind of James M Cain storytelling. It's very dark - a lot of jealously and cheating on other people, a lot of romance, broken hearts, but it's animated. It is a very different look. It's much more stylised look than the past and I am hoping to have that finished by sometime next year.

Thank you very much for your time
Other links

*Special thanks and appreciation by Jasmina Nevada to Bill Plympton for taking time out to chat with myself, Brandon Scott Kurtz for the extended courtesies & all those who were involved in the organisation etc of this year's  2011 Burbank Film Festival*

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