I Want My Hat Back

posted by on 08.10.2011, under Art, Writing

Jon Klassen is an artist I have always admired, I just didn’t know it.

Today I accidentally stumbled upon his latest project – a children’s book coming out this fall called “I Want My Hat Back.”  Enjoy the adorable trailer here:

The bear’s hat is gone, and he wants it back.  Yep, I can just tell this story is going to keep me on the edge of my seat.

I originally found Klassen on my favorite greeting card site.  If I’ve ever sent you real mail, chances are it was a Red Cap Cards greeting card.  I love em, can’t get enough.  Look!  I got this one for my husband’s 30th birthday:

I got the card because it’s obviously the best.  Turns out it’s a Jon Klassen card.

He’s also responsible for the visual development drawings for Coraline.

Klassen was also the designer behind U2’s “I’ll go crazy if I don’t go crazy tonight” video, directed by David O’Reilly (although the character designs were David’s).

Now that I know the artist behind so many of my favorites, “I Want My Hat Back” is at the top of my list of Things I Want to Buy For Your Kids.

Available for pre-order here.  I can’t wait for fall!


everybody’s kickin it back

posted by on 07.09.2011, under Animation, Film, Film Festivals, Independent

Still from "The First Time CeeCee Did Acid" by Noelle Melody

Odds are the show is probably your basic dumb shit . But then you sort of think well maybe it’s beyond dumb, maybe it’s a ra-tard. Maybe it’s something really cool that you don’t even know about. And uh, and you started feeling like you definitely wanna be a part of it.

I’ve got to celebrate this teaser for the show, created by Taylor Armstrong.

Showcasing our submissions of half-cocked short-shorts, we promise you’ll be disturbed and/or left in great dismay.

It’s all happening at Glasslands this Wednesday, July 13th at 8pm — come experience some dumb shit AND drink a cold beer at the same time.


The Making of Place Stamp Here

posted by on 06.01.2011, under Animation, Film, Film Festivals, Independent

It’s a trailer!  Watch, if you please.

Sometimes, films aren’t planned. Place Stamp Here was an accident. Shhh, a happy accident, darling.

“I realized that sometimes my favorite part of my job is that my chair swivels, so maybe I need to more actively pursue other, more creative, more lovely projects.” – Kelly Sharp

And then Kelly sent us her charming script.

When she talks, Kelly goes off on these tangents that are wonderful and natural and so insisting that she narrate the script exactly how she’d described it to us in an email, we moved forward with our take on how to tell the story visually…

To the storyboards.

place stamp here storyboards

Cute … we could’ve drawn the whole film that way. But at the same time  1.) I sort of loved finishing a film in such a timely fashion and  2.) I really loved using the actual trinkets and the things we’ve all collected on all of our travels. Which also made the process unique and interesting. And amazing!

The music really tied the film together — composed by Jasmin Way, Carter Logan and Hannah Rawe of The Chandeliers with Zach Knox on piano.

It was so fun to collaborate and we’re so lucky to be surrounded by such creative types. We all thought of it like this — maybe we’re broke and maybe didn’t plan on making another film … but it’s festival season which equals fun. Motivation!

We used different techniques like shooting the stop-motion elements, combining traditional animation with cut-outs, watercolor, photographs. It’s um, a cornucopia of mixed media.

But OK, my favorite part was making coffee-stained paper for the backgrounds.

Mmmmm coffee makes anything possible.


The Gardener


After an 8 hour flight home from the UK last night, I had big plans for sleeping.  But then my friend James had an extra ticket for The Tallest Man on Earth at Webster Hall.  Oh, the sacrifice.

The Tallest Man on Earth, Webster Hall - Sept. 27 2010

It was a great show and by our second shot of Jameson, he played “The Gardener.”  This is always the highlight for me, the tippy top favorite of my many favorite songs of his.

I made the trip across the big blue ocean for the 2010 Woodstock Film Festival.  Joy, James and I worked on a music video, Golem, for The Maladies and it’s screening in the Animation Program this weekend.

We were also asked to make the Festival Signal Film again.  Keep reading to find out how we made it:

There were two rules to making the film.

One – it had to be based on the 2010 poster by Portia Munson, which was created using flowers from Munson’s Catskill garden.

2010 Woodstock Film Festival Poster by Portia Munson

Second rule – the film had to be done using pixilation.

I was still in England so Joy and James called me on video chat to discuss.  As James explained their concept, I could see Joy in the background, putting on too much makeup and wearing a funny costume.  They said they would handle the live action while I animated the flowers which I’d send to them to put to music.

We got started.  Joy and James dressed up as mime gardeners, a fairy and a rooster and took about 2,000 pictures of each other in their backyard.  I watched classic Sesame Street stop motion for inspiration and spent hours digitally cutting out 105 flowers and 1 insect from the poster.  I think I counted about 340 flowers in total but I could be wrong because I got dizzy.

You can imagine my excitement when they sent me a link to the finished movie.  Their part was so fun and well done for two animators who work almost exclusively in hand drawn and computer animation.  The live action seamlessly melts into my dancing flowers to The Tallest Man on Earth’s “The Gardener.”

We’ve been making the Woodstock Signal Films for three years now – here’s 2008 which Joy and I did together and here’s 2009, which we made with James and Arthur Metcalf.

There are going to be a few signal films in the festival this year for variety, two others were created by Aaron Hughes and Ivan Joy.  I can’t wait to see what they came up with!


Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival Trailer

posted by on 09.16.2010, under Animation, Film, Film Festivals, Independent

Just got back from the Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival!

martha's vineyard film festival animators

noelle vaccese, peter ahern, joy vaccese, james buran, signe baumane, bill plympton and sandrine flament

Being the happy little procrastinators you know and love, we of course finished creating the animated trailer just hours before leaving for the festival and here it is…

Curating the Animation Screening was so much fun. Noelle and I picked the best of the submissions, including Bill Plympton’s “The Cow Who Wanted to be a Hamburger,” three episodes from Signe Baumane’s “The Teat Beat of Sex,” Peter Ahern’s “Down to the Bone,” our new music video for The Maladies, a collaboration with James Buran called “Golem,” and many more!  The show was last Saturday night and it was bad ass!  In the following video, there’s a few clips from the our “animation spectacular!” as well as interviews with the famous Bill Plympton and your’s truly squared.

Catch the whole interview at plumtv.com


Character Designs

posted by on 09.02.2010, under Animation, Film Festivals, Sketchbook

Hello again!

Yay it’s my faaaaaaaaaavorite time of year! Noey and I have been making it a habit to animate film festival bumpers such as these oldies-but-goodies, and this year we’ve been asked to animate another one for the Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival.

Here are some rough character designs!

martha's vineyard international film fest bumper

Which one should we choose? All suggestions are welcome! We’re leaning towards the last one in the first row – obviously because of the giant disproportions. Cracks me up.


Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

posted by on 08.15.2010, under You're Welcome.

Edgar Wright’s adaptation of “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” stays true to Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novel series. It’s so precise, that someone was able to recreate the movie trailer using the original shots from the comic.

AND this week, Adult Swim aired a 4 minute animated short – Scott Pilgrim vs. the Animation to promote the film.

scott pilgrim vs the world graphic images

photos via edgar wright, www.flickr.com/edgarwright

Now it’s finally out in theaters! Of course – once I’m out of the country.  It won’t be released here overseas until August 25th. Boo. Did you dig it, America?  I’m jealous … especially after reading a rave review via Slash Film.

With the exception of those blindly dismissing the film as “hipster” (all of whom are apparently unaware that the hipster mentality is a source of constant ridicule throughout the film), the under-30 crowd is going to adore this movie. […] Future generations will begin to discover the film, and delight in the nostalgia-factor of a movie so married to its time—

Scott Pilgrim achieves so much, in such a short span of time. Its pace is relentless, yet flawlessly sustained throughout. Wright manages to condense six volumes worth of material from the graphic novels into less than two hours, and the result is the most successful live-action recreation of cartoon sensibilities that’s ever been released.

Rock! They gave it a 10 out of 10, pointing out that most of the negative reviews are coming from older critics who simply don’t “get it” and never will.  These are likely to be the same haters who are tired of Michael Cera and don’t think he should’ve been cast in the film.  Tired of Michael Cera? Where was I when this happened?  Mr. Cera, if you’re reading this, we think you’re absolutely brilliant.

Here. Awesome trailer put together by theMrBlonde2010 using the original shots from the graphic novel.

Official movie trailer…

Amazing recreation of the official movie trailer…

It’s so close I could cry. iwatchstuff.com posted some entertaining pics, more proof of just how solid Wright’s version is.

All in all, I can’t wait to see this geek fest of a flick. Packed with subtle pop culture references (the best kind), 8-bit weapons, comic book text, Jason Schwartzman and rock songs by bands such as Broken Social Scene and Metric, what more could you ask for?