articles and interviews archive

November 11, 2002

  • Submitted by Riki
      Q: ...Without a doubt our favorite gem from Rejected would be the "Life is Good Everyone dance" character. Here lies the dispute. What is he or she? Fluff, Popcorn or as I tend to believe one of those things that are better left unsolved...

      don: those guys are all-purpose nameless, sexless, ageless, non-threatening stock cartoon characters. you know how mickey mouse used to actually have some personality and spunk in his first cartoons? he looked more like a rat back then, before he'd devolved into the giant-headed babylike monster that is now a corporate figurehead. when you slap your character on every happy meal and hallmark card you can find i think they will eventually end up looking just like these generic fluffy blobs.


  • Submitted by Bebop
      Q: How is the new film coming along? Do people ask you that enough?

      don: its coming along but taking a toll. photography has been pretty dreadful this week and now i'm back to animating this side thing to take a bit of time off again.. i think its all going to eventually look ok, but just shooting a test of a 2 second special effects shot sucks up 7 hours. laborious is a good word. this film is going to have taken 10 years off of my life when all is said and done. i think i've already said that somewhere


  • Submitted by Corey
      Q: Oh, Don, just give up on trying to get Cartoon Network to air Rejected. They simply don't have the balls to do so. They're too familiar as a children's network. Why not try looking at another network to air the short?

      don: i've kind of been enjoying the trainwreck.. i am told there's two letter writing campaigns and petitions and bizarre rumors and network arguments and it's just a big stupid mess. if the network and i were smart we would have orchestrated this whole thing to begin with and THEN play the film. but i really don't know what they were thinking. unfortunately it's not as simple as just taking it to hbo or something. we're bound by an exclusive license to the network and the network to us, so if they should decide to just take a loss and never air it, we'll just have to wait for the contract to expire before going to another channel.


  • Submitted by Loren
      Q: Just wondering if you are a fan of anime, and if so, what your favorite show/movie is, or favorite illustrator?

      don: i don't really follow anime, i think that's the one arm of animation that i really just know next to nothing about. i've seen plenty of it and like quite a bit but for the most part i guess i've never really been able to crack it. i do dig all the epic screaming though


  • Submitted by Jeremy in TN
      Q: After showing my sister Rejected, then presenting her with her own copy, she returned to college (Ball State, Indiana) & shared it with all of her friends. I'm told that if you spend enough time at the Music building at BSU you will eventually hear, "My anus is bleeding" or "My spoon is too big" floating down the halls. Was that the desired effect? God knows, I'm happy to spread your work to anyone who'll watch, but your quotable material definitely takes on a life of its own.

      don: yeah the weird parroting spreads like a virus wherever it plays. those sorts of things are always out of your hands. but what strikes me as more strange is that no one line is really more popular than the others.. rob and i have heardevery piece of dialogue in there mimicked back to us across the country. i remember how irritating it used to be whenever i heard people running around badly quoting monty python and now we seem to have accidentally served the world one worse. apologies


  • Submitted by David in CA
      Q: I would like to address a concern of mine in a recent Question and Answer. Dale from Canada wrote that the amusing left-handedly-drawn character remarks: "I am munching porkchop in my moose", and Mr. Hertzfeldt, much to my dismay, agreed to that. However, after much deliberation and analysis between my cohorts and myself, we came to the conclusion that he actually, in fact, says "EEE MONKEY POUR COFFEE IN MY MOOCH", and we believe that this grievious error should be immediately corrected.

      don: i am hereby imposing a ban on all "what did this character say to the other" questions in this forum


  • Submitted by Sarabella
      Q: from rejected, in the left handed drawing scene, the little guy is saying something...WHAT IS HE SAYING!?!??! I know the big guy says the monkey poured coffee in my boots, but i need to know what the little guy says to him before and after that.

      don: hiss!


  • Submitted by avalon in FL
      Q: Hi Don, what did you think of those big court proceedings regarding Mickey Mouse potentially becoming a public domain character, when Steamboat Willie could no longer be renewed for copyright? Also, do you know if it's been decided yet?

      don: i was following the case at first but lost track a while ago. my gut tells me disney probably won out. as an artist i have to admit i have leanings towards their cause and not losing ownership to your characters. but as a filmmaker how cool to one day have the rights to freely use mickey in something? i'd like to see him quietly move in next door to beavis and butthead and kinda just weirdly hang out with them. mickey would never say anything, they'd just kinda bum around on the curb together or shoot plywood in the backyard

  • Submitted by Justin in FL
      Q: does the stickman who yanks out the other stickmans torso proclaim that he is the 'queen of france' after placing the torso upon his head?

      don: kill!!!

    September 15, 2002

  • Submitted by Michael in Canada
      Q: To the Bitter Films Team - I've just completed my first short film but I haven't got a clue as to where to begin getting it seen. What kind of formula did you guys follow to get exposure for your work when you were just starting out? Thanks for your time.

      don: there was no rhyme or reason to it, i just submitted each new one to literally every film festival i could find entry forms for.. that quickly snowballed into entering hundreds of them. i may have spent more on entry fees and videotapes than those early films themselves. it's kind of an aggressive strategy, but it's largely what i still do now with each new film.. i like playing in mudville just as much as new york city. i say this a lot, but getting the film seen is just as important as making it in the first place.


  • Submitted by Quentin
      Q: Hi people. After pursuading my friend to buy the Rejected DVD, I noticed that the packaging on her copy looks different in spots to the one I bought when it first came out. Do I have too much free time for noticing this? And is there any story behind it? Are the discs different too? Is my copy MORE VALUABLE?

      don: wow you have very good eyes. yeah when we pressed the second round of dvds i took the opportunity to tweak a few things here and there on the case. who knows, will probably play with it some more for the next batch. no don't worry, the discs remain the same. though obviously you must buy all the different versions of the packaging.


  • Submitted by Oskar M in Sweden
      Q: Im from sweden so im not that good i writing in english. I love all your works very much. Im thinking of making a shortfilm of the cartoon Bill goes shopping with real actors and all, im going to at mediaschool where they have expensive cameras and good computers, so it migth just become good when its finished. And how did you get hold of the traditional swedish music ( sanct Lucia song)?? do you have swedish friends? And i wonder if there is any symbolic meaning in your work (like the ants and the fishhead and so) or if your just insane... love you

      don: it's probably not a good idea to make a film based on that cartoon because we would have to sue you and take all your kronas away. i'm half swedish actually so i grew up listening to all of those weird songs. of course i had to find a way to work one into a movie


  • Submitted by Julie in WA
      Q: Is the Don and Bill show gone for good? Will it ever play again in my area?

      don: i don't know; i think there are a few more cities for autumn and then actually some sort of little tour in australia but i think otherwise we'd rather end it while its still small and special


  • Submitted by Pizzarino
      Q: Hi Don. My favorite thing about Rejected is how it came together as you went. The large period of time in production let you add more from a larger part of your life to it and make the film more meaningful and entertaining.. I know "I live in a giant bucket" has some sort of deeper meaning, significance, or story behind it. What is it?

      don: i think rob and i were picking up a friend at some hotel or apartment building or halfway house or something years ago and it had this weird glass corridor you had to go through that connected the outside doors to the inside ones. it was really echoey in there so naturally i said, 'you live in a giant bucket.'


  • Submitted by Dale in Canada
      Q: We are a bunch of crazy canucks at a computer store in ottawa and we have been using dialog from rejected for the last 2 weeks at the store and customers are thinking we are nut cases not like they are far from the truth. Our question to you is what does the character say when he pulls the guys stomach off and put the meat hat on? also the cartoon when he draws the two guys with his left hand, sound like he is saying "I am munching porkchop in my moose"?

      don: 'i am munching porkchop in my moose' is actually alot funnier than what we had in there. lets just pretend it was that one

    September 3, 2002

  • Submitted by Mandi in CA
      Q: Hi Don! I've been following your work for a few years and was wondering what the latest news was on the animated feature film I'd heard you've been creating, that used to be mentioned every now and then? And is it with a major studio?

      don: it was a higher priority for me a few years ago and just keeps getting pushed back in light of more immediate things to do.. the script is not ready for me yet and it will be a little while, maybe in between the next few shorts, before i'll have the time and patience to settle back in and give it another rewrite whirl.. i'm still into it but it will have to wait for a bit


  • Submitted by goddess ex
      Q: i saw in your journal you were reading interviews on edward gorey. what's your favourite edward gorey book? i've always loved the doubtful guest...but maybe that's cause it looks like he's wearing little converse all stars...

      don: i don't know if i could pick a favorite they're all brilliant.. the object lesson.. curious sofa..


  • Submitted by Marie
      Q: At a film festival last November I saw The Don and Bill Show: Slightly Bent. I really liked it. Almost a year later I still can't find it anywhere. When and where will I be able to purchase The Don and Bill Show: Slightly Bent?

      don: you won't, actually. that program was only intended for theaters


  • Submitted by William
      Q: 'ello...I've recently become interested in animation and having no background in it whatsoever, I hoped you could answer a few questions for me... 1. What kind of paper do you prefer to use? 2. What kind of ink do you prefer to use?

      don: nothing fancy.. extra fine point sharpies and standard 12 field animation paper. although the pens are all the same i usually use about 9 different ones when i ink as they all have different levels of ink and thus different personalities


  • Submitted by Jenny
      Q: to don: i read that the scoring for Rejected's theme is from Beethoven's 9th (shamefully i didn't recognize this w/ my own ears; i only have viewed it once, and it was a foggy night of some sort), is this, perhaps, a nod to Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange-- or did you just see the 9th fit for the score?

      don: i was going through piles of classical music trying to find the right piece for the film and the 9th happened to come on and those particular bits fit in my head immediately. very few people recognize it as the 9th, i guess the sections we used are the less popular early movements. i don't think any of those bits were even played in 'clockwork' but i could be wrong


  • Submitted by Chris
      Q: I got a question. See, I got all my things animated, and my sound on a cheap tape recorder. I have a newer Sony video camera, but it doesn't have single frame capability which makes my animations look lethargic. I also have a 30 year old movie camera, a Sankyo XL-400S, which I'm not quite sure how to operate. Anyway, I'm looking into investing into a good, but cheap (I know, I know, you get what you pay for) camera that would allow me to compile my own animations. What camera do you guys use..? Can that kind of camera be purchased anywhere?

      don: i photograph everything straight to 35mm which is expensive and probably not the answer you're looking for - you can see pictures of the animation camera in our gallery. i shoot pencil tests on videotape with cameras that have somewhat slow animation motors (read: you have to watch everything in fast-forward to sense the movement right). for somebody just starting out i'd recommend getting an animation lunchbox to play with - i've never used one but my friend says they're really handy - or finding a 16mm camera with an intervelometer. i'm sure there are also all sorts of software and digital stuff if you wanted to animate it in a computer but i don't really know too much about those ones


  • Submitted by Ben
      Q: I saw you answer audience questions after a film show last year and you were a very good sport because it seemed very tedious. of all those questions what's the most irritating thing you get asked when yuo go to shows? Also what's it like watching your stuff screen over and over again to different audiences?

      don: 'where do you get your ideas?' ..a close second is, 'will you draw me a ___?' and, 'does this look infected to you?'

      i usually don't stay in the audience to watch the films screen anymore, it's very hard for me to keep in my chair.. i'm usually flitting about the theater checking on everything, talking to people and generally irritating the projectionist.


  • Submitted by Remo
      Q: What is the last dream you remember having?

      don: it was something about school i think. i remember somebody had assorted shellfish and crusty sealife permanently attached to her legs.. mussels, clams, barnacles, etc all crowded around in patches. they were a minor inconvenience to her which she intended to have chiseled away or surgically removed as soon as she could afford it. i also remember overlooking a beach with a red sky. there were sharks in the water and a dead seal washed up and hundreds of tiny snakes that looked like worms burrowing around in the dirt which made it impossible to sit. but people were running around like it was a normal beach


  • Submitted by aeon in sweden
      Q: which of your films is your favorite? do you have one that you're the most proud of?

      don: not really.. i don't think i've made that one yet

      rrr sorry to cut it short again.. i have a heap of questions growing here which i promise i will eventually get to.. sleepy for now, will be back soon

    August 5, 2002

  • Submitted by Thom in New Zealand
      Q: I read somewhere that Lily and Jim was made up of over 10,000 drawings, how does the new film compare? and what does all the talk of 'ones' and 'twos' mean, by the way? Thanks

      don: that refers to the quality of animation and how many drawings are used for every second of screen time. film runs at 24 frames/second so animating in twos means there's one drawing for every two frames (12 drawings a second), threes means there's a drawing every three frames (8 per second), and on... my first two movies were drawn in threes and everything since is in twos and occasionally ones (24 a second). not many animators cram that much effort into every second, most television animation you see is often done in way less expensive 4's to 6's.

      by the time its finished the new movie will have required several tens of thousands of pictures.. even tho it's a bit shorter than lily and jim it has about 100 times as many moving elements that all needed to be individually animated and fleshed out before being composited together onto single photograph-able pages


  • Submitted by John613
      Q: Hello! If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

      don: i'd like to be able to stop time like that girl on that tv show


  • Submitted by Lori in TX
      Q: Hello, I read in your journal about your last studio meeting, was that for something animated?

      don: naw it was just a writing thing i was sorta interested in. mgm was still hoping to remake 'the man with the x ray eyes' w/o tim burton and i thought could be fun to write on the side here. we talked about it a bit but my take was not their cup of tea.. it doesn't appear they'll be remaking the movie at all now though


  • Submitted by Sabrina
      Q: How do you pronounce Hertzfeldt?

      don: hertz like the rent a car and feldt like felt


  • Submitted by Kent
      Q: Hey Don, I've read a lot of things you have said and you talk about never releasing Spanky. Why not?

      don: well because it sucks. there's also little point in it now that the whole thing was pretty much remade into that scene in rejected. also the soundtrack is still missing.

    July 15, 2002

  • Submitted by Steve in LA
      Q: hi don. very sad about ann landers, isn't it? question: how do you make money? i really wonder about that. poor little don.

      don: i hand out fliers at bus terminals and subway stations


  • Submitted by Melissa in NY
      Q: Hi Don! I saw in your journal talk about a very short new film possibly being released ahead of the big film that you've been working on. Any details?

      don: it's not yet a certainty but it seems that will be the case. we should be able to share more news about the what's + why's of the little film soon. i don't imagine it will be more than 2 minutes long, a very silly thing nothing to get too excited about


  • Submitted by Tara
      Q: Do you have a set process you go through in creating new cartoons, or is it more of a 'I must get this down before it leaves my brain!' type style of working?

      don: i guess the process is letting them evolve on their own.. the 'must get down before leaves brain' is usually the very first step and then new ideas that come over the months + years of production help sculpt it along. it's almost never a fully realized film idea in the beginning. usually just start with a solid general concept or a central theme and begin animating, then maybe 6 months in you start to see how it's taking shape and how it's going to progress, 9 months in you have a good idea of an ending, etc.. so it's all spontaneous, new or better ideas coming along the way.. from hearing a piece of music or getting something out of a dream or an image, etc. the original tone and central bits of billy's balloon came from a dream actually. so i fill pages with notes of all of the new ideas and scenes and things i get as i go rather than start off with a finished screenplay. with the current film i figured out the ending about a year into it but i added several key shots just a couple weeks ago and it was only maybe 2 months ago that i was able to visualize how the end would all actually play out... and we're now 2 years into production.. and then after it's all filmed we usually change the whole thing around again in sound and editing. for some reason such a loose process seems like it should be terrifying but i've never had writer's block along the way and i can't imagine animating a short any differently


  • Submitted by Harold in TX
      Q: Hi Don! I read on another website that you are working on something with Mike Judge?

      don: i can't believe that is on the internet already ?? well you'll find out soon enough


  • Submitted by Mike
      Q: I was wondering why the first few Temporary Anesthetics comics where made up in all nice and fancy vectors, while the later ones were just the original scan? Was it just to screw with my mind because only anal people like myself would ponder this, or was it that Adobe Streamline was being uncooperative and not helping?

      don: i'm told it was an old XT-red 27 uplink that they alternated on the adobe capacitor in order to make the vector bolts compatible with the rotating cable flaps. i don't actually like the way any of the comics look online, they pumped the contrast up too high


  • Submitted by Jenna
      Q: Is the glass half empty or half full?

      don: half full. by definition the glass in its natural state is empty. anything added to the glass, even mere drops, is thus filling. aren't i the most irritating person you've ever met?


  • Submitted by Marci in WI
      Q: Hi Don! I really like your pen and ink style however I loved the charcoal work in "Lily and Jim" and the other inventive mediums you've used from time to time that we don't otherwise see in everyday animation. I was wondering what the difference between this and what I've heard called 'ink and paint', and also if you'd be branching out in any different art mediums with this new film?

      don: more charcoals and actually heavy amounts of oil paints this time, something i haven't played with in years. i was also considering building some models for a couple shots but kind of doubt that will be necessary now.. going to also be experimenting with quite a few special effects shots including some smoke, water, maybe even fire elements. but mostly it's me and mr sharpie again. "ink and paint" is the term used for painting on cels; butcels never look organic to me, you're limited to painting very flat kinds of textures onto them. i only rarely ever use cels and if i do it's just to paste something on top of it (like the clouds in billy)


  • Submitted by Jack and Dave
      Q: Greetings and Salutations, Don! Would you rather be eaten by a shark or a penguin?

      don: there is something swampy-smelling in my kitchen drain and i can't get it out


  • Submitted by XO
      Q: Hiya Don! You seem like a rare breed of rogue artist so I have a question for you. How do you maintain your artistic integrity and pay your rent at the same time? Do you think that perhaps you have sacraficed something for your work or do you find a greater advantage? I've been thinking about that lately.

      don: i'm doing ok. the social sacrifices are more important than all of the money stuff i've passed over. if i were filthy rich or something i would be doing this same thing.. though i'd probably eat better. and i would have lots of balloons. and i would be filthy.


    June 24, 2002

  • Submitted by Nathan
      Q: Hi Don. I read somewhere that you animate in a straightforward keyframes, you just draw one after the other. Have you ever been working on a film where something doesn't go quite as you planned and you regret not using keyframes?

      don: not yet.. i don't think key frames really lend themselves to this sort of animation. movements that have been overly key framed can seem a little too exaggerated and un-spontaneous (a word?) and our sort of thing rather needs to feel a little more tense and unpredictable. i've only bothered with key frames a handful of times i think, probably for something big and obvious that needed to be plotted out


  • Submitted by Afireinside
      Q: Greetings Don! I have kinda noticed that your films over the years have progressively been using more dialogue. The dialogue in Rejected is absolutely hilarious, but on the other hand, I saw Genre with the sound broken and still laughed until I peed a little. The new film, more talky talky or more fat-man-fall-down humor?

      don: the new film is pretty heavy on dialogue but it's not what it seems.. you might not even call it dialogue. i'm not sure if the film will be considered a comedy... there's humor in it but it plays a lot more under the surface. compared to rejected and the other films it will probably be like night and day


  • Submitted by Tim
      Q: Hi, Just wondering if there are plans in the future to use more digital tools to produce your films. The reason I ask is that it seems like you go through hell to produce your shorts. I wonder if digital techniques would assist you in producing faster? Moreover, would it be worth it, in your estimation, to be able to produce a 10 minute short in 3-5 months as opposed to 12 with the same level of quality? Of course it may not matter in your case as not using digital tools (short of a video camera right? hasn't hurt you in the least (ie. multiple shorts, oscar nom:-)

      don: yes, i go through hell! hell!! but no i don't think digital tools would save me much time.. and getting the same level of quality from digital vs 35mm would be out of the question. i did learn something interesting with this new one, which is something i'd wanted to shoot for many years but never really thought possible without the help of computers. it seemed impossible in theory for one person to animate. but i sort of figured out a way to pull the animation off the old fashioned way, as time consuming as it is, and as i sunk deeper into production i realized that it probably would have been just as difficult, if not more so, with a computer.


  • Submitted by Lola
      Q: Hallo, Don! I was wondering if the Don and Bill show will rise again and flow to new and wonderful places, like my corner of the continent. That would make me dance the happy dance. How 'bout it?

      don: it would make me dance too. i'm not involved with the booking of the show but we'll see what they can do. not sure how much longer the program will be touring but still have a few cities on my own wish list

      i am eating popsicles now


  • Submitted by Caleb in Pittsburgh
      Q: Don, i read in one of the old journals where you said after seeing Waking Life something to the effect of: It was great, though ive never had much respect for rotoscoping. So, please explain your feelings on rotoscoping because one would think you would have less respect for the rotoscoping in WL as it was all digitalcomputerjobbed, and it is actually drawn elsewhere. Please elaborate.

      don: well yes but somewhat no.. i've always been on the fence with rotoscope.. lots of animators really frown on it because they don't consider just tracing over live action to be really animating. but films like waking life or when the day breaks take rotoscope to a whole different level in my book


  • Submitted by Reid in NJ
      Q: Hey Don. For the photographs in the "rrrrrr" section of your website did you use photoshop or a darkroom to get the distortion/effects you want? Also, where do find all those crazy articles and pictures? Thanks a lot and keep updating that section, its amazing!

      don: i don't actually know how to use photoshop.. i think a couple of the photographs were experimented with a bit on the scanner, but 90% of the effects and distortions you see were just done in-camera


  • Submitted by Byronius in AZ
      Q: Hey Don! If I'm travelling 25 mph in my speedboat, and the wind is blowing in the opposite direction also at 25 mph, which direction is my ponytail blowing? Also, any plans for placing Roberto in any future films?

      don: naw i think i like roberto where he is


  • Submitted by Wendi in WA
      Q: Hi! Regarding Anesthetics, I was wondering if you could give any more details about how much the book will be a traditional graphic novel sort of story? I'm really curious because it's sure not a straightforward narrative in the strips online but that's the rumor I've been hearing. And also do you read any current comics?(If you're not a big comics guy I really recommend anything by Neil Gaiman, Jhonen Vasqez's early stuff, and especially Chris Ware.)

      don: jhonen and i e-mail each other every now and then but i never was able to catch his tv show when it was on. the book will be a bit nonlinear but with a solid narrative.. it probably won't have much relation to the strips you see online


  • Submitted by Toby
      Q: Hi Don! I've been through Santa barbara three times in the past couple of months but haven't seen you even ONCE! Please tell me you're not hiding on Oprah's ranch that would be frightening. Next time I go through I'll look for camouflage guy and give him something for you. What would you like?

      don: camouflage guy would look fabulous on a pony


  • Submitted by Kristine in OR
      Q: Don, Hi, I am a girl currently dating a very busy and consumed filmmaker. You, also being a very busy and consumed filmmaker, I was thinking, might have some valuable advice or pointers on how he and I can keep our relationship together and healthy. I don't want to turn your Fan Forum into a Dear Abbey column but you seem like the right person to ask.

      don: did you read ann landers just died? ann landers was like 80 something. i guess you probably shouldn't try and compete with that sort of consuming thing. because you will probably lose

      last night i tried creating new mix drinks with melted popsicles and rum butit was a disaster. well mostly rum


  • Submitted by Kathy
      Q: Hi everyone. I've been trying to keep up with the latest updates on your new cartoon production because I'm interested in movie making and all the fascinating work that go into a film. Sometimes I get lost in the technical talk though; in layman's terms could you please sum up your current process with the new film? Thanks and keep up the good work!

      don: it's still being animated.. we recorded most of the film's dialogues back in summer 2000 and since then i've just been drawing like a hemhorraging antelope. i hope to start shooting something finally by autumn, while i try and wrap up the rest of the animation, possibly thru the holidays. (didn't i already answer this question?) when it's all been photographed it's then edited and off we go to sound mix and then etc. but editing and sound should be simple relative to rejected, in which the animation was a lot easier but the post production less straightforward.. it's all very confusing isn't it

      well that's all the time i've got for today.. see you all again same place next time, cheers


    June 14, 2002

  • Submitted by Natalie
      Q: Hi Don! How are you?

      don: i'm ok thanks. feeling kinda flighty tonight, hard to concentrate


  • Submitted by Andy in NV
      Q: Hi everyone. I've been trying to find Bitter Films fansites or message boards. Could you tell me where to look where I could get in touch with other artists, fans and animators? And are you guys cool with fansites in general, if I was to launch something myself? Thanks!

      don: sure, i don't know exactly what's out there right now, but we're always happy to help + fully support fansites and things. who are we to deny your sloppy fan love? hmm . an online collective for artists would be a really cool thing too. this must happen. go do this


  • Submitted by Joe
      Q: Don... First of all, I'd like to say that your films are amazingly funny! Will Escape is Still Impossible and Spanky the Bear (as well as other early or unreleased films) perhaps be included as extras on BITTER FILMS, VOLUME 1?

      don: wow you're digging into ancient history there! of those early video cartoons, escape is still impossible probably has the best chance of being on there, it's a direct precursor to genre and moreover it doesn't use copyrighted music. the problem with 99 percent of those old cartoons is i used to just throw any music onto them, which now prevents us from sharing them. unless we rescored them or made them silent. i haven't thought too far ahead about extras for the vol 1 dvd but escape has a decent chance of showing up and i'd love to share at least portions of some others. spanky.. less of a chance of ever letting spanky out of the cage.. and the original 16mm soundtrack for it is still missing.


  • Submitted by Steve in Los Angeles
      Q: Hullo, Don! Seeing as how you're not a complete shut-in, perhaps you can tell me the names of some of your favourite movies/filmmakers?....Oh, and any movies/DVDs you're looking forward to?

      don: david lynch has been promising eraserhead on dvd for quite a long while now, have been really looking forward to that. i just got his short films dvd and was jealous of their packaging. amelie was probably the best thing i saw last year


  • Submitted by Caleb in PA

      Q: Don, do you believe in god? And will he be making an appearance in any of your upcoming work?

      don: that depends on your definition of god


  • Submitted by Dempsey in GA
      Q: Hi Don! I was wondering if you realized that both Billy's Balloon and Lily and Jim are available on two seperate compilation DVDs entitled SHORT (L+J is on the one subtitled 'seduction', BB is on 'insanity')? Also, what is the piece of music played over the credits at the end of Lily and Jim?

      don: m well yes i realized that... but i sort of disowned those releases because those "short" dvd people kinda screwed us both times. hiring some random stranger to do an audio commentary over billys balloon without approaching us was the last straw. moreover the films looked lousy on their discs because all they did was cheaply transfer them from old videos. meh

      i don't remember the name of the lily piano piece but it was composed by our friend beth waters, a talented musician who i think is living in san francisco now. i think she has mp3s of her music available all over the internet


  • Submitted by David in Atlanta
      Q: Why does Don keep referring to the "Temporary Anesthetics" book as "big," as in "the big upcoming 'Temporary Anesthetics' book"? Is Don planning to print each comic really huge, or are the eleven strips posted on the website just a fraction of all that was drawn, like when you see a hand sticking out of a lake and you grab it and pull out an entire dead body covered in carnivorous tadpoles?

      don: tadpoles. there was a boxfull of material - some good, some not - that sort of spawned the 12 original strips. most of the rest of stuff in this box has since been rewritten... and only a portion of the original 12 strips and its characters will carry over to the book, it's quite a world apart.. those should now be considered very rough drafts. the complete book in my head right now will run about 200-300 pages in order to tell its story


  • Submitted by Bob in TX
      Q: Hi! This is a question for Robert: what can you tell us about your voice acting work on the current production? How does it compare to the other films?

      robert: Hi Bob. The voice work was much more vague for this Cartoon than the others. There was so much going on in the studio with all the different participants and new lines be written in the recording session as we went along. The film was at such a early stage it's hard to look back and connect that to Don's pencil tests these last few months. I think you'll hear me in there more than most of the other monkeys but this is a much larger film in the sense that my meager vocal range can't quite cut all of the ages and ethnicities Don wrangled for voice work. I'll let you know when we do our wrap up recording session as the film nears completion. One last chance to pick up new voices and rerecord takes that didn't work. (I'm secretly replacing the 60 or so other actors' dialog tracks with my own. Haaaa haaaaaa haaaaaahHHHAAAAAAAAAA.) So yeah. This film has been similar to the playing around in Rejected but still a pretty different experience than Lily or Billy's Balloon.


  • Submitted by Terry in PA
      Q: Hello Don, I have noticed that you listen to classical music. Who are some of your favorite composers? What are some of your favorite pieces?

      don: i've been up to my ears in tchaikovsky lately because his music is all over the new film, just as beethoven was all over rejected. classical music adds so much to these that i can't imagine them without.. i've been animating scenes directly to certain pieces; not in a fantasia sort of sense, just right on top of the timing + peaks and lulls. the new film will probably be the most music-driven of all of them.


  • Submitted by Sabrina
      Q: What is the name of the song played during the 'yaay!' scene in Rejected?

      don: this must be music day.. i don't know the name of the song offhand, sorry, but it is a very traditional swedish song.


  • Submitted by Ryan in British Columbia
      Q: Dear Don, Since I have complete faith in you I wont ask anything about your upcoming side projects or the current film. I was just wondering if you've seen that creepy gas mask guy lately. I just love hearing about him. Also what's your favorite Radiohead CD or Single?

      don: i havent seen him for a few months now unfortunately but i have been seeing a new interesting person, who i guess we'll call camouflage guy because he's always dressed head to toe in full-on jungle operations regalia complete with combat boots and green jungle hat. i sometimes see him daily, forging his way across the same freeway overpass. we have very entertaining homeless here.
      right now i like 'how to disappear'


  • Submitted by Cindy in Los Angeles
      Q: Howdy Don, are you planning on going to Comic-Con this year?

      don: i don't think so.. i had talked to bill a little bit about maybe bringing the don/bill show there but the necessary particulars of arranging that never materialized. at this point i think i'll still be too deep in production to travel anywhere also. something outside my window smells burning


  • Submitted by David in TX
      Q: Do you have any vices?

      don: i make off with bricks of napkins from fast food restaurants


  • Submitted by Jinnifer
      Q: What is the weirdest experiance you've ever had with a fan?

      don: i don't think i've had one yet.. people are generally very sweet. rob has been kidnapped and beaten a couple times though


    June 9, 2002

  • Submitted by Jason in New York
      Q: Hi Don. What's the new film going to be about? What's it going to be called? And why can't you draw faster??

      don: hi. the new film is about life.


  • Submitted by Lynne in CA
      Q: When will the new film (what's it called?) going to be finished? When/where will we be able to see it first?

      don: it's probably going to be finished around next summer, but it's almost impossible to predict. my fingers are crossed for around then anyway. hopefully will finish a major of chunk of it in a few months and be able to start photography while i animate the rest. as far as a first screening, i think i'd like to have a quieter premiere for this one here in santa barbara somewhere, maybe for a charity or whatnot


  • Submitted by AliceNV
      Q: Hi everybody! First I wanted to say thank you for the films and for making the DVD of Rejected so enjoyable. My husband and I were surprised by the amount of material and fun places on it. But please help us! I'm desperate to locate all the hidden places we've heard about on the DVD, could you give any guidance for those of us who're still looking?

      don: let me try and remember.. try clicking on pictures. and be sure to go thru every page in the scrapbook. i think. there's also a pretty cool thing when you click back to the main menu from the waste time page. i don't know if i remember all the rest. "page zero" turned out to be my favorite thing on the whole disc


  • Submitted by Outback Spoon
      Q: Is the film you're working on now taking so long to make because it'll have a longer running time than the others?

      don: no, it will probably be under ten minutes. maybe even under seven, very hard to say without having begun filming and editing. it's taking so much longer to animate because it's extremely dense and complicated


  • Submitted by Daniel in TX
      Q: I was wondering how long after the new film came out that we can expect to see all of Don's work end up on a single DVD/Video?

      don: again hard to say but we did learn alot about how time consuming the process is via the rejected single. we might start remastering some of the older films ahead of time, but i plan to give the release the same amount of personal attention as if it were my next movie.. i imagine the dvd will take at least a few months to put together, though likely less than a year. we also wouldn't want it out too early before people get a chance to catch the new one in a proper theater


  • Submitted by Jinnifer in AZ
      Q: What was it like working with Plympton on your tour together?

      don: the show was one of those things that beautifully required very little work on our parts. it was just a fun idea i had that ended up practically putting itself together. i don't think we discussed it on the phone more than twice. he picked five films from his vast collection of work and i, well, picked all five of my films, and that was pretty much all there was to it. fun experiment, bill is swell


  • Submitted by Nathan
      Q: This is a rude question that my mother told me never to ask anyone, but I gotta know...what's Don's annual income?

      don: you should listen to your mother


  • Submitted by Ricky
      Q: Hi, I loved your film, Ah, l'amour. But I loved the guitar in it even better. I was wondering if you could send me the guitar tab. Thank you for your time and keep up the great work.

      don: i wish i could say but nothing was written down. it was 'scored' on a cheap boom box while i watched a vhs of the cartoon and clumsy improvised along in two or three takes. if you listen closely you can hear the clicks in the soundtrack where i hit 'pause' on the tape deck. i don't think the chords are much more complicated than G and C, i just picked up the guitar and tried to play the dumbest chords i could. also i probably used a capo so if you try it with one you ought to be able to figure it out


  • Submitted by Eric
      Q: Don, How'd that Holga ever work out, or was medium format film just too much of a pain in the butt? regards

      don: the holga is great, thanks.. i've stockpiled about eight exposed rolls by now but for the first couple months i was too chicken to develop them, which then led to general stalling... and then i forgot. thanks for the reminder


  • Submitted by Rain in TX
      Q: will yuo marry me?

      don: no


  • Submitted by Garrett
      Q: What of the Lily and Jim and Ah, L'Amour t-shirts that were at one point mentioned? Was the idea tossed out or merely put on the backest of back burners? And, also, wouldn't it be cool if there were Temporary Anesthetics shirts, after the book came out (hint hint)?

      don: the lily shirt was put on the smaller little burners way behind the backest of back burners. i'm not sure if that will ever happen. the lamour one might be next but i'd like to redesign it rather than just resurrect the out of print '95 ones.. as for anesthetics on a shirt, well maybe. any suggestions?

      all righty it's back to work with me over here. see you later everyone, take care