articles and interviews archive

=========================================================================== June 3, 2003

  • Submitted by Brian
      Q: hey don, i am a film student and i gotta say your flicks are way better than all the namby-pamby horse droppings they make us watch in the factory. i was wondering, since i didn't know about these 3 new side projects that y'all were doing simultaneous with the new film but as a D.H. devotee who is stepping on his own tongue in eagerly anticipation of the big DVD collection due out "soon" i wanted to know if the new side projects will be on it. foop

      don: yeah indeed they will be - the little trilogy of cartoons will be in theaters with something pretty cool this summer/fall and into next year. we are still madly mixing sound for them under a looming deadline. all together the three are just about as long as 'rejected'. in the meantime the new film has a decent chance at being finished and in a couple film festivals before this year's end if all goes smoothly. though it rarely does. so yeah the big dvd will be even bigger. probably out around the latter half of 2004 or so


  • Submitted by KP
      Q: you have a name for this [new] film yet, or did you already say it? Just curious. Can't wait to see the new film!

      don: i think i do have a name for it but i don't think we'll let that out of the bag until its all finished. i might still change my mind at the last minute though it's the same title that's been in my head since the first day. but we had a different name for 'lily and jim' right up until the 11th hour so you never know. i am not good at all with titles


  • Submitted by AJ in Illinois
      Q: What's the deal with Mike Judge? Are you actually going to make anything with him? 'Cause I think I remember something going on.. Oh well.. On a more serious matter, how can dolphins be as smart as humans if they don't live in igloos?

      don: yeah - that is definitely going to happen.

      also dolphins don't need igloos because it is warmer under the water where there is no wind


  • Submitted by aleph
      Q: How do you draw your animations? For example, do you draw the whole frame on one sheet or a new sheet for each character and somehow combine them or what? I've noticed that sometimes if a character is standing still it looks like 5 or so frames are just repeated.

      don: they are all actually giant paper mache sculptures operated from the inside by little people and puppeteers


  • Submitted by chelsey
      Q: dear don are you communist? love chelsey

      don: last week i read an article about a genetically modified grapefruit tree that grew grapefruits with raw beef on the inside but it turned out to be a hoax


  • Submitted by Brad
      Q: I shopped around a bit at the online store, and I was hoping to see that you sold an enormous novelty spoon, much to the same degree as the first scene in Rejected. Are there any plans to construct, license, or sell such a product?

      don: i was also recently reading a new article about the ice man they found frozen in italy a few years ago. they say he was over 5000 years old. they could tell by his fingernails that he had health problems.


  • Submitted by Dex
      Q: Dear Don, A friend recently sent me a link to your site and I started looking around, I found the comic you made called bobby neurotic buys lip balm, It sounded interesting so it was the first link I clicked. I can honestly say i have never laughed that hard in a long time, I thought I was going to die laughing. I then read Bobby Neurotic eats a sandwich, I had the same reaction to it as i did the first. To the point, I was wondering if you in the future plan on doing more Bobby neurotic?

      don: i doubt it - all those strips were kinda experiments which sort of worked and sort of didn't... also by now i think some of them are four years old or more. i've got lots of other things to work on now that are just more interesting.. i think the bill strips though were the one thing to come out of there that i'd maybe like to revisit sometime


  • Submitted by Amy
      Q: Who is your favorite artist, and what is your favorite art period?

      don: mostly scattered authors and composers but it sounds like you are thinking painters.. i guess maybe impressionism with the whole birth of the camera thing that freaked everybody out. some of the surrealists were interesting and everyone says i am dada though i'm not entirely sure what that means anymore. most things i am drawn to are only bits and pieces from here and there. i can't really paint too well so when i have to on occasion like in the new film i stare at van goghs and just make it swirly. the series of self portraits that rembrandt did over the course of his life are really kinda chilling. lately i've been studying lots of childrens drawings and psychology books about them. and also early-renaissance medical sketches. DO YOU SEE THE CONNECTION?


  • Submitted by Amalia
      Q: My friend Phaedra and I never learned to drive, because we're both afraid of (by mistake) hitting people with cars and making them dead. We both make cartoons, also. For a while now we've been thinking about pooling the $ we would, sans aforementioned phobia, be spending on, respectively, a Chevy Rabbit and a Volvo station wagon, and using it to aquire an animation stand (a little one). How do people do this? The Oxberry site has been not helpful. We have these ideals about how life should be lived, and said ideals require access to a lair/cave in which to work forever.

      don: i bought my camera stand from nick vasu inc in burbank. i think they are still selling a few good old stands as they close up their shop but they may all be 35mm, which may be too large for you. i don't know where to find a nice 16mm stand but every now and then this sort of gear turns up on ebay and more often than not there is such a little demand for them (ie everyone stampeding to digital) that there are some really good deals to be found.


  • Submitted by Alex in Rome
      Q: Love your work Don, now... you didn't perchance have anything to do with MTV/Liquid Television's 'Stick Figure Theater'? Am I a nuisance for asking this? Please forgive me - all those years as a bloody journalist! Also what do you think of the work of Jan Svankmajer and the Brothers Quay?

      don: no i had nothing to do with those. i must have been 13 or 14 when they were on tv.


  • Submitted by Matt
      Q: Hi Don. I know you're sticking with the old fashioned analog equipment when it comes to making your films, so isn't it tough having to go to studios and labs and such who have converted to digital and wonder what you're still doing shooting on film?

      don: i don't actually know of any labs that have fully converted to digital, at least not where we've been... many have just added some digital services. the latest word on the street is that most folks are picking up their film cameras again with the realization that viable digital filmmaking is still years of development away. so that's good news. i think. and there's plenty of photochemical advancements to be made in the film world itself.. there's a new film format/process called maxivision-48 that runs at 48 fps instead of 24 and is supposed to be real eyepopping. curious to check it out. digital still has some catching up to do. i think ebert has been singing the praises of maxivision. i think they're headquartered up in san luis. i am rambling now


  • Submitted by Chuck
      Q: Do your dreams ever give you your ideas for your cartoons? I have an artist friend that writes down her wild dreams in a journal, and some really cool pictures come out of it. The surreal concepts you create are so out there it made me wonder if you reached way back in your sub-conscious to find them.

      don: i think a few times that's happened.. the part in billy's balloon where the kid gets hit by a plane came from a dream. in fact that was the first central image i had for the film and sort of constructed the rest around it. i can't remember all the other times that has happened. its all very instinctual.. maybe i am mostly just so sleepy all the time that this is all just constant daydreaming


  • Submitted by comicxcore
      Q: hey i was looking at the gallery and noticed that one of the drawers(maybe you) had a white glove like thing on their hand. was that for not getting led on their hands while drawing? because when i draw led always gets on my pinky and the side of my hands.

      don: yeah the gloves are more to keep my hands from dirtying up the paper with sweat and goo. without the gloves the lead and ink gets on sweaty pen clutching hand which then smears all over page. don filthy with filth. and get this, the cool animator lingo for those are, *mickey mouse gloves*. actually thats not cool at all.


  • Submitted by Thomas in Canada
      Q: ...Have you ever considered an animated tv show? I know that your method of creation is a painstakingly slow process, so perhaps a weekly show would cramp your hands and blind you... Will the new film have colour for the space sequence?

      don: the subject of tv has come around a few times over the years and it would be interesting to try only because it allows you to tell a longer story over an extended period of time. most of the people who were interested in doing a show weren't expecting what my plans were though. i don't think tv is really on the horizon anytime soon

      yeah there's color all over the space sequence - pretty lights and many watercolors


  • Submitted by hanse
      Q: if i were 2 mail u a picture of a moose would u put it on the site?

      don: yeah ok

      cool, well i think that makes for a fitting conclusion to the q+a area... sorry to all of you whose questions i could not get to because i am lazy and insolent but you will get a chance to ask again and for me to ignore you again real soon when we are ready to launch our brand new thingy that is coming soon! take care

    February 28, 2003

  • Submitted by Camilla
      Q: Hello! Is the Bitter Films Vol 1 DVD still in line to be made? My family has been looking forward to it for two years now so I just wanted to check in :)

      don: yes. i have to finish this film first which should be sometime by the end of the year. then i'll devote a couple months solely to production on the big DVD before starting up the next projects. so we're just waiting for this film to be wrapped up


  • Submitted by John
      Q: Ok, so I purchased the [Rejected] DVD. No problem. I love the DVD. No problem. Everyone I show the DVD to loves the DVD. No problem. This DVD makes the rounds. There's the problem. Unfortunately, the cardboard case takes a pounding. I'd love to go pick up a regular snap case (easy enough to do) but I so love the back of the rejected DVD, I'd be losing the humor goodness that is the backpanel. So, that's the lead-in to the question… Is there any chance in heck that y'all have a pdf of the cover of rejected so I could print it out and slip it in to a regular DVD sleeve? :)

      don: the basic idea behind using the cardboard cases was that they'd disintegrate quicker and force everyone to buy another copy. and it's good for the environment and stuff. we only print on them with hemp juice and recycled soy milk. don't worry our next dvd release will probably be of the regular plastic case variety

      offering the packaging design files online for people who have banged up cases is a nice idea but unfortunately it would probably be too tempting for bootleggers to use in reproducing more official looking knockoffs. but we actually have a small batch of leftover empty 'rejected' cases stashed over here, so if you'd like to send in your beat up overloved case with a self addressed stamped envelope we'd be happy to swap it out with a fresh one for you


  • Submitted by Justin
      Q: I read in your articles section that your previous works fund your current ones, yet you seem to distribute through festivals only. Do festivals really provide enough funding for you to keep up your studio and living expenses, or do you take advantage of other sources as well?

      don: actually film festivals provide no funding.. nor are they distribution because they don't go anywhere. you generally play film festivals in order to find distribution and then go from there; distribution being traveling animation festivals, cable and foreign tv licenses, dvds, etc - individually bringing in not much money but it can add up if your work gets popular. many independent animators fill the gaps by teaching on the side or doing commercials. during the early years i was only able to make a living off the films because i made them very quickly.. so as soon as one became too old to sell anywhere else, a new film was already completed and on the table. and soon you have a whole body of work to sell out there.


  • Submitted by Gabby
      Q: I admittedly have downloaded bootlegs and ya'll say that the bootlegs aren't as good as the real thing, but where would I see the real thing now that it's out of theaters and such?

      don: a couple of the old films + more will actually be back in proper movie theaters everywhere this summer.. stay tuned. in the meantime dvd and video are the next best thing


  • Submitted by Jamby
      Q: Hi Don I've been trying catch up on all the news and rumors of the past few months.. Do you think we'll ever see Rejected on the Cartoon Network?

      don: no; as far as i know that's totally dead in the water now


  • Submitted by Morgan
      Q: I'm afraid that I've become frighteningly obsessed in regard to the lip movements in Rejected, specifically the scenes in which the lips of the stick figures are obviously saying something very different from the dialog. However, I see that you have banned all questions about "who says what" in the forums, so that is not my question. Do you know anywhere that I can find a pictorial guide to lip-reading?

      don: yesssss the film is fullll of hidden secret messages... reaaaad the moving lips and they will reveal all. they are whispering secrets! SECRETS!!!


  • Submitted by Lisa
      Q: Hi Don, I was wondering after all these films and experience inside and outside of the "industry" what's the most valuable thing you've learned so far?

      don: that it's ok to say no


  • Submitted by Jeremy
      Q: I couldn't help but notice that the last "commercial" in Rejected doesn't even attempt to have a reference to Johnson & Mills in it. Was it simply at the point in the film where you felt not even the densest of viewers would still believe these were actual submitted commercials, or is it suppposed to be a reflection of your growing 'insanity'? As a follow up: do you believe really lousy things should happen to me for asking such an inane question?

      don: there was never any advert card planned for that spot because it would have effectively killed all the momentum the movie was building (same with the left handed sequence that follows it)... those cards were used in the body of the film mainly to give the audience chances to catch their breath


  • Submitted by Russ
      Q: I love you I would have your children If you were a souffle I would eat you savor you digest you If you were a sausage link i might not I do not like sausage links. I like when your little drawings make me go "haha" inside and then vomit i vomit chronically WITH ADORATION You are in the simplest terms in the most terse expression of my undying awe in the simplest, yet most accurate description of your brilliance Good.

      don: all righty thanks russ


  • Submitted by Chad
      Q: Hello don! If I knitted you a scarf would you wear it?

      don: i don't wear scarves but i will give it to somebody who does


  • Submitted by Garett
      Q: On your website, it was said that a huge announcement would be made in January, but, so far, no such announcement had taken place. What it this announcement? ...In another interview that took place around this time last year, it was implied that you were flirting with the idea of doing a mainstream (possibly Hollywood-style) project.

      don: the big announcement has not been announced yet. we may have been premature in announcing the announcement of the big announcement. i'm not sure which interview you are referring to but the aforementioned announcement has nothing to do with any kind of hollywood studio project, in many ways i think it's much cooler than that. i haven't had a meeting with any of the studios for probably over a year or two now, much too buried in my own things now to worry about that mess


    Submitted by Ricard in Sweden
      Q: You're half Swedish? Man, now I finally understand why your comics are as absurd as they are. I mean, no normal person could come through growing up with those freaky Swedish christmas-songs. Can you speak Swedish? Om jag skriver såhär, förstår du vad jag skriver då? =) Will any of your shorts be released here in Europe? I'm thinking DVD's. Any thoughts of visiting your roots in Sweden? I should say that I'm not asking for myself, since I got my Rejected-DVD today, and I must say that it was wonderful to look at. Even the awful commentary was... well, awful. But a great package, nevertheless. I bid thee a Swedish farewell - Farväl. =)

      don: our swedish fans have multiplied exponentially ever since rejected came out... the letters, online orders, and shipments of buttered fish from sweden has been overwhelming.. it is a wonderful thing.

      i'd love to have more of our stuff released in europe, but when you self distribute you're chained down a bit regionally, at least for the first few go's at it. we made our first DVD region-0 so it could be played anywhere in the world however it still requires an NTSC player.. also hopefully by then we may have more distribution options so that you won't necessarily even have to have it shipped overseas from america as well. god jul! or something

      well it's back to the drawing board for me tonight.. thanks everyone talk to you soon ~