journal archive
1999-2017:

february 3 2014 - march 3 2015
the cat is black
insomnia
sinking frogs
animating the simpsons
animating world of tomorrow
tulum
films and memories
vanishing away in great lost waves
more insomnia
100 year old birthday
a dream of muscular calves
digital first steps
march 21 2013 - december 13 2013
earliest ideas for world of tomorrow
publishing the end of the world
"he gave three leaps and died immediately"
guanajuato
edward gorey notes
daysleeper for nfb
writing antarctica
fortune-telling
july 27 2012 - march 16 2013
matonabbee loved women
teeth dream
sundance jury
high school gym cassettes
oscar voting
corn boxing
a retired greyhound
depressed
pita chip evolution
january 17 2012 - july 21 2012
sundance twitter
ladybugs
"an evening with don hertzfeldt" tour 2012: olympia, seattle, portland, eugene, dallas, chicago,
ohio, toronto, fargo, nyc, boston, florida
atlanta, charlotte, memphis, madison, minneapolis
blood cheerios
camera hairs
remastering work for volume two dvd
pants shark
flying cereal
dum dee dum dee dum
japanese reviews
"a slender person talking about the thickness of life"
cat imagination
january 6 2011 - july 6 2011

now they're underwatah and DANCING
"now comes good sailing"
"an evening with don hertzfeldt" tour 2011:
denver, san francisco, houston, los angeles
album titles
an empty soul
beautiful day sound mix
broken camera sparsely
january 6 2011 - july 6 2011
if puddles could sing
"how to achieve absolutely nothing"
barely finishing beautiful day
a dying camera
wasps in chairs
the king of selective listening
may 23 2010 - december 10 2010
north korean shameful foot burgers
shooting and rewriting beautiful day
embarrassing film school dream
bad flea market inside a raincloud
buried treasures
pretty dickish
moving to austin
swollen toads
september 30 2009 - may 18 2010
ottawa retrospective
maybe writing a graphic novel
montreal, end of tour
starting to draw beautiful day
old photos
snow globes
sylvester stallone in a bank
glittery clitory
past life piano
wisdom teeth at sundance
yours faithfully
starting to shoot beautiful day
slowmotionblur
disastro
we are the world
san francisco
may 6 2009 - september 21 2009
falling into a ravine
starting work on beautiful day
"an evening with don hertzfeldt" 2009:
bonnaroo, edinburgh, london, paris
recording vocals for wisdom teeth
maybe writing a graphic novel
the subconscious and the writing process,
dreams and robert louis stevenson
the death of mozart
fires and collapsed plants
snowmen
old lily and jim feature screenplay
sad window poodle
a dream of lost fogged photos
shooting wisdom teeth
g-t-f-ohhh
"My palace is something that the gay will notice"
october 2 2008 - may 2 2009
"evening with don hertzfeldt" tour 2008:
santa barbara, portland, seattle
austin, calgary, chicago, missouri, omaha
atlanta, new york, denver, los angeles
proud at sundance 2009
why i don't want to do ads
the passing of time is just an illusion
"the sound of tires in the snow"
animating wisdom teeth
special michigan screening
a dream of ewoks and possums
pelicans
january 29 2008 - september 23 2008
finishing proud
final sound mix
plant applause
ten baby spiders
sparrow nests
end of the world
proud production photos
depression and burn out
kauai
proud sound and editing
a tennis shoe, filled with leaves
cliff tube dream
oh, oh, oh.
finishing proud photography
april 11 2007 - january 15 2008
animating and shooting proud
do not bend or fold
old photos
austin
beautiful car crash
ok on DVD
atlanta
seen in a parking lot
portland
proud production photos
a stupid commercial
space shuttle dream
rewriting the ending to proud
precognition
a thing for tv maybe
january 17 2007 - april 9 2007
everything will be ok at sundance
"animation show" 2007 tour:
seattle, austin
animating i am so proud of you
electroshocks and camera trouble
january 11 2006 - january 14 2007
bitter films dvd production
ok editing
burbank motels
ok narration
school field dream
seal dream
hypothermia fever
ridiculous amount of work
waffle cereal
hiking skull island
jaw pops out
bathtub death dream and snail
more spam poetry
comic con
finishing ok
talking to oneself
deserted department store
black demon
awake for 39 hours
march 7 2005 - december 27 2005
"animation show" 2005 tour:
sf/berkeley, detroit, austin
designing everything will be ok
abomination
animating and shooting ok
bitter films dvd production
old film restoration
life-size postmen and demon puppies
summer's here
hollywood motels
rochester event
murder dreams
philosophy and time
september 7 2004 - february 28 2005
higher forces are conspiring
barely finishing the meaning of life:
final sound mixing, editing, special effects
elephant carcasses
sundance 2005
endless soundtrack remixing
LA gallery show
"animation show" 2005 tour:
LA, seattle, vancouver
formidable sunning lizards
fan art
multi pronged
february 4 2004 - august 26 2004
experimental effects
disappearing people
pencil test trouble
jaw disorder
endless photography
edit, animate, rewrite
a new ending
aspen
no sleep
restoring billy's balloon
camera malfunction
spam poetry
star photography
august 22 2003 - january 2004
animating flying animals
black prosthetic feet
around the clock
"animation show" 2003 tour:
seattle, portland, milwaukee, SF, LA
NYC, boulder, minneapolis, santa fe
january 26 - august 9 2003
outer space photography
production of show trilogy
shock and awe
missing plant
dreams, sleep, work
in the ocean
"animation show" 2003 premiere
september 6 2002 - january 1 2003
the meaning of life still in production
drunken new year idiot
juggling projects at once
cartoon network rejects rejected
new film starts photography
bad sleep cycles
skin eaty fungus and bad dreams
the fate of the universe
march 16 - august 23, 2002
the meaning of life in production
anesthetics book
sweating apartment
studio junk
lusty plants
increased anxiety
december 30 - march 5, 2002
television censors
bootlegs
home surgery
"don n bill show"
scary neighbors
chuck jones
miniature insects
september 2 - december 11, 2001
making the rejected dvd
unearthing spanky
bad poetry
memphis
a day at the beach
new camera
production never ends
july 19 - august 24, 2001
tattoos
animating the meaning of life
time and space and life
fear of fire
bleary production
june 9 - july 10, 2001
work work work
paper veins
production paranoia
bootlegs
april 9 - may 24, 2001
the meaning of life in production
cereal lies
antibiotics
march 10 - march 27, 2001
oscar prep
don losing his voice
rob vs. kenneth branagh
bow tie maintenance
oscar recovery
february 14 - march 3, 2001
academy award nomination
out of control spike n mike shows
local film fest and gasoline
happy animation industry ranting
january 21 - january 29, 2001
daily entries from
rejected at sundance
december 31 - january 14, 2001
dentist, broken car
animating the meaning of life
soundtracks
off to sundance
november 8 - december 15, 2000
animating the meaning of life
production report from rob
happy video clips
amnesia daze of road
work, work, work
august 29 - october 25, 2000
animating the meaning of life
burnt out
olympic fever
story from rob
happy video clips
barking spoons
travel
gas mask guy
june 21 - august 9, 2000
finalizing rejected
vocal recording the meaning of life
a story
happy video clips
comic convention
premiere of rejected
very old drawing pads
march 29 - may 31, 2000
memphis
production reports from rob
rejected final sound mixes
rejected last minute edits
reincarnation and embyro defects
broken car
computer virus
happy video clips
january 9 - march 22, 2000
rejected editing
rejected sound recording
giant baby eye
rejected sound mixing
don in a panic
december 3 - january 4, 2000
OCD people on tv
new years story
roberto
old photographs
big tumors
editing rejected
october 30 - november 28, 1999
gas mask guy
conjoined twins
roberto
meteors and rare moons
building the animation studio
september 28 - october 19, 1999
fish astronaut, spooky dream, death
more death
rejected art finished
cat brain, bad interview,
jack in the box woman
bad computer
august 3 - september 17, 1999
building the animation studio
animating rejected
old photograph
broken oven
rob in LA
pretty moon
a toast
june 7 - july 22, 1999
billy's balloon in cannes
animating rejected
broken car and dreams
high fever, corpse museums, death
retarded children's clothing
march 31 - may 17, 1999
shopping list story
animating rejected
judging in texas
sad runover squirrel
off to cannes
march 17 - march 24, 1999
LA
gas mask guy
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---------------------------------------------------------
don's journal
october 18 2018
i am maybe, but probably not, but maybe, almost halfway through animating something. or it seems like i'm getting through the most difficult parts. i've still not recorded any audio to base anything on yet and am just tunneling through all the technical work. the weather's suddenly turned very rainy and cold and we haven't seen the sun in a week and it's great to realize you own a turtleneck that you never knew about.

september 10 2018
my mom once told me a story about two sisters she knew who loved elvis. when they were teenagers they met him backstage at a show and he was very kind and he kissed one of the sisters on the cheek. but later in life they argued bitterly over which sister got the kiss... as the decades passed, one of them had rewritten her memory. i used to tell this story for years to illustrate how messy our memories are. one sister had wanted the elvis kiss so badly that she unconsciously invented it for herself. today my mom tells me iíve been actually remembering the entire story wrong and the sisters never disagreed about the kiss.

september 3
my cat probably dreams about me. and in his dreams, iím probably talking to him, like i always do. so when he dreams, his subconscious must simulate a gibberish cat version of the english language for him to hear and i really want to know what that sounds like.

august 29 2018
learning how to move again
i'm maybe five or so minutes into animating a new thing now and i'm realizing i'm learning how to move again. the camera, that is. for my first twenty years of directing animation i worked on paper and 35mm, which meant shooting your stuff on those giant cumbersome animation stands. they could probably survive a nuclear blast, with hand cranks all over the place. and if you wanted to put camera moves in your cartoon you either needed to animate them all on the page (very hard to do properly and i didn't have that kind of talent - i'd throw in a few slam zooms here or there, but largely avoided it), or you had to work out the camera move on the animation stand with a bunch of math and careful, incremental hand cranks. and if you also had background layers on other cels that needed to move at a different speed, you probably need a team to keep track of it all (check out the old deep focus disney multiplane cameras to see this sort of craft at maximum difficulty). if you're animating and shooting your own work late at night in a sad corner of the world, it's usually best to keep it simple for yourself in the camera room. so for those first twenty years i just sort of worked around the problem of never really being able to move my camera. by default a lot of those cartoons were unwittingly staged like silent movies, long takes with characters framed head to toe, sort of wandering through the frame as though the camera was just abandoned there, with a story sort of unfolding in front of it. or in the case of the "it's such a beautiful day" story, i tried to turn the film frame into something new, frames within the frame that moved, smaller picture frames that i could then split up and manipulate a different way. when i finally made the move to digital animation three years ago, suddenly things that used to be difficult were suddenly easy and things that used to be easy were suddenly difficult. the camera could fly all over the place now if i wanted, but i was still so mentally trained to never even consider moving it... it felt wrong and unnecessary, maybe even tacky somehow, and would never turn up organically in any of my storyboards. if you're going to move the camera, it seemed like it really needed to be motivated. i think there's only one camera move in "world of tomorrow episode two" and i'm not sure if i remember doing any at all in "world of tomorrow". and i'm only bringing this all up right now because i've only just realized this myself. when your instincts and "style" become so ingrained over the years, you forget why or how they originated in the first place. what is also odd is i originally wanted to direct live action... and when i got into animation instead, i sort of had to come up with a new sort of visual vocabulary for directing all the things i wanted to write. and it feels like i've weirdly come back to the beginning. i'm still animating, but finding myself this late in the game studying live action angles and camera moves and screen space theory all over again for the next project, like a student.

ever since i wrote that thing below about only ever having two dreams, i've had a series of very long and detailed and brand new dreams that seem to last for weeks. weird right?

i also hate to say this sort of thing but i think depression, when it comes, makes me a better animator. on a technical level, i think you just get a lot more focused when you don't care much about anything.

august 13 if you dress yourself daily from the piles of clothes on the floor you donít ever have to put them in drawers

july 30
after six of them, maybe they should start realizing that their missions are not so impossible

july 26 12:23am when i swim at night, the cat always watches from the same place in the overgrown grass, where i can only see his silhouetted ears under the moon. there is a small bat that drinks out of the pool every night, in small quiet swoops. my soul is tired. have i said that before in here? my soul is tired. like a constant feeling of never getting enough sleep or rest and a series of vague pits of apathy. i've been animating for several months but not telling myself i'm in production or feeling like i need to commit yet. have written a complete thing but not recorded any audio yet... usually that comes first, followed by a chronological plunge through the script and then i vanish for the better part of two years. instead i've been sort of flirting around it, i'll need a scene where someone is crawling, OK let's do a bunch of crawling tests, i'll need a series of shots in this locaton, OK let's build a bunch of landscapes... so nothing really feels like a movie yet, it's almost entirely technical grinding but i've somehow got several minutes of things completed. at night i only seem to have two dreams anymore, both of them quiet and uneventful, one in which i am traveling to someplace faraway and nervous about flying, and occasionally the route the airline must follow to taxi to the runway takes it through several downtown and rural landscapes, slowly driving for dozens of miles among cars and dusty villagers. the other dream is it's the last day of school, usually it's high school, and i can't believe it because i've nearly flunked out of a couple of classes and i'm sort of lost on campus still but it's OK because it's over and i don't care if i graduate anymore and i am with a bunch of very close school friends and there is a tremendous nostalgic feeling, even though none of these people actually existed in real life, they were all invented for the dream but somehow i miss them anyway.

july 18 2018 there are bats flying around the low branches tonight like large butterflies and mars is really big in the sky this time of year. cats of all shapes and sizes dangle from all corners of the front yard in the summer heat.
i've been slowly getting around to all the mundane things i never found the time for in production the last couple of years, go to the dentist, go to the eye doctor, maybe do something about all the clothes on the floor. i actually had a health scare earlier in the spring. one of the last things you want to hear from the girl who is drawing your blood in the hospital is, "i'm supposed to tell you i'm a student, is that OK?"
did a short tour last winter in support of "world of tomorrow episode 2", new york, la, austin, dallas, san francisco. was at sundance again in january but felt ill a lot and rarely could sleep. wound up in vegas last month and somehow mainly played marathons of blackjack, wondering about all the people hanging around the casinos in the middle of the night on a quiet weeknight, including myself i guess, and the exhausted, blank faced dealers from eastern europe who seemed to be barely running on the fumes of unknown uppers and kept making basic counting errors in my favor at the table and i was never really sure if i was supposed to correct them on it or not.

july 13 2018
"and, as if drowning werenít bad enough, as his head slipped under the waves his entire adolescent life flashed before his eyes, totally humiliating him a second time."

may 17 2018
ďthe only thing that i am reasonably sure of is that anybody whoís got an ideology has stopped thinking.Ē - arthur miller

may 8 2018
"turn of phrase" is a really nice turn of phrase

april 14 2018
texas to louisiana to florida. on these long road trips with every night in a new hotel room, i really look forward to finally getting home and not being able to sleep in my own bed

february 3 2018
when jack (age 2) is told it's time to go to bed at night he hopelessly sobs, "nooo, i want to wake up! i want to wake up!" and in that moment it's like he's reading my mind

october 21 when i walk around the house without glasses, the name of the game is "cat, or pile of clothes?"

october 17
i got one of those halloween projectors that shoots blue ghosts across the walls and the cat stares into it, deeply. i spent four days animating a small secret on the fly and we've been building and painting models of desolate, cavernous planets. the house is in production again, if only for a moment.

i am pretty fun to talk to

october 3 2017

for the longest time i've had this inexplicable reaction to bad news. something terrible will happen and for a split second my brain will go, "yes!!" ...this instant, weird positive reaction before my thoughts backpedal and actually digest what's happening. it seems to make no difference if it's something terrible popping out of the headlines or sudden bad news that affects me directly. it's just this dumb brief moment of "yes!", as though i'd just found twenty bucks on the ground. which is concerning because you don't want your mind's default response to terrible events and tragedies to be "yes!" and i was never able to figure this out until recently. i think the strange reaction is actually a feeling of relief: relief that finally the worst thing has taken place, and at long last, i can stop worrying now and deal with it.

"world of tomorrow episode two" premiered last month after maybe a year and a half, and in the days since i've been wading deep in that familiar post-partum zone of total exhaustion and bewilderment, no longer spending every moment of every day chasing down parades of technical problems that all seemed so world-ending in the moment. overnight, things whiplashed from needing to be finished today!, to needing to be finished ehh, this week i guess. vaguely depressed to be finished, but possibly only because i know that plunging into another project soon is inevitable and i'm still close enough to the edges of this one to have not forgotten yet how much it will take out of me. the reviews for episode two have been over the moon and everyone seems so happy but i haven't really felt much of anything yet since finishing. relief, maybe. this was not the easiest birth, wrestling with it down to the last minute of locking the theatrical cut, when i decided to change the title from "into the unknowable", a line from the film, to "the burden of other people's thoughts", another line from the film. sara was one of the first people to see it and she later referred to it as, "into the unknown", which is the most horrible terrifyingly bland student film title possible and i realized i needed to change that immediately if anyone else in the world could ever make that mistake. also, "the burden of other people's thoughts" keeps making me laugh and seems like something we all can relate to. in the last two weeks since it premiered i've cobbled together what feels like the first 15% of what could be the next episode... i'm not sure how much the emilys will actually factor into it so far which is kind of the most interesting lure for me right now.

two years ago i met the great richard williams at an oscar event, a person i think most everyone can agree is hand-drawn animation's michelangelo. watching his stuff often physically hurts me right in my core because i understand, very deeply, just how much time and pain and work he's putting into it in order to reach this level of technical perfection. and he said, "don, i've finally mastered it. i'm 82 years old and it's taken me my whole life, but i've finally mastered animation. and now the big joke is if i can live long enough to do something with it."

march 14 2017 i dreamt i was interviewing a wealthy eccentric who collected the corpses of civil war soldiers, exhumed from forgotten battlefields. he was one of only a handful of people in the world who shared this controversial hobby and he stored the bodies in a very large wooden cabinet with long drawers. the only question i could think to ask him was if there was any issue with the smell in his house, or if the bodies had long ago dried out and mummified, to which he gave me a wry smile.

i'm over twenty minutes now into animating the new short and seeing the light now. i would guess just a month or two left of this, a couple weeks of fixes and edits, and then maybe another month or two of sound. i'm still not entirely sure of what i have here... i've been avoiding watching very much of the film over the last couple of years of working on it, for two reasons... one, i didn't want to get stuck in a fussy cycle of repairing things and to plow straight to the end before looking back. and two, my computer is actually too slow to be able to play back more than one or two scenes in a row without freezing. the visuals have just gotten much too complicated for it to handle. so i haven't actually seen the movie i've been working on over the last year yet, other than in chunks, which is unusual but fine. i think it probably plays in its favor, as by default i will always assume the whole thing is a disaster that constantly needs to be desperately improved, making me worry and push it harder, as the truly good scenes from many months ago slip from my memory. lately i'm just getting a little concerned that i'm staring down the barrel of another short film that looks like it might be my longest yet... now that i'm animating the final scenes i'm weirdly fighting an instinct to hurry it along and rush us out of there to cut down that running time.

so the last 6 months have been the longest gap in this journal maybe ever, and it's actually been extremely aggravating and weirdly shameful. not writing on a regular basis, even just dumb nonsense, makes me feel awful. maintaining some sort of writing discipline, just putting any words down, is like calibrating my head: a record of here i am, this is what i've been doing, ok then, ok then, ok then. it's also so necessary for my bad memory to have some idea of where all this time is going, aside from what's on the movie screen.. even if it's often going nowhere else but the movie screen. my soul feels very tired, like somehow specifically right in the center of the sternum, but i am ready to come up for air and get this finished and then spend a lot of time doing nothing but reading a stack of books that have been growing

july 6 2016 "world of tomorrow" was like a puzzle whose pieces smoothly fit right into place. making the new one has been like putting together a puzzle found at a thrift store with pieces missing or replaced by strange pieces from other sets, some of them not even puzzle pieces but weird toys that make you wonder how they got into the box at all. nothing is coming easily, very little seems to fit right, and few decisions really feel like they are being made with confidence or clarity.

june 26 i'm eight minutes deep now into animating the next thing, which has been bothering me lately, the scenes are looking fine but they're not connecting for me yet and i still feel like i'm figuring out just what it's all actually "about". it was getting a little demoralizing again last week as i realized i was getting absolutely no joy in making it, feeling very mechanical and detached to work on every day, and the fact that it is very complicated on a technical level is no help... but today i started attacking from a new angle and finally added some music in there, and always like magical glue, things are feeling a little better. every day i return to it and hope, maybe this time this will feel fun again.

midway across the pacific ocean our plane filled with smoke and turned back to san francisco for a suspenseful emergency landing. nice try, death. we were kinda rattled and it was a relief to finally get to the island one day late, where we found the night sky was so dark we could see tiny satellites pass overhead. tokyo was everything we had dreamt about and after the oscars i found myself back in santa barbara to do a brief talk at my old school. for the first time since i moved out, i mustered the courage to drive back to my old street, the identical concrete block apartment buildings where nobody said hello, and i felt a weird panic and depression begin to boil as i drove past, amazed that nothing had changed here over all this time, everything looked the same, amazed that i'd somehow managed to spend so many years, many of them unhappy, in this dumb apartment. later we found a chunk of coral on the beach fused together in the uncanny shape of a human heart. i had a dream a month or two ago about people cloning themselves, able to create a twin, but their human nature failed them and they simply forced their twins to do stupid, menial tasks and treated them terribly.

we've shipped over half a ton of blu-rays so far and over the many months of hauling boxes to the 24 hour post office drop box in the middle of the night i began to notice a homeless guy sheltering in the furthest end of the building. he was always in the same sit every night, sitting motionless on a bench against the wall, his shoes and the edges of his pants the only thing visible to me from around the corner, probably not daring to move or make a sound as i dumped my packages into the drop boxes for fear that maybe i'd rat him out. so every night i would pretend to not know he was there and then i'd drive home with my empty boxes wondering what he thought about sitting on that bench all alone, night after night, in an empty air conditioned building surrounded by silence and white walls.

june 22 i have a strangely specific childhood memory of floating in the air, hovering over a specific corner of my parents yard on a sunny day
june 20 "it is possible that what i want doesn't exist."
june 13 spent most of the day compositing a shot, then five minutes before bed thought of a better idea for it
june 11 "just wind him up and he walks away into the abyss"
april 28 the koyaanisqatsi soundtrack is blowing my cat's mind

january 22
we're flying tomorrow to molokai for a week, then on to tokyo for a week, and then to los angeles for the oscar luncheon. so my suitcase includes snorkel gear, a snow parka, and formal wear, and security will probably just figure i'm a crazy person going to oklahoma.
january 12 2016
earlier today felt like it ought to be later and now it feels like it ought to be earlier. for the first evening in many weeks tonight i've had the time to sit down and just read a book. due to all the blu-ray work, the months have been flying by too fast at an incredibly slow rate. know what i mean? i saw winona again over the holidays, she is 6 now and she cheats at cards. we did some more audio recording but i haven't listened to any of it yet. the blu-ray collection is looking absolutely stunning and i mean that with no hyperbole or exaggeration, these films are looking better than i've ever seen them, but my god what a time hole. so it will be immensely satisfying to finish and get out into the world and then get back to animating something new. i have a few more things to patch up and take care of and then traveling. also oscar nominations will be announced in two days but we are not really going to think about that are we?

october 25 2015 i really never thought i'd be doing this but i've been playing around in the stock market and have become weirdly obsessed and i can't believe this sort of thing is legal. i can't tell if maybe i'm a sociopath or a degenerate gambler but it strikes me as this giant strategy board game that i can't seem to stop playing. and i'm actually sort of good at it? it's been raining a lot and the weather has finally turned cold again for the year and you can open the windows and sleep while listening to wind chimes outside and the cats are walking around all wet.

most of the blu-ray content has just been sent to the authoring house. all that's left now is getting to work on the 4k "rejected" and "meaning of life." maybe a month for that? the depth available in those frames is just incredible. and then back to work on the new and exciting things.

i'm also going to see my niece again in a couple of months, she's 6 now. i might do more audio recording. i also have a lot of audio of her from age 5 and she already sounded a lot different then. i wonder if this is all going to turn into some sort of "boyhood" serial in space.

fantastic fest happened here in town last month and "world of tomorrow" was paired with "anomalisa" and i spent some time with charlie kaufman & duke johnson. wonderful people and a wonderful film. seek it out if you can. very human. the film, i mean. well, them too.

october 12
hi sorry i've been away. there's not really so much to report. you know when you're on a really, really long flight and you find yourself staring at the back of the seat in front of you for so long that you no longer really read the words "fasten seat belt while seated" anymore? this is where i am at with the words, "rendering video..." and the tedium of color correcting all this stuff for the blu-ray. it's all looking great, the last couple months have just been so similar they seem to have flashed by at a high rate of speed and suddenly it's october.

september 30 "art is the merger of the living and the dead"

august 28 making a blu-ray. packaging, color correction, menu designs and more... lately the "more" has been detective work, tracking down missing elements from film vaults that have long-since closed and surrendered their contents to mysterious third parties who have also possibly closed. i've successfully located the original 35mm IN and IP of "the meaning of life" and returned them home, somehow they'd been lost for ten years and i only had the original camera negative in storage... all of the materials for the three little "animation show" cartoons remain weirdly, totally missing. yesterday i polished up a short teaser trailer to put on the disc for the next film and i guess i can't wait to get back to work on it because the teaser successfully got me excited for it. i think a solid couple more months of blu work and then back to animating. we are doing archival 4K scans for "rejected" and "the meaning of life" next which will most likely require quite a lot of restoration work on my end and i think that is really the largest chore remaining.

august 27
"There is something beautiful in the lines made by people who stopped drawing a long time ago. And there is something curious about how scared they are when I ask them to draw a car... What usually happens is a kind of involuntary laughing that sounds like the laughing of people who are about to enter a spookhouse ride -- just how scary is this ride going to get? Your car begins to take shape and the shape it takes seems out of your control -- there is a thrill there. And a terror too that becomes especially evident when I ask people to stand up and look at each other's drawings. All we did was draw a car but the room feels like it's on fire. Why? Some of the cars are quite far-out and some are barely there, like phantoms made of ghost lines. Others are more certain - and some seem to feel their way in. The same thing happens when I ask them to draw Batman. Sometimes someone knows just how to do it -- but mostly they are not sure of the way but because they only have a very limited amount of time to do it, 'thinking it over' doesn't come into play and a natural kind of picture comes about. And sometimes we say this kind of picture looks like a kid drew it. And people are dismayed by this and even ashamed enough to destroy the picture - get rid of it - immediately. But what if the way kids draw -- that kind of line that we call "childish" -- what if that is what a line looks like when someone is having an experience by hand? A live wire! There is an aliveness in these drawings that can't be faked, and when I look at them, that aliveness seems to come into me. I'm glad to see and feel them. Real aliveness of line is hard to come by when someone learns to draw -- to render --it's the first thing that goes -- the aliveness. And it's what some artists spend their whole lives trying to get back. The spookhouse and the merry-go-round are two different rides. When we say a kind of drawing is good, we may be talking about a certain kind of ride everyone can stand and understand -- though the thrill is gone, it's nice: a ride on the merry-go-round... And then there is that other ride... The spookhouse, the one with all the not-knowing that scares and delights us to bits -- to little bits of line that are the tracks we traveled on while screaming and laughing because we have no way to control the outcome - and we are in motion anyway, creating some kind of energy that still runs through the drawing even after we've lifted out hand away." - Lynda Barry, Syllabus

august 4 i should probably be asleep by now

july 30 the night is thick

july 16 we reached our entire blu-ray / film restoration crowdfunding goal in only six hours which means finally being able to REPLACE EVERYONE WITH TALKING CG ANIMALS AS ORIGINALLY INTENDED

july 7 2015 i have a special visitor coming to town in two days to record vocals for something i have not finished writing yet. there are maybe one or two pieces still missing and i'm also a bit concerned the whole thing might be headache-inducing to watch... the one thing that has happened every single time i've rewritten anything is, simplify. combine this, cut that, simplify. it's always better. i'm not sure i've ever gotten into a rewrite thinking, this needs to be more complicated. i have a few minutes of animation finished now for it and yet it still doesn't really feel like i've started.
my week in vienna was fun but sleepless (there is a trend here). i'm covered in mysterious bruises so i must have had a good time. i went to a museum of very old pianos and to the prater amusement park which has several amazing old spook houses where lopsided taildragging animatronic dinosaurs yell at you in german, lit from below with purple and green lights. in the art museum is a giant egyptian foot. and it says, "we dont know where this foot came from. we suspect it was part of a bigger statue." it was easy to forget that clubs and bars don't close in europe at 2am and on closing night there was a big fun dance party with champagne and beer and more champagne and champagne and then i realized oh the sun is coming up and i have to be on a plane very soon. i thought about cancelling my ticket to actually sleep but decided to just gut it out and powered through the 16 hour itinerary floating through the endless security lanes and customs checks and crumpling into an airplane corner next to the big fat guy in a little chair who took off his shoes and socks. back at home and finally in bed, i dream of phantom people from another dimension who were trying to make contact. this old guy had studied them his entire life and explained there were not demons, not aliens, but "something else." something that was reaching out to us. and then i physically felt, in bed, a hand grab my arm and yank me a couple feet across the mattress, waking me instantly.

june 10 the other day i impaled my foot on broken glass and saved a miniature frog (unrelated events)

may 28
introduced the retrospective at the austrian film museum last night in my best german:
"good evening.
how are things?
today we go to movies.
hertzfeldt.
very good.
very elegant.
stars.
angst.
angst over there.
big spoons."

may 24 i am in bed, listening to things dripping
may 23 2015
somehow i'm sleeping even worse. or maybe i just don't need eight hours anymore. is that a thing that happens when you get older? i sort of roll around in bed now and just get up after while. i'm about two minutes into animating this new thing. it's looking pretty good though i feel a lot more uninspired and slow than i did when animating last year... or maybe it's just how i remember it. my head seems more cluttered with distractions, my arms feel heavy, the shots are perhaps more (too?) complicated. i guess it's just a very restless spring. tomorrow i'm headed to vienna for a retrospective, we are showing everything across three nights in original formats, and then i am looking forward to having a quiet summer back at home.... draw, swim, hammock... and hopefully sleep

may 19
now playing: superheroes flying through office buildings
coming soon: superheroes flying through office buildings

may 18 today's fortune: your grandfather is menstruating on a giant bat and everything is on fire

may 16
i'm ok, working, but much too slowly, sort of bored a lot. kind of looking forward to upcoming europe trip, kind of not. the lazy float down the summer river hasn't started yet, it's been pouring rain here for weeks. i feel like i'm waiting for the other shoe to drop... how are you?

may 4 late at night in a nice suburban house a pale miniature dinosaur writhes across a living room floor as if receiving invisible electric shock

april 27 2015
i more or less spent the month doing "world of tomorrow" interviews and then headed to the tribeca film fest to serve on the jury, a good time and i even got used to being repeatedly told, "i'm sorry sir but these seats are for the jury only." i got remarkably little sleep all week, festival stuff at night and running around the city all day, reka was too excited every morning to stay in the hotel room or let me sleep in, i could hear her bouncing on her bed every morning desperate to get out and see the city. the last night there we just drank bourbon and i didnt sleep at all because i had an early flight so what was the point, and today even though i finally got to bed last night, i feel like i am finally paying for the week. i am sort of catching up on things around the house, but slowly, and on all fours. monty python was in new york and it is wonderful and getting a bit more wistful to see them on the same stage again, they did a thing there for the 40th anniversary of holy grail and michael palin and terry gilliam were wandering my hotel lobby the morning i left but i was too shy and tired to say anything, just sat there with my luggage watching gilliam pace around staring at his phone in what seemed like a very bad mood. also in new york i stole a fork that looks like a fish. i finally got to meet up with gabrielle bell and we retreated to an odd spanish bullfighting themed bar with reka and richard mcguire and passed around gabrielle's sketchbook taking turns filling in pages. and i realized how unusual and rare and great it is for me to actually spend time with another cartoonist, let alone three of them.