march 16 2013
"matonabbee loved women and had extra wives scattered all over the northland, each one renamed "martin", for what reason we do not know."
february 17 just heard a country singer in a bbq restaurant introduce leonard cohen's hallelujah as, "this here's a kid's song from that one movie shrek."
the other night i dreamt i had a second row of four teeth in front of my bottom row that were bleeding, damaged, and peeling away from my jaw from clenching my mouth too tight at night. i was staying at president obama's vacation home and asked him if he knew of an emergency late-night dentist and he said, "read a book."
february 5 i've been feeling pretty great again, sundance came around at the right time. it was a nice to be there without a movie to worry about for a change, but to just be there to hate on stuff. did that come out wrong? i also had a really promising early meeting in town for a long-gestating project i'm hoping to get rolling this year, and it felt like a solid first shot in the arm. aside from this, the year so far has mostly been spent painting walls in the house and thinking about writing but not actually getting back to it yet.
carol: time spent creating things is never time wasted. even if it's just for two people
don: what if it's creating bombs
don: for two people
don: to bomb two people
carol: you're an asshole
january 30 trying to compile a top 10 list of amazing criterion collection films for their website. then i sat in the sun to pet a cat and it was better than all of them
january 21 day 7 in park city and the idea of exiting a door without taking 3 minutes to layer, bundle, wrap, and zip is now totally alien to me. our final jury deliberations are tonight and unfortunately last night i made some poor adult decisions and may be deliberating from the floor
january 16 should i take a shower? every time i'm in a hotel room i'm like hmmm, FREE SHOWER.
sundance was kind enough to fly me out 1st class. and on the plane i was actually much less afraid of flying because i figured if the plane was going to crash, at least i was going to crash in 1st class
january 10 2013
it's been raining a lot and you have to wear thermals to bed. i can't remember the last time i've been in a rut for this long. (thermals unrelated).
i also can't remember very much in general, time is moving very fast lately and i haven't been filling it with enough. i am often having to remind myself of what my interests even are. i'm headed back to sundance next week to serve on the awards jury for the first time which will be a good change of scene and when i come home i'm going to paint more rooms in the house i guess and hopefully get impressed with something enough to take the next step with it. current inexplicable television commercial: a sweating idiot on a hot day in the city plucks the sun out of the sky and throws it like a baseball into a traffic tunnel, where it turns into a magical frosty snowing beer train. there are many projects lined up for me to choose from and settle on but still none of them are screaming at me.
thanks to all the critics who've cheered for "it's such a beautiful day" these last couple months, the LA film critics association, the folks at the av club, indiewire, etc. the feature film has been turning up on lots of end of the year top ten lists among all the big shots and it's all been very kind
the holidays 2012
uncle! play jingle bells on piano!
(plays jingle bells)
i need jingle bells again please!
(plays jingle bells)
you play jingle bells again now!
(plays jingle bells)
uncle i need jingle bells again now please!
my ear has been ringing sort of on and off at different volumes for about a month. someone keeps calling my ear. i've seen a pair of concerts lately but they didn't seem to be excessively loud or anything. this morning i woke up too early and it was ringing louder than it ever has and was so noisy i couldn't go back to sleep. i'm not sure what to make of this but i hope it doesn't get worse
UPDATE: the ringing in my ear has just been replaced by "girls just wanna have fun" on an endless loop
november 29 i can't tell but i might have an ear infection? if you choose to rub my ears tonight do not place your fingers in your mouth afterward
november 18 "he had so much pride he wore iron boots, and walked on everyone's faces."
november 15 2012
i have a handful of projects in front of me to possibly work on but they all seem to be floating underwater in slow motion and i'm not feeling a great urgency towards any of them yet. i have been
sleeping for 9-10 hours every night, the weather has turned very cold very suddenly and i am still sort of feeling the same as last week
"it's such a beautiful day" did not even advance beyond the first round of voting for animated short at the academy awards this year, which will officially close the book with a clean-sweep 0 for 3 shutout of all the bill films at the oscars. CONSISTENCY. these voting screenings are incredibly heartbreaking to attend even when you don't have a film in the running. voters watch 6-7 hours of shorts in a row and openly heckle the ones they don't like and by the end of the day your head is numb mush and you begin to feel like you are no longer watching cartoons but just experiencing strange daffy duck hallucinations. there's also a system where everyone is given a little flashlight, and for any film that is longer than 10 minutes, a little red light turns on in the theater at every 6 minute interval. and if you want to shut it off and throw the film out, you hold up your flashlight and if a majority of lights are counted, the film is immediately killed: among the casualties this year was a 30 minute film that was shut off after 6 minutes. it's protocol that if your own film is playing, you have to leave the theater and wait for it to conclude before returning... years ago, upon returning to my seat during the end credits of "the meaning of life," an old guy yelled out, "BULLSHIT!" and i knew at that moment the film was doomed. this year, with a 23 minute short, i was more concerned that they wouldn't even make it to the ending, and i stood alone in the empty theater lobby next to a display case of harpo marx's jacket and props, putting my ear to the door every 6 minutes to listen if it was even still playing. a prominent disney animator walked out on it after 3 minutes. they didn't shut it off, but with the scores they wound up giving it i guess they may as well have
in high school, when we played volleyball in the gym for P.E. we were allowed to bring cassettes to play over the P.A. system.
this one jock bully guy had a queen tape that he played constantly and rocked out to, with air guitar.
one day i brought in an R.E.M. tape and played that. the next day in front of everyone he angrily asked, "who brought that tape yesterday?? man, don't bring in such FAG music." and he put in his queen tape again
if i am ever stuck in an elevator and "crocodile rock" is playing on an endless loop i will eat the faces of everyone else in there with me
maybe i'm coming down with something. i'm still feeling sort of empty and at one point today both my ears were ringing and the inside of my head was sort of making this wooosh noise. all i can seem to do are boring chores that require minimal thought.
it is november now, which means it's almost easter and of course that means it's time for the easter eel. children have already begun to dress in kelp, in hopes of attracting the easter eel to their neighborhood. the easter eel hides leathery egg sacs filled with chocolate across the land. happy easter, kids! NOW RUN, HERE COMES THE EEL
november 7 in the "genre" box on the online film festival entry form i think i accidentally checked "erotic" :\
november 5 the sky, at present, is beautiful.
i've coined a new phrase. it's "boxing corn". example: "i can't believe they've been on only 1 date and he's already boxed her corn." i don't know what it means
"jeff and tom have been friends for over ten years, but jeff's only just now gotten around to boxing his corn."
november 3 pick up and start again
november 2 2012
i've heard that when greyhounds retire, after spending their whole youth racing at the dog tracks, they become monstrous couch potatoes. you can never get them to race again, and you practically have to drag them outside just to take a walk. lately i feel like a retired greyhound. i dusted off an old project from the shelf today and have been doing a bit of drawing for it, probably the first time in several months i've drawn anything at all, and i'm finding it very difficult to get interested in drawing a single thing. i'll make a few stabs and get up and do something else, make a few more stabs, drop the pencil and leave again. i think i like this project again, it's feeling loose and weird and unpolished and i want it to stay that way, the writing is fine, but i don't have the least bit of interest in drawing anything at all and the simplest thing feels like a massive chore. i wonder if after a hundred thousand pages of animation i've reached my hand's lifetime drawing-things limit
october 30 "apparently they are very rare, and useless"
the new dvd's been done for about a week now and i've had very little to do.
over the years i've grown so used to leaping straight from one thing into the next... since i'm not doing another short next,
having nothing to get to work on has been strange and unfortunately not so great. i feel like a dog waiting around anxiously for an owner to come home. day to day i'm not sure what to do. it is hard to be normal. i guess i'm going to clean the house and start painting some rooms.
i cut my hair too short and now i look like a bat.
when a person with an artificial heart dies, how do they turn off the heart? does it keep beating until the autopsy?
october 20 someone very hairy stayed in this hotel room before me
october 19 descending into LA tonight we broke through weird swirly clouds that were illuminated by the city lights below, milky green and orange
october 14 the number one comic strip in germany is garfeldt. he really, really hates montags.
october 3 in the UK, walking out of a horror film, do people ever say "it was just so bloody bloody"
october 2 i was in the grocery store and my shopping cart had a big yellow sign on it that said "low prices on board." then somebody walked by and said, "he has low prices on board." that is not a joke that actually happened.
creating the texts for all the close-captions on the new DVD. it's times like these when i have to write out, "the lion king slippers scream horribly" that i really wonder what the hell i've been doing
strange but true: what are commonly mistaken for tapeworms emerging from a cat's bottom are in fact miniature scrolls, which, when unwound, will reveal a little message from your cat
the new dvd won't let me finish it, for weeks i have been obsessively fine-tuning to get every color just right in the hd masters while hunting down inexplicable gamma shift after gamma shift... re-rendering, re-exporting, re-testing. it is sort of amazing that no matter how careful you are, weird little one-point brightness and saturation shifts are maddeningly inevitable at every turn of this process, transcoding, down-converting, and i've been trying to overcompensate a bit one way for one inevitable shift, compensating colors the other way for the next, trying to get everything to look just right on every monitor, fixing, fixing, fixing. and so then tonight i hear that "it's such a beautiful day" has just won the grand prix at the "linoleum" festival of animation and contemporary art in moscow, where they have been accidentally screening our murky, pixelated blurry rough cut DVD, with editorial time-code burned across the bottom of the green-tinted, cropped frame.
and then my head exploded.
the feature film version of "it's such a beautiful day" has also been making the theatrical rounds now and i've been finding myself more or less babysitting computers through most of the days... some festivals still want 35mm, but many now want the short in blu-ray, or the short in quicktime, or the feature in blu-ray, or the feature in quicktime, or the version of the feature with the additional material in quicktime, but with this codec, or the same but in PAL, and it is a never-ending cycle of exporting and burning and shipping and keeping track of it all. i think the picture looks fine digitally projected though i am having to get used to some new drawbacks... i've just heard that the first screening of the feature film in los angeles ended when bill stands there staring at his rental car, with keys in his hand: the blu-ray inexplicably skipped forward ten minutes from there, straight into the end credits, and most of the audience just sort of got up and shuffled out disappointed before anyone knew what had gone wrong.
ive been watching a really great bbc documentary about early human development, where they demonstrate through dna tests how everyone on the planet alive today who is not a black african is directly descended from a single tribe of people who successfully migrated out of africa 70,000 years ago. just one group of only a few hundred people wound up producing everybody else, every asian, european, eurasian, south american, who ever lived.
10% of everybody in europe alone can be traced back to the genes of just a single unknown prehistoric woman. everyone is african and everyone is intensely related. it is staggering to think how massively critical every small thing this handful of people did must have been... who happened to be attracted to who, who wandered in the right direction to go seed half of india, one of them gets a flu and half the planet does not exist.
this box of weird pita chips next to me has scattered images of little single pita chips printed on it in random spots and in the corner of my eye i keep thinking they're bugs and have to stop myself from swatting at it.
100,000 years later, a giant lumbering box of pita chips, grazing in a marsh, flinches uncontrollably every time a branch above its head sways in the breeze
september 17 i am doing an AMA today at reddit. "reddit" sounds like it could be a trendy awful new baby name. say it with a southern accent like you're calling for someone. "reddit, git yer dang fingers out of the chitlins!"
september 14 is it bad that this cat likes to eat scotch tape? like, three rolls so far?
september 8 of the two cats who think they live here, one is very easy to please doing cat things and is always happy go lucky. he seems to understand that he is a cat and he knows his role. the other is very moody and he seems to be slightly smarter, and slightly older. he seems to understand that he is a cat and it makes him sad because he does not want to be a cat.
tonight i heard a clicking in the house and found a click-bug hanging in the air, stuck in a spider web. he just hung there clicking helplessly, for what seemed like hours
september 3 the nicest bugs come out latest at night. little hovering green things
august 31 there is a halo around the moon tonight
august 30 i think only a few days more and my work on remastering everything for the dvd will be done. in the deepest pit of it a few days ago i very nearly accidentally released everything in mono. whoops. i miss the sun
august 27 ten days ago i dreamt i was in the army. and in the army we mostly played with toy wooden trains on battlefields.
those brio ones with the magnet connectors on each side. with great focus, me and my team connected toy trains really long and were commended for it. this work was somehow very important. there was war and carnage all around, meanwhile. a few nights later i dreamt there is a new planet that has drifted extremely close to earth. so close that in certain areas a few cars float in the air, stuck between the gravitational pulls of the two worlds. at the nearest point on this other planet, some christian scientists have built a massive, cool-looking building with giant animatronic statues out front, called the museum of energy.
i go to visit it with my mom and when you get there you realize it was constructed at a weird perspective, so it would only look cool from viewing it from the earth.
inside we realize it is just a massive boring antique store and tourist trap. i also remember i'd even been there before. my mom pets their giant antique store cat and i am bored.
unfortunately clipped film festival jury bio: "Nancy Denney-Phelps is a journalist writing about European animation and festivals as well as a prod."
somewhere, late at night during the darkest hour, a tired animator is walking around the block again
august 13 the olympics officially close, in explosion of shit and noise
so here's what's going on. we've been booking a bunch of theaters
for all three chapters of IT'S SUCH A BEAUTIFUL DAY to make their debut in this fall, newly edited together, as a seamless feature film. the first screening of this is actually only in a week or two and i've been feverishly trying to get everything ready in time, as well as uh, find ways to pad the feature film running time a bit. i've also added that new shot to the very beginning and given it a new title card and new end credits to fit this new form and it all seems to work ok.
the feature film version of the entire trilogy is gonna be called IT'S SUCH A BEAUTIFUL DAY, same title as the third chapter, to make things as confusing as possible.
have also just whipped up a very simple new theater lobby poster for this.
meanwhile, the big new DVD, quite related, should be ready to pre-order around the beginning of september. ok i think that's everything. the summer is going by too fast.
i have been immensely depressed. it might be from turning on the tv but i don't know. thunderstorms forecast tonight
august 10 just like that, all the cicadas have stopped singing. they must be gone now for the season and the sudden silence outside is strange and a little eerie. i watched a prometheus making-of thing. did you know charlize theron is operated by 12 puppeteers?
i dreamt i tried to impress someone by casually picking up a little framed picture and scrutinizing the back of it. the dvd packaging is finished, the menus and extra stuff are finished, but the actual movies are somehow still unfinished. the remastering job is still crawling in the mud on its belly, staring at colors and dirt and colors and colors and then putting its head in the mud again, but i have given myself the deadline of finishing it all up by the end of this week.
my job description over the last few weeks could accurately be described as, "struggling over tiny little things nobody will ever notice"
at some point on my birthday we hung a batman pinata in the front yard and attacked it with a tennis racquet.
batman's head was still hanging from the tree the next morning and from a distance it sort of looked like i was the victim of a hate crime.
because i like the neighbor cat that hangs out here so much i was given a birthday cake in his shape. i don't even know these neighbors and i was thinking how strange for them to ever learn we ate their cat in effigy after hanging a black figure from my tree.
i am depressed that on surveys i am no longer in the 25-35 age bracket. the 36-49 bracket is completely terrible.
i also seem to be gaining weight. i can't get my arms around my front so i use a stick to hit the keyboard
august 4 i had no idea that pringles are actually compressed human ashes
august 2 write your own olympics joke: "i haven't seen this many teenage girls cry since ____ "
july 30 these olympics are getting GYMNASTY. hahaha.
july 29 in the original "star wars" screenplay, r2d2 was named kevin
july 27 next on the olympic schedule: "Eventing Horse Inspection"
anne hathaway is a little singing deer