Thursday, October 7, 2010


A long time ago when ninjas ruled the Earth and giant robots only cost a dime, I had been working sooper triple crazy hours on back-to-back-to-back projects at J.J. Sedelmaier Productions and was pretty well burnt, fried, toasted, seared, blackened, poached, par-broiled and grumpy as all get out. I couldn't imagine jumping into another crazy-deadlined project and was seriously contemplating quitting animation and becoming a nun. Then my boss J.J. called me at home and told me I was starting a new project the next day.

I replied with a whole bunch of bad words I made up on the spot.

But being the curious little monkey I am, I ended the string of expletives with a suspicious, "What is it?"

J.J. patiently told me that I was going to be working on an animated opening for the ASIFA-EAST ANIMATION festival. And the way he said it made me even more suspicious.

So I asked him what the story was.
I asked him what the style was.
I asked him who was directing it.
Who was animating.
The schedule?

I could hear J.J. grin over the phone. "That your job. Come up with something. And I don't want to see it until it's done."

Exsqueeeeeeeeeze me?

See, J.J. had been chatting with ASIFA-EAST Sooper President Linda Simensky and asked how he could help the organization. She said that she had always wanted the ASIFA-EAST festival to have an animated opening. So J.J. volunteered to do one on his dime.

And he gave it to me.

This was a gift.
A thank you.
An olive branch.
An opportunity.
An ice cream sundae with all the trimmings.
And perhaps one of the events that got me to where I am today.
Because when J.J. said he was leaving it up to me, he really meant it.

I had to come up with a 1-2 minute concept.
I had to design it.
I had to storyboard it.
I had to hire a voice actor.
Organize a crew to animate it.
Supervise production.
Find music and sound effects.
Direct post production.

In short, I got to make my own film and get paid for it.



It would take me months to describe all the things that happened during the production of what J.J. listed in the company's production schedule as MASTERPIECE-- a title I still, to this day, cringe at. But as I mentioned above, this project helped me to become a storyteller, a designer, a director, and a supervisor.

It made me realize how powerful it is to have a finished film.

It showed me the thrill of a theater full of people laughing at something you created!

And no, it's not the greatest film in the universe...

But it's mine.
(And it did get into a couple festivals!)

And while I'm pretty sure I thanked J.J. for this opportunity at some point, I highly doubt I did it properly. I was young and didn't know how.

So thanks, J.J. and Patrice.
For the gift.
The thank you.
The olive branch.
The opportunity.
And the ice cream sundae with all the trimmings.

But enough of that crap. You probably wanna see this thing, right?
Well, okay. It's right over HERE.


mr. Philly said...

totally tasty use of Parliment.... doin' it right on! bravo seƱor W....bravo.

you win... this time.


good ear! i contacted george clinton about using the music and he sooper generously let me use it for free!

David B. Levy said...

That could be the all time greatest opening! I remember it so fondly. And, it may have been the first ASIFA-East fest I attended, so it was an awesome welcome. Love it!!!!