I've said it before and I'll say it again: being an independent animator can be lonely, difficult work... until you get yourself out there and meet other independent animators! One of the great things about living in New York is that there are a lot of them, and if you know where to look, you just might find a few. Over the past year I experienced a real challenge in leaving good paying work and a "career" behind to do my own films, but the extraordinary friendliness of some of New York's best animators has really helped me keep my head up. By going to ASIFA events, showing in festivals and being sure to say hello whenever the opportunity presents itself, I've met and gotten to know many artists whose work I had admired for years.
Today was particularly special as I managed to visit both Signe Baumane and Greg Ford's studios. Signe has been one of New York's best independents over the past decade and shared an unusual perspective on her work habits. She said she is inhabited by three people: a child whose endless curiosity drives her to bounce out of bed and get right to work at 6 am, a mother who reminds her to take a break and feed herself at lunchtime, and a father who cracks the whip and rails against anything that might look like laziness. I think I could use more of the mother in my own personality: I often go on a tear with work where showering, eating, exercising and doing laundry falls by the wayside.
Greg seemed similarly hellbent on personal sacrifice. He is currently producing a sequel to "It's the Cat", the phenomenal 2004 short he created with Mark Kausler. Well, Mark is back and so is that cat. These guys are doing it for real: everything on hand-painted cels shot under perhaps the last surviving Oxberry animation camera in New York City. Greg played three versions of the film for me, explaining that the timing of the last two versions were adjusted by 1) three frames and 2) a single frame (that's 1/24th of a second over a 3 minute film). I pretended to see the difference as it allowed me to watch Mark's virtuoso performance with a pencil several times over. Who has the sixth sense developed for detecting such a singular slice of time? Amazing. Special thanks to Adrian Urquidez for arranging my visit and Larry Q., the Ford Studios cameraman for showing me how an Oxberry works (one more childhood dream fulfilled).
Tim, Joshua and Mike: 3 people, 3 pairs of glasses
The next Rauch Brothers film, another collaboration with the StoryCorps project, comes from a conversation between Joshua Littman and his mother, Sarah. They live in Connecticut, not far from our Brooklyn studio, and we were very pleased to be able to meet them this past summer. Mike and I were happy to hear they liked the storyboard and felt we had really gotten some aspects of their character right, including some of their unique mannerisms. They were as delightful to meet in person as they are in the recording and we really appreciate their support!
Besides being a delightful person and a loving mother, Sarah is an accomplished children's author. She recently published a novel about a teenager battling bulimia and writes about life as a single mother here.
Looking at the storyboard drawings
Joshua meets computer
People who will treat you like you're normal when you need a shave, are barefoot and have forgotten to finish buttoning your shirt are good people
Thursday, August 28th, Mike and I will be joining Phillip Niemeyer of DoubleTriple to speak at a meeting of AfterEffects NY, "an association for professionals and enthusiasts using Adobe After Effects and related software to create imagery for video, film, and other media".
We're going to be showing Germans in the Woods and explaining how the backgrounds, effects and hand drawn animation were layered together in AfterEffects. There will be a Q&A and a little preview of our next film.
ALSO: Special thanks to Brett Thompson and ASIFA-Atlanta for awarding "Germans in the Woods" Best Dramatic Animated Short at this year's Animation Attack! Sounds like a great event, one that I'd love to make it to next year...
Mike and I recently did an interview with Toni Pennacchia of Spoiler Alert Radio (88.1 in Providence). We talked mostly about our work with StoryCorps, and Germans in the Woods in particular. Toni had some great questions! The show aired on August 3rd, but you can find the podcast here. Listen to learn more about what we've been up to, how we got involved with StoryCorps and where we're hoping to go from here.
Hello all! Mike and I have recently updated the Rauch Bros. Animation website. Go check out Rauchbrothers.com to see more on our next StoryCorps film, Q & A. From the site:
"In February 2006, then 12-year-old Joshua Littman and his mother, Sarah, took a day-trip to New York City. In addition to eating at a Martian-themed restaurant and visiting Nintendo World, the pair recorded an interview at StoryCorps... (Joshua) interviewed his mother on everything from animals to her feelings about him as a son."
Reactions to the animatic for Q&A have been overwhelmingly positive thus far and Mike and I are really looking forward to kicking it into full production.