Commentary 31 Mar 2012 07:42 am

Some things

The Kickstarter Thing

- It was a kick to do the Kickstarter campaign trying to raise some funds for POE. No luck in the end (I obviously set my aims too high), but plenty of eye opening support from everyone in the animation community. It certainly was encouraging and more than a little heartwarming.

From the center of my being, let me say a loud Thank You to all out there; I am blessed. And you people are all wonderful.

I’m not sure if and how I’d do it again (though a lot of people are encouraging me to start again immediately); it’s a bit stressful in the end. Certainly, I’d work with one of the non-Kickstarter programs where the goal wouldn’t force the cut off. Just the same, it all took a bit of a toll. However, before the week is out I’ll get into it.

Again, many thanks.


The News of My Demise

- Now another piece of news. I’m not going out of business.

I am closing the doors on my studio space, but we’re just downsizing. The projects I’ve been doing have shown me that I don’t need quite as much space to work since what I have been doing is to work on my own or in collaboration with Matt Clinton, who is in Michigan. I have work coming up, but I’ll be doing it alone. I don’t need 5000 extra feet of space and five desks and computers.

After thirty two years, I’m going to go a bit more virtual. I’ll have the computer out of the home, and I’ll take Candy Kugel‘s incredibly generous offer to do some of the work out of her space, Buzzco. It’ll be fun to be around a good friend during the weekdays, and I’ll continue the way most of the world seems to be operating.

Of course, when the funding for POEor something large does come through, I’ll rebuild and open new doors. That actually may be sooner rather than later, but for now, my studio’s address will be my home address.


Chris Sullivan

- There’s an interesting, and very independent feature film about to open at the Tribeca Film Festival. Chris Sullivan is an animator workig out of Chicago who is completely independent, and has been working on his film for years. Consuming Spirits is truly multi-media. It jumps from 2D cel animation, to cut-out animation, to clay animation. It breathlessy gliedes from one form to another in a seamless way. The film deserves to be seen on the big screen, and I encourage you to catch it during the Tribeca Fest. I’ve seen about a half hour of the film and look forward to seeing it all together and complete.

1st Screening: Monday, 4/23, 6pm. Clearview Chelsea Cinemas.
2nd Screening: Tuesday, 4/24, 4pm. AMC Loews Village 7.
3rd Screening: Wednesday, 4/25, 7pm. Clearview Chelsea Cinemas.

From the Tribeca program:

    Nearly 15 years in the making, Chris Sullivan’s Consuming Spirits is a meticulously constructed tour de force of experimental animation. Shooting frame by frame in 16mm, Sullivan seamlessly blends together a range of techniques into a distinct, signature visual style. In the process, he constructs a hypnotic, layered narrative, a suspenseful gothic tale that tracks the intertwined lives of three kindred spirits working at a local newspaper in a Midwestern rust belt town.

I’ll give more of a reminder when the time gets closer.



- I had intended to write extensively about UPA. The new book, When Magoo Flew by Adam Abraham and the accompanying DVDs, the Jolly Frolics, from TCM. These are just the most brilliant thing to happen to animation history this year. I’m slowly savoring the material and haven’t quite finished it. When I do I’ll write a full review.

However, I can guarantee you that my reviews for both are positive, and if I were you, I’d buy either and both right away.

10 Responses to “Some things”

  1. on 31 Mar 2012 at 8:51 am 1.Stephen Macquignon said …

    I am sad by the words on your blog about closing the doors to your studio. It was your studio where I started my career as a paid artist. I worked for you for many years at two different locations 38th street then on Broadway and Hudson. Watching you work and learning from you during that time. (Priceless!)
    When I restart my life as an artist you opened the doors to me in your new studio so I can learn how to use Photoshop, and you can see the results.

    So thank you

    Kickstarter was hard for me to watch especially with all those $5.00 pledges. I can’t imagine how hard it was on you. I do hope you try another pledge drive Poe should be made

  2. on 31 Mar 2012 at 9:47 am 2.Michael said …

    Steve, you’ve been a treasure of a friend to me. Part of having a studio is the friends you make along the way. You’re one of those solid friendships I’m confident in.

    By the way, don’t be surprised if Bridget (yes, Bridget) and I don’t give you a call in a week or so asking you to help move some stuff.

  3. on 31 Mar 2012 at 11:18 am 3.Mark Mayerson said …

    Hi Michael. Sorry about the Kickstarter campaign and sorry, too, about you giving up your space. I have to assume that you’ll sleep easier every time it rains, though.

    All the best with your new studio arrangements and I encourage you to keep trying with raising money for Poe. If you have any insights you’d like to share about how the campaign went and what you’d do differently in the future, please share them. I do believe that crowdfunding is going to become standard part of financing independent films and the more people know about how to make it work, the better off we’ll all be.

  4. on 31 Mar 2012 at 11:22 am 4.Bill Benzon said …

    Sorry the Kickstarter thing didn’t quite kick over, Michael. But something will kick over, I’m sure of it. What you do is important, your animation, and you’re blogging. The blogging is a rich record for students and scholars of animation and related arts.

  5. on 31 Mar 2012 at 1:33 pm 5.Stephen Macquignon said …

    Lol you had me at treasure,
    I will be more then happy to lend you my back I’ll email you and Bridget my availability

  6. on 31 Mar 2012 at 1:58 pm 6.Eddie Fitzgerald said …

    Yikes! Moving out is a big step, and putting stuff in storage is a drag. I’m reminded of the scene in the Sims version of The Christmas Carol where the benevolent business man watches his company change hands from the vantage point of a carriage.

    I’m glad you’re still working and still doing your blog.

  7. on 01 Apr 2012 at 9:39 am 7.David Levy said …

    Michael, even though it marks an ending, sounds like a new beginning for your studio! I’m very excited to hear about your new adventures in the virtual set up.

  8. on 01 Apr 2012 at 11:42 am 8.Charles Brubaker said …

    Sorry you wern’t able to get enough pledge. I’ll still be rootin’ for “Poe”, though, so don’t give up on it.

    Yeah, it’s probably hard to run an independent animation studio right now. But as long as you keep getting work.

    Although I have a feeling that virtual studio will become more and more common in the coming years. You’ll still need space to employ people in-location, but you can probably get a good chunk of work done by communicating with the artists through emails, Skype, and the ilk.

  9. on 02 Apr 2012 at 9:44 am 9.sandro Cleuzo said …

    Hey Michael,

    I know exactly what you you are going through with the downsizing because I had to do the same a couple of times and will probably have to do it again.
    The state of traditional animation is not too good at the moment and even though it does not look too promising in the future, I admire artists like yourself who still pushing for it and do not give up.
    I wish you all the best and hope to see the Poe project realized soon.

  10. on 02 Apr 2012 at 4:54 pm 10.Richard Cohen and Patti Stren said …

    Rich and I have always been supportive of the your ventures and studio. So of course we are thrilled to hear about your new virtual venture . And we anticipate POE happening of course. WIshing you and Heidi onward and upward.

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