THE SIMPSONS | Couch Gag from “Clown In The Dumps”
by Don Hertzfeldt
Don did an AMA on Reddit in 2011; an on-line interview, where anyone from the community can ask questions to the person or celebrity answering the questions.
Hey Don, I’m wondering how long is the process for actually doing a single work like Wisdom Teeth or I Am So Proud of You? And how do you feel about some forms of commercial advertisement taking your art style and applying it to their products(Pop Tarts for example)?
second question first: that makes me very unhappy
first question: it really depends on the piece. “wisdom teeth” i think took 9 months? i just made that up, i don’t know. but that sounds right. it’s very straightforward animation, five minutes long, only a few special effects. “billy’s balloon” is the same sort of animal, in the 9 month range. “i am so proud of you” or “chapter 3” on the other hand, shorts pushing 20 minutes or more with rarely a single shot that don’t have some sort of complicated composite or effect in them (groan), generally take one and a half to two years. seven days a week stuff, drawing, writing, shooting, editing, sound, blah blah blah. with any film, there’s never not something to do.
i think you mean “rejected.” i was 22 and getting asked to do a lot of commercials and was tired of it being broadly assumed (by people who should know better as well as by people who shouldn’t), that scoring commercial work was some sort of end-goal for all things indie animation. as in, you’re only making these little movies because you’re really just hoping one day to attract corporate types and make a bunch of money. i was reading a lot of “adbusters” at the time. and i was talking with a friend about how funny it would be to take the money and just make the worst possible cartoons i could think of and see if they could actually get on tv. and that grew into other, better ideas and i realized it might sort of work as a movie and i could sort of make fun of myself at the same time. at least i think that’s how it happened. but i had a lot of weird partial ideas and spare bits of little things that had no other home and weren’t very interesting on their own, and “rejected” turned out to be a great structure to hang them on because they didn’t need to have any context anymore.
Image from Dons graphic novel “The end of the world”