Brooklyn Animator Hustles Cartoons on the Subway

Mark Stansberry

Taking a page from the playbook of hip hop musicians who peddle their CDs in tourist areas of Manhattan, Brooklyn animator Mark Stansberry is using a novel way of promoting his cartoon character Puddin–selling DVDs on the subway. The NY Daily News has more about his story. According to Stansberry, he’s sold over 40,000 DVDs over the past two years at $1 a piece. The DVDs contain multiple Puddin cartoons like this one:

Stansberry’s grassroots promotion of his animation is laudable, even if the actual cartoons don’t excite me personally. He is proving that there is more than one way to get your animation into the hands of an audience. Here’s another interview with him in which he talks about how his oldest son is helping out with the digital animation.

The best part of this story is that General Motors made his animation career possible. “I worked fifteen years at General Motors in Maryland, and when they closed down the plant in Baltimore, I got a buy-out,” Stansberry says. “But for all those fifteen years I worked there, I also had my own studio where I was working on my animation and making these shorts…General Motors pretty much put me in a place where I could concentrate on my animation.”

(Thanks, Dan Pinto)


  • http://robertkohr.com Robert Kohr

    OMG!! I saw this guy selling his Puddin’ like 2 years ago. Good for him, now if only one reasoned that he would have at least sold 30,000 at $2 a piece he would have a lot more cash now… just sayin’.

  • Ju-osh

    It’s a fact: Anyone who can do what they love for a living is living the dream.

  • tgentry

    Very cool!

  • ShouldBeWorkin’

    Say! That’s so crazy, it might work!

  • http://www.classicparamountcartoons.blogspot.com ParamountCartoons

    The designs are a mixture of the “Doug” cartoon and the the TMS-animated “Animaniacs” skits with Yakko, Wakko and Dot. It’s a neat-o style if you ask me, even if the plot isn’t your typical Disney movie. I don’t understand why you don’t like this cartoon, Amid. This is better than Filmation’s “Fat Albert”! in being tasteful!

  • tedzey

    The dubbings off, but I find it better than “The Return of Jafar,” that’s for sure! Jokes asside, this was a nice read and the interview as well! When I go to MoCCAfest, i’ll try to catch the D train and see if he’s there!

  • The Gee

    Brooklyn, right? Not Brookly?

    As for the endeavor, more power to him. If he’s making money on it then whatever it takes….just more power to him.

  • http://www.WhereIsOlifant.com doug

    i bought a dvd from him on the 2 train last year. as someone who is just beginning to market his own project i have a huge amount of admiration for him.

  • Ryoku

    Whats great about this type of dealing is Marks his own vendor, has no tax, and isn’t paying anyone to market this stuff.

    So all that $40 grand went to him.

    • Stephen M. Levinson

      Legally he should be paying tax on every sale.

      • Ryoku

        So he should be paying tax’s for selling things in person?

      • NC

        yeah, technically he should, but because cash is untraceable a lot of people deal in cash to avoid having to pay taxes.

  • http://www.stephenneary.blogspot.com pizzaforeveryone

    totally seen this guy at 7am on the 4 train. rock on.

  • http://highlyrecommended.blogspot.com Satorical

    Love the spirit of the thing, but sales of any sort on the subway are illegal. Mentioning this makes me a churl, I know.

  • http://bakertoons.blogspot.com/ Charles Brubaker

    Can’t say I like the cartoons, but the way he sells them…Hmmm, maybe I should give it a shot.

  • Karim

    According to the interview Amid linked, he got an anime veteran to pump up his designs, that’s an interesting push.
    Although I wasn’t psyched by his stuff, he’s a true inspiration.

  • http://www.michaelspornanimation.com/splog/ Michael Sporn

    The cartoons aren’t the best; the guy would profit from working with professionals in a studio to learn a few things about timing. His endurance of selling them on a subway is commendable. It means he believes in his product, however this isn’t the best way to get your films out there.

    • http://www.goodaboy.com Rajesh

      What is the best way to get your work out there and still make $40,000 doing it?

      • http://www.michaelspornanimation.com/splog michael sporn

        He made $40,000 over two years. That’s $20,000 per year. The cost of blank DVDs & packaging has to be at least half-dollar each. That means the most he’s made is $10,000 per year. I assume he’s not selling one 6 min short for the dollar, or at least he must have done more than the one. Gang them up and you can sell them through some traditional jobber for significantly more money, perhaps $9.99. (Take a look at the product of Square Footage Films. These DVDs have sold. That’s just a start. Try selling them to tv (perhaps he should look into BET.) There are a million places to go other than the subway.

      • amid

        Michael, I have to respectfully disagree. I would be very surprised if the Square Footage dvds have ever grossed $20,000 in a year, and even if they’ve gotten close, that money is divided between a half-dozen filmmakers. From a sales standpoint, I would wager this guy has earned far more than any filmmaker participating in Square Footage.

        All of that is besides the point, however. I don’t know of any indie animator who sells dvds to make a living. DVDs are for exposure, building a fan base, and getting your work into the hands of the right people. There is no greater mix of humanity on the NY subway, which is why to my mind, Stansberry’s promotion method is so inspired. The only kink in his plan is the quality of the work he’s promoting. Other than that, I admire what he’s doing.

      • NC

        I agree with Amid here. If you have a webseries and you use the dvds to direct people to it you can build a following for sure. That’s actually a really cool idea.

      • http://4eyedanimation.com Joe Corrao

        Plus 2 bucks for the subway

  • bob

    I bought his cartoon DVD a few years ago — and really hated the work, concept and voice work. But I’m delighted that he’s in there pushing.

  • http://animationinventory.blogspot.com/ teodor

    let him work.
    I wish him good luck and new volume of Puddin.

    I thinks that after this text he will not be alone

  • Demetre

    Welcome to the future, whether or not you are prepared for it.

  • NC

    If only there was something like the subs in California, maybe the metrolink, could be able to spread it further that way. Talk about going viral, it’s genius.

  • amy

    I’m glad to see this guy featured! I bought his dvd on the subway and have to say I honestly enjoyed the cartoons a lot. Technically they may be a bit lacking but they reminded me of the saturday morning cartoons I grew up with (which were not always that much higher production value for that matter..)–it was like comfort food.