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Bill Plympton’s Guard Dog Global Jam

Guard Dog Global Jam

Bill Plympton is remaking his Oscar-nominated short Guard Dog–with your help. He’s calling it the “Guard Dog Global Jam” and he’s asking seventy animators to re-animate one shot from the short. Animators can use any style or technique as long as the dog character is recognizable and the length of the scene remains the same to keep the soundtrack in sync. Details about “Guard Dog Global Jam” are posted in a downloadable document at Animators can begin choosing shots, most of which are between 2-4 seconds long, on September 1st, 2010. All participants will receive a piece of original art from Guard Dog.

  • Incredulous

    Wow…I get a chance to be a Animation Rockstar and work for free on someone else’s film and all it will cost me is $10 (plus shipping)?

    Even though I’m not a huge fan of Bill’s films I respect what he does as an Indie producer, but this leaves me kind of flabbergasted.
    I sure hope you will hesitate next time you decide to make fun of these work for free ads on Craig’s List since you seem to be endorsing this one.

    Oh, my mistake…those who are willing to help him make this film for free will recieve a drawing – probably the most money any of his drawings have ever gone for….

  • Hermeown

    I actually want to do it… Then again, I’m a college student and it sounds fun, so why not?

  • amid

    Incredulous: I knew there would be cheap shots against Bill when I posted this. This is a fun idea that can be completed by most participants quickly. Bill is one of the hardest working artists out there and wanted to come up with a cool way to work with other artists in a way that benefits both himself and those who work on the film. The idea clearly isn’t being done to make him money-if any of his films made a lot of money he’d have been rich long ago. To compare this to the shady work-for-hire ads we make fun of is both petty on your part and shows a complete lack of understanding about what Bill’s intentions are.

  • Mike Luzzi


    This is crowd-sourcing. You may say Bill is not “making any money” but he has clearly made a living at this for years. This will be publicity for him etc. I don’t see how this is much different from many other contests you tear to pieces on this very blog. Except maybe that you personally like Plympton, so he gets a pass.

  • I think it’s a great idea for students. But I think professionals would rather work on something original.

  • I’m not an animator, but I think it’s a fantastic and fun idea. If it had been a comic book instead of an animated film I would probably do something.

    I see it’s a fun colaborative effort that will maybe help some people to get a little more recognized. I don’t see anything bad about Bill’s intentions here.

  • i remember when bill mentioned this to me, my first reaction was that it was a cheap self publicity trick, but the more i spoke to him about it the more legit it became. amid is right, it’s really just a fun idea aimed at plymptons many fans.. hell, i’m thinking about doing a shot! remember there’s no money involved here.. this is artist to artist stuff.

  • I’d like to give this a try, it sounds like a lot of fun.
    Thanks for posting this!

  • They did something similar with Star Wars recently. It was great. Hell yeah I’m so gonna ask for a shot to do.

  • trn

    maybe if it wasn’t recreating one of bill’s own films it might seem a little better. maybe if it was storyboards from a film that he never made or something. this just seems kind of arrogant on his part.

  • Ben K.

    This looks like a lot more fun and creative than Mass Animation was. I’ll have to make a note to check back in September! I wonder what the standard of quality will be since there is “no age limit or professional status requirement.”

  • I am up for this, and I hope he accepts me! (In September)

  • I think the difference between this and other scams is that first, he’s only asking for 2 to 4 seconds of animation within 3 months from each participant, not 2 to 4 minutes of animation. In my opinion, the 11 second club represents the limits of a free contest and puts it on par with illustration contest and other artistic fields. Secondly, he’s already completed the film Guard dog, he’s not asking you to come up with something completely original on your own, so a number of monetary espenses (creative and technical) have been taken out of the equation.. And since the project is a derivative, I think the final results, even though it will be owned by Plymptoons, will excemplify a collection of artists and a collaborative process to anyone that watches it not a unified commercial product that someone made for free or cheap instead of going the usual route of hiring people. I’ve always agreed 100 percent with Amid when he presents these condemnation of “free contests” from Aniboom down to the shady people on Craig’s List and in my opinion, I see no double standard with this entry.

  • Having worked with Bill in the past, and knowing the spirit behind many great independent animators that he comes from, I give this project a huge thumbs up!

    I wouldn’t be animating today, if I hadn’t gotten the great early opportunity to work and learn inside the great tradition of mentorship the independent animators seem to all share. This goes for anyone who’s even enjoyed watching any of Plympton’s cartoons over the years. Time to give a little something back!

    Go Bill!

  • amid

    There are countless nasty corporations and bloodythirsty businessmen out to exploit artists; trying to lump in a lifelong indie who has been an inspiring and positive force in the animation community for decades is a nonsensical and stupid argument. (I’m looking at you, Mike Luzzi.)

    Bill’s intent clearly isn’t to be exploitative nor is he asking for anything exorbitant or unseemly. Participating in the making of one of his shorts struck me as a novel proposition which should be a positive experience for the seventy participants, who all will get to say they helped a legendary filmmaker make one of his films. Heck, if I’m not deadline, I may just offer to animate one of the scenes myself.

  • incredulous

    lol…the only test you need is if you were to remove the man’s name from the announcement and list it exactly as is on Craig’s List without a doubt you and everyone else would be lambasting this as a joke.

    Usinmg the “I know in his heart he is doing this for the good everyone” excuse is absurd since you have no idea what is in the hearts of those listing virtually the same “opportunity” on Craig’s List is.

    Once again, Amid, you have proven what a hypocritical schmuck you really are.

    Maybe next time you will hesitate before you pompously try to skewer someone else’s honest attempt to provide a rare “opportinity” for someone. And before you jump to the clumsy conclusion that I probably was responsible for one of those ads you immaturely attacked I can assure you that I am not.

  • The difference between this and the craigslist nutters is that this is actually a good and feasible idea that should result in an interesting and enjoyable film which will actually see the light of day, rather than just some funny posts for This is not getting a free pass because of Plympton’s name but because of what he does/represents and his reputation as a filmmaker. This couldn’t be more different from the delusional craigslist animation ‘producers’ or exploitative murdoch-owned animation competitions of the world and anyone who can’t see why has no understanding of the art or business of animation at all.

  • It’s funny, Amid. But my first thought when I saw this was…” I want in !”
    I am going to try and get a scene in what should be a fun project to work on.
    Thanks for posting this!

  • Gwen Schleidfreder

    Is there a prize or something? Like cash, I don’t mean the drawings.

  • trn

    you could probably sell the drawing for some cash :P

  • I wholeheartedly believe in the spirit of independent animation and what Bill Plympton has accomplished, but I do think that up and coming animators would be better served by working on their own material. That’s what this book is all about:

  • mbarq

    To deny there is no double standard, I think, is to be a bit disingenuous. If this was someone else on craigslist I don’t think it would have been blasted, since this really doesn’t seem “exploitive” at all, but it would have never been posted on CB.

    The fact is, this is Bill Plympton. Guy is pretty much self made, worked hard on his art, dreamed of being a disney animator like everyone else, and after being denied, worked harder on his art, made a short that then got Disney to call him up and offer him a job, but passed after he learned of all the restrictions Disney Co. would be placing of him.

    Sure, he’ll probably get a few ideas from these 2-4 second submissions, and he’s already getting good pr with this by being posted on CB, but at the end of the day, he’s an indie animator doing something fun with the community. Not some random dude on Craigslist who doesn’t know the first lick about animation.

    Here’s a little presentation he gave back in ’09, to us aspiring animators, that was btw, free:

    Now we need Hertzfeldt to jump in on something like this, although The Animation Show is already pretty cool.

  • Sounds like a lot of fun. Also I don’t think this qualifies as crowd-sourcing if it’s him remaking a movie he’s already made… It’s obvious he’s doing it for fun.

  • Sounds like a double standard to me. But not all double standards are bad. We do things for some people that we wouldn’t and shouldn’t do for others. The difference is that the person making the exception still benefits somehow. Whether its choosing to help a friend meet a deadline, or buying something for the girlfriend, the doer benefits, , even if it isn’t financially.

    While I’d like to buy Mr. Plympton’s intentions are good, the way the pdf is written in PR-speak, it just feels dirty to me.

    I understand the need for rules and structure, but if all you can promise us is that we’ll be “animation rockstars,” an empty promise, something is off.

    I can’t begrudge anyone wanting to work for Mr. Plympton, but I can’t bring myself to for free. Not when we have to pay $10 for a copy of the DVD (especially when sites like YouTube and Vimeo allow PRIVATE file sharing).

    His intentions may be good, but as long as there is no direct benefit to the artist, I don’t see the point.

    If it had a little more heart and soul, and less salesman behind the words, I’d have written something very different.

  • Mike Luzzi

    So first off, I want to be clear that I personally am not against this. All I am saying is that I am a bit surprised how you’ve spun on your heels to endorse this. As we are now in a time where consumers of media crave interactivity or participation of some kind, we will surely spend a lot more time in the grey areas rather than being so black and white.

    “There are countless nasty corporations and bloodythirsty businessmen out to exploit artists; trying to lump in a lifelong indie who has been an inspiring and positive force in the animation community for decades is a nonsensical and stupid argument.”

    Well, would you say that Sesame Street has been a positive and inspiring force for the animation industry? It certainly has been an outlet for it. Are they bloodthirsty nasty corporate business men who look to exploit artists?

    Another question, ethically, is if someone is being asked to do work for free, does it matter how much money the asker has? A businessman may have lots of money to spare, so does that necessarily make it more wrong? Is it more wrong for a rich person to rob you than a poor person?

  • Sprat

    Well this is the part I don’t like:

    “All artwork used in the film will be the property of Plymptoons Studios.”

    If this were a non-profit, fun experiment to give away on the web it would be one thing. But Mr Plympton is clearly planning to make money from this and exploit the free work. Call it work for fun, call it work for prestige, whatever you want, but money is still money and work for free is still work for free.

  • Incredulous

    So, it’s Okay because it’s Bill Plympton and not someone else…? that seems to be the big answer here.
    or that he is doing it for fun and not profit…?
    And it’s “okay for there to be a double standard”, but I’ve yet to see any explanation of why other then…once again…it being Bill Plympton.

    But why is he doing this? There is no explanation that I’ve seen. Is this just for giggles or something he wants to look at and show his close friends or is this something he’d like to put on youtube or sell DVDs of.

    Without a doubt the Rockstar benefit is silly and sounds no better than a hundred other come-ons by anonymous people on Craigslist.

    Tell you want, I have to hand out a storyboard in a week and I’d love to give everyone who I think qualifies a chance to be storyboard Rockstar. I’ll give 30 people one page of script and give them the benefit of my briliance. They won’t even have to give me $10.

    I don’t care that he put out this ad or that someof you want to become the Rockstar he thinks he can make you (though I have to ask is he even a Rockstar…?), but what gets me is Amid’s complete hypocrisy. And many of you as well.
    If you had somehow vetted all these ads on Craigs list that you love so much to deride and discovered that none of them had as good of intentions as Plympton you MIGHT have a point. But that didn’t happen. You just took on face value that those were scams and now you take on face value that this rises above all of them.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    It does sound like something that would be up my alley if I actually get around to doing something about it, and who knows, I might actually find some kind of satisfaction out of it in the end!

  • Personally I would love to work on it. I am never one to do this sort of thing but it could be fun. What the heck, he’s giving AMPLE time to work on it.

    (disclosure I host and design his sites)

  • amid

    When Mass Animation or Aniboom sponsor contests, they are asking for material that none of their own employees could ever produce. Bill, on the other hand, is a prolific filmmaker who makes multiple shorts a year. He could make this one too if he wanted to. Oh wait, he already did make this one. It should be obvious that the only reason he’s doing this is as a fun aristic experiment. Vigilance is good, but there’s also the danger of lynchmobbing a legitimate and worthwhile individual like Bill while ignoring those who are actually doing harm to our community. It’s unfortunate that a handful of you are too dense to tell the difference.

  • Sprat

    “It’d unfortunate that a handful of you are too dense to tell the difference.”

    Geez Amid, that’s kind of a trollish comment to make :\

  • I’m enjoying all the comments, both pro and con, and I’d like to address the negative ones. The charge of commercialization by selling my DVD of Guard Dog for $10 is a fair accusation. Guard Dog is available at Atom Films ( for free at a lower quality for those who have not seen it at all, so if you’re interested in the project and do not need a hard copy of the film to make your selection, please check it out there.

    Once final scene assignments have been made, the artists who are chosen will have their scene made available to them privately, but for pre-selection purposes I thought this was a good approach.

    I won’t see much profit from the finished “Global Jam” short. TV, theater, and internet sales will be negligible as this is a sequel– it’s pretty much just an artistic experiment.

    But I am happy about the immediate buzz the idea is getting, and I hope it keeps building into September 1st. If anyone has any other ideas, please contact me at [email protected]. I have added another incentive: I’d like to give the artist who does the best clip something cool. I haven’t decided yet, maybe a Bill Plympton super fan package. Thanks for your interest, and hope to see you in September!

    Bill P

  • Incredulous

    Once again, I have no problem with Bill doing this or anything he wants. Or anyone who wants to work on it.

    It’s Amid’s (and anyone else who so derided those craig’s list ads) hypocrisy.

  • The distinctions between this and the fly-by-night schemes are clear. I don’t see how anyone can confuse them while maintaining any intellectual integrity.

    First, it should go without saying that this is an extension of the Surrealist “exquisite corpse”. Animation greats like Marv Newland and Mo Willems have led similar efforts (to much acclaim) in the past. As such, participation in the project becomes an affirmation of your work as an artist and your part in the community. Heck, you’re one step nearer to Andre Breton.

    Most importantly -the business side. The terms of this project are simple and clear. The artist is not being asked to give away her ideas for a shot at a meeting with a TV executive or anything so star-striking. The results of an artist’s contribution is a completed film, it’s not an audition.

    Also on the business side is the producer’s track record. Bill Plympton has a 25 year long resume of making animated films and contributing to the art form. Compare this to an anonymous Craig’s List ad or any potential “producer”. Here you are collaborating with someone who’s producer skill is evident.

    We mock those fly by night phoneys not simply because they’re asking something for nothing but because they present themselves like they DESERVE something for nothing. Worse yet, they’ll treat the animator’s work as if it, itself, is nothing.

    Someone mentioned that a student would be better making their own film. If their film only took them a week or less -like the criteria behind this project would appear -then there is no question that participating in a project with a legendary animator, and probably many more, would do much more to advance their career. It would most likely do a lot to advance their understanding of the art form as well.

    There are so many reasons why this is a fun and exciting idea. Yes, a big reason are the credentials of the man behind it. It’s a pedigree well earned by Mr. Plympton.

  • Bob Harper

    I don’t think Bill should be attacked – nor did I think Sesame Street should’ve been called out for their participation in the Aniboom contest. Both have been an inspiration and both seem like fun to me – In had a balst doing a short for that contest and I will be applying for a scene on September 1st.

    The differences are in my opinion, that Bill is asking for much less footage, and the Sesame Street entry is something I can exploit for my own gain, so it kinda evens out for me at least.

  • jamesT

    It seems to me that Bill’s idea is to make a fun experiment, rather than exploit anybody.
    However, what gives it a bad taste is his premise that there are hundreds of adoring fans out there (from whom he can chose 70) who would want to spend hours of work for the self-described “King of Indie Animation” (I thought indie animation was hierarchy free) to recreate His film with His character, which would authomatically qualify them as “Animation Rockstars” and for no other reward than His original drawing …
    Well, he is probably right about his status in the animation community, and I wish him to receive tonns of applications, but I think it would be a better use of his celebrity to inspire the idea of truly independent original work… you know, with your own character and concept…

  • It looks like fun to me, and a small amount of footage that does not require a huge investment in time. (Well, it might for stopmotion animators like me, if we have to build puppets and sets, before doing our 4 seconds of animation.) As long as it is upfront about the terms, I see nothing wrong with it. In fact, I’m very tempted to try to get in on it! But I’d do it to challenge myself, not because I imagine any rockstar status is likely to come from it.
    And it does make a difference to me that Bill Plympton has proven his credentials, and is not some wannabe hoping to hitch a ride on the ideas and talents of others.

  • Don’t feed the Incredulous troll.

  • “It’s unfortunate that a handful of you are too dense to tell the difference.”

    *sings along*
    caaaaan you feel
    the love tonight…..

  • Sounds awesome to me, I’ll be trying for a scene for sure!

  • im gonna do it! Bill is my hero!

  • Bill Plympton was one of those inspiring Animators whose work I first saw in college twenty years ago with “Your Face” and “25 ways to quit smoking”. Work that was (and still is) fun and entertaining- what we see way too little of on the festival circuit these days.
    For a bit of perspective what Bill’s after is a third of what the 11 second club ask for and he’s asking for it in three times as much time.
    Heck, I’ll gladly stick my hand up to be part of this.

  • I’m definitely a supporter of this effort and will be first in line to send my scene request on September 1st.

    This seems like a cool hybrid of open sourcing, remixing, and an ani-jam. It’s an interesting idea. It seems like there’s concern since Bill is so well known, but if this was indeed one of those awful Craigslist posts, then everyone would scoff at the idea of working for a no-name artist, for no pay, on a film that would never see the light of day. Seems like an experiment like this could never exist without some scrutiny.

    It reminds me of how Nina Paley made all of her source .FLA files from “Sita Sings The Blues” available for download. It’s like taking her idea, and setting a communal goal around it.

    I’ve been struggling to do anything with animation since moving to Chicago, and have had to reset my sights on live action, in order to make any money at all. I don’t know about you, but I’ve got no other animation projects going on at the moment. I’m psyched to bust out my light disk and flip some paper again.

    Imagine if Warner Bros. had released model sheets, storyboards and x-sheets to the public for some classic Looney Tunes short. And as a result, there was some crazy mashup animated hybrid done by a bunch of artists from around the world. I know I’d love to watch it. I want to see what Bill puts together with this. It’s a great way to connect 70 animators. It’s a great (Oscar-nominated) film. It’s going to be fun. I know I’d rather be a part of this than not.

  • I like the comparison of this to Open Sourcing on software. I wish more of that had been included on the project literature itself.

    My problem with this isn’t the project itself, but how it’s being sold.

    That said, Taylor Armstrong’s comment actually has me rethinking my stance on this. Cheers.

  • Anthony C.

    Definitely enterting. Two to four seconds is pretty small stuff compared all the work I’ve done in school. :-/

    This’ll be pretty fun.

  • Lucky

    God I hate the arguments on this site , im constantly coming here and leaving pissed… a nice story is posted and everyone bitches and moans or a bitchy post is made(e.g. the ones bashing a cartoon style or remake) and everyone is bitching about that
    I do love all the great articles there are here but god damn i really dont like how you guys can take a nice idea and stab and twist it untill you make the author look like an evil mastermind with a business suit who wants to make loads of money
    There. thats my rant :)