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Interviews Worth Reading and Hearing

Pups of Liberty

Filmmaker Michael Sporn interviews Jennifer and Bert Klein about their ambitious new animated short Pups of Liberty and the lengths they to to finish it:

Jennifer: It is hard to sit down and work after you have worked a full day, but I always remembered something Bert would say, “Even if you just get one drawing done you are one drawing ahead.” So I’d try and get one scene’s worth of layouts done a night, or read a track, or just something, and we’d inch forward until we were done.

The Venture Bros. creator Jackson Publick and voice actor James Urbaniak recently appeared on “The Best Show on WFMU with Tom Scharpling.” The interview lasts a couple hours and there’s a lot of goofiness, but there’s also a lot of good discussion because the host, Scharpling, is a TV writer and producer (Monk, Tom Goes to the Mayor). The interview begins a little after an hour into the September 29 program, which can be listened to at the WFMU website.

  • Great to read the interview with Jennifer and Bert Klein on the making of their film “Pups of Liberty”. Very inspiring to read about people following their own vision and initiating their own productions.

    By the way, Amid, will you be doing any wrap-up commentary on the Ottawa Festival this yea for those of us who missed it ? (photos , too ?)

    Speaking of independent animated productions (the Klein’s film) and Ottawa , reminded me of a recent sobering comment I read from another committed independent animator, Paul Fierlinger, on the TVPaint User Forum (Fierlinger was in attendance at Ottawa with his feature film “My Dog Tulip”) Paul wrote about the difficulties of finding distribution for an independent feature film (even one that has accolades from film festivals in Cannes, Toronto, Ottawa) —

    “Digital technology and the Internet have contributed to the ease of making movies but also to the ease of pirating them. It has become a dilemma; a large amount of very good movies for niche markets are now being made, which many had commented upon at Ottawa and Toronto. These are creations of artists with talent and intelligent sensitivities who would never before find producers to support their screenplays because each film cost lots of money. But now good films can be made for much less , but now no one is buying them because each one is made for a select audience.”

    (there’s more . I’ve just excerpted a few of his remarks from the TVPaint Forum. See the link for the rest.) The main point is that the promise of “The Long Tail” isn’t really working out very well (at least in Paul’s experience) and I wonder if other independent film maker’s are finding the same ?

    In another place Fierlinger says:

    “If the film doesn’t hold the promise of becoming a blockbuster, which makes zillions in it’s first week, [film studio] buyers are reluctant to reach into their pockets.”

    And this seems to me to underscore the problem for independent films (features especially) , this burden that every film has placed on it to make an incredible amount of money the first weekend only , otherwise it’s immediately written off as a “failure”. So even though we now have the “Studio-In-A-Box” computer technology where potentially any individual or small group of artists can make a feature film , certain types of films just won’t get made , or if they do get made they don’t get widely distributed. (beyond the festival circuit, which doesn’t pay the bills. )

  • You need vision, zeal, ambition — and one more thing. Youth. I remember leaving Disney after a full day and going home to work all night on my own projects. However, that was many years ago. Ain’t gonna happen now.

    I truly admire Bert and Jennifer Klein for their awesome work. I was an independent film maker as well. But, that was fifty years ago.

  • james madison

    Great work and great ambition! It definitely is inspiring!

  • TheGunheart

    I hope they get their series. It’d be a great addition to the PBS lineup.

    It’s just so adorable, and I really think that’s something that’s missing from children’s television. I mean, nothing against Arthur, but the characters on that show are just ugly.

  • Boyo boy, do I like the look of this. This would breathe some fresh air into accompanying the teaching of American history. Also makes me wish I could draw.