Structured Psychedelia

“The Music Scene” from Anthony Francisco Schepperd on Vimeo.

I swear I’ve experienced things exactly like this during hypnagogic moments (those naturally occurring dreamlike hallucinations that sometimes happen as you’re falling asleep) as a teenager. But this guy actually spent five months in front of Flash with a tablet and stylus, making it real for the rest of us. This is what animation is all about. (via Cartoon Brew).

If you liked this video, you might also want to go back and watch Mathieu Labaye’s Orgesticulanismus one more time. That link takes you to a high-quality version I just found, with subtitles, which clarifies the intent of the film and makes the slow part just as enjoyable as the fast part… give it a look!

An unusually well-colored alphabet

For someone with colored-letter synesthesia, these kids’ toys are usually a frustrating thing to look at, because they generally get my colors completely wrong. So when I see one that gets more than a couple of letters even close to correct, I notice. This one nails the colors of B, P, S and Y, and is well within reason on M, R, and W. Given that orange and pink aren’t in this set’s pool of colors to choose from, even the E and the U are pretty close. Would I buy this set because of that? No, but it did make me stop and take a second look…

With the right teacher, school can be awesome.

Andy James works with Chautauqua students, including Shayla Malm, left, during a recent music class. Photo by Elizabeth Shepherd

My friend Andy James teaches elementary school on Vashon Island, a rural community a short ferry ride from Seattle. He’s got a real passion for teaching, and my conversations with him about it always leave me inspired. His latest project is no exception: faced with a new role as music teacher, he decided the thing to do would be to get the kids to compose, perform and record an entire album. And they did it. Not just any album, mind you: a concept album made entirely of original songs written by the kids, based on a South American folk story called “The Whistling Monster”. Now they’re selling the CD to raise funds for the school (and in the process help save Andy’s job, which like many teachers’ is on the chopping block). I haven’t heard the music yet, but if I know Andy it’ll be worth a listen!

The whole operation is pretty low-tech, so as of now you can’t buy the CD online. Update: Chautauqua Elementary School has made the CD available online! You can order it here in MP3 form or as a physical disk. Take a listen, and leave a comment below if you’ve got anything to say!

More festivals for our “Baby”!

Two more festivals will be screening How to Make a Baby next Saturday night (May 22nd) in two different cities. The Santa Fe Reporter’s 3 Minute Film Festival (at the Lensic Performing Arts Centre, 211 W. San Francisco St., Santa Fe, New Mexico), and a reprise screening of the Santa Barbara Minute Film Festival (at Samy’s Camera, 614 Chapala Street in Santa Barbara, California). Apparently last week’s SBMFF was so popular that they sold out the entire theater, so they’ve scheduled a second screening for everyone who was turned away at the door the first time.

The film has also brought home some accolades: it earned an Honorable Mention from the Disposable Film Fest, and was voted in the Top Five by the jury at the SBMFF. We’ve submitted it to a bunch of other festivals, so stay tuned for updates. If you want to keep track of the all film’s screenings and awards, you can find the whole list on the
project’s festival page.

Upcoming festivals

The DFF was such an overwhelmingly fun experience, it got us completely hooked on the film festival buzz. So over the past month I’ve been submitting “How to Make a Baby” to various festivals, and we’re starting to hear back from some of them. One of them, the Santa Barbara Minute Film Festival, is right around the corner! It’s happening on Saturday, May 1st at 8pm at the Faulkner Gallery (40 East Anapamu Street) in Santa Barbara, California. I won’t be able to make it to the event in person, unfortunately, but if you happen to be in the area, stop by the screening and let me know how it goes!

Vote for us in the DFF Audience Choice Award!

Hey “How to Make a Baby” fans: remember that super cool film festival we were in last month? Well, they’ve opened up their competitive shorts program to voting by the public. If you liked our film, please:


If you can see the embedded video above, just click the little heart to let them know you “like” the film. Also, one voter selected at random will win something called a “DFF Survival Kit”. (Personally, I didn’t find DFF particularly hard to survive, but I’m sure it’s a very cool kit, whatever it is!) Voting closes May 31st.

Dragon wrap party… in 3D!

Just got back from the wrap party for “How to Train Your Dragon” in Hollywood. At one point, a bunch of us animators were hanging out on the dance floor, and there was this line of people all taking photos of us at once. These two photos, by Jen Stern and Lilian Ku, must have been shot within a fraction of a second of each other. So I stitched them together into an animated gif. Check us out in 3D!


What a great show!

Disposable Film Festival

Originally uploaded by otherthings

The Disposable Film Fest opening night was a fantastic show. From the very start you could tell that the curators had great taste. Every film had something unique about it: an inspiring use of cheap technology, a fresh visual idea, or just a really funny story. I found myself grinning and bouncing through most of the show. And it was wonderful to see our short film with a live audience, because it got an amazing reaction. (When even the title card got a laugh, I could tell that the crowd was ready to have some fun!) And the organizers couldn’t have been nicer people, with a fun, lighthearted approach to things that was reflected in every aspect of the event (like the message projected above before the show began). Here’s a small collection of some of my favorite films from the opening night event.

The festival is continuing throughout this weekend, with more short films and even features. I highly recommend checking it out!

See us on the big screen, if you’re so disposed.


Good news: our short film, How to Make a Baby, is heading for the silver screen! It will be in the competitive shorts program at the wonderfully named Disposable Film Festival. The big event is Thursday, March 4th at 8pm at San Francisco’s Roxie Theater. Sure, you’ve seen it on the internet. But the Roxie’s screen is, like, a million feet wide! How big is your screen? You can buy tickets in advance if you like, and there’s a party next door after the screening. Come hang out with us and all the other disposables!

Cassidy Curtis's splendid display of colorful things.