Scattered thoughts on LNWC’s GHOST STORIES
Late Night Work Club’s GHOST STORIES is finally out. I did some lengthy interviews this week here and here, if you want to read a lot of me talking about this. I also did a more general interview last week here.
There’s no way I’ll be able to get this all into a coherent post, so enjoy these personal snapshots:
– This all came out of a few of us being both really enthusiastic about indie animation and bummed out about the animation scene. The idea to do a project like this with no profit motive, no lengthy festival run, no barriers to entry- it seemed like a no brainer. So much so that when we first talked about it we kept thinking “how does this not already exist all over the place”? I’m sure it does somewhere, we’re not unique little snowflakes, but I’m unfamiliar with it. But when you work and obsess so hard over something for almost a year and you get VERY used to an idea. It even becomes mundane. So it was really great once people started seeing it that so many responded to the somewhat subversive element of this. First in interviews where people were wierded out that we weren’t treating this like a FILM, but more a mixtape of animation. “But why isn’t it like (insert past feature-length animation anthology)?” “How are you going to monetize this distribution model?” (Answers: “why would it be?” and “we don’t really plan to.”) There was a lot of giggling while answering certain questions.
The second kind of response that stands out is the people that immediately got exactly what we were doing. People talking about how this is “a moment” in indie animation. People talking about how this was an important point, something they’ve been waiting for, etc. People who immediately connected with the ever-so-slight change we were trying to cause. If I was close to tears at all in the past few days, it was reading those comments. I was talking to Jake last tonight about this, and he said “I think we ended up putting something sincere out there, and we got a sincere response”. Thank you. I am overjoyed this worked.
– I want to spend a week in Caleb Wood’s head.
– Louise’s short is like the quiet part of the bookstore. You’re walking through all of this noise and activity and information and you find this corner with the picture books and it’s just silent, and you just stand there for a second feeling weirdly cozy.
– Charles motherfucking Huettner, am I right? He’s been one of my best friends for a while now, and I am as happy as I could be that his work is getting the attention he so richly deserves. He’s just very, very, very good. And he’s a really great guy. Go Charles Go!
– I need to offload all 600-something gb’s of this project from my hd this week. Remind me.
– Dave Prosser is one of my animation crushes. There’s a wit to his work, and wit is actually pretty scarce in animation. His designs are perfect, the way things move is perfect, everything is just perfect. Can I be Dave? Just for a while?
– At the beginning of this project, Alex Grigg said to me “It’s my first time making a short like this, and I’m really worried that my inexperience is going to show and it’s not going to be good at all”. I wouldn’t worry about that, Alex. Phantom Limb was actually one of the first totally completed shorts I saw from the group and at that moment I remember thinking that it has all been worth it just to help produce this. Bravo, dude. Knocked it right out of the park. He finished before the rest of us, and had to sit on his film for months. Dude is a saint.
– Sean Buckelew doesn’t write dialogue, he transcribes that shit from his weird brain that is tuned into some sort of frequency that picks up people’s actual thoughts. Also: not rotoscoped.
– Ciaran described his short early on as “really dark and depressing and about sheep”. I don’t actually find it that depressing.
– I have watched and rewatched the ghost fox try to eat the ghost mice at the end of Mountain Ash about a billion times. I love how it’s sitting up like people. It thinks it’s people!
– Ha ha ha we wanted to have this thing out in April. What idiots we were back then. You should see the original googledoc. I think it has end of february as the due date. lolz.
– Conor said “my short’s about guy whose ass is haunted”. I didn’t believe him then.
– My awesome wife Bethany has been keeping me sane and reasonably healthy, keeping the trains on time in our actual lives, and is almost single-handedly taking care of most things that need to be assembled and shipped. She is a marvel and I love her very much.
– Let’s talk about Eamonn O’neill for a second. The first thing I ever saw from him wasn’t his award-winning short I’m Fine Thanks, nor was it his OTHER award-winning short Left. It was a 3rd year project called My Day. I was working a crappy studio job and I came across it on some blog or another. I watched it about 10 times in a row. It captured so nicely this claustrophobic social anxiety we’ve all felt, where someone’s nature intrudes on us in this really aggressive manner even if they’re not trying to do it, and WE feel bad even though the other person is obviously, if unconsciously, the aggressor. Eamonn’s films all do that pretty well, actually. It was around that time that I started wanting to make my own work, to do what I do now. Eamonn’s film helped push me in that direction. I don’t know if I’ve ever told him that. He’s one of my heroes, and he’s a lot younger than me. That happens sometimes.
-Eimhin McNamara is one of the co-founders of LNWC and was working on a short but he got his hands mauled up by a dog and then his laptop got stolen. Poor Eimhin. Next time, brah.
– My short isn’t my favorite I’ve ever done. It’s not the deepest, it’s not the longest. Part of that was because I was working on a much longer short that ended up being too big and too personal for LNWC, so I spent the last couple of months putting a new short together. The main character is based on the woman who delivered the mail at our old apartment. I should track her down and tell her I put her in a cartoon. No way that’s going to come off as creepy, right? I stripped out a lot of things from this short. Both Charles and Bethany tell me that this actually makes it work better that I’m not hammering home the plot and subtext. It’s there if you want to go looking for it. I do really like the world and the character, so maybe we’ll revisit her and it again sometime. Might be fun.
– I wasn’t able to make it to the LA premiere, which took place at Cinefamily the Thursday before the online release. Apparently it sold out HARD and the audience full of animation students and industry people loved it. I was so ecstatic that it went well but it also felt like missing my own birthday party. Before it started the theater mistakenly had “LNWP” on their marquee. Late Night Work in Progress.
– Apparently the London screening twice in one evening packed a hip bar far over legal capacity. London has been uniquely kind to LNWC over the months. Thanks, UK’ers.
– I’m a bit all over the place emotionally this week. I’m incredibly happy and proud. I feel a very strong affection for the LNWClubbers themselves and a gratefulness to the thousands of people who supported us so wonderfully during the process and release. I’m also still riding out stress and anxiety that has built up over the last few months. And I’m also having that post-christmas feeling where the endorphins are slowly coming down and you feel this sense of slow deflation. I’m also very sleepy. Which is to say, I’m a bit of a basket case at the moment. In a good way. I don’t know how momentous this was for anyone else, but it was a massive deal here. And for someone who usually has his feelings pretty well thought out and controlled, I’m actually pretty lost at the moment. May take me a few more days to find the river bottom. Just floating along for the time being.
– We’ll be doing screenings with possible Q/A’s with members that can attend throughout the fall. If you’re interested in setting one up, drop us a line at latenightworkclub at gmail. We’ll probably do some fests, some other fun things, etc. We sold out of our Uncanny Mystery Packs but there’s talk of putting something small and not-limited edition up in our shop. Stay tuned. In the meantime, one of the best ways you can support us is to keep spreading the word.
– LNWC continues. Right now conversations are already happening. Can you hear them? Listen harder.
– You can make things. Please do. We did! We’re good at what we do, but we’re not special. You can do it too.
– I keep trying to sum everything up, get a really good paragraph going about exactly how I’m feeling in a way that feels both like a conclusion and a stepping stone to the next thing we do, and how those things tie together, and what you can take from it. Something deep and tweetable. But I can’t, it’s all still too swirly in my head. So I’ll just say thanks to everyone who supported/supports us. I’m going to sleep now. Hugs.