June 1, 2012

Friday, June 1, 2012

Don Hertzfeld- ” Ah,l’amour” 1995

Breaking In

I was going through some old books of mine while preparing for my new class, and came across an interview with one of my favorite indie filmmakers Don Hertzfeld where he was asked if he had any advice for new animators/ filmmakers trying to “break into” the business. I found a quote that I feel speaks not only to them, but to writers, painters and anyone embarking on creative endeavors.

Since my first film that I “broke in” on was felt pen on typing paper with an old Bolex 16mm camera, the truth of this quote especially caught my eye. But also, because he discusses taking risk, which I am always hyping about. Only he says it better than I could.

“The first mistake is in the trying. I can always tell when a film was produced by somebody “trying to break in,” because it turns out desperate and bland. Artists should never concern themselves with anything other than their art in the moment, not where they hope it ends up. Otherwise, they stop taking risks, and risks are usually the most interesting bits in the piece, even when they fail. Buy into the concept that there’s no such thing as “bad” creative choice, just ones that you can recognize as being half-assed on a personal level. All you need is access to an animation camera and some paper. If you end up with something special and share it a little, the “business” will break into you. Believe me.”

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5 Responses to June 1, 2012

  1. Nichole says:

    Truth! I am very excited to start my copy of The Artist’s Ways and discover my own truths.

  2. Matt Stevanus says:

    Joe, I had an off topic question I wanted to ask you. Has anyone ever said something that made you feel like your work was worthless or that it’s been all for nothing at one point or another? Today a grad from our school called one of my characters a “palette swap” of Brian from Family Guy and I can’t shake the feeling that somehow that devalues everything I’ve accomplished thus far and reduces it to nothing. Is it bad to have a clear influence in your work and how much is too much?

    • Joe Murray says:

      Matt,,, we all have our inspirations and influences. I found myself in my younger years getting drawn to this style or that, but you will settle into your own if you listen. When I first started Rocko, everyone kept saying I was ripping off Ren & Stimpy ( Even though I designed the show and the pilot episode well before I ever saw an episode of Ren & Stimpy.) The fact was, is the John K. and I had some similar influences. His style, in my opinion, is far from mine, but everyone likes to connect with something they know. It makes them feel knowledgeable. Don’t dwell on it. Just move forward Matt. And do your own checks on if you are “borrowing” a little too much.


  3. Matt Stevanus says:

    Thanks so much Joe! A lot of my style is influenced by yours and Seth Macfarlane’s admittedly but I taek those, and my own little thing that I’ve developed, a style of my own and mix them up in a style blender to get the character he mentioned. I remember you saying that earlier about John K. and I for one think that they share the same influence but each took their own path and liberties with that style. Some say Macfarlane ripped off Matt Groening’s style for Family Guy but I think rip off doesn’t describe it accurately, to me influence plays a part and it’s how much that the artist decides to allow that influence to shine through. The only thing I did borrow from Brian is the shape of the cranium and down to the neck and the chin or lower jaw. Actually, MiniNova’s body is the warner 3 head high body, with a little of a Rocko spin. His head is actually a pear shape now that I think of it and the cape is somewhat like Brian’s collar but not intentionally, it just comes off that way to some, which I can see how. I’ll link the character in question. Here- http://black-n-yellow.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d4zu642 Thanks so much for sharing Joe, I greatly appreciate it and I will continue to move forward.

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