Virtual Memories Show 281:
Bill Plympton

“I wish I could make more money on my films, but I love having complete control.”

Indie animation legend Bill Plympton joins the show to talk about his first short (the Oscar-nominated Your Face), his latest feature (Revengeance), and everything in between! We talk about his indie ethos, the economics of animation and the benefits of Kickstarter, collaborating for the first time, launching the Trump Bites series of animated shorts and how they dovetail with his early career as a political cartoonist, his dream project (it involves Beatles music), his influence on generations of animators and artists, and how he discovered his hatching-sketchy style. Bill also gets into sticking with pencil and paper, falling in love with NYC 50 years ago and taking inspiration from it ever since, starting a family a little late and changing the work-life balance, giving career advice to young animators, and ripping off his idols. Give it a listen! And go catch Revengeance!

“For Revengeance, the first project I ever did with someone else, it was a holiday, a lot of fun.”

“Yellow Submarine showed me you didn’t have to do Disney to make a feature film.”

Enjoy the conversation! Then check out the archives for more great episodes!

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About our Guest

Bill Plympton is considered the “King of Indie Animation,” and is the first person to hand draw an entire animated feature film. Bill moved to New York City in 1968 and began his career creating cartoons for publications such as The New York Times, National Lampoon, Playboy and Screw.

In 1987, he was nominated for an Oscar® for his animated short, “Your Face“. In 2005, Bill received another Oscar® nomination, this time for his short film “Guard Dog. “Push Comes To Shove” won the prestigious Cannes 1991 Palme d’Or; and in 2001, another short film, “Eat”, won the Grand Prize for Short Films in Cannes Critics’ Week.

After producing many shorts that appeared on MTV and Spike and Mike’s, he turned his talent to feature films. Since 1991, he’s made eleven feature films. Eight of them, “The Tune”, “Mondo Plympton”, “I Married A Strange Person”, “Mutant Aliens”, “Hair High”, “Idiots and Angels”, “Cheatin’” and the new “Revengeance” are animated features.

Bill Plympton has also collaborated with Madonna, Kanye West, and Weird Al Yankovic in a number of music videos and book projects. In 2006, he received the Winsor McCay Lifetime Achievement Award from The Annie Awards.

Credits: This episode’s music is Fella by Hal Mayforth, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded at Plymptoon Studios on a pair of Blue enCORE 200 Microphones feeding into a Zoom H5 digital recorder. I recorded the intro and outro on a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Cloudlifter CL-1 and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack 2×2 USB Recording Interface. All processing and editing done in Adobe Audition CC. Photos of Mr. Plympton by me. On my instagram.

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