Bill Plympton's "Idiots' Diary"

Blogs Idiots’ Diary #24: Surprises with the Academy Shortlist

Several weeks ago, I went to the Academy screening of all the eligible animated shorts – about 30 films. It's one of my favorite events, because often I discover films I've never seen before and I always have a film that I'm trying to get nominated.

Blogs Idiots’ Diary #23: I&A Plays in Chicago

In the third of my trifecta of “Idiots and Angels” theatrical release appearances, I made a trip to Chicago, where it played at the wonderful Music Box Cinema. Three years ago, Gabe Levinson brought me to the Music Box to run a rough cut of the work in progress to help me make the final cut. It was wonderfully helpful and important.

Blogs Idiots’ Diary #22: The Oscar Qualification Gauntlet

The big problem with the Oscars is that if there are more than 15 films qualifying, then the number of nominations expands from 3 films to 5. Obviously, with 5 films I have a much better shot, like Secret of the Kells last year. But with only 3 films nominated, they usually go to the Hollywood Blockbusters.

Blogs Idiots' Diary #20: What's With the LA Times?

It’s Friday, Oct. 29. I’m in Los Angeles for the premiere of I&A (Idiots and Angels). It opens tonight and I’m not a very happy camper. Even though the L.A. Weekly gave my film a wonderful review and a great article, the all-important L.A. Times refused to review the film!

Blogs Idiots' Diary #19: 'Idiots & Angels' Held Over at the IFC in New York!

Yeah! Idiots and Angels was held over at the IFC by popular demand! This is what I dreamed of. All those distributors who rejected “Idiots and Angels” now must realize that there is an audience for an adult animated film. People want to see mature and provocative ideas in cartoons.

Blogs Idiots’ Diary #18: The Imperfect Storm

Call it “Crazy Week” or “The Imperfect Storm”. It seems like everything is happening at once. First of all, in my studio, I'm trying to finish a low-budget commercial for an accounting firm. Then I'm working on animation for John Leguizamo' new feature, “Fugly”. Plus, I'm right in the very critical last week of sending my new Rizzoli art book, “Independently Animated: Bill Plympton”, off to the printers in China.

Blogs Idiots’ Diary #17: The Morning After

So, it's the morning after the grand premiere of “Idiots and Angels” at the IFC Center. It was a wonderful evening, lots of old friends and a lot of new fans of Plymptoons. I can't say it was a smashing success; even though we had good crowds for both evening shows we didn't have a sell-out, and that's the dream of every filmmaker: A nice fat “sold out” sign over the box office window.

Blogs Idiots’ Diary #16: The Film Reviews Start Arriving – Demented Moral Fantasy Indeed!

It's a crazy day – besides being the day Idiots and Angels premieres at the IFC Center, it's also the day that all the reviews come out. So briskly, at 6AM, I eagerly go to my local magazine shop and buy all the papers...

Blogs Idiots’ Diary #14: NYC Release Date Arrives!

As the release date is getting closer, October 6th, 2010, I find that more and more of my work time is allocated to publicity about Idiots and Angels. I've turned down commercial work, pushed aside my new short, Cop Dog, and delayed work on my two new feature films because I've absolutely got to score big in the cinemas with “I&A.” So in this final week, I've been calling all my contacts, anyone who has a blog, website, a newspaper, a newspaper column, a TV show – anyone who can help get the word out, they are now my best friends.

Blogs Idiots’ Diary #12: Ramping up the Guerilla Marketing

Now, whether posters and postcards all over the city will drive huge numbers to the theatre, that's a different and interesting question - We hope so, because without the money for a full-out publicity blitz, I'm forced to use more street guerilla tactics. Eager student volunteers seem to be the most efficient way.

Blogs Idiots’ Diary #11: Team Idiots Descend on Lower Manhattan

Today's a big day—we've been scouting the local schools for volunteers to help spread the word about Idiots and Angels opening up in NYC on October 6th. We've built a group of 15 or so eager volunteers called "Team Idiots". Their bold mission is to go around midtown and the lower Manhattan area putting up posters and placing stacks of our postcards, so hopefully everyone will be aware of our film opening. It's called guerilla marketing.

Blogs Idiots’ Diary #10: Street Team

Part of my campaign to build up the crowd enthusiasm for my Idiots & Angels premier in NYC is getting the animation students involved. I've planned a number of school visits to help spread the word to my most hard-core audience. Yesterday, I visited Marty Abrahams' class at The School of Visual Arts here in NYC.

Blogs Idiots’ Diary #7: Cinema Mixup

So things are going smoothly – I'm setting up a number of signings and showings in LA and NY. Then I'm talking on the phone to Tom Akel of MTV who's setting up a new animation web channel (he even wants to bring back Liquid Television) and wants to do some interviews and maybe show some of my shorts, when I get this panicked call from my NY press agent; the dynamo Phyllis Bishop.

Blogs Idiots’ Diary #6: Mailing Lists

This week my goal is to compile a master contact list of friends, associates and acquaintances. Since the film “Idiots & Angels” is opening on the 6th of October at the famous IFC Center in NY and on October 29th at the Laemmle Sunset in LA, I need a groundswell and a firestorm of publicity. I want to get packed audiences; I have to have big long lines of people eager to see my new animated feature stretching around the blocks. I've sworn to do anything possible to pack the houses, as long as it's legal.

Blogs Idiots’ Diary #5: Big Meeting

So now the craziness begins. I've got 2 hard dates for Idiots & Angels: Oct. 6th at the IFC Center on 6th Ave in NYC and Oct. 29th at the Laemmle Sunset 5 in LA. So like Patton I'm devising a 2-prong attack. First, I'll invade NYC using low-cost but more personal forms of advertising: Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Skype. We can save a few bucks and then I'll turn my forces onto LA.

Blogs Idiots’ Diary #4: Finding an Indie Cinema in NYC

I've narrowed my list of available NYC indie cinemas to 2: IFC Center and Cinema Village. Both are quite good and have a history of showing animated films. Both theaters seemed interested in Idiots & Angels, so I sent each booker a screener of the film plus the great reviews it got from Variety and The Village Voice. My plan, and I do have a plan, everybody should have a plan, is this…

Blogs Idiots' Diary #3: I’ve Decided to Self Distribute 'Idiots & Angels'

So I've decided to self distribute Idiots & Angels. The biggest hurdle is finding a cinema in NYC. There are a whole lot of films looking for cinemas and not a whole lot of cinemas, so the trick is the find one that suites my audience. Animation fans.

Blogs Idiots' Diary #2: Indie Distribution is not Self Distribution

Many people think that if you can't get the Weinsteins or Sony Picture Classics to distribute your film then it must be crap. Perhaps for some films that may be the case, but let me talk about the differences between indie distribution and self distribution.

Blogs Idiots' Diary #1: The Ongoing Travails of Distributing my Feature, 'Idiots & Angels'

A lot of you people have been following my travails with Idiots & Angels. First, making the film, then in distributing the film. In fact, I always say there are 3 major steps in the success of a film.