Last Thursday, I got to spend an hour talking on Skype with one of my favorite stop motion animators, Dave Carter. If you don’t know him, you should really check his stop motion shorts. I will be presenting half of the interview today and the next half will follow on Wednesday about Dave Carter’s stop motion creative process. It might have been easier to just put up the video, but that required editing skills which I have yet to develop.
Interview (Part 1)
Philip Tomlinson: When did you start animating?
Dave Carter: There is sort of two periods for me. The first time I did stop motion was when I did Daddy and James in 2006. Since the age of 7, I knew that I wanted to become an animator. At that time, I thought I would be animating 2d drawings. At 14 years old, I began to do my first hand-drawn animations, mostly gag stuff. I found it frustrating that a lot of the work tended to be generic. I didn’t feel like I had my own personal signature. But, with stop motion, I felt like I could bring a bit more muscle than with the limitation of flash. Also, I had a problem spending 12 to 14 hours drawing because of dyspraxia. I didn’t realize this was going to be problem until my thesis. After 6 months of drawing every day, I ended up not being able to draw a stick figure to save my life.
Daddy and James
PT: That sounds really scary.
DC: Yeah… It was a bit of a scare. I decided to do an arts degree to become a better filmmaker while figuring out where I would go in animation. Stop motion came to mind, where you could draw single frames and animate them. So, you could say that I really started animating around 2006. That’s really where it begins for me. Prior to that, it was just playing around.
PT: Could you tell me about Ismö and The Catts? They are some of the best cartoons ever.
DC: How do people respond when they see The Catts?
PT: I usually get told it’s cute.
The Catts: A Stray Dog
DC: The Catts and Ismö are basic visual gags. Ismö was actually an attempt at making the worst cartoon ever made. I went to an animation festival screening in Sydney and I saw this Russian cartoon called A Music Shop. It was about these two grasshoppers who ran this music shop and these kittens come in to buy some musical instruments. At the end of the day, they play in a parade. It was just so terrible. I was like ‘I can make a worse cartoon than that’. My aim was to try and out do them with my second stop motion short. The result was Ismö. But, it’s completely different. The Russian cartoon is so beautifully drawn while Ismö doesn’t even try. I did it really quickly. It might have taken two weeks, maybe one week. You can tell how quickly it was made by the energy within the work.
Ismö: A Musical Shop
PT: It also seemed like you had lots of fun making it. Could you tell me more about your relationship with Nikos Andronicos?
DC: He is my usual collaborator and a pretty good jack of all trades when it comes to my work. He wrote the music for Ismö which is pretty demented. I also did a music video for Nikos Andronicos’ band Pomomofo. I try to stay away from making commercial stuff but I’ve been working with Nikos for years so I told him that whenever he wanted a video clip, I’d do it for him.