Bi-Polar at Work.

Bill Plympton called me the other day and asked if I was interested to make a music video and before he could even finish his sentence I said YES YES YES feeling a surge of manic energy rush through my body and brain. The heavy lid that for months was keeping me in the cold coffin of being depressed and unfocussed slid off and I was was let out to fly. Yippee!

All of sudden everything was amplified. A minute idea seemed like a gigantic one. Everything was exciting and everything had to be made right now, on the spot.

I cranked out the storyboards in super intense 3 hours and presented them to Bill. I do know that with a mind on fire like this I need a reality check. Bill liked the boards and approved. Reality, check.

Next step – animating.

Animating requires a strange kind of focus – on one hand you have to look under your fast moving hands to make sure lines flip with each other. On the other hand, you can’t think too much about what you are doing, because over-thinking kills life and art, so you must think of something else. Which in my case forms a flow of obsessive, highly emotional thoughts about politics (- Why the hell Chris Christy fucked it up like this!?), friends (- Is Pat still my friend if he snubs my emails?!), Facebook (- Chris Robinson posted a grumpy comment to my post!) and film festivals (-They hate me they hate me they hate me and my film!).

The faster the thoughts run, the faster my hands move. It’s a miracle the paper doesn’t get thorn to shreds in the process or doesn’t set on fire.

At some point the walls start to hum then start to vibrate. It’s annoying, so I stop, get up and touch them. They vibrate or not? Not sure. The vibration stop.

I sit back at my light box and walls start humming again. Fuck. It’s annoying. But the annoyance fuels me with a manic speed. I discover can block out the vibration if I match it with rhythm of my work. The irritation gets pushed to the edge of my consciousness. Papers flip faster and faster.

Then music starts to play. A beautiful, gentle piano. For 2 seconds. I barely catch it. The moment I raise my head, it’s gone.

I get up, walk to the door and pop my head into the hallway. No way anyone is playing piano in this warehouse. Carpenters drill holes in they furniture projects and lay smelly layers of varnish on surfaces.

I sit back at my work table. The piano plays again. All right, let the music be. I won’t ask where it’s coming from.

It stops.

At the end of the day I have 2 huge piles of drawings – one on the floor, sketches and tries. The other on the table – final animation. One minute. In one day. Done.

I wake up at 2 AM. Everything is vibrating – walls, my body, my thoughts. From this maddening vibration a sense of urgency emerges. The world might end in 5  minutes. I need to scan all the drawings right now otherwise I will never see the results of my work.

I jump of of bed and walk to the scanner. The room is ice cold. I open the scanner’s mouth and place a drawing in it. The scanner blinks and says in a high pitch voice:

– Why are you making me work in the middle of the night? There is tomorrow, trust me.

Arguing with a scanner all of sudden seems like too much of an effort and I go back to bed.


A color sample of work in progress music video:

Tarzan try

About rocksinmypocketsthemovie

I was born in Latvia, educated in Moscow, live in New York. I have made about 14 animated shorts so far.
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5 Responses to Bi-Polar at Work.

  1. Patrick says:

    i only snub emails from people whom I love:)

  2. Grant Lupher says:

    Great description of how mania can power creativity. Like the picture, too. Her happy voluptuousness contrasts nicely with his mild & recessive timidity.

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