Monthly Archives: August 2009

Scott Bateman on Atom Age Vampire, Animation

When a person can craft a 1940s educational film into pure comedy, you have won me over as a permanent fan. That person is Scott Bateman, an “animator in New York City“. His latest project shows how funny stamps can be…seriously. Until very recently, Bateman’s work was featured at Salon.com–but Bateman Animation can also be found at True/Slant and his YouTube channel. With his run at Salon ending, Bateman is devoting more time to generating interest in his film, Atom Age Vampire, which we also get to discuss. My thanks to friend of the blog, Mary Jo Pehl, for introducing me to the greatness of Bateman’s work. And my thanks to Bateman for this email interview.

Tim O’Shea: How do you go about tracking down obscure audio like “Actual audio from the 1947 educational film Using The Bank“. And from there, how do you typically go about writing the script that you run in parallel with the animation. Do you write the script before starting the animation work?

Scott Bateman: There is a wealth of amazing material in the Prelinger Archives at archive.org, a web site that hosts a vast array of public domain material. The Prelinger Archives specializes in short educational and industrial films from the 1940s and 1950s–hygiene, cold war propoganda, juvenile delinquency, it’s all there. Man, I can spend hours on that site!

My writing process for these animations goes something like this: I’ll end up watching a film several times while I animate it, because I’ll go through once and animate bodies, then another time through for mouths, another for hands, etc. So by the time I add the commentary, I already have a ton of snarky comments about the film at my disposal. I’ll put in the comments I most want in the movie first, then fill in the holes between.

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Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Don’t Win

So, every week I try to email interview questions to folks, in addition to doing the interviews I do for Robot 6. I try to pace myself so that I don’t get a backlog of interviews to run at either site. And for the most part, this juggling game works. This week I was not as lucky. I have many interviews in the pipeline for Talking with Tim, but none completed to run today.

My apologies for the lack of a new interview this week. But I won’t go away without asking at least one question or two.  Who would you like to see me interview here at the blog? I make no assurances that it can happen, but I’ll try my best. Second question, do you have a favorite interview you’ve read here at the blog?

Les Paul’s Passing Teaches Me About Mary Ford

Try as I might, I cannot absorb all the information in the world. I was reminded of this fact when I read Les Paul’s obituary today. While reading the obituary I learned about Paul’s former wife, Mary Ford, a vocalist who performed with him.

While she died in 1977 (long before I knew to appreciate music or the past), I have lucked out in a sense, because in 1977 laptops and the Internet were nowhere close to existing. So today, when I popped Mary Ford’s name into a search engine, I quickly gained access to 11 episodes of The Les Paul Show (featuring Ford) as well as some YouTube clips.

Paul deserves every bit of praise he gets in the coming days. But I hope one or two folks take a moment to remember his late former wife as well.

Benyamin Cohen on My Jesus Year

Every once and awhile a book concept hooks you in the first sentence. Such was the case with Benyamin Cohen‘s My Jesus Year. “One day a Georgia-born son of an Orthodox rabbi discovers that his enthusiasm for Judaism is flagging. He observes the Sabbath, he goes to synagogue, and he even flies to New York on weekends for a series of ‘speed dates’ with nice, eligible Jewish girls. But, something is missing. Looking out of his window and across the street at one of the hundreds of churches in Atlanta, he asks, ‘What would it be like to be a Christian?’ … So begins Benyamin Cohen’s hilarious journey that is My Jesus Year — part memoir, part spiritual quest, and part anthropologist’s mission.” Next month the book will be released in paperback. With that in mind, I recently email interviewed him. My thanks to Cohen for his time and to Kelly Hughes of DeChant-Hughes & Assoc Inc. for arranging it.

Tim O’Shea: What was the hardest part of the journey for you, both in terms of the actual experience and/or writing about it?

Benyamin Cohen: The hardest part of the journey for me was when I went to Confession: The entire year, wherever I went, I let people know I was Jewish. But at Confession, since technically only Catholics are allowed, I had to pretend to be someone else. And I’m not an actor. The other hard part about Confession was that it was an audience of one. At all the other churches, I could sit in the back and be a fly on the wall, watching what was going on and taking notes. But in the confines of the Confession booth, it was just me and the priest. Scary stuff.

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Chuck Hogan on The Strain

It’s not often that an award-winning novelist teams up with an Academy Award winner like Guillermo del Toro to write a novel. But that’s the situation that Chuck Hogan finds himself in with the new novel, The Strain.  As detailed by HarperCollins: “The visionary creator of the Academy Award-winning Pan’s Labyrinth (del Toro) and a Hammett Award-winning author (Hogan) bring their imaginations to this bold, epic novel about a horrifying battle between man and vampire that threatens all humanity. It is the first installment in a thrilling trilogy …

They have always been here. Vampires. In secret and in darkness. Waiting. Now their time has come.

In one week, Manhattan will be gone. In one month, the country.

In two months—the world.”

I recently got the chance to do a brief email interview with Hogan about the collaboration. But before launching into it, here’s some additional information about the novelist: “Hogan is the author of several acclaimed novels, including The Standoff and Prince of Thieves, which won the 2005 Hammett Award and was called one of the 10 best novels of the year by Stephen King. Prince of Thieves will soon be a major motion picture.”

Tim O’Shea: Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe this is your first foray into writing horror. What was the biggest challenge to writing in this genre?

Chuck Hogan: My biggest challenge, far and away, was getting the book off on the right foot vis a vis my coauthor. Guillermo is an intimidating first reader, so I wanted to make sure I brought it. My anxiety level went down fifty percent once I felt like he liked what he saw, and that our oars were rowing in sync.

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