How we get there: with time, patience, fury. Animation near the finish line, verification on Giphy, farewell to beloved East Village bar Angel’s Share. Amazing fruit preserves from Upstate.
I drafted most of this issue before the morning’s events. I'm quite far from where it occurred but I've friends in the area. I’m on edge and anxious. Hang in there everyone, I know things are sh*t right now. I hope we see some light soon.
When the soldiers started runnin' short on rations
I began tappin' the egg to spark the hatchin'
Make it happen, and take this captain to the gallows
I keep steering us into an area that's shallow
Talking to my shadow, he advised me not to worry
Said, I should plant my tree and let it rise out of the fury
Atmosphere, “God loves ugly”
For years I had maybe 3 gifs on my Giphy profile, with a total of 15 views.
A few weeks ago, I uploaded a handful more from my animated shorts Tuscany and Chamoe. That got me verified, and suddenly I had over 26K views. (Today, almost 275k.)
Verification wasn’t something I’d actively been seeking, so it came as a pleasant surprise. Coming on the heels of the Substack feature, I felt a little lift too. But I did find myself thinking about how, on 3/27, I had the exact same profile as I had on 3/29. The former was ostensibly worth 15 views, the latter, 26K. On the face of it, the sole difference between the two is verdict and promotion by a third party with exceptional reach, the power and unpredictability of which is mind-boggling.
The true difference between those 2 days though is…4 years.
Acknowledgement in that light feels a little less arbitrary, and a little more gratifying. And while this may not seem like a big deal, I see it as one in a series of incremental confirmations. And for me, small wins continue to matter big.
Lastly, in contrast to the overwhelming pressure to focus on marketing and promotion (arguably at the expense of what we’re marketing and promoting), this recognition is particularly appreciated because it wasn’t, for once, the result of me prioritizing something above the work. I’ve mostly just been heads down, planting my trees.
Of course, the reality is that marketing and promotion are an unavoidable part of life for most of us. I just happened to get a pass this time, a leaf unfurling while I wasn’t looking. In any case, I'll take it. It is spring, after all.
WIP: my animated short Chamoe is now 100% lined! A full draft of the musical score is imminent 🙀
Provisions: I finally got to watch Fall of the Ibis King.
For members: The latest with preliminary sound and subtitles. Additional behind-the-scenes. Amazing small-batch fruit preserves from Upstate New York.
The film is fully lined, y’all!!
I’ve been working on my 2 minute animated short Chamoe (CHA-meh) for over a year. It’s a story about love and cravings narrated by my mother, and I’ve been documenting its progress from the very first issue of TLB.
Last Wednesday I drew the last of the lines, sent it off to the musician, and began drafting the trailer.
Much remains to be done (the ending still needs to be painted in color, for one thing), but the the film now has clear narrative closure—and not a moment too soon.
This final sequence, where my mother and her grandmother share a quiet moment together, was a monster that clocked in at just under 20 seconds. In addition to the length, it was challenging to animate for many other reasons.
First of all, it begins with a walk cycle (which as you all know every animator absolutely loves to deal with)
My solution was to have her already halfway across the room as we zoom out, and hold some of the frames for 3 instead of 2 frames—I go into more detail about this in the member-only supplemental.
I needed more nuanced follow through and overlapping action than usual. What seemed like a million different things moved and settled in relation to each other at different speeds: the fruit jostles as the plate is placed on the floor (now that I look at it, a bit aggressively 😅 but not going to sweat it); the tie of the grandmother’s top shifts as she moves; my mother’s chewing and swallow affect her posture; the women anticipate and react in subtle ways to each other’s movements.
Here’s how it all came together:
By the next issue, this should all be in color.
Take a look at the rest of the behind-the-scenes in the supplemental: the zoom solution detail, the grandmother’s transition to sitting, animating in 3s to slow things down. Members can also watch the latest with sound and subtitles, plus discover where I get the most delectable preserves to sweeten my afternoon work breaks:
Member support helps keep The Line Between going, and makes it possible for me to work on an animated short every year. As always, deepest gratitude to members for believing in my process and vision 🙏❤️
Bonus content almost every issue + access to more benefits as they develop!
Take in good things to make good things.
I wasn’t disappointed: there was high tension and intrigue, gorgeous design and balletic expression, enough realism and dialogue to anchor, create structure—and get lost in. I loved how blurred the line was between reality and theatre, too—a beautiful film.
If you can, get a festival pass to check this and other animated shorts out—there are so many gems in there! Some are laugh-out-loud funny, and I for one am thankful right now for some levity.
A bummer NYC story to end on—
Angel’s Share was a beloved bar in the East Village that inspired and nourished many of our stories over the years. It just closed due to rent issues stemming from the pandemic; an increasingly familiar story in this town.
I first walked up the stairs into its front, Village Yokocho, over a decade ago. Straight to the back, past the registers. Through an unmarked door, casual as anything. Into a tiny, dark, magical space with an irreverent painting over the golden bar lit up epic and majestic like mecca.
I loved their Cousin Mary. They made mean martinis. The bartenders were beautiful. Sometimes, they fit jazz musicians in there, and it all just worked.
I’m not the only one who’s sad, and there’s bittersweet comfort to be had out of communal mourning and reminiscence.
Here’s how I’m choosing to remember Angel’s Share: with a moment captured in 2017, while having a drink with a friend—now on Giphy for perpetuity. You can find it by searching for “colbay” or “angelsshare” anywhere you access Giphy (Twitter, Instagram, Messages).
Rest well, angels. You’ll be missed.
Until next time.