Here are three of my oldest films, spanning from 1998 to 2001. I only had copies on Beta tape, the original files either not in my possession or else have disappeared over the years. In any case, these were made to be watched at the old TV resolution which is about a third of the quality of current digital films, so the quality is kind of on the cruddy side...sorry about that.
Okay, so apologies aside lets start with the first film I ever made, Tea for Two. The original concept for the film was to use actual dialogue from The Seventh Seal, by Ingmar Bergmann. But we were unable to get permission so we redubbed it in pigeon-Swedish. The subtitles were just a bunch of philosophical mumbo-jumbo that I wrote to make fun of a lot of the pretentious films you see at animation festivals. Also, since I had never animated before I made this film, I thought that if there were subtitles, the audience would be too busy reading to notice all of the mistakes. I tried to make it as European as I could at the time, hence the flat background and desaturated colour etc. Wayne Bartlett who composed the music and did the sound design came up with the loud ticking clock which was a really cool touch. I learned a ton of things doing this film and it is the seed from which every other film I've made since then has grown.
My next film was der "Unterseefraulein". The first film that I made outside of any studio help. The previous year, myself and Troy Little had made a music video for a Montreal band called Clove. We had used a local digital-ink-and-paint studio to composite and colour the animation. I found it a bit frustrating that such a large part of the production was basically out of our hands to control. And I had to fight to get them to try anything new. And so, on this film I developed a system where I could do everything in my home studio. I drew all of the animation on paper, scanned it into Photoshop and coloured each frame by hand. Then I brought the files into Adobe Premiere and assembled each drawing in the timeline. It was a bit of a chore to do, but it allowed me to be able to experiment with techniques like multi-planing and adding a ripple effect to the underwater scenes. All together, the entire production was six weeks from start to finish. Tavis Silbernagel also helped me out with some of the animation.
Last but not least is The Red Scarf. At the time I was making this film I was obsessed with silent films. I watched everything I could get my hands on, and this film was the direct result. I thought of the idea of a prince and princess fairy tale retold by Soviet revolutionaries. Just before embarking on this film, I had worked with Tavis on his film "Fruit, Juice! Protein?" I worked really hard to try to give it that aged, degraded film look- which included using overlaid footage of old film running through a projector and After Effects filters. I used that experience on this film, trying to make it seem like a lost artifact from another era. Another thing I remember trying for the first time was adding motion blur to some of the fast actions. Since a lot of silent films were shot at less than 24 fps, they often would have very blurry actions, so I tried to replicate that here. It was pretty time-consuming, hence the reason I never tried it again.
Interesting side note: this is the only one of my films that never screened in competition at the Ottawa International Animation Festival.