Hey Reddit! Had so much fun the last time, I’m back for more. My new short film "Submarine Sandwich" is now complete. You can check it out here:


Some of my other films are:

And yes, I’m still developing Garbage Pail Kids... it’s going to be awesome. Victoria is helping me get started today.

My Proof: https://twitter.com/reddit_AMA/status/544584942190350336

Update: Thanks everyone, I'll be back later to finish up!

Comments: 163 • Responses: 40  • Date: 

applegrumble70 karma

Hello PES,

Firstly, thank you for your beautiful art.

I think your work would be a great tool for understanding biology.

If you were to make an animation that explained a certain biological process - which would it be?

officialPES71 karma

The quest of the sperm for the egg. It's a quest movie.

gunsoffury33 karma

How do you look at everyday objects?

officialPES81 karma

Hahaha! My wife says you NEVER want to go food shopping with me, because I just stare blankly at shelves for hours. And if she tells me to go pick up something in aisle 10, I completely forget by the time I'm there. I get lost.

Valoura28 karma

Have you ever gotten in trouble with other kids while growing up, or with teachers, for being "excessively creative"?

officialPES54 karma

No, in fact my first grade teacher once said to my parents in a parent-teacher conference is that "One thing she knows for sure is that I would never do anything creative."

But I guess my whole life goal was to prove her wrong, haha!

Her name was Mrs. Pigeon.

mojoegojoe23 karma

What was your inspiration for Submarine Sandwich?

officialPES45 karma

Well, a couple years back i was in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and there was this Hobart streamliner deli-slicer sitting on a pedestal. And I immediately started thinking "That thing is SO cool, what would I slice in it, what would my meat be?"

And the first thing that popped into my head was that a boxing glove looks just like cold cuts. A good italian ham.

So that was really the central image i really liked - a boxing glove, knuckles to the blade, slicing it to see what comes out the other side. And I built the entire film around that specific image.

sevennationsalami23 karma

How long is your "cooldown" between projects? Now that you've finished Submarine Sandwich, are you fed up with stop-motion for the foreseeable future, or have you already set your sight on the next project?

officialPES32 karma

That's a good question. I definitely need a little bit of a cool-down after working for months straight.

It'll probably be a month or two until we can get to the next thing. I'm just glad I got the film out before the holidays. I'm toying with the idea of working on a TV show. And obviously, I always have a couple other short films lined up. For me, a little bit, I wanna say, is that I'm really antsy to get back into more spontaneous, playful experimentation in stop-motion. SUBMARINE SANDWICH took years, and there's a lot of distance between the moment of the concept and bringing it to life. There's so much building, preparation, casting, collecting objects - i wanna get back to something where i have the idea and I just shoot it. That'll be a lot shorter.

gwill1122 karma

How has your life changed since being nominated for an Oscar?

officialPES35 karma

Ooh, good question. I'm not sure I know yet. There's no clear answer to it. It's not a quantifiable thing. It's more like... I don't personally feel like anything in particular has changed yet. It's still a milestone in my professional career that I value. But the biggest thing is now my parents have something to tell people when they ask what i do.

Nobodydog19 karma

PES, how do you capture motion and the momentum of your subjects/objects as they move through space? That's the most captivating aspect of your work. I have watched you smash those tomatoes dozens of times. How do you even go about planning how to execute something like that?

officialPES18 karma

First of all, thanks. The short answer is: one frame at a time. I rely a lot on intuition, but I also do research to see how things should move. e.g. in Fresh Guacamole I looked at videos to see how chefs slide the knife around an avocado, with a sort of rolling motion. I looked very closely to see exactly how those two hands move together in order to be able to replicate it with the grenade.

The1WhoRingsTheBell13 karma

Hi PES, thanks for the T-shirt! Loved Submarine Sandwich!

1) Are there any companies that you wouldn't work for, regardless of how much they offered you?

2) What's the best pizza topping?

officialPES18 karma

Thank you! glad you like the T-shirt! we put a lot of time into making it cool. 1. Seeing that I've already sold alcohol to children (see my Bacardi commercials ), I guess I'm pretty open as long as I'm getting paid. 2. Meatballs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=An6Ws3asMro&index=6&list=PLB1F8A00D6F34070A

The1WhoRingsTheBell7 karma

I like a creative with loose morals! Did your advert get played on cartoon network or something? How did you 'sell to children'?

officialPES14 karma

Usually, in the advertising of liquors, there's a heightened sensitivity to not appeal to very young children, but I have a four year old who repeatedly asks to watch the Bacardi commercials... they are possibly his favorite thing that I've ever made.

fifteenyearoldgirl11 karma

Are you aware of the ASMR fanbase of your work? Do you try to make the audio of your films in a way that caters to that group of people, or does the high-quality audio just do that on it's own?

officialPES12 karma

I am aware of it, and find it fascinating. I don't do anything specific to curry favor there. I just put sound on my imagery that I hear in my head - sound that I think will bring the imagery to life in a believable, realistic way. It's probably just that some of the sounds I am naturally drawn to happen to be those same deeply textured sounds that many people find so satisfying.

phil_ch10 karma

I'm fascinated by your videos. On almost every shot I wonder: "How the hell did he do that?"

This must all be stupidly difficult to pull off, until you get some routine I guess.

What are some tools you use often that are invisible to the viewer?

Keep it up!

officialPES17 karma

I often use rigs that hold objects in the air - for instance in SUBMARINE SANDWICH when the little gloves come out of the deli slicer, there's a wire armature inside the gloves so they can be animated to be a bit floppy.

Little rigs sometimes have to be removed in post production, but i use them when necessary for sure. Almost all of my films, at least, have some element of rig removal.

phil_ch7 karma

Interesting, thank you!

Definitely happy I backed Submarine Sandwich, I really enjoyed it. Good luck with your further work!

officialPES12 karma

Thanks so much for your support, means a lot to me to know that there are people out there who want to make it possible for me to continue making films.

sevennationsalami9 karma

As a backer, I love how Submarine Sandwich turned out! Though initially I felt that Western Spaghetti and Fresh Guacamole offered more "creative surprises" with respects to the transformations the various objects undergo in the film. Submarine basically plays with a single idea (meat slicer transformation) which was nicely executed but isn't as varied. But after rewatching the film over and over, I feel that this is one of the strong points of the film. It's a repeating pattern, but it fits the narrative perfectly. Also, Submarine manages to draw a much more coherent picture, thanks to the authentic set and you as an actor.

This being said, did you intend to try out new directions and techniques with Submarine as opposed to Spaghetti or Guacamole? Do you think you've evolved your storytelling and film-making and will further push into this direction? Or can we expect your future films to fall back to what we know from your earlier work?

officialPES8 karma

Well, you kinda nailed the challenge of making Submarine Sandwich on the head. There is less tranformative magic there, but I hope there are other satisfying things about it. I wouldn't say i was trying to do anything totally new with this film. It was more like here's another idea for a food film that I like and want to make. Mostly because I like making these food films, and feel the genre synchs up nicely with substitution of objects technique. Each film brings it's own challenges and is kind of like a trying to solve a puzzle. I'll probably take a break from food films for a while and turn my attention to some new ideas soon. Thanks for the questions (and your support).

modernmonarch9 karma

PES, whats your favourite food?

officialPES25 karma

EVERY form of pasta known to man, hahaha!

joelschlosberg8 karma

What do you think of stop-motion-animated video games?

officialPES14 karma

I wanna make one. I've got several ideas.

joelschlosberg7 karma

What do you think of the resurgence of the animated GIF?

officialPES7 karma


encompassion7 karma

What can I do as a parent to help my son (8) to a career like yours? For 4 solid years, he's wanted to make movies when he grows up. He loves makeup, movie monsters, and digital input. What did your parents do for you?

officialPES9 karma

I started out as a visual artist and didn't touch a movie camera until I was 24 years old. I could draw pretty well from an early age and my parents encouraged me to do that and express myself. Then they sent me to learn how to paint watercolors when I showed interest in that. I studied printmaking through college and loved making my own books and things, both writing and illustrating them. I just loved making stuff, and at a certain point in life, when I moved to New York city after college, I started having ideas for films. And then I just jumped to doing that and never stopped. I never thought of it as a career other than I was trying to find something I really liked doing. I think the key thing is encouraging the core creative impulse to express oneself, and the medium will follow naturally. I am thinking a lot about this now that I also have young kids. Thanks for the question.

joelschlosberg7 karma

How much interest do you get in Yule Log each Christmas season?

officialPES17 karma

ha. yeah people still order those DVD's (I have only a handful left). I've actually been thinking i should turn that thing into an App though, so people could just download and stream it to their TV's if they want.

TreasureTrolls6 karma

I am always so impressed by the objects you use that represent other things. Do you plan every little detail out in advance as far as what will represent what? Or do you sometimes create or swap things out on the fly while you are shooting? If so what are some examples?

Also are any of your shots composited together or is everything happening in camera?

PS. Thank you so much for continuing to come out with new shorts and videos. I have been so inspired by you over the years and will continue to religiously follow and admire your work. :)

officialPES9 karma

No, everything is planned out in advance, and tested to make sure it works. I never swap out things on the fly. That being said, I may choose to animate an object in a different way, on the day of. But the selection of objects is really a casting session that has gone on for months, even years, leading up to the shooting of a film. I sometimes look around my lab to see what I can put in.

Everything is happening in-camera.

birdlime6 karma


I've really been looking forward to this AMA!

I would love to know, who are the greatest inspirations to you among artists, animators -- and composers?

officialPES10 karma

As far as film influences, I always cite the Czech surrealist Jan Švankmajer as my greatest influence, and his short films from the 1960's-1980's really blew my mind and started me thinking about animation with objects and the possibilities for how it could be explored. As far as music, I have a particular fascination with Hector Berlioz and his life story - I don't think he influenced my films, but I love his music and think he was way ahead of his time.

corrinee6 karma

Pes, I have been a long time fan of your work. Sorry to hassle you for new stuff so soon but what will your next project be? What is currently inspiring you?

officialPES7 karma

Sleep is currently inspiring me, haha!

What's next: possibly a short film, but pitching a tv show idea that I've had as well as some feature projects.

murder_of_jackdaws6 karma

Hi PES, what was your favorite part or creature to make and move from any of your films?

officialPES5 karma

I really liked animating bubble wrap as boiling water in Western Spaghetti. In the shot before my hand opens the pot, the lid is clanging around under the pressure of the steam and little pieces of bubblewrap drip down the side of the pot like water. i still find it really satisfying that i found a use for a single bubble of bubble wrap.


I really like your short films, which I have been watching for a while, and a question that I often think of is how many times you mess up and how long editing takes?

officialPES6 karma

I sometimes do multiple takes of a shot, but then there are times when I am happy with the first take. Believe it or not final Editing comes together pretty quickly. First of all, I do an animatic for my films before shooting them. Early in the pre-production process, when many of the props are coming in and the set is under construction - I sneak in there and do a rough pass of the film with rough animation and crappy lighting. This is where I make so many of the most important creative decisions, and discover what's working and what's not. From there I make necessary changes before shooting the film for real. So by the time I shoot the film for real, it's almost like shooting it a second time. I've already decided exactly what shots I need so I don't worry about that anymore (which is quite a relief actually). Now I just focus on making every shot as good as it can be. So coming back to the final edit, it takes about 2-3 days. There's only so much scrambling around of the footage that can actually happen, all the decisions about what order the shots should go in have already been made in the animatic (there's always room for experimentation though, and occasionally some surprises). Most of the time in the final edit is really spent tighting the nuts and bolts of the film, the pacing, the in and out points of each shot, and laying in the audio.

two_off5 karma

With your mesmerizing style, how will I be able to focus on the story of the movie?

officialPES11 karma

Well, my films don't really have stories in the traditional sense. They do have structures - a clear beginning, middle and end - and the imagery does adhere to a structure. Story I associate with characters, and something that happens to them. I really kind of feel like story is not a big aspect of what i do, and I don't even think of my own films as stories. I think of them as executions of ideas that have been packaged around traditional archetypal structures.

joelschlosberg5 karma

Did you get more complaints about Roof Sex for being too risqué, or for not being as risqué as the title makes it sound?

officialPES8 karma

In the beginning, Roof Sex was seen as risqué and NSFW. Now, diapers.com advertises around it.

Snowballin5 karma

Hey Adam, I really liked you're new film! I guess my question would be, as a whole, how do you feel about the current avenues for funding animated shorts? Do you think Kickstarter / Patreon model of donation fundraising is ideal, or could it be better?

officialPES8 karma

Adam?! Are you my mother? :)

The Kickstarter worked out really well for this particular project. It's always a challenge to find funding for one's work and also retain the rights surrounding it. For me, the best answer seems to be a combination of sponsorship (for instance, SUBMARINE SANDWICH was partially sponsored by Nikon and the remainder of funds were from Kickstarter) which was a positive experience and I am hoping to tap into it again in the future.

joelschlosberg5 karma

Would you be interested in doing animation synced to a complete classical piece, like Dogs of War expanded to your own version of Fantasia or Allegro Non Troppo?

officialPES3 karma

Yes, I have always loved the Boellmann Toccata and have been dreaming of doing something with it for years

Alhx4134 karma

Hi PES, I'm a huge fan of your work! What were some of your favorite memories from award season last year?

officialPES12 karma

Thanks so much -- few moments: 1. At the Oscars right next to me I saw one old guy jump on the back of another old guy. They turned around and it was Robert DeNiro jumping on the back of Dustin Hoffman. 2.Martin Sheen blessed my two-week-old baby. 3. Enjoyed talking with Tim Burton at the Oscar Nominees luncheon. 4. The mother of a documentary filmmaker was blown off a toilet at the Oscars like a geyser. Flooded the entire orchestra level lobby... for real.

joelschlosberg4 karma

I first saw your work when Fireworks was included in the Animation Show. Do you still get a lot of people who have been introduced to your work via theatrical exhibition?

officialPES4 karma

That's so cool to hear! There are always people being exposed in different places/venues. I'm never sure where they come from (mostly because no one ever tells me where they came from), but I'm guessing theatrical must be small nowadays compared to the numbers of people who are exposed to my work online.

ismellliketuna3 karma

Favorite Hulk Hogan movie ?

officialPES9 karma


I saw Hulk Hogan in a sushi restaurant not too long ago. He introduced himself as "Terry." I don't think I will ever be able to see him as "Terry."

TheRealLookMister3 karma

Hello, You make such great inspiring work, thank you for that. A technical question for ya... the parts of "Submarine Sandwich" where you are shown going to the case. Is that all shot at 24fps and then you remove frames to make it look "stop-mo" or is that shot frame by frame like you do the animation?

officialPES4 karma

It's shot frame-by-frame. I had to move inch-by-inch and hold my pose.

Here's a behind-the-scenes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v83rUnXMaJo

fifteenyearoldgirl3 karma

What's the benefit of shooting it frame-by-frame? Wouldn't it be easier to, like u/TheRealLookMister said, just shoot it as 24fps and then remove some frames?

MoonSpider4 karma

Obviously traditional shooting is "easier" overall, but he wouldn't be able to do the in-camera stop motion effects where objects transform in real-time. If he just shot the non-transformation portions at 24 and removed frames, the individual frames would still have lots of motion blur, which wouldn't match the look of any of the stop motion footage.

officialPES4 karma

For me it was an aesthetic decision. It just felt better to me for those few shots to look like they were cut from the same cloth as all the others.

I remember in Svankmajer's films (such as 'Alice') he didn't even bother animating those type of shots - he would just throw a live-action shot in there. But this always bothered me.

joelschlosberg3 karma

Do you think there will ever be an even shorter Oscar nominee?

officialPES5 karma

Hard to know - I did just watch the short-listed films for this year and I was happy to see a two minute film among the ones I would consider nomination-worthy. However, under 1 min 40 seconds starts to get really tough, mostly because I think the audiences that vote for the Oscar vote for films that move them deeply. That becomes harder and harder with less time.

crimsontideftw242 karma

Whether or not you see this, I just wanted to say that it's the sounds in "Submarine Sandwich" the really blow me away. Awesome job! How do you achieve such amazing sounds?

officialPES2 karma

Thanks so much! Glad you like. You know, I always strive for authenticity with my sound design, so I always start by capturing sounds using the exact objects used in the film. So for Submarine Sandwich that meant doing a day of foley work on the deli set, where I captured things like the actual door of that deli case closing and snapping shut (it's oak, which produces a specific sound), the specific creak of its hinges, the sound of placing that lava lamp down on that 200lb, 4-inch thick butcher table. These things produce very unique sounds that I wanted to incorporate. Then I did a a second day in the studio where I brought smaller items such as the deli-slicer into a booth and then bought about $100 worth of real salamis, hams, and roast beefs so that I could capture the exact sound that that particular Hobart 410 "Streamliner' makes while slicing through them.

Occasionally there is a sound that is difficult to capture for real, such as the tomatoes being thrown into the pan in Western Spaghetti. I was looking for a satisfying splat sound as they hit the oil, but couldn't get it from traditional olive oil (plus it was a mess). The final solution for that one was a wet t-shirt rolled up into a ball and dropped in a porcelain bathroom sink.

joelschlosberg2 karma

What do you think of the increasing technical ease of shooting stop-motion with consumer gadgets like smartphones and digital cameras? When I was a kid, I tried doing stop-motion by taking very short shots on my family's camcorder with its bad old-fashioned VHS-C, but the camera rewound a bit at the end of every shot, enough to completely erase any shot short enough to have a stop-motion effect. I was always disappointed that it wasn't feasible at the time, so it blows my mind that basically any consumer device that can shoot video can do what I was unable to, and that today's kids have never known a world where that wasn't the case.

officialPES1 karma

I think it's great that so many young people have access to these tools and methods, and I think some great ideas will come from it. Stop-motion is completely wide open as an art form. If you can put a camera on it, odds are you can animate it in some way.

SoltanPill1 karma

Are you a fan of Kristen Wiig? Did you like Bridesmaids? "Help me, i'm poor"

officialPES4 karma

I saw that film. I enjoyed it.

UrImaginationIsSick1 karma

Did you eat the submarine sandwich?

officialPES1 karma

I do, and for me what goes on the Italian bread (I am from New Jersey, after all) is this: Ham, Cappicola, Provolone cheese, Shredded Lettuce, Tomato, and Onion. Oil and Vinegar. Salt & Pepper. Of course I took a little liberty with this recipe in Submarine Sandwich.

Harry_Seeword1 karma

When was the last time you masturbated to stepmom porn?No need to answer if it was today.

officialPES3 karma


benjii791 karma

Oh no! I just tried to buy an awesome t-shirt only to discover you don't ship to Australia.. Do you think that will be remedied sometime in the future? BTW your films are phenomenal.. Thanks!

officialPES1 karma

fixed - we now ship to Australia. And thank you.

Chezmeister0 karma

Hey PES, has anyone commented to you yet that in Fresh Guac, when you twist the knife to take the pit out of the avocado, the pit doesn't twist with it? :o

Or maybe it does (based on how you film), but it kinda doesn't look like it. Love your work tho, I think my favorite scene is in Western Spaghetti when you mush the tomatoes in the pan and they splat so well.

officialPES1 karma

Ha. Interesting. No I haven't heard that one before. In reality it does twist with the pit. The pool ball pit had a groove in it (created by a bandsaw) that made the knife blade actually stick into the ball is if it were a real pit. So that way that ball didn't move when the knife moved.

Funny you like the splats of the tomatoes. There's something that doesn't work quite that in real life. The tomatoes that come from Italy (San Marzano for example) are already mostly squished when they come out of a can, and the canned tomatoes packaged in the US (such as Muir Glen brand) have an additive that makes the tomatoes really firm (turns out Americans - not me - prefer hard tomatoes), so much so that you could never squash them with one stroke of a spoon. So I made up my own way it should work.