i'll be skulking around here through january 15. how are you? please no touching. been working on the third and final chapter of EVERYTHIN G WILL BE OK, which should be in theaters this year. sometimes i go outside and look around.

here is a photo in which i am scared of you http://www.bitterfilms.com/hello-reddit.jpg

here are some things ive been asked to post

thanks also to oatmeel for helping arrange this. ok here we go

1/8 EDIT: it's almost 5pm central time and i'm gonna take a bit of a break. don must eat. i am filthy with your questions though and i will be back in a bit

1/8 EDIT: ok hi

1/8 EDIT: 9pm central, stepping out. maybe another round tonight

1/11 EDIT: i seem to have a dry red spot behind my left ear

1/14 EDIT: last call for questions.... tonight at midnight i turn into a pumpkin

1/15 EDIT: this was fun, take care everyone. see ya

*** CLOSED ***

Comments: 960 • Responses: 54  • Date: 

remmycool406 karma

When I was 13, I was the smelly kid in school. Not a lot of friends, always said the wrong thing at the wrong time, that guy.

One day, I stumbled onto "Rejected" online. It was amazing. The next day, I showed it to the kid beside me in computers class. He couldn't even breathe. By the end of the class, I had 25 students crowded around my screen, laughing hysterically. I was popular for 9 and a half minutes.

So, thanks.

donhertzfeldt308 karma

i was that kid too :(

donhertzfeldt204 karma

thanks.. wait, which one is me?

ghotli90 karma

Hey Don. I've always wanted to ask you this. In the very end of Rejected when the world is collapsing and the paper is crumpling wildly there is a sequence where the stick figure character is pounding on the paper, wanting out. The paper is crumpling around his fist so believably. What was your process for animating this sequence? How long did it take it to get it right?

donhertzfeldt113 karma

the paper wrinkles in all those shots were stop-motion animated on the same page(s) the characters were drawn on. i think the hardest part of shooting these bits was in lighting them, because with both camera lights on, the paper crumples and creases disappeared because the shadows are flattened. but i don't think it took more than two takes to get right, those were actually kind of fun and easy.

arrrrapirate74 karma

Wow! Erm, I'm not even sure I have any questions, I just wanted to say hi!

donhertzfeldt106 karma

hi. the weather looks pretty great today but we are supposed to get some sort of arctic thing this weekend.

Poppycorn59 karma

What inspired you to create "rejected cartoons"?

donhertzfeldt177 karma

i think you mean "rejected." i was 22 and getting asked to do a lot of commercials and was tired of it being broadly assumed (by people who should know better as well as by people who shouldn't), that scoring commercial work was some sort of end-goal for all things indie animation. as in, you're only making these little movies because you're really just hoping one day to attract corporate types and make a bunch of money. i was reading a lot of "adbusters" at the time. and i was talking with a friend about how funny it would be to take the money and just make the worst possible cartoons i could think of and see if they could actually get on tv. and that grew into other, better ideas and i realized it might sort of work as a movie and i could sort of make fun of myself at the same time. at least i think that's how it happened. but i had a lot of weird partial ideas and spare bits of little things that had no other home and weren't very interesting on their own, and "rejected" turned out to be a great structure to hang them on because they didn't need to have any context anymore.

Untitledprject50 karma

Hey Don, I'm wondering how long is the process for actually doing a single work like Wisdom Teeth or I Am So Proud of You? And how do you feel about some forms of commercial advertisement taking your art style and applying it to their products(Pop Tarts for example)?

donhertzfeldt82 karma

second question first: that makes me very unhappy

first question: it really depends on the piece. "wisdom teeth" i think took 9 months? i just made that up, i don't know. but that sounds right. it's very straightforward animation, five minutes long, only a few special effects. "billy's balloon" is the same sort of animal, in the 9 month range. "i am so proud of you" or "chapter 3" on the other hand, shorts pushing 20 minutes or more with rarely a single shot that don't have some sort of complicated composite or effect in them (groan), generally take one and a half to two years. seven days a week stuff, drawing, writing, shooting, editing, sound, blah blah blah. with any film, there's never not something to do.

lambeco41 karma

Wanna play Rockband tonight?

donhertzfeldt69 karma


i do a killer "cherry bomb"

JordyBoothy41 karma

Hello Don.

This is lovely. How often do well-known people open themselves to the public? The internet isn't entirely shallow I guess. Anyway, I tend to blab on too much so I'll try and be quick with the question.

I'm 17 and am currently developing an idea for an animated series/feature film. Hopefully, I can gather the resources and time to animate it traditionally; perhaps even on par with the classic Disney flicks.

Okay, I lied to you. I have 2 questions. I'm really sorry about this.

-What would you reccomend I do to get my finished work noticed? -What kind of salary are you earning? Do you have a job on the side of animation?

Thank you so much. Hope to see more of you. (I'll be that guy peeping through your window.)

donhertzfeldt94 karma

i've been extremely, weirdly lucky in that i've never had a job other than making these shorts. i think part of the reason i still keep cranking them out as fast as i can is: 1) i am aware how weirdly lucky this is, and it may not last forever, and 2) if i'm not making a movie this year, i will have nothing to release and nothing to eat next year. sadness.

don't worry about salaries or money or getting your work noticed or what people will think, or any of this. it will probably negatively affect you creatively and the baggage will paralyze you. just begin naively working however you can, as openly as you can. when it's finished, hit the film festivals, hard. all the other real-life stuff will just sort of come around naturally.

Darrian35 karma

Hey, I'm a big fan and thanks for doing this.

I feel a little ashamed that I can't think of anything better to ask when I finally get the chance to ask a question to someone like yourself... but what are those little cloud guys supposed to be in all of your cartoons? are they just little blobs or are they meat balls? POPCORN?! I NEED ANSWERS!

donhertzfeldt69 karma

not clouds

they are sort of fluffy, like lambs

[deleted]29 karma


donhertzfeldt61 karma

i think my response was, "if i'd have known that i'd have worn clean pants"

flabbergasted128 karma

I must say I'm disappointed that your answers in this thread made sense. Can you say some silly things to help me out?

donhertzfeldt80 karma

my favorite quote of the year so far is, "it's been too long since we stood around and beat off in wool sweaters."

kyleclements25 karma

I'm a Long time fan.

How do you feel about your work being available on video streaming sites like YouTube?

I do not know if you have an official account, but it would be nice to know about it if you do have one.
Your style is often replicated by people pretending to be you. How do you feel about this? As a fan, its frustrating to say, "Hey! New work by Don! Yay!" then realize it's some hack using your name and style to bring attention to their own work, which is never as good as yours.

donhertzfeldt51 karma

this is the only youtube account we use: http://www.youtube.com/user/t1i1b

i don't mind the bootlegs so much, it used to annoy me more because the quality was always so terrible (this was in the late 90s) but at least now there's higher quality options, even though your work is still being ripped by ten year olds who think it's anamorphic.

i've been taking a few more baby steps into the online streaming thing, like "the meaning of life" on MUBI, which seems to be a good bunch of people, though i still don't much like the idea of watching movies on a computer, even in great quality. you just rarely, rarely, ever get someone's undivided attention online, and that really kills the whole thing. people are much less patient on a computer than in a theater or in front of their tv.

being totally independent, there's also the looming question of whether your work online will ever be able to make much money. all the new films are paid for almost exclusively by dvd sales right now.

kylerk22 karma

I both admire and loath the fact that you like to do everything by hand. As an artistic practice it really makes sense, you are fully involved in every part of the film making and this comes through in the films.

In my first year in animated film school I made this short film under an Oxberry Camera on 16mm film, the whole thing is straight out of the camera: Cresendo Step

While I realize it was an amazing process to go through, it is still a really painful way to make a living as an artist, and it feels like it is a method that simply ignores any technological advancements in the world.

What do you feel you lose when you work with computers? Is it the final image, the working process that is different? The reason I ask is that I don't think it is viable to make a living as an artist doing things entirely by hand in this day and age. I believe that if I want to continue to make art and animation, I will need to remain competitive by pushing the bounds of how animation is made.

If you could have any magic technology, what would it do to make you animation easier to make?

donhertzfeldt36 karma

we use computers for editing and for sound -- as well as in post when the telecine wizards go and restore the 35mm negatives for DVD and such. i think most filmmakers nowadays work with some sort of film-digital hybrid method like this to get the best of both worlds.

but i think you're referring specifically to animation and the truth is, i think all animation is really painful and tedious and timeconsuming. there really are no shortcuts. there is not a "make art" button on a computer, and sometimes i think because few people understand how computers actually work, computer animators get the shaft because it's assumed that they are these magic boxes that do everything for them, with no craft involved. but it seems computer animators are just as exhausted and sullen as us traditional animators, just in a different way.

i like working with paper and film because it's more fun, at least for me. i can improvise easier and there's an immediacy in writing something and then trying to figure out how to build it with my hands. and moreover, i get shots i'd never have otherwise visualized, or would at least have been actually very difficult to do in another method (frames like this http://www.bitterfilms.com/proud002.jpg , multiple exposures, etc). something like "billy's balloon" could have probably been scanned and put together in a computer without much difference, but the last several films, with the experimental bits and all the visual accidents that come with it, would have been otherwise impossible to make the same way. it lets just a little bit of live action leak into the picture, where sometimes things happen that you weren't expecting, light hits something a certain way, and you shoot it and suddenly you look sort of good.

i also don't enjoy sitting in front of computers for a long time, i start to feel sort of pasty.

i'm not sure if pushing the bounds of how animation is made always necessarily has to fall into the lap of technology? sometimes i wish for every ten new animation articles about software and cameras and 3D, we could have one article about writing.

paulwithap20 karma

Is there any flexibility on the "no touching" rule?

donhertzfeldt19 karma


pyro78619 karma

Hi don. As an animator, I'd just like to humbly thank you for existing. When I first saw your work, many years ago, I realized that cartoons could be 'edgy' and come from a true place while still being fucking hilarious and having mad soul. Your artistic voice is an inspiration to us all.

And having an AMA with you on reddit is absofuckingloutly heartwarming to me. I'm loving how reddit seems to be caring more and more about animation every day.

But I think I could express this all better by animating it:


donhertzfeldt13 karma

ha, thanks!

_kid_dynamite18 karma

Hi Don, I'm a student at UT and I had the pleasure of sitting in on Geoff Marslett's class when you came and spoke a couple months back. Is there any way you could bring the 3rd chapter to UT and screen it for students when it's ready?

donhertzfeldt34 karma

yes, but i thought i did a really terrible job that day

tmjoen18 karma

Thank you for doing this!

What are some of your favorite animation films?

donhertzfeldt34 karma

i'm not actually a great big fan of a lot of animation. or maybe it's just a case of the guy who spends all day cleaning the bowling alley lanes not being real excited to go bowling on the weekend? i like "pinocchio" and "fantasia" and the other great stuff from the 40s and 50s but i don't ever find myself seeking out animated things. my film school was all live action. though there are some people doing really great stuff right now.

esach8 karma

Are you a fan of anime at all? Has there been anything specific from japanese animation that has influenced you?

donhertzfeldt26 karma

i've not watched a lot of anime, but i did really like this one called "cat soup," it was kind of amazing (this: http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/Cat_Soup/60030247?trkid=2361637#height1850 )

jdsamford18 karma

Are/were you dating a lady named Roxy? I met a woman named Roxy in Seattle a few years back, and she claimed to be your girlfriend. I didn't believe her, but I also saw no real reason to challenge her, but I've always wondered. Also, thank you for Billy's Balloon.

donhertzfeldt26 karma

she spoke the truth

Professor_Kaos17 karma

Hi Don. Who do you think will win when the Seahawks and Saints play later today?

donhertzfeldt27 karma


unfriendlyfire15 karma

What was it like being nominated for an Academy Award?

donhertzfeldt60 karma

surprising + exciting + embarrassing... a tuxedo, too ...a lot like prom

lastgirlonmars15 karma

Dearest Don,

You signed my rather large spoon in Austin quite a few years ago. In fact, I recall you uttering "Oh, shit" when I pulled it from my back pocket. What did you draw on it? I think it's a moon, but the guys I went with claim that it is a smilie face (Jay thought it was a secret art society symbol, but no one listens to him because he makes shit up all the time). Spoon in question. Also, I hope I didn't make things too awkward with my inane babbling about sand and giraffes. What I really meant to tell you was that I appreciate your work.



donhertzfeldt27 karma

wow, i have no idea what that is. definitely not a face though. what's wrong with me?

KevinOhNeeder14 karma

Hey Don, how do you chose which classical score to use for your works? Do you start with one in mind or just kind of come to you while working? Thank you!

donhertzfeldt5 karma

a little of both. sometimes hearing the right piece helps conjure whole scenes out of nothing, sometimes i know the tone of something i need for a sequence i'm already working on, and spend a lot of time poring over cds to find the right thing after the fact. and other times i can't find anything right whatsoever and go in and perform protools surgeries on existing pieces.

frado96913 karma

I always recommend your short films to anyone I care about, and they always look at me different afterwards... But anyways, what film, video, or what have you, have you most recommended to your friends?

donhertzfeldt26 karma

off the top of my head these were some of my favorites from recent years....touching the void, the pianist, the assassination of jesse james, the diving bell and the butterfly.

from this year i really liked 127 hours and true grit and black swan. the ghost writer was good as well.

most of the time i seem to recommend documentaries though

ipecacxink13 karma

Aspiring animator here:

We had a whole 3 hour class in my history of animation where we just talked about you and what you did. S'pretty bad ass, and it was an awesome class.

So, I guess i'm just sayin' thanks for making a boring class way exciting. We're all huge fans of yours at my school.

And here's the question:

When you're not making your own cartoons, what cartoons are you watching?

donhertzfeldt12 karma

i don't watch a lot of them, but my friend david o'reilly has been making some really great stuff. check out "please say something" http://www.davidoreilly.com/work/pss

mdnash12 karma

I always assumed you were a fake person. great job >> your films are amazin

I am a banana

donhertzfeldt88 karma

when i was on tour a couple years ago i realized i'd squandered a fantastic opportunity: to hire an actor, male or female, of any age or demographic, to go out on stage every night and answer questions as me. always a different actor in every different city.

eventually it would become known and accepted that i never actually showed my face in pubilc, and, in on the joke, audiences would enjoy interacting with the actor(s) anyway after each screening, who would genuinely know enough about my stuff to answer questions intelligently.

eventually i would go out and do the q+a myself in a city, and nobody would believe that i was me.

urutapu11 karma

According to the TVTropes page on "Rejected" there were scrapped plans to air the film on adult swim. Would it be okay to tell us what happened?

donhertzfeldt27 karma

oh as i far as i knew it was because of the "sweet jesus" that's written on screen. they ran ads for the film all week and how it was going to air uncut, but in the end i'm told they couldn't get the word "jesus" past the censors. saying "jesus" was somehow less ok than all the bleeding and screaming and weird gore. so they yanked it from adult swim at the last minute. but i got paid anyway and i kind of like how "rejected" got rejected. very strange story though

hoopyfrood111 karma

Hey don, big fan. Did you plan on Everything Will Be Ok being a three part series when you began it? And I know your process is very intricate and planned, but are there moments during the animation process itself that inspire scenes? Everything Will Be Ok and I Am So Proud Of You are two of my favorite short films, thanks for doing this AMA.

donhertzfeldt10 karma

thanks, no i don't think i realized this until i was in the middle of making it. it so much fun to work on, i was super happy with the split screen visual stuff i was cobbling together, and overall such a huge relief after the pit of hell that was "meaning of life" that i didn't want to stop, and there seemed to be a lot more to the story. i can't remember at what point i started writing "proud" but i'm sure it's in the journal or dvd somewhere.

i can't really remember specifically when the animation process itself inspired a scene, but that's probably happened. more often though i'll have a scene i know i need to get to, am dreading it because it's not something i'm confident in yet, but upon sitting down hammering it out i realize it can be improved if i tried this, this, and this, and suddenly my least favorite shot is one of the better ones in the movie.

lakeshowtime9 karma

If I am not mistaken, you are a proud Gaucho of UCSB. I was just wondering what classes/professors (if any) inspired your works? What dorm did you live in freshman year? Craziest IV story? What do you enjoy on your Freebirds Burritos?

donhertzfeldt8 karma

i was in the san miguel dorm. somehow i've never had a freebird burrito. i don't have any crazy iv stories because i was sad and pathetic and animated all night instead of went to parties :( maybe that's an exaggeration. do drunk kids still fall off the cliffs into the sea?

stpetestudent8 karma

First of all, I love your work (saw i am so proud of you at a Sundance screening), and thank you so much for doing this AMA!!

You mentioned that your film school education focused more on traditional (as in, life action) film production as opposed to animation. Obviously this is very much a part of your current work, but I was wondering if you have ever considered branching out into non-animation film-making? If so, why, and if not, why not?

Also (and I don't think I'm the first to draw this parallel), your films remind of of David Lynch's work (in a good way). Not just his animation, but the concepts you both seem to explore. I'm curious to know what your thoughts are on this possible link.

donhertzfeldt12 karma

oh i love david lynch and i'm sure i've lifted a number of things from him over the years. i've been lucky enough to spend a bit of time with him which is really just an exercise in listening and trying not to say something too dumb.

live action would be fun, and probably very strange and nice to not have to create scenes in excruiciating slow motion. in school i always sort of thought i'd be a live action guy, but back then it was very expensive (16mm was the only option) and animation was the more affordable path (you rarely have to buy more than a couple rolls of film).

[deleted]8 karma

I Am So Proud of You was amazing, and I have no clue where you come up with this stuff. Are any of your short films based on real life experiences?

donhertzfeldt21 karma

thanks, yes they sometimes are, well a few scenes here and there. like the seal dream in "proud" was a dream i had, almost verbatim. i have a kind of bad memory so i try to take a lot of notes, and often times writing is just a case of gathering up a lot of notes and putting them in some sort of order. sometimes it's just a line. i was visiting someone many years ago when he was staying in some sort of extended stay hotel and it had a big entryway sandwiched between two sets of double glass doors that acted like a kind of echo chamber, and as we were walking through i said, "you live in a giant bucket"

wilhrt7 karma

Aspiring filmmaker here, currently enrolled in filmschool; What do you wish you knew when you were just starting out? What do you think you owe most of your success to? And can I have a job? I'll wash your car and other things...

donhertzfeldt12 karma

i tend to repeat this a lot, but the central truth i notice time and time again is: there aren't a bunch of amazing special geniuses poncing around out there, there are just people who honestly work harder than everyone else.

it applies to almost every craft i can think of.... the best bands are often simply just the ones who rehearse the most.... the best writers rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, and rewrite some more. same for painters, designers, animators, etc. it's really not much more complicated than, who puts in the most hours and grinds it all out.

if you're lucky enough to be born a talented mozart supergenius, this is fantastic, but is still barely 10% of the equation. nothing is created spontaneously out of mozarty fairydust. most of movemaking, like everything else, is slow and steady and often boring work, work, work, work.

winecannon6 karma

Any idea, as of right now, when you think work on chapter 3 will be finished? Or is it all still up in the air?

donhertzfeldt17 karma

well i'd like it to be finished in time to go on tour again this fall, but i try not to set deadlines for myself because i always miss them and get sad :( but fingers are crossed that i can bang through postproduction this summer?

MoonstoneKitty6 karma

Hi, Don.

I'm interested in your opinion on the term "iconoclasm" and how it applies to contemporary art and popular culture. Do you believe that there is a fundamental discrepancy between the word's original meaning (deliberate destruction as a means of sanctimonious preservation) and its current meaning, which implies a destruction that stems from a conflicting ideology? Also, would you say that this qualifies as irony?

donhertzfeldt10 karma

oh funny girl

i'll see you tonight

[deleted]6 karma


Sorry if this was covered already, but what process do you use for creating your animations? Is it the traditional method or do you use computer software?

donhertzfeldt28 karma

it's drawn on paper, shot on 35mm with a big camera like this http://www.bitterfilms.com/P1010240.jpg the footage is usually transferred to D5 (high def tape), and we edit in final cut pro. meanwhile, at some point i'll begin putting together the soundtrack in protools. when the shooting and editing is locked, the edit notes are given to neg cutters who conform the 35mm negative, and the soundtrack is meanwhile transferred to something dolby something-or-other for theaters. then we do color timing on the 35mm prints and they are then ready for movie theaters and mass disappointment.

bashir_allende5 karma

They were running bits of 'Genre' on Russian MTV in between programs ten years ago or so. Everybody loved them and referred to them as 'those funny cartoons about a bunny', but I don't think that your name ever surfaced, and they never showed opening or closing credits. Did you have any official affiliation with them at all?

donhertzfeldt7 karma

it's very possible, i tackle a lot of international TV sales from year to year that are easy to lose track of. it's also possible the russians just pirated the fucking thing, which i kind of like better.

shaggorama5 karma

"Rejected" was one of the earliest films to 'go viral' as it were. How did you react to the magnitude of the films popularity and success? Does it get annoying when you introduce yourself and people respond "I am a Banana!" ? How do you handle the punctuation of a sentence where the sentence as a whole is a question, but the end of a sentence is a quote that ends with non-question mark punctuation?

donhertzfeldt4 karma

maybe it's sort of like if you're in a band that has a really big hit single... you're proud of the song and it's great and fun to see it go out and sort of become everyone's, and transmutate itself over the years... there are cover versions and lots of quotes. but there are also maybe better songs on your albums that many of those people will probably not get around to listening to.

idclip5 karma

Hi there,

as a Swede, I was pleasantly surprised to hear the Swedish Christmas song Nu är det jul igen in Rejected. Is there any background story to why this particular song was chosen?

donhertzfeldt4 karma

yeah im half swedish. i think i wrote about that music somewhere below down there if you don't mind muddling around

OHMEGA5 karma

Where did you get the idea for "My anus is bleeding?"

donhertzfeldt9 karma

i can't remember. but that segment was originally animated as something called "the spanky the bear show" which was really terrible and i threw it all out before resurrecting the idea later in "rejected," where i had another chance to actually make it funny. but here is a buried frame of spanky pulling his intestines out through his bottom. http://bitterfilms.com/spanky.jpg

it's on the volume 1 DVD

Sneezes5 karma

i wish i could grow a beard like yours, i am 25 and i still look like a big tall baby

donhertzfeldt8 karma

it's actually all paint

bludstone5 karma

Don. I actually BOUGHT the dvd of Rejected when it first came out. Paid full direct from your website. It was a prize possession and I showed all of my friends the dvd. And someone stole it from me.

I hope you dont mind that I then made a pirate copy :(

Oh, also, when you wear a Rejected T-Shirt to an anime convention, people walk up to you saying "MY ANUS IS BLEEDING." My reply soon became "MY GOD MAN, LETS GET YOU TO A DOCTOR."

Thanks for the lols.

Oh, one other thing. My circle of friends always had that one kid who never believed that all of your animation was done without the use of computers. Can you please state it again here, so I can link him and rub it in his face? Thanks!

donhertzfeldt7 karma

yes, rub it in the little bastard

pseudolobster4 karma

What was it like working with Mike Judge?

donhertzfeldt10 karma

at the risk of sounding like one of those boring people who says, "he's a great guy," he's a great guy. smart, funny, genuinely interesting. and sometimes he'll do beavis and butt-head voices.

unfriendlyfire4 karma

Did you put Rejected in film festivals immediately after it was finished? Or did you release it after it was popular and others suggested you do so? In general, what were your experiences in film festivals? thanks for this AMA and your responses, your videos are in my top 10 things in life that will make me not breathe because of laughter!

donhertzfeldt11 karma

hey thanks. since my first short in 1995 i've attacked film festivals immediately and aggressively. i'd literally submit a finished film to every festival i could find an entry form for (and often still do). it's expensive and time-consuming, but you need to spend as much time and effort getting your movie out there as you did making it. always confused by students and indies who bleed and sweat getting their movie made, and then sort of breathe a sigh of relief and kick back once they've wrapped - as though their work is done - and the movie they cared about so passionately sort of withers in a closet, unseen.

sauronthegr84 karma

Hi, Don. First of all, I want to say I love your work.

I've read you have had no other job than animating your own short films. How do you support yourself doing this? It doesn't seem like it would be that lucrative of an endeavour, though I think it's awesome there are guys like you out there doing it.


donhertzfeldt4 karma

the films sort of came first, the figuring out how to make a living from them second (and to this day).

the online shop + dvds are the steady income, with TV licenses (and things like "wisdom teeth" on showtime) always sort of popping up randomly. sometimes money from theatrical sales too + the tour we did it 2008-09 was unexpectedly great in that dept. by and large every movie sort of pays for the next one. i kind of like how audiences have been literally paying for the movies to be made over the years, with no companies or middlemen in the way, it's sort of so basic it's endearing.

Zhatt4 karma

When and why did your films start becoming so philosophical? Rejected seemed like a bunch of fun sillyness, but your latest films really dig into the way people think and how the world is operating beyond them.

The Meaning of Life really puts into perspective how chaotic and meaningless the mechanics of the universe are. It's my all-time favourite short.

donhertzfeldt5 karma

it's maybe easy to forget how the first four films were made by a film student who was teaching himself everything as he went along. some of those old shorts were barely held together by desperate spit and splicetape (maybe this includes "rejected"). they're all over the internet now but sort of out of context in that way. i haven't changed very much, i think back then i just wasn't clever enough yet to know how to put larger ideas on the screen? comedy comes really easy to me and i'll always need to blow off steam and have fun with something like "wisdom teeth", but i'm not so interested in just doing the same thing over and over again, i think we'd both get kinda bored

TheClassyGentleman4 karma

Quick question, I remember Windows Media Player having commercials a few years back that had a similar style to yours, and I assumed it was you. I already knew that Pop Tarts totally ripped off your style (those fucks), but were the Windows Media Player commercials actually yours?

The WMP commercials, from what I remember, just had a little guy saying, "Windows media playa!" and that was about all I can remember.

donhertzfeldt5 karma

no i've never done any commercial work. if you ever see an ad that looks like maybe i did it, please assume i didn't

gmpalmer4 karma

Dunno if you'll see this or not but

Are you a big fan of Eisenstein? Rejected is such a nice montage.

What film, literature, and art has most influenced you?

Did you watch Liquid TV (and, significantly, Stick Figure Theater) "back in the day"?

donhertzfeldt3 karma

wow, yeah, thanks, i did power through einsenstein and russian formalism and all that stuff in school. geez, could you actually tell? what a great reference

i_am_a_banana4 karma

I'm a huge fan of your works, and have collected some things that you have made.

I actually have a question regarding the animation show... what the hell happened to it? I saw years 3 and 4 then it kind of just faded away.

donhertzfeldt6 karma

i retired from programming it in 2007 and really don't know. i think everyone has moved on though i haven't got any idea why there's still a website.

powlsy4 karma

Billy's Balloon is so good I've used it to judge continuing friendships.. and the first time I ever cried laughing in a theatre was seeing Rejected.

Q: Have you ever considered a solofest/tour of all your films, as opposed to other animation fests?

donhertzfeldt6 karma

i did this a bunch in 2008-09 http://www.bitterfilms.com/tour-end.jpg and maybe again later this year

drebot3 karma

I'd seen your cartoons before and love them much, but never thought to match the creations to the face of the creator. For some reason, I had pictured a blonde viking looking man, but that must be because of the language in some of the videos I've seen (Swedish?) Anyway, I was wondering, what is your creation you are proudest of? What do you hope to achieve still?

donhertzfeldt5 karma

my favorite one is usually the most recent one i've finished, but at the moment i'll pass over "wisdom teeth" and stick with "i am so proud of you" :\

shawnpeps3 karma

• Hi Don! Love your work.

• Have you done any of the voices in your cartoons?

• Also, what language were the people in Wisdom Teeth supposed to be speaking? I tried figuring it out but it sounded like a Swedish Chef-ish kind of thing.

donhertzfeldt4 karma

not a real language. it was originally drawn many years ago as a comic strip, and when i came around to animating it i realized there are certain lines that are just way funnier when read than heard. therefore, subtitles. i thought it was obvious, funny gibberish until i read some reviews out of sundance referring to it as "german." maybe i failed and made it sound too authentic? i can't imagine how strange and less funny the cartoon must be if someone just assumes it's from europe...

MaidenMadness3 karma

You sir are awesome. I love everything I saw that you did.

Since this is an AMA and therefore a question is expected of me here's one. I've read somewhere that Genre is your least favorite film. Is that true and if it is could you explain why as I quite liked it?

Oh thought of another one is there any point in buying bitter films complete DVD bundle or should I wait until you release third chapter of Everything will be OK and then take some hypothetical updated complete DVD bundle which will also include that?

donhertzfeldt5 karma

there's going to be a "bitter films volume 2" at some point with all three chapters of "ok" on it as well as "wisdom teeth" and a bunch of who knows what. probably not out until 2012 at very earliest.

but the special feature stuff currently on the dvd singles of "ok" and "proud" will not carry over, so those dvds remain unique. so like, buy everything. repeatedly. yes.

"genre" is okay, it's just kind of not aged as well as the others. i was 19 and still barely knew what i was doing. student films can be embarrassing. actually i still barely know what i'm doing.

Goddamn4real3 karma

Does ":::" make you look cool?

donhertzfeldt4 karma

yes ::::::::

SeriousShwonk3 karma

I'm a big fan. How do you create that burnt hole effect that you can see the animations through?

donhertzfeldt6 karma

oh i think you mean in "ok" and "proud"......it's a relatively easy case of photographing the artwork, framed through a little hole in a piece of black construction paper, a few centimeters from the lens. when the frame/hole zips around the screen or opens or closes, it's stop motion animation of the construction paper on a very tiny scale. with more than one frame/hole of action on screen at once, each one is captured with an individual camera pass, the film is rewound, the next frame/hole is shot, etc. i'm not sure if any of that made sense. but i was really excited when i first figured out how to make this work.