Dash Shaw on his animated teen movie: ‘It was kind of a collage’

The cartoonist draws his big screen entry with the ambitious senior high school disaster caricature My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea, boasting the spokespeople of Jason Schwartzman and Lena Dunham

At 33, the cartoonist and film director Dash Shaw is well ahead of the game. A regular aspect on best-of-the-year lists with his graphic novels Bottomless Belly Button and Bodyworld, Shaws sideline in animation which includes an specially beautiful Sigur Rs video “ve been given” delivery to a full-blown feature-length caricature, screened during this years New York film festival.

In his debut cinema, My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea, Shaw riffs on his own identity the hero figure is Dash and the immense list of comics, caricatures and indie films that obsess him. Filtered through those influences and predispositions, though, are Shaws gestures at what becomes teenage life so lonely, and how hard it is, when youre young, to turn into the person youre supposed to be.

The whole movie looks like your work. How much of it did you suck ?

Thats a good inquiry and its hard to answer. There are other people involved Jane Samborski is the make animator on it. For some strings molted pencil the above figures and I would ink. For others, perhaps its all my portrays but shes compiled it into consequences. So its a lot of my makes. I storyboarded the whole movie, and so there are kind of indications of how the whole happening would be examined. It was kind of a collage replacing temporary ingredients with better points and adding more ingredients. I cant genuinely give you a percentage.

Youre both exceedingly accomplished and very young. How did you get started in comics ?

Im gonna answer in the best way I can: I was genuinely a workaholic at a very young age, in comics and in portrait. I did illustrations for the Richmond Times-Dispatch when I was in high school and I started building zines in middle school, and I had participated in mural assignments in senior high school, and even when I was in college at SVA[ the School of Visual Arts] I had been published a lot. With comics you dont have an agent, actually “youre starting” seeing them by yourself and maybe someone who has a small printing press wants to put under your book, and its a lower level of, you are familiar, official stuff. You only end up making a lot of things. That happened a lot in high school.

Is it is vital to distance yourself from your experiences in your work? As “theyre saying”, the character is referred after you but its kind of a prank on comic memoir because the events arent realistic .

It is kind of a pun, but likewise, I wanted to be a writer and I worked on the school newspaper. It isnt wholly a prank, as you say. Its maybe merely playing on that convention maybe one-third of it is a joke. Its a bit like if Indiana Jones was just mentioned George Lucas. We know that George Lucas is interested in archaeology and all that kind of substance, but its exactly a fantasize. And maybe when you call the specific characteristics that, its a amusing thing, because in comics its commonly shared and in works its so common. Its maybe an hateful act to do in a movie but I dont really know why, because its an acceptable stuff to do in these other media. So much of the movie comes from comics anyway, so it felt like it was just one part of understanding a comic language into movies, to do that.

How is it hateful ?

I guess because it isnt done as much in movies, you lose either way. You lose if the specific characteristics really cool, and you lose if the characters a jerk. Parties take it differently than reading a comic. I think its the subject also because its not done quite often. Its been a lot with comics. Jerry Seinfeld, we know he isnt like that. Its kind of a joke form of him. There are things that come from real life. The other thing is Jason Schwartzmans conduct. Hes a major contributor to the character.

Who do you feel like the gathering is for this ?

Thats a super good interrogation. Thats a big one. I hoped that a 15 -year-old nerdy kid whos into drawing and painting would love it, but I didnt, like, find a cluster of those kids and screen it for them. If thats my only response, I didnt try enough to make sure. Im 33! I dont know what its like to be a 15 -year-old right now. But I was a 15 -year-old nerdy minor who was into drawing and paint. So I guess or hope that some of that mob will dig it and itll is a major movie for them. And then I speculate, Did I make it for myself? Because it was very self-generated. But the committee is also was such a pain in the ass that it couldnt precisely be for myself because describing the same occasion over and over isnt enjoyable a lot of the time.

It find improvisational, but it undoubtedly cant be, because its an animated film and thus hugely labor intensive .

People who are maybe at the age of the specific characteristics are figuring out how to be imaginative. Theres cut-paper snowflakes in this movie. I dont want to say its primitive, but primitive is maybe best available word when theres all this CG animation going on. Its personal gestures, or whatever the mindset is is similar to what I require from the minds of the movie. I really wanted the movie to have an force to it. The movie is very still, because it is limited living, but I wanted to show how much force you could get out of that. I wanted it to be like an action movie that tips its dial toward experimental cinema and then back toward act movie.

Who did you look to early on when you were trying to develop your mode and who do you admire now, in terms of cartoonists ?

I think about Tezuka a lot. I reputed a lot about the first season of Astro Boy, because that was a case where he wanted to make animated movies and kind of compete with Disney, but the Japanese video studios wouldnt give him enough money. So he kind of developed a limited expression of animation that relied on his sciences as a cartoonist. He employed what he knew from comics to its implementation of composition and reference designing and instantly transposed it into living. I think that is not simply is it chill as a cartoonist to be said that I think they stand up as good cinema, with, like, Saul Bass. You dont have to know that hes a cartoonist. You can exactly revalue those episodes and really like them.[ And] Lotte Reiniger, for example, with The Escapades of Prince Achmed, which was the first animated facet she made it with silhouettes and the elevator cycle of a high school subsiding is kind of an homage to her.

[ And] an obvious one is Charles Schulz. The Charlie Brown Christmas special applications a kind of comics usage in living in a limited lane. The references are so empathetic and kind of moving. Theyre like adults, but theyre not. Its kind of entertaining but its not laugh-out-loud amusing. That Christmas special including with regard to is, I guess, maybe one of the greatest pieces of cinema ever.

My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea will be available in 2017

Read more: www.theguardian.com



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