PRLog (Press Release)
- Aug. 21, 2013 - FORT PIERCE, Fla. --
When it comes to 21st Century animation, trading in one's Wacom for a musty No. 2 pencil might not seem like the most productive of decisions, nor the sanest for that matter, but, Florida-based filmmaker turned animator, Michael Prestage, didn't let the prospect of churning out reams of analog artwork dissuade him from his objective... though, many did question his sanity. "Pretty much from the onset, I knew I was in for an uphill climb. Between what was certain to be a steep learning curve, combined with the fact that I was 100% dead set on making all my animation hand-drawn, there was just no way around it." All setbacks aside, Prestage's fantastical short, Tale of the Firefox, presently competing in Firefox Flicks 2013, is a surprisingly polished affair, boasting a wonderfully nostalgic aesthetic awash in eye-popping colors. "The color palette you can blame on my fascination with 1960's psychedelia, optic art, blacklight posters, what have you. It's Jerry Garcia meets Max Fleischer, you might say."
Considering Tale's often generous use of abstract space, one's left with the impression that Prestage is somewhat of a minimalist. I inquire if this was a conscious approach on his part. "I've come to the point where I don't question what drives me to do what I do. I find it's easier that way." An accursed perfectionist, Prestage devoted some six months to the often daunting project, investing a migraine-inducing 400+ hours into his antiquated tale. "6 months for 60 seconds," Prestage laments. "And, the pitiful part is... If I had to do it over, I probably would. Go figure."
Finding himself dismayed by the increasingly digitized workflow that has become commonplace throughout the entertainment industry, Prestage has been an outspoken proponent for the continuation of celluloid film as a viable medium for filmmakers, which in and of itself smacks of a conundrum. "I'm not arguing against digital, far from it. But, I am arguing for
film. They're two completely different animals. And, despite what the status quo might have you believe, they're not
With Fuji announcing the cessation of their motion picture stock, and the one-time giant, Kodak having fallen on hard times, one has to wonder if the days of actual filmmaking are numbered? "It is what you make it. I do my best to shoot film on a regular basis, and I'm operating on a shoestring... maybe half of one. If I don't spread the word every opportunity I get, then I've only myself to blame. I say to anyone who hasn't shot film, do so. I think they'll be amazed at what it's capable of."
Getting back to the contest. Were you already familiar with the Firefox brand, and, if so, did your past experience with it have any bearing on how you chose to approach your entry? "I was definitely no stranger to Firefox. I'd been using their browser since back in the 56k days. I can't say that it had any bearing on how I ended up where I did." "I will say that my initial reaction, when I came across a little blurb about being sure to enter their contest, was basically, I don't have a clue in hell as what I could possibly create that would even remotely relate to this contest." I'm guessing you eventually had a change of heart? "Actually, I got up the next morning, grabbed a pen and some paper, and started scratching out this arcane storyboard about a little fat kid in this peachy-keen suddenly screwed-up netherworld with a bunch of creepy monsters."
And this artwork ended up serving as the basis for Tale? "Well, yes and no. That is, I mean to say, the storyboard pretty much remained unchanged throughout production. But, what ended up serving as my actual template, that I stuck to religiously, was my narrative track." For me, personally, its ultra-quaint, old time narration is one of the most endearing qualities of Tale. "Thank you. I really wish I could've delegated
that job to someone else,
but there simply wasn't anyone." The incalculable
perils of no budget. "Yeah, after a while it becomes way of life. Anyway, that same afternoon, I dug out my old Olympus voice recorder, and, for whatever reason, decide to stick it inside this old amphitheater-
shaped flood light I've got. It used to knock around NASA back in the day, but that's another story." "Like a madman, I spent the rest of the afternoon making myself hoarse, trying get the narration to where I thought it should be. Within 24 hours of having learned of the contest, I had my entire narration track laid down exactly as it plays in the completed short. I'm 99% certain that if the narration had gone south, I wouldn't have had the guilt of letting it go to waste that drove me on week after week, hoping to create something image-wise worthy of the story."
As to whether Prestage's erstwhile
efforts were in vain, readers will have to see for themselves. Not surprisingly, I feel compelled to ask Prestage where he sees himself in 5 years, somewhere in the field of animation, perhaps? "Uh, honestly, I hope not. I'm sitting on 3 unfinished projects right now. If I can check them off, I think it'll be out of my blood by then." Prestage mulls for a moment. "If Lady Luck has her way with me, maybe I'll end up in features. Writing and directing, that is." Any particular genre, I ask?
"Monsters, of course. The slimier, the better!"
Tale of the Firefox (voting ends Aug. 31st):https://firefoxflicks.mozilla.org/en-US/video/2013/674/
The making of:https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tale-of-the-Firefox/633753...Photo: