The Dirt on Mom

Technical Details:

completed March, 1998
9min 30 sec.
mono (on film; stereo on tape)

Notes from Doug:

As we got into post-production on "Haywire Heart", I sat down with my notes and wrote out two more scripts based on holidays; "The Dirt on Mom" (Mother's Day) and "Foiled Again!" (Halloween). We brought Bonny Metoxen back in and recorded the audio for both of these films on December 31st, 1996 (that's right, New Year's Eve day). Then we set up to start filming on "The Dirt on Mom".

This time we shot in three locations; Robin did the lion's share of the shots in his coffee-house basement studio, while another animator, Sean Burns, set up a shooting space in his laundry room to handle the close-up shots against photo backgrounds.

Most of the film takes place on a new set, the "Backyard". Actually it's two backyards; that of the Dottleson's, which is all dug up and covered with dirt, and the yard behind that belongs to two old British spinsters, Edith and Edna (Bonny did a wonderful job supplying the voices for these two off-center characters). This is a cultured yard, filled with flowers and bird feeders, in sharp contrast to the Dottleson's yard. The same can be said for the frumpy design of Edith and Edna, built from yellow pipe cleaners.

This turned out to be, at 9 1/2 minutes, a longer film than I had intended, and filming was slow. Also, once we knew that Mother's Day was not a realistic deadline as far as the Video Greeting Card idea was concerned Robin and Sean and I slowed the pace a bit, to give ourselves more time to get the shots right and to, frankly, take a breather. Animation wrapped in August, and Scott Sundholm completed the editing in November of 97. This took a bit longer as well because we were determined to do a film finish. Jamie Haggerty added his wonderful music (I especially like the "Mom's Waltz") and, along with sound effects, the completed film was ready for festivals by March of 1998.

Whatever happened to the Halloween film? Still waiting for me to get around to it, because while we were in post on "Dirt", I did a 10 minute live-action (mostly) documentary on the making of the pipe cleaner films. Then I did a promotional film with live-action combined with animation for Animation Toolworks, the makers of the Video Lunch Box (a great tool for testing and previewing your animation while you shoot it). And finally I made 2 short pipe cleaner films for Sesame Street's 98-99 season.