Artist - Mike Weiss


Heavenly Bodies from DeliciousNougat on Vimeo.

If asked, how would you describe yourself to someone who didn't know you?

I’m very boring for a person who is considered to be an artist. I listen to podcasts and drink tea.*

*but the whole time I’m secretly fantasizing about coffee**
**not a euphemism



What part of Canada are you from?
The bottom.

Still from "Heavenly Bodies"


What roles do you play in the creation of animation?
I try to involve myself in as many roles as I can. Commercially, I have worked as 2D animator, stop-motion animator, designer, sculptor, storyboard artist, and director. I enjoy trying other things, as well, which is why I started working on independent projects. That way, I’ve made the opportunities to work in positions that have not been available to me professionally, such as sound recording/mixing, voice acting, music composition, building sets/props/puppets for stop mo, writing, and producing. I enjoy all stages of putting an animated project together. It’s a fun process, and I’m very grateful that it’s also my job.

Still from "Debt"

Still from "Debt"


What is one project that you are proud to have been involved in?
One of the projects I’m most proud of is the first stop-motion film I made: Inheritance. I made it entirely by myself, with the exception of the visual effects, which were provided by my friend and colleague Keren Kurtz. It was immensely satisfying to pull it off, especially when the general feeling I had while making it was, “I hope this makes as much sense outside of my brain.”


Still from "Inheritance"


This film was also a huge deal to me because it screened in a bunch of international festivals, including the Ottawa International Animation Festival. I had been going to OIAF for years, and I had seen my friends enjoy having their films screened there. To have my very own film as part of the festival was a huge personal milestone. 




Inheritance from DeliciousNougat on Vimeo.


What inspired you to create animation?
When I was a lad, I watched TV like it was depleting from existence. I preferred Looney Tunes over most toy-based cartoons of the era (Transformers, G.I. Joe, He-Man, although I watched all of those, too) because it was actually funny and interesting. I loved how amazingly specifically they would warp reality, and in such a polished way. At the time I couldn’t understand why so many of the odd touches were so important. Apparently, I really liked ‘noticing things’ as a kid. This continued once The Simpsons came to be such an amazing treasure-trove of ‘How did they come up with that?!’ moments. Animation seemed like a medium through which you could express ideas that were weird (but inexplicably funny) and the audience would stick with you.


Still from "Beardimation"

Who is one of your favourite Canadian animators?
I’m a huge fan of Richard Condie’s films. The Big Snit is a masterpiece. I don’t think he gets enough credit for so effectively establishing such a strong combination of simple visual style and impeccable comic timing. It’s the basis for so much of today’s pop-culture animation.



What is one of your favourite animation books?
"Animation Unleashed" by Ellen Besen & Bryce Hallett. Ellen Besen is such an amazing analyst of narrative storytelling, and her insights are invaluable. This book delves into storytelling in a way that is often omitted from most guides on how to create animation – most animation books leave story and context completely unacknowledged. That’s like publishing a cook book that only tells you how to strap a bowtie to a raw steak.
Who is an up-and-coming Canadian animator that everyone should check out?
I’m not sure if I should even refer to them as ‘up-and-coming’, since they’ve both created so many great films in such distinct voices, but I’m going to list two: Malcolm Sutherland (http://vimeo.com/animalcolm) and Brandon Blommaert (http://vimeo.com/user994065). They both experiment with animation in such creative ways, and every time I see a new project from either artist there is always evidence of artistic evolution. They make it look so easy! 


Are you involved with any animation organizations in Canada?
Yeah! I am one of the co-founders of TAAFI, the Toronto Animation Arts Festival International. Bringing an animation festival to Toronto has been an intense labour of love, but I get to watch animated films for free so it all evens out, right? Right.   


What animation awards have you won?
My films have had a few shortlist/honourable mentions, but the one award I have actually won I’ve never received. It was a ‘Best Canadian Animated Short’ award from a festival in Okanagan, BC. They mailed it out without telling me. I was moving at the time. *sad trombone*


Website
http://deliciousnougat.com/ (barely updated in 7 years!)

Associated Sites
Toronto Animation Arts Festival International (TAAFI) - http://taafi.com
Mike Weiss on IMBd: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2308438/



Comments

  1. Mike Weiss is totally rad! I know this from working with him at TAAFI! Love "Heavenly Bodies"! Inventive ideas and great timing!

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  2. Mike Weiss is totally bodacious. He has the nicest rack of animations and has hard on for entertaining story telling.As a true artist, he will go balls deep to sacrifice for the work he believes in. I hope to see more of his work to come since his work keeps blowing me away.

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