Herman, The Legal Labrador - A New Animated Australian Film


Latest entry: Entry 32, Friday August 12, 2005


Entry 31. By David, Sunday May 1, 2005

So the music video's done, and viewable here. With any luck you'll be seeing it on RAGE one of these days...

At the moment I'm working on the "Herman" documentary I referred to waaay back here. Since the actual story of the making of "Herman" is quite boring (and if you're reading this, you would know), it will be full of lies and make-believe, but will be entertaining, at least for the five minutes (?) it runs, and at least for the people involved.

Meanwhile, the film itself is getting around a bit -- FINALLY it's been accepted to an Australian festival, the Revelation Film Festival in Perth. In addition to this, it's just been featured in the International Showcase (I think this means it's available for viewing by international TV programmers/buyers) of Cartoons On The Bay in Italy, and will soon screen at the Trenton (NJ, USA) and Filmstock (Luton, UK) film festivals.

Having entered shitloads of festivals in the last eight months or so, and having been knocked back by the vast majority of them, I've started to get a feel for which ones are worth entering. The fests that have shown "Herman" have so far been almost entirely "independent" ones, fests run by people who stress their love of movies (as opposed to FILMS) and tend to program older movies, cult classics and "genre" stuff alongside the new shorts and features. "Herman" has not had much (any) success with "serious" film festivals, i.e. the prestigious, artistic ones, and the ones geared towards "getting YOUR film in front of the EYES of important FILM INDUSTRY PEOPLES!!!".

I guess this is what it means to "know your audience". In "Herman"'s case, the audience is geeks who like watching movies and being entertained. So -- people like me. This makes good sense and I wish I'd realised it before I sent off that $50 entry to the Cockspank International Film Festival in Wankislaw, Europe.

And that's another thing -- it hasn't been accepted anywhere outside of the US and UK. Well, of course it hasn't. It's a long film full of talkiness and Western (and even some made-up) slang and would be a shit to subtitle (I know this, I've had to subtitle it myself for the DVD).

And finally, it's long! 22 minutes is a long short film, and don't I know it. This is probably the biggest mark against it (unless you count being fairly silly as a failing). It may not fit comfortably in a "shorts program", or animation anthology, being that festivals tend to like to program lots of little five-minute films. I knew the length would be a problem when I started on this thing, but I chose to ignore this, apparently to the film's commercial detriment (if not its quality).

But now that I "KNOW MY AUDIENCE", I can at least cut back on the number of wasted submissions and try to send it mostly to festivals where I know it has a shot at being shown. Live and learn.

And now, a quick rundown on what some people involved in "Herman" are up to now:

  • ADAM WAJNBERG (Chuck) is still studying Screenwriting at RMIT and is coasting on the success he and I seem to be having with our wonderful new film "Badlands" (proving for certain that festivals will show any shite as long as it's short). Look for it at the Sydney Film Festival this year (seriously)!

  • KATRINA MATHERS (Sabrina) has a new film called Meta4 in the St Kilda Film Festival's Siemens MicroMovie film competition. It's strange and amusing and has plasticine animated violence in it -- always a good idea.

  • ADRIAN CALEAR (Lt. Angryman) directed SCOTT POLLARD's (Chief Model Maker) latest triumphant season of "The Super Happy Robot Hour" at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

  • THOMAS PULLAR (Grand Dragon of the KKK, Dr Solaris) is now working with JIM KALOGIRATOS (Schiff, The Legal Bulldog) at Act 3 Animation. They are both deliriously happy.

  • J.D. SALINGER (Herman, The Legal Labrador) went Section Eight and left the military. He finally had a story accepted for publication by the New Yorker in the late '40s. Following this, he became a recluse, and now earns a living ghostwriting love letters for lonelyhearts.

  • LENNY VOLKOV (Score) is now working at a men's fertility clinic, helping his brethren get their penises hard. Godspeed ye, cock emperor.

  • METZENGERSTEIN (Score) are having yet another "break" period since JESSE's gone to Canada (possibly in search of the mighty BIGFOOT). Hopefully there will be reason to awaken the slumbering beast (the band, not Bigfoot) soon.

  • As for myself, I'm continuing to write and draw silly things, including an exciting new cartoon called "Glorial's Pumpkin Breath And Grandma". I'm working on pitches for a couple of proposed animated series. And later this year I'll be working on storyboards for a new animated kids show, made by the people who did "Quads"...

And, in response to a challenge on pulpfaction.net, here's a picture of me as a Simpsons character:


Entry 32. By David, Monday August 1, 2005

Above: You won't have seen explosive COP ACTION until you've seen my all-new animated series: THE PRECINCT. Currently just a pitch, a pilot script and a lot of little sketches, but ready to go into production as soon as you give me money to go hire Vince Colosimo for the part of Balanovis (the sexy wog Lothario with a deadly secret), and maybe Eric Bana for the part of Ackersley (the angry cop on the edge with a deadly secret).

Meanwhile, in Herman-land: the SPECIAL EDITION DVD is done and available for purchase. I'm happy with it. It's got just enough extra stuff to make you go, "Oo, it's got extra stuff", and not quite enough to make you say, "He could've left this off, really".

Herman has gone and won some film festival awards! The film received TWO awards (an Audience Award and Director's Award) at Filmstock, in Luton, and then picked up Best Animated Short at the Melbourne Underground Film Festival! Score!

I'm comics co-ordinator at this year's National Young Writers Festival and have organised a few comics/animation-related forums and events, including a return of the Comics to Animation screening that played very well at NYWF '04 and at Cinema Nova a month or so back.

Meet Herman Associate Producers Larry Boxshall and Ben Hellwig! (no photos yet)

Larry and Ben are not credited as such in the film itself. Why? Because they got their titles by performing a very special service for the film AFTER its completion: presenting it to a rapturous (?) audience at the 2005 San Diego Comic-Con!

The Comic-Con's Independent Film Festival picked Herman to close their Sunday animation session. However, their rules require that a member of the production team be present for the screening so they might say a few words and answer questions. Unfortunately, prior commitments (and, yes, the fact that a last-minute plane ticket to the States costs mucho, mucho dinero) meant I couldn't go.

Thankfully, these two stalwart gentlemen, who knew me best as the cartoonist guy who comes into their comic shop and never buys anything, agreed to take some time out of their San Diego Con experience to be the film's "Associate Producers", and, reportedly, did a fine job at it. Their Aussie accents put it over, and the free "Herman" comics they gave out sealed the deal. Good work, fellas!

Upcoming Herman-inclusive film fests: Rhode Island, Santa Fe, Dragon*Con, Port City Animation Festival


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"Dogs Of Law": The Music Video
Herman, The Legal Labrador Trailer
QuickTime (16 mb - SWEET)
MPEG-1 (10 mb - OK)
"Dogs Of Law" (End Theme From Herman, The Legal Labrador)
MP3 (192kbps, 6 mb)
Buy Herman crap at cafepress.com


About the creator
Making Herman
Latest entry: August 12
Press Notes (PDF)
Herman screenings/awards
The production of HERMAN has been kindly supported by
Next Wave