Bruce Simpson

. CIUT 89.5 - Other Words June 1, 2002

    Stick Girl at The
    World Wide Short Film Festival

    Interview by Wendy Baker (edit)

    Wendy Baker : "This morning we're going to be talking about the World Wide Short Film Festival, being put on by the Canadian Film Centre. It Opens June 4th and it goes until June 9th. They're showing 180 films from 39 countries and they range in length from 1 minute to 70 minutes. Today I'm joined by festival participant, Bruce Simpson, who's a native Torontonian. He's an animator with the Canadian premiere of his cartoon, Stick Girl's Guide to Safe Sex."

    "What's the lure of a short animation or short film? What is it that drew you to this format?"

    Bruce Simpson : "Basically I'm kinda impatient when it comes to making movies. If you make something short, you're, in you're out, you're done. You put it up on the screen, and if people laugh, it's like, "Yay! I did something right!". And if not, it's like, "Oh… I better start again". You know right away if it works."

    "Also, I'm basically doing a lot of, hopefully funny animation. So a short film is great, if you come up with a gag, or 3 or 5 gags, string 'em together, and you've got a little film. You don't have to worry about subplots or all sorts of other things that, in a more complex feature film you'd have to worry about."

    Wendy : "Now is that the goal of most people that work on short films; that they want to take their product and eventually make it into a feature. Like, would you ever see Stick Girl in a feature length film?"

    Bruce : "I think that's the goal, eventually, to come up with something long enough and good enough to keep somebody's attention and really have a big impact. As opposed to a short "blip", which hopefully, has some sort of impact. But definitely a feature film would be much more impressive, I think."

    Wendy : "Tell us a little bit about Stick Girl and how she came to be and perhaps a little bit about the short that's playing in the film festival."

    Bruce : "Stick Girl first came about back in 1994. TVOntario was doing a youth issues related phone in program, and I saw a little ad looking for comic strips (comics, 'cause I guess they figured they couldn't afford animation)."

    "Me, being a smart-ass, I decided to deliver fully animated cartoons for them. And they loved that, 'cause I was dirt cheap (and I guess I was pretty funny, 'cause they hired me to do a whole whack of these Stick Girl cartoons for them)."

    "And actually the short that's appearing at the film festival coming up next week, I originally did the sketches & wrote during that program, but they were a bit nervous with some of the content, being the fact that one of the characters is an 8 foot penis. So they shied away from it at that point."

    "Jumping ahead, Stick Girl was on Teletoon for about a year or so (in both English and French). And then she was over in Europe and I got a huge response. Apparently, kids over there really liked Stick Girl. She was on a cable station called Trouble TV UK, and she was there for about a year or so."

    "She's on the internet on my own site, Also, she almost had huge exposure with a company called Mondomedia. But then last year the market crashed. That was unfortunate."

    "Around the time she was about to have a whole new audience with Mondo, I wanted to do the Stick Girl's Guide to Safe Sex cartoon again. And again they said, "Well… let's hold off on that"."

    "And then the market crashed and I decided, "The heck with it. I just want to do it myself". And that's where I am now."

    Wendy : "So how do you feel about taking something that is internet based and putting it

    Stick Girl's Guide To Safe Sex on the big screen at Atlanta's FLASHBANG 3

    on a big screen? Do you feel that that is a natural transition to go from computer based… I mean, generally people have smaller screens for their monitors, and then going to a large format screen?"

    Bruce : "That's one thing I noticed, totally, 'cause usually I was used to seeing this cartoon about 3 or 4 inches tall. And then I just saw it last week at the press conference & it filled the whole movie screen. It was like, "WOW! This is LARGE!" Which was great! I was so excited."

    Wendy : "Is the quality still the same?"

    Bruce : "The quality is actually better, 'cause when you're dealing with the internet, if you have a slow modem, it skips frames, things slow down, and of course the sound, when you're dealing with compressed sound files, is always kind of… it's okay, but it's not great."

    "But when you can pump out digital images, digital sound on a nice tape, and projected on a huge movie screen it just looks lovely."

    Wendy : "And what are you using?"

    Bruce : "It's all done in Flash."

    Wendy : "At the screening, you were pretty happy with what you saw?"

    Bruce : "Oh yeah. I was hugely happy. It was great seeing it in front of an audience and actually hearing people laugh… where they're s'posed to laugh. It was a great experience!"