"Tom Waits for No One" - 35th Anniversary Celebration
A pioneering, mostly forgotten 35 year old American music video has been rediscovered. Help bring this rotoscoped classic back to life!
Animation history and music video history - this short film holds a special place in each of these categories.
Tom Waits For No One features one of the most innovative and original musicians of our time - and it was made by a group of young animators and artists, in their teens and twenties, who went on to unusually great things, among them an Academy Award winner for Technical Achievement, an Academy Award nominee for animation, director of The Simpsons, animators on The Iron Giant, Pocahontas, and American Dad, senior designer at Electronic Arts, renowned Plein Air painter, co-director of Monsters Inc., co-chair of the Academy of Motion Pictures' Next Generation Technology Project, co-inventor DVD and HD technology and a member of CalArts’ famed “Kids from A-113”, among others.
This unique film was made on state of the art analog technology in 1979 and was just recently validated by the leading expert on music video, Gunnar Strom, professor at Volda University College in Norway. Strom wrote that Tom Waits For No One "is a pioneering, early American music video and is very likely the first rotoscoped music video ever made".
So why is the video still unknown? Well, Tom Waits for No One pre-dated MTV by two years and had no distribution and no commercial release. It opened to immediate acclaim at a Hollywood film festival, lived just one night with "Spike and Mike's Festival of Animation" because it was "too racy", and by 1981, the had film slipped into obscurity. Nearly forgotten, it was uploaded to YouTube in 2006, where it continues to draw traffic.
This November is the 35th anniversary of the film's release, and all the original elements have been rediscovered. The Kickstarter campaign's successful funding will result in restoration of Tom Waits For No One, as well as finance the rescue the live action footage of Tom Waits and cult-film star Donna Gordon from the original tapes, which are now stored in a dead, no longer used format. For you animation buffs, funding will also enable the recovery of the original pencil test, as well as restore and frame 36 of the original animation cels.
The never before published Tom Waits For No One Scrapbook, a collection of artwork, drawings and sketches made by the animators during the film, that includes the original character studies, the turn-arounds, all the serious design work and very wild, crazy and cathartic drawings provide a view into the minds' eye of young animators testing the limits of a brand new product, the Lyon Lamb Video Rotoscope. The Scrapbook also include news clips, concert posters and concert ticket stubs collected by the director, John Lamb, which he and some of the animators went to during the making of the film.
If all this wasn't enough, the original stage and set are being rebuilt. The framed animation cels, the Scrapbook, and the never-before-seen live action and pencil test footage will be projected throughout the gallery. But not just any gallery - the 35th Anniversary Celebration will take place at the original location where Tom Waits For No One was filmed in 1979 - the old La Brea Stage in Hollywood. Long since defunct as a sound stage, we'll be re-christening the location with an intimate crowd of animation, music and music video lovers.
An evening celebrating a pioneering American music video wouldn’t be complete without something extra special, however. Our special guest, all the way from Norway, Gunnar Strom has written the Foreword to the Tom Waits For No One Scrapbook proclaiming the film's significance in music and animation alike. A rock star among music video historians, Gunnar will make his first trip to Los Angeles to join the 35th Anniversary Celebration, meet the animators and join John Lamb in signing the Tom Waits For No One Scrapbook.
Could there possibly be more? Oh yes! Both nights will feature two of New Orleans' greatest ambassadors of music - the eclectic and talented pianist Tom McDermott and vocalist Meschiya Lake, winner of "Best Female Vocalist" in the 2013 Big Easy Music Awards.
Lake sings a mix of ferocious early blues, a mix of rare jazz and standards, vintage Americana (think Hank Williams, complete with a yodel!), and a soupçon of contemporary writers like Tom Waits. McDermott blends rag, traditional jazz and Brazilian music. Together, they are jaw-dropping amazing - and will make this celebration of art and innovation an unforgettable experience.
Catering by the legendary TOI On Sunset will fuel your enjoyment of the night, and the donation bar will whet your whistle, until the after party begins at TOI On Sunset's restaurant just up the street!
We've done our best to put together an amazing evening, to honor all the artists involved in this groundbreaking film. Your involvement will mean a nearly lost piece of animation history gets preserved. This night will be like none other, with art, animation, mixed media and music that will transport you to the very set and location where Tom Waits For No One was filmed.
Please join us in bringing all these elements together for two unforgettable nights.
Risks and challenges
Pulling together the materials, while uncovering and validating the history of this film has been 18 months in progress - and many obstacles have been overcome to get this "Kickstarter" ready.
Gunnar Strom and the iotaCenter have validated this film's place among animated music videos. They talent who made the film have all been contacted. We have the materials for the Tom Waits For No One Scrapbook, and Zach Cordner - talented photographer to the stars ready to photograph the talent and the event. Jeremy Farrance, of the Waits blog, "The Mule" has led our media campaign, and Garrett Lamb has led on filming and editing the campaign's introduction video. What could go wrong?!? Plenty.
Anticipated future challenges include: successful funding. Everyone involved loves this project - and has given their time selflessly. But will enough people feel the same way? Getting the word out and building support from the animation and music community remains something that we are hustling to achieve.
Once the project is funded, pulling the many pieces together and hosting an amazing two nights will be a lot of work - a ton of effort - and satisfyingly fun. We have a dedicated event coordinator, who will deliver on the promise of a great time.
Meeting all our goals for the rewards will require planning and organization while shipping the items throughout North America and overseas will be a full time effort!
Lastly, anticipating the unexpected throughout the process, will be an on-going challenge. We're up to it!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)