Welcome to my nightmare, aka Senior Thesis. You see, in real colleges, students write really long papers about something that has to do with their major. Me? I decided to make a flash animated cartoon about a Jewish boy growing up in a Catholic community that hates him . I developed the idea after realizing there aren't any mainstream Jewish super heroes. He has to constantly dodge Catholic advances that attempt to make him adopt the New Testament. One day, he receives a mysterious package that contains a dreidel. Whenever he spins the clay wonder, it grows 10 times in size and becomes his super powered protector. Cotinued after the JUMP.
I procrastinated... for almost an entire year. And when I wasn't procrastinating, I was making more and more versions of the cartoon. There must be 7 or 8 scripts to the thing, each one getting less and less complex to ease the animation process. I was at a party over my friend's Tom house about two days before this project was due, knowing full well that its completion meant my successful graduation from Univ. of the Arts. There was a cute girl at said party who expressed interest in me, and we made out. The whole time, I kept thinking, "Wow, this girl is cute and we're making out... but I really should be home animating." It became this inner struggle. Make out. Animate. Fool Around. Graduate. Graduating won... but not by much.
I spent the next 36 to 48 hours animating my senior project, cutting together music and audio, and not sleeping. I finished Amazing Dreidel and the Incredulous Jew at 6:30 am on the morning it was due. I got a shower and drove to school exhausted, but with a sense of relief. It wasn't anywhere near what I wanted it to be, but I learned alot about that process. When I showed the movie to the class, there was some disappointment, especially from the Instructor. He expected less of a back story and more of a series of adventures. The rest of the class seemed too distracted and tired themselves to really care. My only care was that Jonah and Hershel aka the Bible twins were the only two Jewish kids in our class, and they liked it. I remember in the process of creating this, telling my mother what it was about. She tried to scare me out of it by saying I was "a quarter jewish." If anything, it gave me the validity to make it as controversial as I could. If it wasn't for this experience, my Alfred Qaeda and Friends coloring book wouldn't have received its 6month face-lift. I wouldn't put the care into the work I make today that you see on this very site.
About a year after I graduated, I started packaging my digital work in with my Alred Qaeda coloring book in the form of a CD. I mailed it as my resume/portfolio to a bunch of design firms in Philadelphia, one of them being the Brownstein group. Apparently this cartoon, if they even watched it, didn't go over well. Someone from their firm called my mother at home, completely disreguarding my primary number. They told her that I, her son, would never work for his firm, or in Philadelphia for that matter, as long as they lived. They wouldn't leave a name or number. Cowards. As I look back now, its almost a badge of honor that she got that call. Bad publicity is publicity. Plus, the girl I ditched at that party turned out to be a skank. She had sex with my friend Bill that same night and couldn't imagine why I wouldn't date her after finding out.
The cartoon hasn't aged well. I found myself laughing last night as I watched it for the first time in 5 years, not because of its humor mind you... more because its absolutely ridiculous. The thought actually crossed my mind of going back and re-tooling it... but that would be a mistake. It is what it is... and I've already said too much. Following this are some illustrator grabs of the characters. Enjoy!
Here we have the Arc-Angel Gabriel, messenger and servant of Jesus. There was this huge fight planned in one of the scripts between David, Dreidel and Gabe. It never happened. Budget cuts... ya know...?
In the original script, Dreidel comes to life in David's bedroom and proceeds to regurgitate the Old Testament... for whatever reason. The original draft also had Jesus as a used car salesman, pictured above... trying to sell David on the New Testament.
Here we have David, named after the gentleman from the old Testament who took on Goliath, getting the worst wedgie of his life. The end result shows up in the cartoon. To it's immediate right is a variation on the Dreidel. The bottom sketch was an attempt making the Dreidel puke up the O.T. Instead, he looks like the singing Frank Sinatra sword in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
These were the original designs of the characters, the ones that showed up on the cover of my proposal in senior studio (Fall 2001) where I pitched the project to the Multimedia class.