Tom DesLongchamp’s short film “Kid Show” is an homage to the wonders of being a kid and his nostalgia for VHS mix-tapes. Here, he gives more insight into the process of developing the film and its characters - plus, he reveals his superpowers.
What gave you the idea for “Kid Show”?
Well, the short answer is that I very much enjoyed childhood, and I was very fond of the childrens shows I grew up with (Mr. Dress up, Fred Penner’s Place, Mr. Rogers, etc.) The detailed answer is that my mother used to record those shows, as well as whatever cartoons were on TV, onto VHS compilations. There were two main tapes that I watched over and over again. They were titled “Kid Shows I” and “Kid Shows II.” These tapes were beautiful collages of stories, commercial blips, out of context scenes, static washes, and silent visuals.
At a very young age, I remember feeling slightly uncomfortable watching the Flintstones on live TV, since it wasn’t like the episode on “Kid Shows II” where Fred’s voice suddenly drops out as the static overcomes him and fades into the last scene of an episode of Mr. T’s animated show. I think many people in and around my generation have been influenced by these kinds of home-made tapes.
What influences your style the most?
Conceptually, the pursuit of honesty and intuition. Once a line is drawn, you have to be true to that line with the next line you draw, which also applies to movement, cutting, sound, etc. Since my work is so personal, I tend to ignore conscious style. Sometimes it’s not till after I finish an animation that I see who I was influenced by. Some of my favorite animators are Don Hertzfeldt, Christy Karacas, and Joel Trussell.
The voice actors in the film are precious. Did you do any improvising with them while recording? How, if at all, did they influence the film’s development?
Honestly, the whole film was an improvisation. It started out as a live action idea. Then I met the Bonneville family. They have 3 boys. They were 5, 7, and 10 at the time. They were so excited about everything, and their voices were so great! So I asked their dad, Doug, “Would you think it was weird if we came to your house sometime and recorded your kids’ voices?” and he was like “Sure! We’ll make you dinner!” I think we did 3 or 4 sessions within 2 months.
I fell into a pattern of writing loose material at home, then bringing it over and feeding them the lines/directing them, and allowing them to do their own thing. They were exploding with energy, yet able to be directed, so it was great fun. I think the most random thing they came up with was little Jud getting really quiet then saying “Can I….. can I say PEACH?” There were things I wrote that didn’t hold up, and there were things that worked better when recorded. For instance, I told Jud to say “yes!” enthusiastically, and he tensed up and spouted “yes-yes-yes!” They made everything sweeter than I could have imagined.
What was your favorite part of being a kid?
Easy–building couch cushion forts, and being a ninja dragon… and making kung fu films with David S and Mom.
Are you working on anything new you can tell us about?
I just finished a music video for a song called “You Cried Me” by Jookabox. Check it out on the youtubes. The music video medium was something I sort of dreaded doing, because its kind of become a joke. I mean, there are contemporary music videos that I love, but they’re rare. I’m really happy with how “You Cried Me” turned out, so I’m looking forward to making more music videos. As far as personal films go, I’m experimenting with a short about a guy in a panda suit waiting for a party to start.
What is your question for Mr. Sun?
What’s the deal with global warming?
What are your superpowers?
Animal charming and nimbly gliding over rock jetties.
Who or what is your arch-nemesis?
Cold temperatures. I have poor circulation and my limbs freeze quickly.
Leg warmers are on the way! Thanks for the interview, Tom!
You can check out “Kid Show” right here on Channel Frederator!