How do you get your short animated film off to a flying start?

Well, if you’re Kenny Roy, you kick off with a 24 hour animation marathon broadcast live on the internet.

Kenny Roy is not only an animator, but also a teacher at Animation Mentor and the director of Arconyx Animation Studios based in Los Angeles.

I caught up with Kenny shortly after he completed his 24-hour non-stop animation session.

Animation Ideas: So tell us a little bit about your short film?

Kenny Roy: It’s my first personal short in over six years, so it’s about time! We did some shorts for clients as a company but nothing with the amount of development going into The Little Painter.

I’m very proud of my film, even in it’s early stages. The story is charming, I worked very hard on the writing, I’m taking my time developing the characters, it feels like everything is going very smoothly.

In a lot of ways, running a studio for these past 5 years has made me crave a project like The Little Painter even more and I’m excited to be underway!

AI: You mentioned the idea came to you in a dream. Did it come as a fully-formed idea, or just the kernel of the story?

KR: It was literally like being in a theater and watching it on screen. The entire story, beginning to end, was there. I am ALWAYS in my own skin in my dreams, looking out of my eyes. I’m never third person or a disembodied observer, so it was kind of intense.

When I woke up I couldn’t believe it and I wrote it down as fast as I could. Good thing too, like all dreams it faded fast but I had my notes to jog my memory.

AI: What was it like animating for 24 hours straight?

KR: Another intense experience! I’ve pulled all-nighters before, but there’s something different about doing a shot start-to-finish in that time frame. I think it was much harder because I wanted to do a great job firstly because it’s a shot in my film and secondly there were on average 406 people watching the whole 24 hours! I wanted to make people see how passionate I am about my film.

The worst stint was 3-6am. You get very slap-happy, and you get cold. That’s when I put on my hat and gloves.

AI: What was the strangest thing that happened during the live animation marathon?

KR: When I saw that the total had shot up to $7,000 on my kickstarter page, I spit my chicken soup all over my wacom! Everyone on the Livestream saw. Sonya had to bring me some windex, lol.

AI: How did you feel about raising half your short film budget in a single day?

KR: That exceeded my expectations by more than ten-fold. I told my wife that she should maybe turn on the home laptop and the home desktop and idle on the homepage, so that there will always be at least “2 viewers” showing on the livestream panel.

I’m dead serious.

I thought in the middle of the night, I would be totally alone and be performing for nobody. I also thought $500-$1000 MAX. To see that we made half in one day, in some ways I feel that people must have made a mistake. Like, there’s no way you all believe in me THAT much. It’s incredibly humbling, and very inspiring at the same time.

AI: How did you arrive at the $29,500 figure, and if you raise more than that – did you have plans on where to channel any extra funds?

KR: The budget for the film is what it would cost Arconyx to make this film, down to the penny, if a client brought The Little Painter in off the street. I write bids and make budgets all the time so it was quick and easy to determine what it would cost to make this.

I have BIG plans for extra funds, should there be any.

A live orchestral score, the ability to hire more and more experienced animators, a more robust production website with more behind the scenes content, increase the number of crowds in the short, render farm rental, shorter production schedule, creation of a feature treatment based on the short, and the ability to approach well-known actors for the voices.

There’s even more but suffice it to say, there are many places I would look to spend extra funding. So don’t stop pledging!

AI: I noticed at the start of the marathon you dedicated it to people very special in your life. How important has family been in getting this film progressed to where it is today?

KR: Well honestly my wife is the most special person I’ve ever met. I have an amazing family, who’ve always been so smart and supportive my whole life. And some great friends and coworkers that have pushed me along the way. But Tamaryn is by far my constant inspiration.

She is always in constant defense of me and my abilities, even (and especially) from even myself. You could safely say that without her I’d probably be in a desk at big studio somewhere, thinking wistfully about the day when I make a short film that never comes.

AI: What stage is the film at? What’s next? Do you have a release date planned?

KR: The film is in pre-production, I’m still finalling all the models of the main characters, and Pierre is finished. I’ve boarded most of the film roughly and they need to be refined. Pierre’s rig was a test bed for some new ideas and I’m pretty happy how he performed during the Marathon.

Next is refine the boards, cut the animatic, and layout the scenes. I’m aiming to have it in next year’s Siggraph Animation Festival so I think the deadline is in early April, so March 2013 is the goal.

AI: Anyone else you wanted to thank or give a shout out too?

KR: Sonya Ballas, my coordinator, rocked during the marathon. I told her to go home, and she disappeared, but came back with a bag of clothes and a pillow. I think she really showed her passion.

I also of course want to start the very long process of thanking and expressing my gratitude to the fans and supporters who watched the Marathon and pledged money to the project. This is going to take a while, to express my love for you guys, but I gotta start somewhere, so thank you!

At the time of writing, The Little Painter Kickstarter campaign has raised just over $23,000 of the $29,500 budget. You have until April 11th, 2012 to donate.

Visit The Little Painter kickstarter site for the most current information about the project.

Once it’s funded, Kenny will announce the official production website at and you can follow Pierre’s tracks all the way into his true love’s arms!

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