Bill Plympton’s Cheatin’ Panel started with producer James Hancock introducing himself, Adam Hackoff, and Bill himself. Bill stood up (he insisted he was more comfortable that way) and began talking about how his upcoming film 5 years in the works, Cheatin’, was inspired by an experience of his: a tragic love affair. He spoke about how the intensity was so high, and that the break up was just as high. So he made a film about a couple who fall in love, fall hard out of love, and (in true Plympton fashion) then try to kill each other. Bill then began to speak about the technical aspects of the film and how it’s his first film to be done with a new coloring process to emulate the look of watercolor, so it’ll look different than his colored pencil look. The watercolor look was achieved by digitally painting each of the over 40,000 frames in 5-6 passes. He mentioned how difficult getting distribution is because it’s neither a CG animated film nor appropriate for kids, and how it needs to be shown in theaters to qualify for an Oscar. Bill also expressed hope that his film would prove there’s an audience for cartoons aimed at adults, stating, “Tarantino’s films are basically cartoons already.” Crowdfunding with Kickstarter was discussed at the panel, and Adam Hackoff said that just raising over $100,000 for the film sight unseen will help when it comes to trying to find a distributor.
A few of Plympton’s shorts were shown at the panel, such as his “Summer Bummer” short, as well as his “Waiting for a Sailor” short. He warned the audience to have patience, as the latter short was about 15 minutes long, but got a big, lasting laugh out of the crowd when it was over. The two Simpsons couch gags that he animated were shown as well, and Bill related a funny story about how the Fox lawyers had no problem with having pole dancing and prostitution in the gags, but made him cut out a cigarette smoking scene. He also mentioned a third Simpsons couch gag he animated, this one using the same water color look from Cheatin’, but the Fox lawyer wouldn’t allow him to show it at the con. Finally, the trailer for Cheatin’ was shown, and I must say I was blown away. The colors and the animation looks like a storybook, it’s just so vibrant. Without a doubt, in my mind this could be Bill’s best work, possibly worth seeing on the art and animation alone.