An online collective of indie animators has joined forces to present themselves and their work created in the dead of night. Animator Scott Benson has gathered a group of likeminded animators to create the group known as “The Late Night Work Club” so called because of the unsociable hours most animators keep. Each animator is currently working on their own interpretation of a brief and you can see the progress on the website here.
With such a wide variety of tremendous artists the work available to view is not only a showcase of talent but also a demonstration of fresh ideas uncorrupted from outside forces.
We caught up with Scott Benson to find out more about the project, who is involved and what the future has in store.
What inspired its creation?
A lot of us would be up late at night working on things and bump into one another on twitter because it’s nice to have a colleague to talk to at 3:30 AM when you’re working on a completely non-paying project and wondering what you’ve done with your life. So that’s where the name came from. Charles Huettner, Eimhin Mcnamara, Eamonn Oneill and myself starting chatting that way, and it was out of those discussions that the formal idea for LNWC came about.
As far as the ideas behind it, it’s a combo of things. Partly it came out of a desire to really spotlight indie animators (roughly defined as animators doing their own independent noncommercial work) and bring them together. So much great, personal, idiosyncratic, honest and weird stuff out there on the internet right now. There are places that really focus on that kind of thing in comics, music and video games but outside of a handful of general animation websites and some fests that most people can’t attend, that signal can just get lost. There are so many of us making things on our own, it’s a whole secret scene operating outside the bounds of what is normally discussed when people talk about animation.
So this is kind of an exercise in scene-formalizing, saying “Hey, we’re all doing this, so let’s call it what it is. Be proud of and excited by it, and let’s support each other as best we can! And hey you! This can be yours too!”
Everyone has their own points of reference for it, but the easiest metaphor for me is music – I got into the punk rock and diy culture thing in my teens and it was massive for me as it was for many people. Folks doing shows, forming bands, making zines and records and whatever, with no money and no permission, just because it meant something to them. That kind of thing never really goes away in some people, and takes all kinds of forms. Animation is no different. This means something to us. Actually caring enough to do something yourself goes a long way. And the people on this project are amazing artists who care enough and are sincere enough to put themselves out there, and go to work on this stuff when most people would be doing anything else. That’s something special.
There is an incredible lineup of artists and animators, how did the rota come together?
We just started reaching out to animators we knew and respected. A lot of them were friends or acquaintances. We cold-emailed a person or two. We initially expected the lineup to be quite a bit smaller, as we weren’t sure how many people would think this was a cool idea. I was pleasantly shocked that just about everyone said yes, and those who didn’t seemed really sorry they couldn’t do it. I couldn’t be happier with the group here. Really humbling to work with.
Your first project is called Ghost stories, how will this all come together?
GHOST STORIES is an anthology of short films. Every animator (or team of animators) is writing and animating their own story. We’ll be putting them all together and releasing it online, for free, in the Spring. We’ll have more info on dates as it draws closer. We’ll also have some options to support us then, like files to burn your own disc or the Uncanny Mystery Pack, which will contain a whole mess of cool stuff from all of us.
Will there be more projects to look out for?
Yes, assuming this one doesn’t blow up in our dumb faces! After this has come and gone I know a lot of us would love to do another one, so we’ll see. Project #2 would feature a new theme and some new faces mixed in, but there have also been ideas for some other stuff. So stay tuned.