Black Future Month // 2-6-11 // Brandon Lake, Animator
Posted on February 6, 2011
One of the benefits of attending a world class cinema institution is being able to meet talented filmmakers before they’re famous. There’s scores of them here at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. And the pace here is grueling. On the first day of classes they promised all incoming students that we’d be allowed to sleep when we graduated. We giggled. Stupid stupid giggling on our part. Granted, the Production students work a little harder than us writers, hour for hour — but if you ask me, the hardest working grad students on campus are the animators. They write, they draw, they edit, they stop motion, they start it up again. I met an animation student in the first weeks of school, he lives in the same apartment as one of my best friends on campus. I asked said friend if he’d moved out, since I’m over there always and he never is. Never. Turns out he, like most of the animators on campus, sleeps at school a good deal of nights, just to make it all crack.
But crack it does. I fell in love with this animated short of his, immediately. It’s gripping and telling, and perhaps based on my life. Fairly apropos for the season, as well. I’d like to introduce you all to Brandon Lake, So Cal native, purveyor of fine ice cream, and a damned good animator. Try not to let your heart break all over the floor as you watch. I just got these carpets cleaned. Thanks.
I thought it’d be hard to find a black animator that precedes Brandon, someone who lay the framework for other aspiring black animators to come. Turns out I was patently wrong. While the list of esteemed animators of African descent isn’t hefty — what it lacks in size it makes up for in power.
Take a look at motion.tv’s amazing retrospective on Dan Haskett, by clicking here. He’s the animator responsible for the figures of Disney’s Belle and Ariel. All this time I’ve been complaining about under representation in the animated classics, and turns out black brilliance helped to power the first movie I ever saw in theaters. He also did one of my favorite shorts for Sesame Street, which I’m including here.
Thickwit celebrates the #blackfuture of animation and the burgeoning genius of Brandon Lake.