You initially began your career as a songwriter and musician, so what drew you to filmmaking?
I’ve always been a painter. Not always a good one, but you’ve got to start somewhere. Around the time when we began The Billy Nayer Show, I saw my first animation festival. I envied everyone’s work.
I thought for myself animation could be a nice way to mix painting with musical performance. I put together a crude system in my bathroom, based on what little I knew. It took three years to paint. It was torture. 2173 paintings, and I didn’t even know if it was going to work. I figured whatever it looks like, that’s my film. Fortunately, it worked.
How does filmmaking differ (or not) to blasting out tunes on stage?
The film is a musical, and I’m one of the actors, so in that aspect it was very much the same. I could also compare directing to playing in a band. You need to be able to recognize everyone’s strengths, talents, and limitations and work well with them. You need to find people who can have respect for your vision, and whose input and ideas you can look forward to. It’s a collaborative process. Just like a band.
Much of The American Astronaut is, let’s face it, just plain weird, so what kind of a kid were you?
I was a pretty happy kid. I wasn’t very tall, but I could pee farther than everybody else.
Did you make any other films before The American Astronaut?
I made Billy Nayer (the animated short), then I made a twenty minute Pixel Vision piece called, “The Man On The Moon.” It was about a dejected husband who goes off to live on the moon with his cat. It was his holiday transmissions to Earth. It stared me and an old friend named Buck Naked, from a band called Buck Naked And The Bare Bottom Boys. He was a great performer. Before I could finish putting the film together, someone shot him and killed him. Around that same time we made a half hour musical called The Ketchup And Mustard Man. It was a film adaptation of a live performance we were doing. We sell the soundtrack on CD. The soundtrack has gained a following of it’s own. Somewhere in between all that I made another animated short. I didn’t like it.
The “boy who saw a woman’s breast” plays a large part in the movie as he is worshipped by the workers on Mars. This is such a bizarre idea, where did this come from? Were you ever worshipped for seeing a woman’s breast?
In creating a sex-deprived outpost world, I chose to deal with sexuality on a Junior High School level. When boys come of age, the first to have any experience of any kind with the opposite sex becomes the authority and somewhat of a celebrity. Bring this idea to an adult level and it becomes a very interesting thing.
Get the rest of the interview in part three of CORY MCABEE BLASTS OFF>>>