As an animator on Waking Life what did you have to do exactly? Can you explain the process and a typical day in the life of an animator?
It’s about the most tedious work that has ever been invented. You draw the same line like 6000 times just to get ten seconds of the bridge of someone’s nose. It’s maddening. Also in a way it can be kind of zen-like. You can sort of go into a trance. Bob Sabiston definitely seems to go into a trance when he draws. He says it’s more like playing an instrument than drawing since you follow a single element through time, building up a whole shot bit by bit instead of drawing a whole cell at once and then going to the next.
So, what’s it like to see yourself as animated?
Better than seeing myself in person. I was one of the animators as well as an actor, so initially when I was asked to animate myself I really grappled with it. It was like my answer to your first question. I had no idea how to portray myself. Maybe having that be your neurosis is a design flaw in an actor, I dunno, maybe it’s an advantage. Anyway I eventually had somebody else draw me and just drew everything else around in the clip I was working on. Messes with your head.
You have films of your own that you are making, can you tell us about them?
I’ve made a few shorts but I don’t know if they’re anything to speak of. Mostly they were just experimentation — finding out what was possible with the primitive technology I had access to. I’d like very much to make more. I have no real desire to direct a feature narrative film by myself. I like being a part of a group. I am a helper, not an auteur I like making stuff with my friends, like Detour and the Zellner Brothers.
Tell us about your films? Some of it sounds really fucked up.
Maybe too self-consciously fucked up. I dunno. I sent you guys a copy of “Binary Cancer Tacos” way back when I did it, that was representative of most of my own movies. Lots of cut up, stuff from Mexican TV and Bollywood movies, stupid access TV, Jesus-loving puppets that teach you about the evils of playing with yourself… malfunctioning video-games. I’m interesting in getting into stop-motion now. Adobe Premier has a great stop-motion function and I’ve been doing a lot of sculpting with polymer clays. I’m really facinated by a lot of Japanese doll-making… these very realistic, very creepy little …girl dolls that some Japanese sculptors make. I’m thinking of making some similar dolls with animal eyes from taxidermy catalogues. I also thought about doing some performance that involves telepresence where the dolls are avatars with cameras and speakers in their heads that transmit via wireless firewire to computers. People projecting their presences into these dolls. I’d like to have it be a childrens’ story from the future. Anyway, there won’t be any of that until I’m back on my feet. I’m Couch Surfing in New York right now in the penniless bohemian style. My tutor is Speed Levitch, he’s done it for a decade.
Do you want to be a director?
I don’t want to be anything, I want to do everything.
I know what you have accomplished as an actor in “Dazed” and Waking Life but what are you like as a person?
I don’t know if I can be detached enough to answer that. Part of me wants to make a good impression, show a good side, another part of me wants to be self-effacing, show my throat and be honest about my myriad personality flaws in the hope that candor and honesty is the way to go. Part of me wants to write a long rambling answer to a short, simple question that totally obsfucates everything and never tells anything about me while kind of saying everything about me. Oh wait, I just did that.
If you had to offer any acting tips, what would you tell me?
I dunno. I just work on trying to convince myself that I’m thinking up the lines I’m supposed to be reading. I don’t know how good an actor I am… I’ve never been able to afford training or anything like that. I just try and keep it intuitive. I like to improv if I’m allowed. I think you can either do it or you can’t.
Get more Wiley than you can handle at the official Wiley Wiggins Web site.
Posted on October 17, 2001 in Interviews by Chris Gore
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