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production page nine

This is the stack of finished pencil tests under Don's desk; not physically used in the final product, but a crucial step in getting there ...and this is the pile of scrap paper; tossed sketches, mistakes, or no longer needed tests.

Yet another stack of animation paper, each one revealing little squiggly lines in the corners, where Don tests his pens each time before inking. By January 2002, The Meaning of Life had already become our longest-running project yet, with another two and a half years to go.

A look inside Don's sketchbook. Due to the overwhelming number of individual characters milling all over The Meaning of Life, many of them were sketched out and separated before pencil testing anything. Whereas a film like Billy's Balloon or Rejected demand only a handful of individual characters to animate in a given frame, this piece will at times feature many dozens of them to keep track of at once; a blood-curdling task for any animator who doesn't use computers or even cels..

Inked and finished drawings are stored in sealed fireproof safes like this one while they await photography


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Unless otherwise noted, all content, animation, and photographs are 1995-2002 by Don Hertzfeldt/Bitter Films
All rights reserved.