You've watched the trailer, and learnt all you could ever want to know about Asphalt Watches directors Shayne Ehman and Seth Scriver in our Director Profile. Now we really get into their minds with our latest instalment of "5 Questions". Siân had an opportunity to ask the guys about their inspiration, boiled hot dogs, and even got to say "beaver". (Yes, that kind of beaver.)
SM: I absolutely loved this story telling format; I think the animation and music really played to the bizarre characters you met whilst on the road. What was your inspiration for telling these stories through a feature-length animation?
SS: Well, we wanted to tell this story after we reached Toronto and actually even on the way we were making drawings of people and situations which is what we do anyways. We had watched 20 seconds of a Gary Panter animation right before leaving Vancouver so after having this bizarre near death mystical adventure we made a plan to make an animation of it. Originally it was going to be a Double feature, but we boiled it down a bit.
SE: Animation is a choice storytelling medium because the story is entirely suspended in art. Everything in the animation is carefully placed.
SM: Skeleton Hat and Bucktooth Cloud are meant to be this world's versions of yourselves. Was there any sort of special process by which you came to these characters? Or did a weird transparent, floating blobber just seem cool? (Because it is--and the top hat is a nice touch.)
SE: I used to wear a crumpled up top hat quite a bit back in the late 90's when I started drawing the Bucktooth Cloud, adding buggy eyes and buckteeth to blobs in Vancouver. I guess it's just a way to meet the world half way. Bucktooth is like my spirit animal who I can see when i stare into old blank paper.
SS: When we first met, in Halifax in 1999, we actually bonded over a mutual fondness for graffiti cover up blobs. Skeleton Hat evolved from a hat I wore that said fred the dog and turned into fried the dog which eventually led to a fried hat with only the skeleton of it left.
SM: The music! The music. I will forever refer to boiled hot dogs as BHDs and probably won't be able to look at a Boston Pizza the same way ever again. How did you come about adding these little songs to the film?
SE: In Chilliwack, B.C. we were waiting for a ride at the Seven Eleven. Two ladies approached, tied up their dog with an extension cord and went into the store...
SS: They made multiple trips in and out and used us a shield to stash their piles of stolen hot dogs.
SE: Eventually, they invited us over for 'Boiled Hot Dogs' and also to play a 'Wayne Gretzky' video game. A 'Boston Pizza' is west coast slang... means 'backpack".
SM: Okay, okay: so that truck driver--did all of those radio handles really come from him or did you make some up yourselves?
SS: All of the radio handles are real handles, but not all of them came from him.
SE: Some of them are our friends nicknames or email handles... Undead Hillbilly, White Pumpkin, El Destructo, Belly Boy, EZ Rock, Krumple Stiltskin, Barefoot Immortal, Crappy Bluebeard, Ferrero Rocher, Smooty, Skurgy, Couch Money, Fry Dog, Headless Spectre.... Theres actually quite a few times when, in the periphery of the story, we say hello to our friends using cryptic details.
SM: If you each had to pick your own favourite character you met whilst on this trip, who would it be? (Mine might be that truck driver, just for all of the times he said "beaver".)
SS: Favourite I dunno but I kept thinking about Santa for years and still do every once in a while wondering if he's gonna show up and go nuts on me, also there's a lot of fat white guys with beards wearing sweat pants around so I often think i see him. yeah maybe he's my favourite, most intense for sure. I really get a kick outta thinking back on Gengrenous too. Sponge Face and Rat Fingers are very sweet to think back on also.
SE: Definitely Santa. I learned a lot about Santa Claus that day... Rat Fingers is indeed another favourite because I ended up meeting him again years after the hitchhiking journey and he has been a major inspiration and major influence on my life... Teaching my girlfriend Zeddy and I about wild foods, mushrooms and earth stewardship... He is an amazing man named Louis Lesosky, a raging grandfather who still lives in that van!
SM: And lastly (yes, I know this is six questions but can't stop, won't stop!), do you have any other feature-film projects on the horizon? Or just, what is next for you fellas?
SE: We became obsessed with 'Ed's Pile' while making this movie...
SS: Ed's Pile
SE: Ed's Pile is on the horizon.... true story
ASPHALT WATCHES Screening Times:
- Tuesday, Sept 10th, 9:45 PM SCOTIABANK 8
- Thursday, Sept 12th, 8:45 PM SCOTIABANK 13
- Friday, Sept 13th, 2:15 PM SCOTIABANK 4