A Rolodex Mutoscope

This is a little device I made that I call a Rolodex Mutoscope.

The Rolodex was a ubiquitous late 20th-century piece of office equipment used to store business contact information on card stock. The Mutoscope was an early motion picture device from the late 1800s that was basically a hand-cranked flip book. Today, the Mutoscope is probably most familiar to anyone who has visited Disney World or Disneyland, both of which have Mutoscopes in their arcades.

I was thinking about both devices and how they are so mechanically similar, so I thought I would try converting a Rolodex into a mini Mutoscope. It ended up being a pretty good fit after a few changes.

I started with the Rolodex model NSW 24C. Because this is a relatively old piece of office equipment, there was quite a bit of squeaking when turning the knob. So I disassembled the unit and used a bit of silicone grease in all of the places where plastic was rubbing against plastic.

You cannot use regular Rolodex cards with this device; you need to make your own. My cards (printed on card stock) measured 4″ x 2-1/2″. Instead of using the two raised “tracks” on the Rolodex spindle to loosely “hang” cards (a mechanism which works fine for storing contact information but not for flipping animated cards), I cut very thin slots in the tracks with a jeweler’s saw (size 3 blade). These cuts went lengthwise across the spindle, across the two tracks where regular Rolodex cards would usually go.

Although I put the spindle in a vice when cutting and tried to keep the jeweler’s saw as straight as possible, most of my cuts ended up angled for some reason. When I make my next Rolodex Mutoscope (I have three additional Rolodex units waiting in the wings), I’m going to find a way to ensure these cuts are straight. I was able to cut 29 slots — for 29 cards — in the plastic spindle; I probably could have cut a few more had the cuts been straight.

Before taking the plastic spindle out of the Rolodex, I put a piece of strong Velcro (the loop side) around the center, between the raised tracks. This wasn’t because I needed Velcro, but because the Velcro tape itself was so strong that it would hold the two pieces of the plastic spindle together when sawing the slots for the cards.

I attached a 1-1/2″ x 1-1/2″ corner brace with Gorilla Glue in the inside of the cover. This corner brace acts like your thumb when you are flipping through a flip book.

And that’s it! It’s a very simple device, and, as you can see from the video, it works pretty well.

“Go Away I Like You Too Much” will be on a 3-D Kung Fu movie blu-ray!

The Simple Carnival’s 3-D music video “Go Away I Like You Too Much” will be a blu-ray bonus feature for the bonkers 1977 martial arts epic, Dynasty!

If you’d like to see crazy Kung Fu in 3-D (you don’t even need a 3-D TV to see it in 3-D), this is the Kickstarter to support! Here’s more information about the Kickstarter campaign.

I saw Dynasty in 3-D when it aired on cable TV in the early 1980s. I use the word “bonkers” to describe a only a handful of films…and Dynasty fully earns that adjective. Here’s an ugly-looking, non-restored clip (warning — contains hilariously fake-looking decapitations) that gives you an idea of how off the wall this film is.

The 3-D Film Archive has an amazing track record of restoring vintage films, so I can’t wait to see how their restoration looks…it should be glorious!

 

Why I’m (kind of) done with The Simple Carnival

“Good luck with your album!”

Several people said variations of that comment to me recently. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that The Simple Carnival effectively ended over three years ago.

It’s not their fault — I probably haven’t communicated the somewhat unusual state of The Simple Carnival clearly or widely enough. I figured it might be a good idea to write an open letter of sorts to describe what’s going on.

The state of The Simple Carnival can be summarized as such:

  • There will be no more songs or albums from The Simple Carnival. It was great fun, but the chapter of my life where I was singing and writing pop songs is now closed.
  • The Simple Carnival’s recordings will continue to be available on all major digital streaming and download services. Physical merchandise is no longer for sale, but you can find secondhand CDs on Amazon.
  • I am still working on the Smitten 3D project, with new 3D animated videos being released after they have made the rounds at film festivals. Even though I’m no longer promoting The Simple Carnival, I’m still making music videos because they’re a great training ground for filmmaking and animation. When Smitten 3D is complete, all of the completed music videos will stream in anaglyph 3D at www.smitten3d.com. There are no plans for releasing the final product on physical media.
  • After Smitten 3D is done, I plan to create some narrative animated shorts. I’ll be writing the orchestral score for those shorts. (It’ll be film music, not pop tunes.) While working on these shorts, I’ll be keeping an eye toward possibly directing an independent animated feature or two.
  • The Simple Carnival is no longer on social media. If you want to see what I’m working on, I occasionally post small things on Twitter at @sundriftprod and bigger things here at www.sundriftproductions.com.

Why did I stop making pop music? After I completed the Smitten album, I felt as though I said everything that I wanted to say in a pop song. I’d rather stop while I’m ahead rather than repeat myself and overstay my welcome.

Unlike pop songs, I don’t think I’ll ever run out of things to say in an animated film. Film allows for a broader range of subject matter than pop tunes. Film also requires many more disciplines to master; there’s always a new challenge lurking around the corner. I want to take the things I’ve learned from affecting audiences with The Simple Carnival and apply that toward visual, animated stories — stories that make audiences laugh, cry, and cheer. It’s going to be a while until I get there, but I look forward to sharing the results with you one day.

In the meantime, there’s a lot of history about The Simple Carnival over at www.simplecarnival.com. I’m leaving all of it up because I’m proud of the work that I did on that project. But, other than me slowly churning out the remaining videos for Smitten 3D, there’s not likely to be any more activity on that site.

I hope this clears up things, and thank you for your understanding!

My Cindy Story

There are good teachers, there are great teachers, and then there are teachers who are in a category all by themselves — like Cindy Pertile.

Cindy was my choir and musical theater director from 8th grade through 10th grade. She was a phenomenal, compassionate person who had the knack for seeing the potential in people and developing that potential into something amazing.

Exactly 30 years ago today, she did something that altered the course of my life for the better. I spoke about that experience a couple weeks ago at my old high school.

 

Cindy passed away last year, and a scholarship has been established in her honor. You can find out more about the scholarship at CindyPertileScholarshipFund.com.

Film Festival Miscellany

My 3D animated music video, “The Simple Carnival – Go Away I Like You Too Much” has been making the rounds on the film festival circuit. In February, I attended the Toronto Animation Arts Festival International (TAAFI) in Toronto, Canada where I got to see the screening of my video…as well as eighty-four other shorts and four features in three days! It was an excessive smorgasbord of all kinds of animation, but I had a great time.

Plus, when I walked down the street from the theater, I got to see where Bob and Doug McKenzie parked their van in Strange Brew!

Here are some other festivals which have screened — or who will be screening — “The Simple Carnival – Go Away I Like You Too Much”:

March 16, 2019: Athens Animfest, Athens, Greece
May 3-5, 2019: Stereoscopic Society Annual Convention, Southampton, UK
May 10-12 2019: 26th Australian National Stereo Photography Convention, Maldon, Victoria (Australia)
May 26, 2019: Silver Screen International Film Festival, Tampa, FL
June 4-6 2019: New Media Film Festival, Los Angeles, CA
June 13-16, 2019: Florida Animation Festival, Tallahassee, FL
August 3, 2019: National Stereoscopic Association Convention (3D-Con), Akron, OH

A big thank you to all of these festivals! I won’t be able to attend all of these events, but I genuinely appreciate having my work included in them.

Go Away I Like You Too Much Wins Best of Show Animation at SD&A

I’m pleased to announce that The Simple Carnival – Go Away I Like You Too Much won Best of Show Animation yesterday at the Stereoscopic Displays and Applications conference in San Francisco!

I wasn’t able to be there in person, but the conference appears to be a pretty deep dive into the art, science, and technology behind 3-D imaging. A big thanks goes out to the kind folks at SD&A for the honor!

 

 

Go Away I Like You Too Much on The Short Film Show

Earlier today, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that The Simple Carnival – Go Away I Like You Too Much will be broadcast on The Short Film Show. The Short Film Show airs on Sky Channel 192 and Freesat 161 in the UK, and is on Amazon Prime in the US and UK.

Season 2 begins on January 18th; The Simple Carnival – Go Away I Like You Too Much will be featured in episode 3. Looking forward to seeing it!