Tag Archives: David Holmes

An Interview With ‘The Motel Life’ Animator Mike Smith – Plus Watch An Exclusive Clip!

The Motel Life is a searing and profound examination of brotherhood set in the timeless Sierra Nevadan frontier. Two brothers, Frank (Emile Hirsch) and Jerry Lee (Stephen Dorff) escape their bleak day-to-day existence by telling each other fantastical stories. Lakeshore Records, who released the The Motel Life soundtrack, spoke with animator Mike Smith about his artwork for the film. Mike Smith was tasked with portraying the imagination of the two wayward brothers. Like David Holmes and Keefus Ciancia’s score for the film, Mike’s images are impressionistic, minimal, and stripped to the heart.

Lakeshore Records: The Motel Life Animator Mike Smith Illustration

You have been animating for over 30 years, including music videos for David Byrne, Grace Jones, and Bob Marley; and you have animated feature films and animated sequences in Tank Girl and Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers. What attracted you to animation?

The endless variety of styles, techniques and interpretations. That is why it is so liberating to work on projects like The Motel Life and get a chance to express something different through the medium. From early on, I realized one could never really exhaust the possibilities to express ideas through animation. I still feel this way today.

Your animation for the film is loose and sketchy, yet it perfectly captures the spirit of the brothers and their stories. It looks like you used very simple tools.

I kept in mind that the animation was a sort-of joining of Frank’s stories and Jerry Lee’s imagination, so I wanted to keep a sketchbook feel to the animation to help us feel Jerry Lee’s presence while Frank told him the stories.

There is a quality one obtains from using the actual rough animation drawings in the final look that brings to mind an unfinished sketch. I felt that one could relate this style of animation to the rough-hewn style of American roots music.

Lakeshore Records: The Motel Life SoundtrackThis minimal approach can also be heard in David Holmes’ and Keefus Ciancia’s music. Were you inspired by the music? Did you try to match the sound of it with your drawing style?

While storyboarding of the animation, I listened to American roots music. When the animatics were edited, some of this found its way into the cut as temporary place-holders to help express the flavor of each sequence.

 

 

Download The AlbumThe Motel Life Soundtrack


Did you have a goal or idea in mind as to what the animation should look like before starting the project, or did you let it take shape as the film developed?

Originally, I did designs that were much more painterly or more expressive in terms of how one draws with charcoal as opposed to traditional animation pencil line. I decided to keep a rather monotone flavor to everything and have the animation affected by subtle textures and simple shading.

Much of the atmosphere actually comes from the surreal stories themselves and Emile Hirsch’s reading of them. It allowed me to wander visually and break the traditional ways of storytelling.

Do you have a favorite sequence in the film?

I liked the sequence where we imagine a childhood adventure with Frank and Jerry Lee. They encounter pirates, meet Willie Nelson and come-of-age thanks to a bevy of cowgirls.

Watch an exclusive clip from The Motel Life:

Watch “The Motel Life” on vudu and stay tuned for more updates on the film!

 

Pre-Order ‘The Motel Life’ On March 11 – Music By David Holmes (Oceans Eleven), The Kills & More!

If you’re a fan of composer David Holmes‘ film scores from Oceans Eleven, then get ready to treat your ears with this latest soundtrack from The Motel Life, out on March 18.  The soundtrack features scores co-written by David Holmes and Keefus Ciancia, and a various other music artists.  Can’t wait that long?

Pre-order your copy of The Motel Life starting on March 11.

The Motel Life stars Emile Hirsch, Stephen Dorff, Kris Kristofferson and Dakota Fanning. The film score by David Holmes also features songs by The KillsTownes Van Zandt and Justin Townes Earle.

Don’t forget! You can pre-order your copy starting March 11.

The Motel Life (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Various Artists
(Credits updated March 7, 2014).

01. Fighter Pilots – David Holmes and Keefus Ciancia feat. Stephen Dorff and Emile Hirsch

02. Fit To Be Tied – Jonathan Clay

03. Mother’s Message – David Holmes and Keefus Ciancia

04. Roll ‘Em Dice – Buddy Stuart

05. Jerry Shoots Himself – David Holmes and Keefus Ciancia

06. Frank Runs To Hospital – David Holmes and Keefus Ciancia

07. Oil Can – Joe D’Augustine

08. Frank Reads Postcards – David Holmes and Keefus Ciancia

09. Denny’s House – David Holmes and Keefus Ciancia

10. Reprise to Childhood – David Holmes and Keefus Ciancia

11. They Killed John Henry – Justin Townes Earle

12. Frank Packs Drawings – David Holmes and Keefus Ciancia

13. Leaving the Motel – David Holmes and Keefus Ciancia

14. Mr. Mudd And Mr. Gold – Townes Van Zandt

15. Leaving Town – David Holmes and Keefus Ciancia

16. Pirate Story – David Holmes and Keefus Ciancia

17. Give ‘Em Hell – Little Hurricane

18. Reverse Harmonics – Joe D’Augustine

19. Dark Horse – The Long Wives

20. Annie and Frank Walk – David Holmes and Keefus Ciancia

21. Shower – David Holmes and Keefus Ciancia

22. Tell Me a Story – David Holmes and Keefus Ciancia

23. Frank Meets Annie – David Holmes and Keefus Ciancia

24. Wait – The Kills

25. Frank Rejects Annie – David Holmes and Keefus Ciancia

26. Jerry Dies – David Holmes and Keefus Ciancia

27. Aftermath – David Holmes and Keefus Ciancia

28. The Boyfriends – Richmond Fontaine

Synopsis:
Based on the popular novel by Willy Vlautin, The Motel Life is a searing and profound examination of brotherhood set in the timeless Sierra Nevadan frontier. Frank (Emile Hirsch) and Jerry Lee Flannigan (Stephen Dorff) work odd jobs, drink hard, and drift from motel to motel.

The Motel Life – Soundtrack coming soon!

We’re excited to announce that we’re releasing the music from the movie The Motel Life!

The Motel Life (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Music by David Holmes, Townes Van ZandtJustin Townes Earle and The Kills!

Complete Details and Track Listing Coming Soon.

Visit  the official The Motel Life Website

Synopsis:

A pair of working-class brothers flee their Reno Motel after getting involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident.

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