Short of the Week

Guard Dog

A lovable dog does all he can to protect his master from the park’s hidden dangers in this satirical look at Bush-era American policy from the legendary Bill Plympton.

Oscar-nominated in either 2003 or 2004 (whats the protocol here? did we just have the 2009 Oscars?) Bill Plympton’s Guard Dog introduces the loveable hyper-active mutt that is quickly becoming the iconic animator’s signature character. In this film, Dog is so wrapped up in protecting his owner from threats real and imaginary (mostly imaginary) that he does more harm than good. Evidently the French were convinced when this film came out that it was an allegory for George W.

The film has been a hit in festivals and was featured on the Animation Show Season 2, so you may have caught it somewhere before. Plympton though, is one of the rare filmmakers who makes a living with his short films, so it has taken awhile for the film to find its way online.  I’m grateful because I hadn’t seen it before, and if you haven’t either, stop reading and do it now!

Part 2: Guide Dog »

Part 3: Hot Dog (currently offline)

Part 4: Horn Dog (currently offline)

UPDATE: Bill has called for a global jam by asking respected animated around the world to each re-create one shot of his famous Guard Dog. Watch the rough edit »

Co-Founder of Short of the Week, Sondhi lives in Brooklyn working as a Curator for Vimeo. Follow his musings on online video, direct distribution and branded content: @jasondhi.
  • Andrew S Allen

    Sondhi is absolutely right when he says Plympton is one of the few independent short film animators to make a living off what he does. The USofA is a difficult place for short films. There are relatively few funding programs when compared to Canada, the UK, and even Australia. Plympton, arguable the best known and most marketable animator still struggles to make it all work within modest budgets. He has even stated that much of his short form work is funded through feature-length animations. I’m interested to hear what others think about this… ?

  • Jason Sondhi

    I’ve heard him say the opposite actually, that his short films fund a lot of his work. He sells them in collections and the lack of dialogue allows him to sell to overseas TV. He is an interesting dude though, he isn’t completely adverse to the internet as these shorts show, despite that even the money from Atom is fairly insignificant. Somebody like Hertzfeldt is in the same category, and except for the piece we reviewed, I don’t think any of his work has come online legitimately. Hair High by Plympton I think even debuted on the internet.

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