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Monday, June 19, 2006


RIT is 12 miles from my house and the public transportation is erratic (I usually take it to go home since it's more important to 'be there on time' than to get home at a certain time, though Gizmo might disagree with me here.)

I found a lady from the Business school who lived nearby and who was willing to carpool. We would commute each morning and return most evenings.

One day there were bags of popcorn--big ones--piled in the back seat. "Party?" I asked. "Screening," she replied. "It's a new documentary on credit card debt based on a book by Doctor Manning; we are viewing a work in progress."

I asked if I could attend this screening. My class couhad lab work that afternoon so I took off and viewed the work print IN DEBT WE TRUST , a film by Daniel Schechter.

Before I get to the rest of the article, let me tell you to GO SEE THIS MOVIE. It was one of the most important documentaries I've seen in years. There's no distributor yet but there will be a screening somewhere in Upstate New York (Rochester?) on July 4. The response in Nantucket (where it premiered at the veddy veddy tony film fest there) was outstanding, with two sold-out screenings.)

anyway when I saw the work pic I noticed that there were slugs inserted for 'animation'. I also noticed that my good friend Nenad Bach was doing the background music!

I spoke with Dr. Robert Manning after the screening and asked whether he was looking for an animator. He was. When was his wrap date? Two weeks from now. "You will never get animation finished in this amount of time, but you WILL be able to use illustrations!" I told him. I then volunteered to do them myself. after writing to Nenad, who told me that it was a great picture and he'd recommend me to his friend Daniel Schechter.

The upshot of the deal was that I spoke with Daniel Schechter about what sort of illustrations he wanted; explained that it was really too late for animation; drew up a bunch of roughs and showed them to Mr. Schechter and Doctor Manning ; both suggested changes and so I drew up a mess of political cartoons for this film and for the upcoming website--my first in years and the only ones published. I always wanted to be a political cartoonist but never had the fire in the belly that a Thomas Nast or a C. D. Batchelor or Vaughn Shoemaker did. I am not a devotee of the 'ha ha funny' school of political cartooning that is popular today; I prefer the older guys to just about everyone working today. There is nothing funny about politics today!

Since I've spent my entire career doing 'funny stuff' there is an element of comedy in these drawings. But I was never more serious in my life.

Two of the drawings are in the film, the rest are to be used on the upcoming website, and two more will appear as illustrations in PREPARE TO BOARD.