Animation maker

Host Geoff Marslett launches university’s ‘Meet the Maker’ series

Evan Younger / Hillside Views

Students gather to attend Geoff Marslett’s seminar on the trials and tribulations of animation and the film industry.

Creative Geoff Marslett visited St. Edward’s University on September 26 to speak with independent film students as part of a “Meet the Maker” series organized by the university.

Showing up with gravity-defying hair and a 2013 Honda Odyssey with 100,000 miles, Marslett’s opening remarks to the students sounded pretty grim.

“Horrible business,” he said of the movie. “It’s really hard, it’s going to knock you down.”

Appearing in various film and animation festivals like Sundance, BFI London and SXSW, he has been a director, screenwriter, producer, animator and actor. Some of his featured works include “Loves Her Gun” and “The Day Before” and “Yakona”.

In addition to maintaining his presence in the film industry, Marslett has also trained students at the University of Texas at Austin, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Colorado at Boulder on film and animation.

Sometimes when I teach, I wonder ‘what would Geoff do’ and I draw inspiration from that,” said Jeanne Stern, Marslett’s former teaching assistant and current animation professor at St. Edward’s.

Marslett studied math and philosophy in college and ended up hosting his first short, titled “Monkey vs. Robot”, in the 90s. This animation then gained traction, being shown at Spike and Mike’s Classic Festival of Animation and on PBS.

“You’ll get a lot of strikeouts,” Marslett told the students. “You get better as you go.”

In 2010, Marslett continued to host “MARCH,” a romantic comedy about astronauts and robots en route to Mars. He created unique programming to achieve this style of animation.

“Animation is harder to do, so fewer people are doing it,” Marslett said.

His next animation, “Ghost 52” starring Tom Skerrit, appeared at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. With this feature, Marslett emphasized casting animators like you would cast actors.

“Rising tides will lift all ships together,” Marslett said of the animators’ collaboration.

This mix of animation styles can be found in Marslett’s “Quantum Cowboys” which premiered on September 24 as part of Fantastic Fest.

According IMDbthis “rotoscoped time travel western” follows a trio in 1870s southwest Arizona while depicting “complex quantum time theory” and “philosophical musings on art like how we understand our history and our memories”.

“Geoff’s greatest strengths are that he believes in his work and never gives up,” Stern said.

After working in the film industry for 25 years, Marslett has a healthy dose of skepticism about what it means to succeed, but also has hopeful and forward-looking eyes.

“I sincerely believe that some of you (students) are going to beat the system and do things we’ve never seen before,” Marslett said as his final piece of advice to students at St. Edward.

More links to Marslett’s work: