Interview: Filmmaker Don Hertzfeldt on his Simpsons couch gag and the pains of animation

It’s always difficult to explain the brilliance of Don Hertzfeldt to someone who hasn’t seen his stuff. The artist-animator has spent nearly 20 years carving out a highly idiosyncratic body of work, one defined by a fierce commitment to his one-man operation of hand-drawn animation. While his early short work was characterized by a mordant wit and harsh violence, it soon gave way to more meditative and soulful narratives, epitomized by his three-part opus It’s Such A Beautiful Day. But one thing that hasn’t changed is his signature character—a barely there stick-figure, a stylistic choice that starts off looking juvenile but quickly reveals surprising depth and nuance. When we spoke to Hertzfeldt back in 2012, he was still prepping his next project after that trilogy, but he soon had one of the more unexpected milestones in his career: being approached to create a couch gag …

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