April 24 – PES (class in SCA 112)


PES is frequently cited as one of the most unique video artists of his

generation. His signature style of animation with objects blends a pop

art sensibility with touches of surrealism. His first short Roof Sex won

the “Best First Film” award at the Annecy Animation Festival in 2002

and went on to receive 25 million+ hits online. His short, Western

Spaghetti, was named #2 Viral Video of the Year by TIME Magazine

and won at Sundance in 2009. His most recent film, Fresh Guacamole,

premiered in front of Academy Award-winner The Artist and was

nominated for the 2013 Oscar.




PES has been featured in a wide variety of publications and venues,

from The New York Times to the front pages of YouTube in 22

countries, from underground film festivals to major art institutions such

as the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. His work has been screened and

awarded in film festivals worldwide and his films have received a

hundred million views online. He has also directed dozens of

commercials for major brands including Playstation, Scrabble, and


PES is currently developing a feature film based on the Garbage Pail

Kids franchise with Michael Eisner’s Tornante Company.



“PES puts a new spin on the familiar in a way that we haven’t seen

since Warhol worked in soup cans.” – David Levy, Directing Animation


Fresh Guacamole (2012)

The Deep (2010)

Western Spaghetti (2008)

Game Over (2006)

KaBoom! (2004)

Roof Sex (2002)



38 comments on “April 24 – PES (class in SCA 112)

  1. Erin Shea says:

    You seem to strike a great balance between doing your own projects and making money from commercial work . . . what are your biggest tips and things-to-avoid for filmmakers/media makers who also want to do both kinds of projects? Both your independent stuff and your client work is really fun and inspiring! Thanks!

  2. Miguel Jiron says:

    It’s always exciting to see an original filmmaker maintaining a clear vision throughout their career, something that PES is a great example of. How do you see your past work informing your future projects, such as PES’ reported move into feature films with Garbage Pail Kids?

    I also would be curious on your thoughts on distribution of short films today. As a short filmmaker in the age of the internet, short films are simultaneously never been more popular but also harder for the filmmakers to see profit from their work. Do you see an artist-friendly solid distribution plan for short filmmakers in the horizon, or is this something that is simply an anachronism in today’s digital landscape? Or even necessary?

  3. What are the biggest challenges in making the transition from shorts into a feature film?

  4. Evan Harbuck says:

    When you’re conceptualizing clever replacement animations, which comes first, the objects of the idea?

  5. Cecilia De Jesus says:

    What are you bringing from your experience with your shorts into developing your feature debut? Your shorts have such great punches and timing that works well in their succinctness. Do you find it challenging to keep that freshness working with a longer format?

  6. Caress Reeves says:

    A lot of your work involves using found objects, and redefining their use (candy corn becomes flames in a fire, ribbon becomes explosions, etc). Why does this approach attract you?

  7. Einar says:

    What are your films about?

  8. Joseph Yeh says:

    How do you stay fresh?

  9. Andrew Malek says:

    I love the way that PES films transform mundane objects into something new and exciting, are there any other filmmakers or artists who have inspired you to to take this approach to film making?

  10. Ruthie Williams says:

    Why did you start animating and what was it like to have a video go viral in the early days of Youtube? What was it like directing your first commercial?

    Also: I’m so proud to find out you went to UVA!! wahoowa 🙂

  11. Brian Rhodes says:

    Thank you for your work. It is inspiring.

    As a film maker, what was your original dream and how did you evolve to find your “voice”. Quite possibly you are doing exactly what you set out to do, but just in case I wanted to know your journey and how it has evolved.

  12. lisa chung says:

    Can you please talk about the rig systems you use for your animations? I would love to see some pre-post shots for seminar.

  13. Dustin Reno says:

    Do you ever find inspiration for ideas in your films by the placement or arrangement and associations of items and objects on store shelves or in storage themselves, or do you conceptualize everything?

  14. Dan Wilson says:

    Andrew mentions how you turn mundane objects into something exciting. Are you ever inspired to turn exciting objects into something mundane? That, in turn, would be exciting.

  15. Yizhou Li says:

    What kind of projects do you prefer to do, feature film or shorts? Have you ever tried working with time-sensitive objects like food, ice, and so forth?

  16. Ryan Gillis says:

    I’d like to hear about your transition from independent animation to commercial work. With such a distinct body of work, did you have to prove to employers that you were capable of more? If so, what did you do?
    More practically:
    I’ve never seen pixelation animation that looks as smooth as the hands in Western Spaghetti and Fresh Guacamole. Do you have tricks you can tell us, or are your shoots just painstaking pose matching?

  17. Joanna Barondess says:

    I, too, am curious about the tricks you have up your sleeve for making your animations incredibly smooth. Also, where did your fascination for using found objects as representations of other objects in life stem from?

  18. Can you talk about the techniques using for you animation? And the story how you become an independent animation artist.

  19. Louis Morton says:

    When working on commercials, how often is it that the agency / client gives you complete creative control and how often do they already have a specific idea of what they’d like you to do? Thanks.

  20. Ivan Sayon says:

    How long does it usually take for your to conceptualize ideas and prepare materials before the production process? Or is the planning more on-the-spot and spontaneous?

  21. Corrina Nedell says:

    What is it like being so successful in your industry? Have you had to work particularly hard to maintain your artistic vision/hold your own? What is something you know now that you wish you had known at the beginning of your career

  22. JavierB says:

    East coat West cost , international ,online? where do you see the freelance animation or animation in general in the next years. And where do you shop for all your goodies?

  23. Radha Vishnubhotla says:

    Your work is incredible! How do you make your animations so smooth? With your ‘couch sex’ animation, how were you able to make it so convincing and was it very hard technically to make it convincing?

  24. Can you talk about the pro’s and con’s of distributing your work on YouTube. You’ve clearly received alot of attention through this venue. Has this helped or interferred with selling or exhibiting your artworks?

  25. Tristan Dyer says:

    I enjoyed this talk quite a bit. It’s funny because the online persona of “PES” is kind of monolithic and revered. But then you learn it is an abbreviation for a long last name and was a nickname growing up it brings it down to earth. I found it interesting that PES likes very short films for the reason that people will watch them multiple times. I think this is smart as an independent artist because it helps extend your net of contact. I also like that he showed us some of his behind the scenes tricks.

  26. uscanimation says:

    I was fascinated that Pes came out of advertising and spots –
    It seemed his ability to compress time and simplify his communication is at the heart of his work. I like what he said about keeping the work short, clear and concise.

  27. Amy Lee Ketchum says:

    Loved the work he showed as inspiration and the works that led up to his current trajectory. Looking forward to seeing the Garbage Pail Kids project!

  28. Jason Ronzani says:

    After hearing his valuable insight and emphasis on short, concise ideas, I’m curious to see how PES’s film making styles and philosophies will translate to his upcoming feature-length projects.

  29. Yang Liu says:

    PES presentation is extremely interesting, I was very surprised I’ve seen all his previous works without knowing it’s the same person! His creativity is out of nowhere, and I hope he keeps creating short commercials!

  30. Linda Jules says:

    This was a really wonderful presentation. I think the most interesting part of PES’s talk was hearing how he found his way into the world of animation by way of pure curiosity. His style is so unique and entertaining, I always assumed that PES was someone who spent many years studying and crafting his replacement animation skills. But in fact he took many specialized interest, and channeled them into one art form. Looking forward to the possibility of seeing feature work from him soon.

  31. lanzhujian says:

    I like PES’s experience how he just go ahead and do the movie. and his’ passion about short film reminds me why I m doing film now. I like this feeling. someone really delicate their time and passion to the things they love.

  32. Chaoqi Zhang says:

    In my expression, PES is such a vivid guy with tremendous creativity and imagination. I just want to know what’s his next project?

  33. I’ve seen PES twice and I’ve come to the realization that I like his work to speak for itself. Hes movies are unique because they are what they are, and I think he tries to put a lot of theory in them which make him sound a little snobbish. Having said that, the execution is perfect and the sound is so appealing. I think he is a great animator and I can’t wait to see what he does next.

  34. linhuiwang says:

    It was a great lecture. it gave me some inspirations about how to make things move and how to give a thing life not just limited in drawing, animation, some times has more meaning than we’ve seen.

  35. Yifu Zhou says:

    PES’s work is awesome! It’s good to know how they creating their animations and how they coming up with their ideas.

  36. Emily Chung says:

    It was a fantastic lecture:D It was really nice to see PES in person!!

  37. Simo Liu says:

    I was always inspired by PES’s inspiration and creation. I like he always tried to do different styles of him. And it is also great that know how he creates his films. It’s inspired me a lot.

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