Artist – Heath Affolter


Heath Affolter is an award-winning producer, director and
writer and a two-time LEO Award nominee. In 2006, Heath and his
three brothers formed Affolter
Entertainment
, a Vancouver based production company. 
Affolter Entertainment produces and develops original content
for film, television and the web.  The films, commercials
and music videos Heath and his brothers produced have won or
been nominated for over 15 awards and played in dozens of film
festivals worldwide.  On a personal note, Heath loves
movies and sports, but dislikes having to write bios about
himself. 

Heath Affolter

What part of Canada are you from Heath?

Born in Vancouver, grew up in the beautiful Slocan Valley in
the Kootenay region of BC, and am currently back in Vancouver
where I have been for the last decade or so. Love this town.
 

What inspired you to write for animation?

My brothers and I have always loved animation. Just like
everyone, we loved cartoons when we were kids, but for some
reason we just never grew out of it like most people (not the
readers of this website of course, but you know… “normal”
people). Having two brothers who are animators has helped keep
me in touch with the animation world while growing up, but to
be honest, I think I’d want to write for animation whether my
brothers were involved in it or not. There’s just so much you
can do with it, you’re truly bound by nothing, which is
especially a blessing when you come from the indie film world
where you’re constantly being told to write what you know will
be feasible to shoot. But in the end, I just love stories.
Animation, live-action, fiction or non, they’re all just
mediums to tell stories, and most of the time it just comes
down to which medium is the best for telling your particular
story. 

Affolter Bros being interviewed at the Santa Cruz Film
Festival

How would you describe your writing style?

As far as the actual writing goes, I think that’s kind of a
difficult question for someone to answer about themselves. I
guess the question is, how would you describe my writing
style? 

As far as the process of the writing goes, I would describe it
as slow and steady wins the race. I tend to edit as I write,
which is a horrible thing to do, but I usually just can’t help
myself. My brother Thomas has the ability to just open up and
let it flow in a single burst and it’s amazing. I tend to
over-think every sentence as I go, which ends up being a
blessing and a curse. It takes me longer to get through a first
draft, but I’m usually semi-happy with the results. There’s
nothing worse than getting through a piece of writing and
re-reading it only to realize, “This is all shit!”
Although I think that’s part of the process
too.   

Heath dressed as Barf from Spaceballs for Halloween

Can you share a script segment that no one has seen
before?

I’ve attached a piece of writing that I found on my computer.
It was nothing more than a personal writing exercise, no goal
in the piece except to sit down and write something one day,
and I ended up with what’s basically a 1-page short story. I
wouldn’t say it’s particularly good, but you asked for
something no one has seen before, and the truth is anything
good that I’ve written I probably would have shown to one of my
brothers at some point. That’s just how we work. But this
piece, at the very least, is kind of interesting and more
importantly, I’ve never shown it to anyone before this.

Cock sucking shit ball mother fucking stupid cunt fuck,
Victor thought to himself. Here I am again. He chewed on his
pen and stared at a blank page. The same blank page he had been
staring at for the last five days, the blank page that haunted
his dreams and waking hours alike. The pages before the blank
page had all come rather easily. His pen ink had been flowing
non-stop, and he wrote with neither judgement nor consciousness
of where he was going with his story. He had simply decided to
write. But when he reached his climax, he examined his options,
knowing there were only so many directions in which to take the
character he had built to his point. 

The character’s name was Straggler, and he was a bartender
in a speakeasy during prohibition times that had gotten in over
his head with none other than Al Capone himself. The setup had
gone so easy, with Straggler falling for a dame that led him
into the seedy underworld, introducing him to grotesque side
characters along the way. But now he had reached the end of his
second act, and Victor realized he had nowhere to go. He had
written himself into a corner. Victor had examined all the
possible, plausible paths he could take to get himself out of
it, and he had come to realize: He didn’t like any of them. Not
only that, but he actually hated all of them. He was one
hundred percent sure that he would be unsatisfied with any
choice he made. 

This wasn’t the first time that Victor had felt this way by
any means, but rather something he faced every single day. He
was a man who made unsatisfactory choices, knowing that he
wouldn’t truly be happy with any choice he made, but knowing
that decisions must be made regardless. Each unhappy choice he
made was a hope that the result would lead him to a decision
that would offer a choice he would like to make. Yet somehow
that choice had managed to elude him, day in and day
out. 

Victor had realized all this while staring at his blank page
over the last few days, having gone through an existential
examination of his own life based on his inability to come up
with the right ending for his story. But it wasn’t until this
moment that Victor realized perhaps the unhappiness in his life
was not a result of the choices he was making, but rather a
result of the fact that he was making choices at all. It had
been engrained in him since childhood, that choices must be
made on a daily basis. Every day he had made them! Wake up,
should I get out of bed? What should I wear? What to eat, where
to go, what to do, every single day! And where had it led him,
Victor wondered? Where had all of those decisions collectively
taken him to? This moment. Here. With the blank page. 

Why should I even make decisions at all? Victor had pondered
this question for a day and a half now. And the final result he
came to was – he shouldn’t. He was going to stop making
decisions once and for all. He made the decision to make the
last decision he ever made to be to decide to do nothing from
here on out. He wasn’t even going to finish the story he was
writing. Shit, why should stories even have an ending? Why
couldn’t they just be, he wondered? So instead of finishing, he
was just going to 

The End 

By Heath Affolter

Can you talk about your involvement in a recent animation
project?

My bros and I are constantly developing new ideas for animated
series or features, but as far as production goes, our latest
webseries Food Flix was particularly fun. It’s a mix of
stop-motion and 2D animation, which is perfect for us since two
of us are trained in live action and two of us are trained in
animation. We always collaborate on the story and writing
aspects, but at a certain point with our animated projects I
have to sort of step back and let the animators do their work.
But with stop motion, Thomas and I are able to help build the
sets and handle all of the camera and lighting work while
Nathan and Jon do the actual animation.   

Affolter Bros on the red carpet at the Boston
International Film Festival

What is one animation project that you are proud to have
been involved in?

Again, I’d have to say Food Flix, just because the style of it
is so unconventional and I feel like we pushed ourselves to see
how far we could go with the mixture of stop-motion and 2D.
Although I’m extremely excited about a couple of new projects
that we’re developing right now.  

What projects are you working on now?

We’ve started a new YouTube channel called Comedy Blender
(which is where we launched Food Flix), and we’re going to
continue to upload a new comedy video to that every other
Friday, so that’s a constant monkey on our backs. The good type
of monkey, of course. We’re also developing a few new animated
series ideas that I’m really excited about, but I can’t say too
much about those before we’re ready to pitch them. And I’m also
working as a Production Coordinator at DHX Media where I’ve
worked on animated shows for Dreamworks and Hasbro, although
again, I’m not at liberty to say what I’m currently working on.
Secrets galore.

Who is one of your favourite Canadian
animators/artists/writers?

Well, I know he’s not a “writer” per se, but the bulk of what I
write is comedy, and my favourite Canadian comedian is Norm
Macdonald. He’s written some movies and for a lot of TV shows,
but it’s his stand-up that really gets me. Stand-up writing is
truly an art, one that I’ve never actually dabbled in myself,
and his writing combined with his delivery is just non-stop
pure gold. My apologies go out to the millions of “serious”
writers that I failed to mention.

What is one of your favourite art/animation/writing craft
books? 

There are of course many, but one that I particularly loved was
“Conversations with Wilder” by Cameron Crowe. It’s basically
just a series of interviews that Cameron Crowe did with Billy
Wilder over a number of years, but I feel like I was able to
learn more about story by hearing two great filmmakers talk
about film than I did from any of the “Here’s how you make a
great ____” type of books that I’ve read. 

Who is an up-and-coming or relatively unknown Canadian
writer or artist that everyone should check out?

Ken Kabatoff is a super talented Vancouver-based writer,
director and producer. He’s created a few TV shows that are in
development with a couple of major companies, and it’s really
only a matter of time before he takes over Hollywood. He
doesn’t have a website, but you can follow him on Twitter
@KenKabatoff – https://twitter.com/kenkabatoff.

Are you involved with any art organizations in Canada?

Sadly, I am not. Wait, does being a Scene Member at Cineplex
count?   

Has your writing won any awards/accolades?

My brothers and I have actually been lucky enough to win (or be
nominated for) quite a few awards for the films we’ve produced,
most of which I helped write. You can see a full list of them
here: http://affolterentertainment.com/awards.html

What are some of your writing career milestones?

Winning some awards is always nice, but I think the best were
having a short film I wrote and produced with my brothers
purchased for distribution, and having one of our TV series
ideas optioned (though sadly, it was not picked up to series…
yet!).

Check out the links below to get updates on what Heath and
his brothers are up to.


Comdey Blender Instagram: http://instagram.com/comedyblender/ 

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