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The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

An interview with William Joyce / Nominated for: Animated Short category for THE FANTASTIC FLYING

What is your home town? Where did you go to school?
Shreveport, Louisiana. Southern Methodist University, B.F.A. Film

What was your first movie-going experience, and how did it affect you?
The Wizard of Oz. It changed my genetic structure. I was 5 years old.

Did you watch the Oscars growing up? Was it a family experience? Do you recall a
particular favorite Oscar moment?
My family and I watched it every year. Usually at my insistence. I think the loveliest, most
haunting moment I’ve seen was when Charlie Chaplin received his special Oscar in 1971.
He’d been in exile since the 50’s. He seemed all but forgotten. They showed clip after
masterful clip of his films. They were still showing them when he walked on stage, tiny,
stooped, in his 80’s. The standing ovation went on and on. The audience seemed to be
saying “Thank you for helping invent this thing we love. Thank you for coming back.”

When did you decide that you wanted to make movies? What influ enced you? Who or
what inspired you along the way?
When I was 5 I saw the Wizards of Oz, King Kong, Old yeller, National Velvet, The adventures
of Robin Hood and Shane at the Saturday kids matinee in the old movie palace downtown.
It felt holy as you walked into this gilded temple of possibilities. Then the lights went down
and the heavenly light began to flicker and the dreams flooded the theater and we all lost our
minds over the wonders that enveloped us. Imagine a thousand kids whose suspension of
belief was total. We lived those stories. We screamed and cheered and tried to hide our tears.
Get home Dorothy! Come back, Shane! Don’t die, Kong! I’ve never gotten over it. It guides
me to this day. And it will till I die.

What’s the most valuable piece of advice you ever got in your career?
It’s a quote from John Huston “Money’s only good for making movies and throwing off the
back of trains.”

What was the biggest challenge you faced on the movie for which you are nominated?
Not giving up.

What was your most memorable moment on this movie?
We were shooting our miniature sets on a fairly large soundstage. We had five camera crews
shooting simultaneously. My co-director and I were running between crews, directing the
lighting, composition, set dressing. We were like madmen. Totally possessed and obsessed.
We did 375 set ups in 5 days. It nearly killed us all and it was the most fun I’ve ever had.

What would be your dream movie project to work on?
The next one.

What’s the one thing that people would be shocked to know about you?
I work in computer animation and I don’t own a computer.

Do you use social media? If you tweet, what is your Twitter name?
Dude, I don’t even have a computer.

If you have a Facebook fan page, please let us know what it is called.
Just go to

For information about the award and videos, go to:

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