Monday, May 28, 2007

The Prelude

Hey Cats

Welcome to the making of THE CAT PIANO a short animated film by Eddie White and Ari Gibson of The People's Republic Of Animation.

You may have seen some of The PRA's past animated films CARNIVORE REFLUX (2006) and SWEET & SOUR (2007). Here we will give you a glimpse at the making of our latest film. You will see how the idea evolves and eventually becomes a living, breathing piece of animation.

THE CAT PIANO began as poem in the style of beat poets such as Jack Kerouac mixed with the romantic poems of Edgar Allen Poe. The subject matter was inspired by an old instrument that actually existed in the 17th century called The Cat Piano. It was an incredibly cruel instrument that poked a different cat's tail with each key struck. It was for the twisted entertainment of a decadent German Prince and dubbed KATZENKLAVIER in Germany. This horrific instrument has been forever banished from music history.

I'm Eddie White and I am the writer of the poem. I am Creative Director at The PRA. I co-directed CARNIVORE REFLUX with James Calvert and then directed SWEET & SOUR. I'll be designing and co-directing this short. I'm not a cat lover nor a cat-hater.

Hey people, I'm Ari and I'll be the animator, designer and co-director of this short. I am the Art Director here at the PRA and, do actually really like cats.

Due to the lack of budget and limited team (the two of us) we knew this film had to be short, sharp and have a bold visual style to match the subject matter. To this end this short will be entirely 2D animation utlising traditional animation techniques. The films aesthetic is inspired by vintage jazz albums covers, art-deco posters, the photography of Brassai, Bruce Timm's Batman: The Animated Series and japanese anime, namely that of Kazuhiko Kato, Osamu Tezuka and Hiroshi Masumura. There's also a strong film noir flavour.

If there are any questions you wish to ask of us, or comments you'd like to make, please email us at
We look forward to your company and comments throughout this journey.

Stay Tuned
Same Cat Time. Same Cat Channel.


Aaron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aaron said...

Love it.

One of our cats got run over, and had his tail amputated (later, and humanely...not when he got run over). Then 3 days later our other cat got run over and squashed, not quite so humanely.

Save the cats.

Jonathan said...

According to Wikipedia, the cat piano was a "hypothetical" musical instrument:

The description about it's entertainment use in the 16th century, sounds, well, fictional. The illustration you feature has way more keys than cats.

HOWEVER: There was a vaudeville act called "The Cat Piano" which is what attracted me to your blog. In this stage show, a box containing live cats in stalls was displayed. On the reverse side were tails hanging out. The tales were FAKE.
The "musician" would pull the tails, and someone offstage would create the sounds of cats screeching out a tune.

This is similar to what Walt Disney did with piglets in "Steamboat Willie".