Stretch goal #2 - 6 days to go!

   The campaign is stretching towards it second goal to restore the film and integrate the live-action footage of Tom Waits filmed in 1979.  If you haven't contributed yet, head over to the campaign and chip in for rare items and exclusive access to the live-action and restored footage.      


The campaign is stretching towards it second goal to restore the film and integrate the live-action footage of Tom Waits filmed in 1979.

If you haven't contributed yet, head over to the campaign and chip in for rare items and exclusive access to the live-action and restored footage.




We've reached our funding goal and "Tom Waits For No One: The Illustrated Scrapbook" will be published!

Thank you to everyone, family, friends and you wonderful folks who contributed to give this film a second life! 

Our focus will now shift to restoring the original live action footage. The campaign remains open for 25 more days and we've set up a stretch goal to lead to the recovery the live action footage used making the film.

Hitting the world press!

The Illustrated Scrapbook Kickstarter is being written about worldwide - in the UK by NME and Uncut, and most recently in Portugal, Italy and Croatia!




TWFNO: The Illustrated Scrapbook is a Kickstarter Staff Pick

Wow. So full of gratitude and feeling like this campaign is off to a great start - then Kickstarter send this email today....

Someone on the Kickstarter team loves your project and now it’s a staff pick! Tell your friends, your family, scream it from the rooftops… or tweet about it. ;)

We're featuring you amongst other Staff Picks and New & Noteworthy projects, so there's no need to add any badges or banners.

Spread the good news and keep up the great work!

Here we go...!



Meschiya Lake and Tom McDermott featured!

If you have heard Meschiya Lake sing, you've heard one of the most talented and unique vocalists in the U.S. today. With a range that swings from jazz, to blues, to old timey and alternately performing songs from Hanks Williams, Tom Waits and the Great American Songbook, Lake's presence is unmistakable, being recognized as Female Performer of the Year three years running by New Orleans' Big Easy Awards. 

Tom McDermott is one of New Orleans' premiere piano players and composers, whose work has been embraced beyond NOLA, writing for the Obie Award winning off-Broadway show Nita & Zita, appearing on several shows on NPR, and traveled the world, playing with the Dukes of Dixieland and the New Orleans Nightcrawlers, 

For years, Meshiya and Tom have been featured on Wednesdays at the New Orleans' club Chickie Wah Wah. Their album Meschiya Lake and Tom McDermott was recorded at Chickie Wah Wah and produced by the recording legend John Porter in 2012. 

We are thrilled to feature Tom & Meschiya at the Tom Waits For No One 35th Anniversary Celebration - won't you support the campaign and join us in Los Angeles with Tom and Meschiya, live the at old La Brea Stage? 

Dig this folks, here's Tom and Meschiya doing Hank Williams' "Hey Good Lookin'"

...and one of my personal favorites shows Meschiya's incredible vocal range "I'm Going to Live the Life I Sing About".

The iotaCenter recognizes Tom Waits For No One

Founded in 1994, the iotaCenter is a public benefit, non-profit arts organization dedicated to "foregrounding and contextualizing historically underrepresented experimental works".

So it's with a huge amount of gratitude and humility that we announce the iotaCenter has recognized Tom Waits For No One as an important work in animation history, and invited the film to join their remarkable collection of experimental film, video and animation.

Have a look at some of the wonderful pieces at and be sure to show your support of their work. Thank you Larry Cuba and iotaCenter!

Meeting Gunnar Strøm

After talking with Michael Patterson, and his story of meeting Gunnar Strøm in Seattle in 2008, it became clear that Gunnar Strom was the person we needed to connect with. His expertise on animated music video and his particular interest in rotoscoping was unique and was potentially important to "Tom Waits For No One". This film had been under the radar for so long, in some ways, I had just come to accept it as destiny. 

But the more my brother Jack and I talked about the film, the artists and the success they went on to achieve, the more we began to feel that if anyone could provide an authoritative analysis - Gunnar Strøm would be the person to validate the film, or put it to bed once and for all. So what do you do when you only have someone’s name and the country they live in? You search the Internet. 

We scheduled a video conference with Gunnar to get introduced and ask him about “Tom Waits For No One” - had he seen it before, and if so, how did fit within the context of his paper “The Two Golden Ages of Animated Music Video”?

By the time of our meeting, Gunnar had found “Tom Waits For No One” on YouTube, visited and had many questions. Gunnar said he was a big Waits fan - had been since the 1970s. He was surprised he had never seen the film, and he loved it. Personally, I was thrilled, or in my native tongue, I was “stoked”! 

Jack and I told him about the research we’d done, what we thought we’d found, and we asked for his perspective. Gunnar wanted to take another look at the film, so we scheduled time to talk in a couple weeks. When the next video conference began, all I wanted to ask was “what do you think?!” For 35 years this video sat in obscurity - and I felt like this call could change all of that. Or maybe it wouldn’t, but at least I would know and would have a direction -- to celebrate, or to go on as I did after it fell from visibility in 1981. 

In short time, Gunnar Strøm said the words I had only hoped to hear - that “Tom Waits For No One” was unique - the era in which it was created, the rotoscoping method used, the animators involved and the subject of the film all meant this film was not only one the first American music videos, but was quite possibly the first rotoscoped music video ever made. 

I normally don’t talk like this, but there is no other way to say it... to me his words were breathtaking. I could hardly believe it - this film was indeed the real McCoy, and ahead of its time.

Rotoscoping and music video

With Michael Patterson rotoscoping at CalArts in 1981, Jack and I began to wonder if Patterson used the Lyon Lamb Video Rotoscope for "Commuter". 

CalArts was one of Lyon Lamb's first customers, purchasing the LL Video Animation System (VAS) for their animation program. Jack was set on finding out how Patterson had made "Commuter", and the hunt for Michael Patterson began. The age of the Internet is amazing, really – in minutes, Jack found that Patterson was teaching animation at USC, so we had a starting point.

It turns out that Patterson had never heard of Lyon Lamb's video rotoscope, but he had used the VAS at CalArts. So how did Patterson make "Commuter"? Son of a gun, he built his own rotoscope! Less than two years after the Video Rotoscope was invented, Patterson had built his own film-based rotoscope. 

Patterson approached Commuter knowing what he wanted to accomplish, so he built a drawing table that had a front surface mirror. With a single frame projector under the table, he used a controller to advance the film one frame at a time. To compensate for the reflection from the mirror, which inverted the image, he ran the film into the projector backwards. 

It was an ingenious configuration, and he, along with Candace Reckinger, would use the same rotoscope in making a-ha’s “Take On Me”. It seems remarkable that the rotoscope created for a student film would become foundation for the most famous rotoscoped music video ever made. That's ingenuity for you! 

After the interview, Patterson was kind enough to forward photos of his rotoscope in action – this during the making of “Take On Me” (notice the test drawings on the wall!). So enjoy these behind the scenes photos of making of "Take On Me"!

© John Lamb 2014