Jeffrey Trzepkowski’s dream is to create and produce his own cartoon show.
A step closer to that reality, the Desert Vista High School graduate and New York Film Academy student in Los Angeles just released his first animated short — with a character made entirely of clay.
Trzepkowski’s clay animation called “Touch of Love” is about a homeless musician who is transported to the moon for a concert after finding a magic guitar.
“I like this a lot better than live action,” said Trzepkowski. “You can create your own world.”
After two months of writing the script, making his own set in his apartment, and 10 days of actual production, Trzepkowski and friends finished his clay animation film that lasts about three and a half minutes.
“It takes a toll on your back,” he said with a laugh.
But for Trzepkowski, the end result and creative freedom is more than worth the effort.
Before graduating from Desert Vista in 2009, the young filmmaker admitted he wasn’t sure of what he wanted to pursue after high school. Ranging in plans from farming in Hawaii to considering local community colleges, Trzepkowski said he “made a 180” in his decision to move to Los Angeles.
“I had lived in Ahwatukee for 18 years and wanted to experience something new and get away,” he said. “In the end, I ultimately thought about my career.”
Though he wasn’t involved in film projects or clubs in high school, the love and interest in film was always there. With an added support system from his parents, there was no stopping Trzepkowski.
Ahwatukee is still a place he likes to visit, being that Trzepkowski’s family is still here, but the “impulsive” streak in him finds more of a home in the fast-paced lifestyle that is Los Angeles.
Now in his last year studying filmmaking, Trzepkowski is seeking to raise funds for future projects like “Touch of Love.” While the film school does supply students materials, equipment and other tools, only so much is given. After being inspired by short films like Tim Burton’s “Vincent” and episodes of South Park, Trzepkowski is aiming to film a pilot episode for a show of his own.
In doing animation, he has a slight advantage when most students are doing live action filming or acting. Trzepkowski’s niche for experimenting in facial expressions with his clay characters doesn’t hurt either.
Every now and then, Trzepkowski hopes for a break into the industry. Realizing that it’s “about who you know,” he’s ready for the challenge.
“When animating, it’s all on you. But I like the pressure,” he said proudly.
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