Stopped Motion: The Story of GULP

My latest film project is one that I have been working on my entire life, in one way or another! “Stopped Motion: The Story of GULP” tells the tale of my claymation pal GULP, and his journey to becoming a major Hollywood star.

The film is presented as a comedic documentary, combining stop-motion animation with live-action to bring you the story of this lovable dinosaur, and the highs and lows of his life in the film business. View the trailer below:

The Trailer for Stopped Motion: The Story of GULP!

When I was 9 or 10 years old (waaaay back in the early 80s!) I loved monster movies, and voraciously watched them whenever I had the chance. I was at the mercy of late night television to see these films, as there was no such thing as Netflix or DVDs back then – even Blockbuster Video was several years away.

Our family owned a Super 8 projector, so I did have a few silent, 8-minute cut-down reels of these types of films, which I watched over and over again.

Still own a bunch of those Super 8 films today!

An early film idol of mine was Ray Harryhausen, who is widely considered the master of stop-motion animation. In those days I loved to read books and magazine articles about special effects techniques, and how my favorite movies were made.

Stop-motion was particularly interesting to me, as it could be done by anyone without much money, as long as you had a film camera that could shoot one frame at a time and a great deal of patience.

Our family had such a camera, so I began experimenting with stop motion animation using modeling clay and Lego bricks as my tools. My first film was “GULP!”, which featured the titular claymation dinosaur eating tiny buildings in my backyard.

An image from my very first film – “GULP!” – circa 1981.

I made a whole series of those Super 8 films, with such titles as “The Return of GULP” and “GULP vs APPETITE”. And as an adult working in the animation industry in Los Angeles, I revived GULP’s career, making a bunch of short films blending live action and stop-motion animation – this time with slightly more sophisticated equipment and software.

“GULP Un-Thamed” (2009) – digital compositing, plus actual location footage in London!

As my claymation and compositing skills got better, the films became more ambitious and more silly, and I made one every year or so for quite a while.

“GULP and the Stache” (2014). Who doesn’t love a retro buddy cop dinosaur film?

But now in 2022, it is time for the world to discover the full history of GULP! “Stopped Motion: The Story of GULP” is the completely true, 100% accurate documentary about this dinosaur’s rise to the very heights of Hollywood stardom and worldwide fame; and a cautionary tale for all claymation characters who face the pressures of international success and fortune.

The film chronicles GULP’s life from his childhood, when we first met and started making movies together, all the way to the present day – with all of the ups and down that we faced through the years.

A young GULP hangs out with young David (Joey Scherler) in the park.
GULP and I at the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
GULP with Cadry Nelson (right) during the filming of “CHOMP! Élysées” in Paris.
A peek at the magic happening behind the scenes, as I give GULP some direction.

“Stopped Motion: The Story of GULP” had its official premiere at FilmScene in Iowa City on Dec. 9, 2021, and is being submitted to film festivals now – so please stay tuned for news about screenings near you!

Speaking at the premiere screening, Dec. 9, 2021.