I’m Micah Buzan, a self-taught animator and musician.
I make music videos and tour visuals for bands (Flaming Lips, Incubus, Moon Duo).
Some of my work has been featured on Adult Swim during weird hours.
Animation Showreel – 2017
How I Got Started
I was drawing before I could talk. But that’s not saying much because I didn’t figure out how to talk until I was 3 or 4.
I had a very supportive family. My big bro who’s 10 years older than me used to draw grotesque creepy pictures. When he was in high school I’d sneak into his back pack and snag his sketchbook. Sometimes on the other side of the page I’d try to copy his weird creatures. Instead of getting mad, he always encouraged me to keep drawing.
I was home schooled until 7th grade, so I had a lot of free time to make comics starring myself as a superhero. When not outside playing and using my imagination with other homeschool friends, we’d play action figures and draw Dragonball Z and Sonic The Hedgehog.
In 7th grade I went to a private school. There were a bunch of girls there, which I wasn’t super used to dealing with. I learned that talking incessantly about turtles was not an effective strategy to impress the ladies.
In 10th grade I went to public school and had a great art teacher who encouraged me to experiment with unique styles. Having long hair and drawing psychedelic stuff gave me a reputation for being a stoner, even though I didn’t do drugs at all. I didn’t even kiss any girls, even though I had a girlfriend.
When I turned 19 I a saw a music video by Chad Vangaalen called Clinically Dead. The fact that he made the song AND animated the video as a one-man-studio inspired me. I gave animation a try by drawing on notecards and copy paper. My first video was a simple chase sequence with psychedelic undertones. What started out as a random experiment turned into an obsession, and for the next 16 months I worked on a 7 minute animation with a solo album called Word Salad.
For the next few years I animated a number of videos for my music, experimenting in each video and learning new techniques along the way.
When I was 23 I submitted a video to a competition for The Flaming Lips. Taking 2,000 drawings to complete, my video for Look…The Sun Is Rising won. This was the first paid gig I did, and it acted as a stepping stone to doing more client work.
I love Studio Ghibli films – Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke being a couple favorites. I like how glossy (slimy?) everything looks, and the way they animate food always makes me hungry. Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata are the ultimate masters of anime storytelling.
The atmosphere in Akira had a big impact on me. The bike dual and mutation scene being a couple of my favorite animated sequences. I don’t usually like violent stuff, unless it’s done well or has something else going for it. In this case it’s showing a city obsessed with growth and power: monster skyscrapers reaching towards heaven while the streets below are ruled by adolescent biker gangs who resort to violence for fun. The backgrounds of the city are so detailed. The music is very bizzare, using traditional Japanese instruments in combination with electronic synthesizers and heavy breathing. Sounds like a chubby guy is having an asthma attack, which adds to the nightmarish mood of the film. One of the themes of the film is that power has to co-evolve with empathy, otherwise technology that’s intended for construction will be abused and lead to destruction. As a whole, Akira has some problems with the pacing and script. It’s almost incomprehensible due to it being stripped from a 2,000 page manga. But the disjointed nature adds to the mood, and the artistry that went into the animation still holds up today.
I dig the way Satoshi Kon’s films are edited to flow like a dream, and to question our perceptions about reality, memory, and identity.
Tekkonkinkreet (the film and especially the manga) is downright special. One of the most cinematic reading experiences I’ve had (next to Blankets by Craig Thompson). The text to image ratio is perfect. There aren’t too many word balloons or super heroes jumping out of the panels. The world is filled with so many odd yet relatable characters. The story feels random and sprawling at times. I like stories that aren’t obsessed with going from point A to point B. Time stretches in this manga. Every panel represents a unique moment. Not everything has to move the plot forward at 100 mph. There’s a lot that’s open for interpretation, and warrants several read throughs. I appreciate work that isn’t afraid to stray from the conventional tropes of storytelling.
Radiohead’s music video Paranoid Android messed up my puny 8 year old brain and I’ve been a fan ever since.
Adventure Time and Dragon Ball Z are just about the only shows I’ve binge-watched.
The early Walt Disney films are masterpieces. Fantasia and Pinocchio being my favorites. I like the rubbery style of the early American cartoons too, like in Steamboat Willie. I watched The Lion King, Aladdin, and Toy Story hundreds times when I was a kid, so I should probably mention those as well!
Other Places To Find Me: