Animator Geoff Marslett kicks off university’s “Meet the Maker” series


Evan Younger / Hilltop Views

Students gather to attend Geoff Marslett seminar covering the trials and tribulations of animation and the film industry.

Creative Geoff Marslett visited St. Edward’s University on Sept. 26 to talk with students about independent filmmaking as part of a “Meet the Maker” series hosted by the university.

Showing up with gravity-defying hair and a 2013 Honda Odyssey with 100,000 miles on it, Marslett’s opening remarks to students seemed quite bleak. 

“A horrible business,” he said about filmmaking. “It’s really hard, it will beat you down.”

Appearing at various film and animation festivals like Sundance, BFI London and SXSW, he has been a director, writer, producer, animator and actor. Some of his works shown include “Loves Her Gun” and “The Day Before” and “Yakona.”

Along with maintaining his presence in the film industry, Marslett has also educated college students at the University of Texas at Austin, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Colorado at Boulder about film and animation.

Sometimes when I am teaching I ask myself ‘what Geoff would do’ and use that for inspiration,” Jeanne Stern, Marslett’s former teaching assistant and current animation professor at St. Edward’s, said.

Marslett studied math and philosophy in college and ended up animating his first short, titled “Monkey VS Robot,” in the 90s. This animation later gained traction, showing at Spike and Mike’s Classic Festival of Animation and on PBS.

“You’ll get a lot of strikeouts,” Marslett told students. “You get better at this as you go.”

In 2010, Marslett went on to animate “MARS,” a romantic comedy following astronauts and robots on the way to Mars. He created unique programming to make this animation style happen.

“Animation is harder to do, so less people do it,” Marslett said.

His next animation, “Phantom 52” starring Tom Skerrit, appeared at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. With this feature, Marslett emphasized casting animators the way you would cast actors. 

“Rising tides will raise all ships together,” Marslett said when talking about the collaboration between animators.

This mixing of animation styles carries over into Marslett’s “Quantum Cowboys,” which was featured on Sept. 24 as part of Fantastic Fest.

According to IMDb, this “rotoscoped time-travel western” follows a trio across 1870s southwestern Arizona while portraying “complex quantum time theory” and “philosophical musings about art as the way we understand our history and memories.”

“Geoff’s greatest strengths are that he believes in his work and never gives up,” Stern said.

After working in the film industry for 25 years, Marslett has a healthy dose of skepticism regarding what it means to be successful but also has a hopeful set of eyes trained on the future.

“I genuinely believe some of you (students) will beat the system and make some things that we will have never seen before,” Marslett said as his last piece of advice to St. Edward’s students.

More links to Marslett’s work: