Bye-Bye Bin Laden!

Scott Sublett

Scott Sublett is the writer, director and producer of "Bye-Bye Bin Laden!" the animated feature based on the cult hit San Francisco musical that he wrote with composer Jef Labes. But he's certainly not a one-man band.

"No one could have done this without the tireless efforts of the San Jose State students who worked on it," Sublett said. "Kids were up until four in morning night after night. Animation is incredibly labor-intensive, and that's why independent animated features are so very rare. This is certainly the first in history to be made at any university anywhere.

"The kids were incredibly creative. We used the best people from every relevant department on campus. They were thrilled to be working on an independent feature that had something important to say, and did it in a fun way.

"Today's college students were raised on 'The Daily Show' and 'South Park,' so they want their politics funny and biting. Satire was a natural voice for them. And they were thrilled with the creative freedom of indie filmmaking. The "Bye-Bye Bin Laden!" screenplay was something no mainstream Hollywood studio would ever dare touch, and the students loved the outrageousness. They loved working in the cinematic form yet with the same freedom they're used to on the Internet.

"Animation students did animating, storyboarding, backgrounds, a lot of character design and everything else. We had theatre students among the actors. And we had music students singing, playing instruments, arranging, recording sound, Foley work, composing, underscoring — everything but the composing the songs. The number of people involved was far greater than on the usual indie feature. For example, the soundtrack features more live instruments than most Hollywood films, because first-rate students were eager to participate.

"And the animation team was ably led by Dave Perry, my astoundingly talented animation and art director. Without him, I couldn't have made an animated film in a million years. He's an amazing artist and a legendary animation teacher in the Bay Area. As legendary you can be while still so young a guy."

Scott also recently took his first shot at live-action directing. He recently completed principal photography on "Generic Thriller," an independent feature he wrote and directed. The film was edited by Oscar-winner Jay Boekelheide and Mark Tran. Hiro Narita, ASC ("Honey I Shrunk the Kids," "Never Cry Wolf"), served as visual consultant. "Generic Thriller" had its World Premiere on March 4, 2009, at the Cinequest Film Festival, and will be distributed by Cinequest Distribution on DVD and VOD.

As a producer Scott has credits on the yet-to-be-released independent features "Glory Boy Days" (which screened at Slamdance and Cinequest in 2008) and "All About Dad." (which screened at Cinequest 2009 and will receive theatrical distribution).

Scott has written a total of three musical comedies for the stage, starting with "Die, Die, Diana," a satirical view of celebrity, politics and the British Royal Family that was banned in England, but subsequently mounted at the 2004 New York International Fringe Festival, in a production noted in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, The Village Voice and New York Magazine. The San Jose State production of "Die, Die, Diana," in the fall 1999, was the subject of a front-page story in The San Jose Mercury-News. Other media coverage included "USA Today," "CNN Headline News," "The San Francisco Chronicle," "Playboy," "The Chronicle of Higher Education" and dozens of TV stations, radio stations and newspapers across the US and in England.

His next musical comedy, "Bye-Bye Bin Laden," was initially produced at San Jose State University, where it was favorably covered in the San Jose Metro, then mounted in San Francisco by the Custom Made Theatre Company at the Off Market Theatre. That production was named "one of the top five premieres of 2004" by the San Francisco Bay Guardian, a publication well known as the bible of cutting edge San Francisco theatre. His most recent play, "Imperialism: The Musical," received a workshop production at City Lights Theater in April of 2007, and contains an Afro-Cuban score by noted jazz trombonist and composer Wayne Wallace, who in August of 2008 hit #1 on the JazzWeek World Music Chart with his latest album.

A professor in the San Jose State University Dept. of TV, Radio, Film and Theatre, Sublett got his BA in Radio-TV-Film at Northwestern University, and graduated with an MFA in screenwriting from UCLA's nationally recognized film school. While at UCLA he was recipient of two screenwriting prizes: the Carl David Memorial Fellowship and the David Gattone Award. At San Jose State Sublett teaches screenwriting, playwriting and film studies, as well as writing and directing films and producing theatre. As a screenwriter Sublett has written numerous spec scripts and two screenplays on assignment. The independent feature "Pizza Wars: The Movie," which Sublett co-authored, was screened at Cinequest in 2002 and released on DVD by IndieVision. The picture was favorably reviewed in "Variety" by Dennis Harvey (4 Apr. 2002). His screenplay "I Was a Teen-age Sumo" was optioned by The Disney Channel in 2003.