Peter Conn papers available for research

May 17, 2019
Brian Bethel
Drawing of 'Bonehead' character with the Homer & Associates logo.

Stanford Special Collections is very pleased to announce that the Peter Conn papers are now published and available for research!

Conn is a director and producer known for his advances in 3D computer-generated animation, graphics, and motion capture technology, primarily through his production company Homer & Associates. Over the years, Conn has worked on music videos, commercials, television and film projects, industry presentations, and stage shows, virtually all of which involve some form of computer-generated imagery (CGI).

Conn founded Homer & Associates in 1977 with his wife Coco Conn. Initially a multimedia effects company, Homer & Associates gradually transitioned to a full-fledged 3d animation production company, known for special effects, 3D computer animation and design, motion capture, computer rotoscoping, and slide transfer services. Homer specialized in creating computer animated effects for features like fire, smoke, and water.

The collection includes numerous materials related to music video and film production, computer animation, and motion capture technology, such as photographs and prints, film equipment, reels of film, costume pieces, sketchbooks, storyboards, location scouting photos, casting sheets, headshots, actor resumes, and production stills.

Conn directed or contributed effects to a number of music videos from the 1970s through 1990s. Below are some highlighted music videos and shorts, along with pertinent materials in the collection.

George Clinton – “Atomic Dog”, 1982

Conn directed George Clinton’s “Atomic Dog” music video in 1982. Coincidentally, he also worked on special effects for Snoop Doggy Dogg’s “What’s My Name” video eleven years later, which notably sampled and was based on Clinton’s “Atomic Dog” song.

The Conn papers include sketchbooks and production notes for the music video and its many canine and feline characters, such as the sketches seen below.

Sketches for the 'Atomic Dog' music video.

 

Steve Miller Band – “Abracadabra”, 1982

Conn was nominated for ‘Director of the Year’ at the first American Video Awards for his direction of the Steve Miller Band's extremely catchy 1982 "Abracadabra" single. In addition to production stills, slides, negatives, and an original film reel of the music video, the Conn papers include the band's Gold Sales Award for 500,000 album and cassette sales, pictured below.

Gold-plated record for the Steve Miller Band's single "Abracadabra"

 

Steve Miller Band – “Bongo Bongo”, 1984

After his success with the Steve Miller Band's "Abracadabra" music video, Conn went on to direct the video for their 1984 single, “Bongo Bongo.” The video includes the computer-animated 'Bongo' character, one of the first examples of a computer-rendered character interacting with live performers. The Conn papers include sketches for the character, location scouting photo shoots, storyboards, and a hand-made, three-dimensional paper model of Bongo himself.

Sketch of the "Bongo" character for Steve Miller Band's "Bongo Bongo" music video

Storyboard for Steve Miller Band's "Bongo Bongo" music video

 

“Why do you think they call him dope?”, 1990

In this 1990 computer-animated short, entitled "Why Do You Think They Call Him Dope?" and originally made for the record company Delicious Vinyl, a Homer-created epicurean named 'Bonehead' enjoys the gourmet flavors of a local record shop's vinyl. The Conn papers includes sketches, slides, negatives, prints, and even hand-drawn portraits of Bonehead, such as the postcard below.

Drawing of 'Bonehead' character with the Homer & Associates logo.

 

Vince Neil – “Sister of Pain”, 1993

A notable early use of motion capture, Peter Conn's music video for the 1993 Vince Neil single "Sister of Pain" features a dystopian cityscape replete with flaming smokestacks and, naturally, a leather-clad heavy metal band. Of the different pertinent "Sister of Pain" materials in the collection, perhaps none is as unique as the studded-leather costume that Neil donned in the video, pictured below.

Vince Neil's costume from the "Sister of Pain" music video

Explore these and many more film, video, and computer animation research materials in the Peter Conn papers! Please note, however, that Special Collections does not accept responsibility for "Abracadabra" being stuck in your head indefinitely.

Author

Brian Bethel

Brian Bethel

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