THE BRONX - One Bronx artist is transforming voicemail messages into short, animated films.
Animator Dustin Grella spends his days listening to people's messages on his web-based voicemail box.
"You can call at 6 p.m. when you've had a full day and you're sick about what your boss is doing," he says.
In Grella's "Animation Hotline," he takes the "Bronx tales" and turns them into stories for callers to view.
Artists at Dusty Studio on East 136th Street create a rough sketch of what they want the animation to look like on a pad. They then draw the images out on a chalkboard.
Next, a camera captures the drawing, which gets transmitted directly into a computer. Artists use a tablet to touch the pictures up before they become animations.
Grella says he couldn't get out of bed quick enough to watch cartoons on Saturday mornings when he was a kid. He was even approached to take his concept to a children's show but chose to stay at Dusty Studio to tell Bronx-centric stories.
"I wanted deeper, more insightful, more interesting...I wanted real stories," he says.
Grella has created close to 200 animations.