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Ideas in Animation

Music and Information about the World of Animation


Sprocket Productions

Donkersteeg 31

B-9000 Gent, Belgium

nik at niksprocket dot org

Sprocket Productions

Nik Phelps and Nancy Denney-Phelps are both deeply involved in the animation world. Nik composes music for film and conducts workshops on film music and composition, and Nancy writes about animation, animation events and animators. Nancy has written for Animation World Network (AWN), Animatoon and Cartoon Magazines.

Scroll down to find out about some of my recent activities and to hear and see some examples of my work. Further below you can find a set of interviews about my work process.

Go HERE to see Nancy's blog for AWN.

Original Music and Sound Design for Film

I've been composing music for film since 1989, and have been working with animators since 1995, when I did music with the Club Foot Orchestra for the CBS TV animated series The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat. Films I have worked on have won numerous awards, from Brooke Keesling's 2001 Student Academy Award and Emmy Award winning Boobie Girl to Nina Paley's 2008 feature film Sita Sings the Blues, which won the Grand Prix at the 2008 Annecy International Film Festival as well as many other awards. My goal is to create a unique and effective score for  filmmakers at a reasonable cost. Contact me at the email address above about your film project .

The Sprocket Ensemble

Nik Phelps & the Sprocket Ensemble

Music for Contemporary Animation

What performance art companies like New York's Wooster Group did to create a forum for unusual stage talents like Spalding Gray, The Sprocket Ensemble project does for the rich new talents of independent filmmakers and animators. A collaborative performing arts endeavor between composer/performers of live music and directors of short film and animation, the Sprocket Ensemble liberates the excitement of live concert performance to create a new milieu for the appreciation of diverse new forms and talents in the cultural development of American film. The Sprocket Ensemble's collaborative series of screenings set to original live musical performance brings a new audience to the world of animation today.

Scoring for two to ten players according to the program, Nik both conducts and plays with the Sprocket Ensemble. He performed weekly in San Francisco and toured extensively with the group, appearing at festivals, museums, schools and clubs throughout America from 1997 through 2006. Since moving to Gent, Belgium in 2006, Nik has taken his ensemble to Portugal, Scotland and Poland, and regularly writes for and plays on film projects.

Films with Nik's Music

Excerpts from some recent films I've worked on:

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Nina Paley's Fetch! - I've worked with Nina since 1998, and she constantly amazes me with her talent! Fetch! was her first time working in Flash.

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I wrote some music for Nina's feature film Sita Sings the Blues, which won numerous prizes at film festivals - Berlin, Annecy, Trickfilm Stuttgart and Zagreb among others.

See Nina talking about Sita and her work (and hear my music in the background!) HERE

Boobie Girl by Brooke Keesling - I have always enjoyed working with student animators, and this was Brooke's graduation film at CalArts. This sweet autobiographical story was the cause of much controversy when it was included in the Ann Arbor Film Festival, due to its title, which inflamed right wingers who hadn't even seen the film.

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The Additional Capabilities of the Snout by Ivan Maximov - I've loved Maximov's work ever since I first saw his films at the KROK Festival in the Ukraine in 2001, and I was pleased to collaborate with him on this film.

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Copenhagen Cycles by Eric Dyer - Eric uses innovative twists to traditional techniques. Copenhagen Cycles is done with zoetropes.

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Gato sem nome by Charlie Blue - Charlie Portuguese filmmaker based in China, and this is a lovely short based on a children's story by Natercia Rocha.

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Workshops and Lectures

An important part of the Ideas in Animation project is my committment to illustrate the important relationship between music and the moving image in my work with festivals, independent animators, and educational and civic institutions. I work quite a bit with students of all ages, both by providing music for film projects and in giving informative and entertaining talks and workshops.

In November, 2016, I went to the Etiuda & Anima festival in Krakůw, Poland and performed a film concert with my music with the Stanislaw Slowinski Quintet. The sold out audiences were enthusiastic, and I had a lot of fun.

I have given many music workshops on creating music for film and on accompanying films live in conjunction with schools and animation festivals, notably the Animator Festival in Poznan, Poland and the Frederikstad Animation Festival in Fredrikstad, Norway. These workshops are quite popular with students and young musicians, and are open to interested participants of all ages.

An Interview

Here is a series of short parts of an interview by musical artist and cultural historian Solange Guillaume which outlines my work process and workshop topics.


Nik Phelps interview Part 1



Nik Phelps interview Part 2



Nik Phelps interview Part 3




Sprocket Productions
Donkersteeg 31
9000-B Gent

nik at niksprocket dot org

is the email for:

Composer - Nik Phelps
Journalist - Nancy Denney-Phelps
Webmaster -
Nik Phelps


Copyright © 1999 - 2017 Nik Phelps