Brew method videos have become their own sort of short film genre in the last decade. There are truly some wonderful videos out there, but none that depict the process with such raw truth as “How To Make French Press Coffee” by Eric Rothman, a Brooklyn-based animator whose work includes projects with Psyop, Google Creative Lab, Vice, and the band Kings of Leon, for whom Rothman designed projection visuals on a recent tour.
To find out more about his work—and especially his towering new coffee brew video—I spoke with the artist digitally from Brooklyn.
Hey, Eric. First, I just want to say that your film truly spoke to me. It's real, it's funny, and the most honest brew method instructional video I've seen.
Wow, thank you so much!
Tell us about yourself!
I live in New York City and I make animations for a living. I’m a freelancer, so I get hired to do lots of different kinds of projects–internet videos, corporate stuff, advertising, etc. I also get a little bit of downtime in between jobs to work on personal projects like this. I also cook a lot and tackle other culinary projects, which is my other obsession. I’m curing a ham this week!
Are you a coffee drinker?
Coffee is probably my favorite thing next to butter, or salt, maybe.
Is this film inspired by true events?
Oh yes. My girlfriend and I are fairly snobby with our home coffee brewing–we weigh our beans, take the temperature of our water, etc.–so it’s fairly involved for being the first thing you do when you wake up. We used to have one of those hand grinders and we were always spilling beans all over the place, not boiling enough water, zoning out in the middle of weighing something and the scale would shut off. We would always complain to each other, “How is anyone supposed to do this without coffee?!” The film came from there. Thankfully it’s mostly muscle memory at this point.
How many cups of coffee went into the making of this film?
Several hundred thousand, I think.
The French Press as a brew method is fairly simple compared to other brewers. Will you be releasing more brew method videos?
Heh, no plans at the moment, but I’d be open to it. The overwhelming majority of my brains’ computational energy goes toward daydreaming about food, so chances are future work will be food or coffee-related at the very least.
Where else can we see your work?
My website! It’s newhappystar.com. There are a few fun pieces on there, including an embarrassing one where I sing about grilled cheese. I also worked on the live visuals for the Kings of Leon’s most recent tour, so you could go see those guys if you were being really serious about checking me out.
Thanks so much for talking with us!
Zachary Carlsen is a co-founder and editor at Sprudge Media Network. Read more Zachary Carlsen on Sprudge.