The commercial above comes from Duke University’s AdViews digital archive which is the most significant collection of vintage TV commercials that I’ve ever seen available online. The commercials, which were digitized only last year, were either created or collected by the ad agency Benton & Bowles and its successor, D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles (DMB&B). I’ve browsed through only a portion of the offerings, and have already seen dozens of pristine copies of animated TV commercials that I’d never seen before. For example, there’s this collection of Linus the Lionhearted commercials, but even better is this proto-Linus commercial that dates back to when he was a mascot for a cereal called Heart of Oats. Also notable is this seven-minute US Air Force Reserve short directed by Gerard Baldwin at Hanna-Barbera with backgrounds by Walt Peregoy.
My favorite commercial of the moment? This bizarre Fleischer-esque piece advertising hot cereal. They sure don’t make loopy neck animation like that anymore:
Santa Monica-based Three Legged Legs created this Starbucks spot in four days, including design, animatic, animation, and revisions. They’ve posted the development artwork for it on their website. Another worthwhile section on their site is called Chronicles, a collection of pitch work for commercials that weren’t made for any number of reasons. It’d be a valuable resource if more animation production companies posted this type of pitch work online.
CREDITS FOR STARBUCKS “CRAZY BELIEFS”
Agency: BBDO New York
Director: Three Legged Legs
Production Company: Green Dot Films
Director: Three Legged Legs
Creative Director: Greg Gunn, Casey Hunt, Reza Rasoli
Animation: Jameson Baltes, David Do, Mike Tavarez
Design: Chuck BB, Alex Preston, Thomas Yamaoka
Complete credits on Three Legged Leg’s website.
The home of Disney Imagineering legend Fred Joerger is currently on the market for just under half a million dollars. It’s located in Lake View Terrace, a short drive to Burbank. Putting his Imagineering background to good use, Joerger designed and built the home himself, and hired color stylist Walt Peregoy (101 Dalmatians) to create Roman style-sculptures, and Disney artists Travis Johnson and Tyrus Wong (Bambi) to create hand-painted ceiling murals. More details and photos at this real estate website. If you buy the place, please remember to invite me over for the housewarming party.
Last Sunday the 17th Stuttgart Festival of Animated Film announced its winners. I’ve seen about half of the films on the list, and it’s a very strong line-up. It encourages me to see so much excellent animation being produced nowadays, even if virtually none of it is made in the US. The Grand Prix was awarded to Joseph Pierce’s A Family Portrait (view a clip here). Pierce’s graduation short, Stand Up, left an indelible impression on me when I saw it a couple years ago and it’s exciting to see him pushing his style further. His work transforms the clunky rotoscope technique into a striking and artful form of personal expression that proves the viability of the technique when placed in the hands of a gifted artist.
The Lotte Reiniger Promotion Award for Animated Film was won by David LÃ³pez Retamero for his Royal College of Art short Sam’s Hot Dogs. Again, it’s not online, save for this tantalizing clip.
One of the award-winning films at Stuttgart that is available online is Nina Bisyarina’s A Trip to the Seaside, a beautiful and sensitively drawn piece of animation hailing from Russia:
The Norwegian short Sinna Mann (Angry Man) by Anita Killi took home the Audience Award. Here is its trailer:
In the student category, a special mention went to Lebensader by Angela Steffen, which has a full website with clip at Lebensader-Film.com. When I was on the Ottawa jury last year, we awarded her film the festival prize for graduate animation. She was also an animator on Andreas Hykade’s film Love and Theft which was featured on Cartoon Brew a few days ago.
The top student prize belonged to Parade by Pierre-Emmanuel Lyet, an exercise in graphic minimalism:
Animators treated as celebs is a novelty that doesn’t get old so it’s good fun to see How To Train Your Dragon co-directors Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois mug for the camera in this commercial for Hewlett-Packard, alongside Rhys Darby of Flight of the Conchords. Other commercials in the campaign feature Annie Leibovitz and Dr. Dre.
Just for fun, animator Andrew Kaiko created this hand-drawn Flash animation test of Jeff Smith’s comic Bone. He took the audio from an existing Bone video game. It’s too bad the forthcoming Bone feature won’t look nearly as appealing. The film is being made by Animal Logic, the studio that created Happy Feet, and based on the studio’s prior work, their interpretation will likely be all kinds of unwatchable. Jeff Smith himself recently told a crowd that he would have preferred the film to be hand-drawn except that nobody was willing to put up the money if it wasn’t CG. It’s a pathetic state of affairs when a cartoon creator, who understands his work best, is denied the technique of his choice because of unfounded beliefs about the financial performance of one particular animation technique over the other.
In the comment of his video, Kaiko writes, “Reflecting on this, even though the movie will be in CG, I REALLY think they should have a little 2D in it! Like, maybe in the opening and/or closing credits… or maybe in a short sequence in the body of the film!! It worked marvelously for Kung Fu Panda, and Cloudy.”
Ray Bradbury (c.) with Ward Kimball and Chuck Jones
Lou Romano asked me to share this with Cartoon Brew readers. In honor of Ray Bradbury’s 90th birthday later this year, animation producer Steven Paul Leiva is putting together a collection of artwork that will be presented to Bradbury in the form of a printed book. Here is what he’s asking for:
We are putting out this call to all professionals in World Animation: If you would like to honor this great American author, and contribute to a unique gift, create a portrait or caricature of Ray, or illustrate a scene from one of his novels or short stories for inclusion in RAY BRADBURY: THE ILLUSTRATED MAN, a book and possible a DVD compilation of such work to be presented to Ray during RAY BRADBURY WEEK as a gift from the Animation community.
There are more details including how to submit artwork in the letter below from Leiva. Click on it to read a larger version.
Teddy Newton’s new short Day & Night is the first piece of cinema I’ve ever seen that actually utilizes 3D in a conceptually relevant way…I’ve seen it in both 2D and 3D now and latter takes it to an entirely new level, no doubt about it. See it in 3D.
Granted, it’s the opinion of one person, but with Teddy at the helm, it sounds about right. As mentioned earlier, Day and Night will screen in front of Toy Story 3.
A. Jungle Habitat, a Warner Bros.-owned theme park in West Milford, New Jersey that operated between 1972 and 1976.
The oddball concept generated many stories, rumors and legends, some of which were untrue. One story that was true was that if a lion shredded your tires, management would repair them and present you with a framed affidavit that you could share with friends. A fun and informative piece about the park from 1972 can be read here.
The controversy about Apple’s exclusion of Flash from the iPad may appear to have minor relevance to animators, but considering the number of artists and studios who animate with Flash, the issue will affect the animation community sooner than later. Primarily, it raises the question that if Flash becomes obsolete as a way of delivering video over the Web, is it also headed towards obsolescence as an animation production tool? The tool was never designed for broadcast animation production to begin with, and Adobe’s poor track record of supporting the needs of broadcast animators hasn’t endeared it to the community.
What Flash has working in its favor is loyalty from a core user base. Many animators still think that Flash is the best option. Nick Cross, who has made numerous shorts with the software, wrote an impassioned defense of Flash and explained why he doesn’t intend on abandoning it anytime soon. Adobe would be wise to listen to these animators and ensure that they don’t jump over to the next piece of technology that comes along.
What a dump. Unfortunately the 3 storied mansion has long been abandoned so it now houses 8 families of hispanic descent. And as we entered the front door the spanish families hurriedly scattered to their respective apartments in fear. Apparently the famed animator’s home is now a multifamily squatters shelter.
Plympton is optimistic and thinks there’s hope: “You can imagine the glory that it once was back in the early 1900′s. All the architectural details are still there and with a lot of work it can be restored to its former glory.”
Don’t hold your breath though. Cartoons and animation, and by extension cartoonists and animators, have never merited respect in the United States as they have in other parts of the world. Yesterday I was reading about the Hergé Museum near Brussels and marveling at how they have preserved his legacy and art. It is befitting of a part of the world that considers cartoons the “ninth art.” American cartoon fans have to make do with McCay’s hell house at 1811 Voorhies Ave in Brooklyn. Let us know in the comments if you visit too.
This Sunday, May 9, is the 41st annual ASIFA-East Animation Festival, the essential annual event of New York animation’s social calendar. The awards ceremony begins at 6pm at the New School’s Tishman Auditorium (66 W. 12th Street). It’s free, you don’t have to dress up, and there’s food afterward. In other words, it’s about the best animation awards show you’re going to find.