(Click to enlarge this image if you hate your eyes.)
If you can list three things wrong with the image above, then you aren’t trying hard enough. Frankly, it looks worse than your average fan art, and not the caliber of work one expects from “professional” artists who draw for a living.
PS – The Looney Tunes characters now live in houses next to each other in a suburban neighborhood (and they eat Chinese take-out).
Jeffrey Katzenberg appeared on The Colbert Report yesterday in a valiant attempt to show that he has a sense of humor. Make note how Katzenberg backtracks on his recent comment about Clash of the Titans after he told Variety, “You cannot do anything that is of a lower grade and a lower quality than what has just been done on Clash of the Titans. It literally is ‘OK, congratulations! You just snookered the movie audience.’”
Had Katzenberg been more open and less concerned about saying “the right thing” he would have made a much stronger impression. This deliciously awkward and revealing exchange sums up his appearance best:
Colbert: What’s better: a great 2D movie or the worst 3D movie?
Katzenberg: [no answer]
Colbert: Because I go for the technology. Because I go for production values. Can you give them terrible stuff but make it 3D?
Colbert: But you would never do that.
Colbert: Because you’re the maker of Monsters vs. Aliens.
Pixar’s new studio in Vancouver, Canada officially opened its doors earlier today. According to this article, the studio will begin production on its first film–featuring Mater from Cars–in August. The studio plans to create additional short films and specials for TV and webÂ using existing characters from the Pixar library. Pixar Canada already has twenty employees and plans to add 55 more people within the next one-and-a-half years. To promote their new studio, Pixar produced a three-minute film, viewable on CTV-BC’s website that shows Pixar characters running around Vancouver and John Lasseter asking, “Is there a place more beautiful than Vancouver?”
Joe Murray, creator of Rocko’s Modern Life and Camp Lazlo, has created a Kickstarter campaign to raise $16,800 to complete 2 three-minute episodes of his new online cartoon series Frog in a Suit. The pilot episode is already complete. This is part of a larger project called KaBoingTV that Murray wants to turn into a “home for quality, cutting edge cartoons and animation on the web, and a ‘free range’ and ethical environment for the artists who make them.”
When I wrote about crowd-funding a few months ago, I said that this funding arrangement would initially work best for filmmakers with a proven track record. Murray certainly has a track record, and more significantly, he is the first creator of a TV series to pursue this route. His reasons for doing so, as stated on his Kickstarter page, are admirable: “I’m trying produce the first episodes without outside funding that comes with strings attached. Its also my wish to have you the audience, plus fellow animators be my producers rather than funding sources that don’t love cartoons as much as you do.”
He also writes that the money raised will be used to hire outside animation talent and won’t be used for his personal labor expenses. The campaign runs 45 days. If his fundraising goal isn’t reached by then, the project will not be funded. In the first day of his campaign, he has already raised over $1600 or nearly 10% of his goal. We’ll keep an eye on this to see what happens.
Here’s the opening to The Smile and Penny Show, a web series created by Hobo Divine. His collaborator on the project is Mike Geiger. Super-limited animation of the Roger Ramjet variety isn’t easy to make look right, and few do it better than Hobo Divine so naturally I’m curious to see what he does with this idea. The characters have a website at SmileAndPenny.com.
A collection of endearingly malformed Mickey Mouse cakes can be found at Cake Wrecks. I had a tough time deciding which Mickey cake to include in this post (and I use the name “Mickey” loosely), but the one above sums them up pretty well.
Animation Tag Attack is an ‘exquisite corpse’ animated short being made by artists from around the globe. Thus far, artists from Denmark, New Zealand and Israel have contributed. Each artist is allotted one month to complete their portion of the film, and sequences are posted online as soon as they’re completed.
I’m not familiar with any of the animators who are participating, but the work they’re turning out is remarkably fresh and sophisticated. Here are the four sequences that have been completed to date:
Big surprise at the box office this weekend as DreamWorks’ How To Train Your Dragon reclaimed the number one spot in its fourth week of release with an estimated $20 million. The film continues to confound box office analysts with its strong performance and is now all but guaranteed to become the fifth-highest grossing DreamWorks feature at the US box office. Caveat: the film is in a dead heat with Kick-Ass and could possibly lose its #1 rank when final numbers are released on Monday, but regardless, the film has more than proven its staying power with audiences.
UPDATE: Final results show that How To Train Your Dragon came in second place for the weekend with $19.6 million. Kick-Ass led the field with $19.8 million.
Trevor Hutchison and Shane McCarthy were invited to a Disney-themed costume party recently, and instead of dressing up as a cartoon character, they went as “Disney Animators from the Golden Era of Animation.” They even made vintage Disney ID cards and animation drawings to complete the effect, and they certainly wouldn’t look out of place working at the Hyperion studio. Details on Trevor’s blog.
A masterpiece of timing and movement in four letters, 101 Yeahs is directed and animated by Ryan Junell and Phillip Niemeyer. The shocker: discovering that it’s created under-camera. Filmmakers say, “Dirty and old school. Stop motion animation of letters of four sizes silkscreened on transparency. The letters are backlit by a lightboard.” The proof is on Flicker.
Animation veteran Pres Romanillos (Shan-Yu in Mulan, Little Creek in Spirit, Prince Naveen in Princess and the Frog) is currently awaiting a bone marrow transplant for a relapse of leukemia. Industry friends are organizing both a live art auction in LA and an online auction at Pres-Aid.com. They’ve also started a Facebook page to keep folks posted on the plans.
Our friend, animation journalist and FPS magazine founder Emru Townsend, lost his battle against leukemia a couple years ago and he had a lot of difficulty finding a donor. His website HealEmru.com remains a solid resource for learning how easy it is to become a bone marrow donor.
The animation industry may grow over time, but the community remains smaller than one might think. Case in point: last weekend at MoCCA, I chatted with Pres’s nephew Aleth, who can draw his ass off by the way, and I’d never known they were related until now. Whether you choose to support the auction, become a bone marrow donor, or send well wishes his way, in a tight-knit community like ours, it makes a real difference when we pull together to help each other out. And thankfully, we always do.
UPDATE: Pres Romanillos passed away on July 17, 2010 from leukemia. More information can be found here.
Pray for animation, these are scary times. The animation industry has been experiencing a nasty relapse into the crumminess of decades past. First, there was the news that Hasbro is launching its own toy-driven animation network and recruiting talented artists like Lauren Faust to shill My Little Ponies. As if that wasn’t depressing enough, now comes the news that shlock producers Joe Ruby, Ken Spears, and Sid and Marty Krofft have teamed up to develop new projects using characters that Jack Kirby created or developed in the eighties.
According to the NY Times, the combined stroke of genius of these four geriatric gents was to drive to their storage unit and pull out boxes of Kirby’s artwork. The Times doesn’t bother to ask why, if these ideas are so brilliant, none of them ever managed to get off the ground when Kirby first developed them twenty-five years ago. The quartet has somehow convinced Ari Emanuel of William Morris Endeavor to rep them and help turn these ideas into animated shows, live-action movies, comics and videogames. The ideas include:
“Roxie’s Raiders,” an Indiana Jones-style serial about a female adventurer and her allies; “Golden Shield,” about an ancient Mayan hero seeking to save earth in the apocalyptic year 2012; and “The Gargoids,” about scientists who gain superpowers after being infected by an alien virus.
The NY Times website offers a slideshow of Kirby’s development artwork. My humble suggestion to Ari would be to hook up Ruby-Spears and the Kroffts with these guys. They appear to share the same aesthetic sensibilities, and who knows, maybe they can even get Sean Connery to do a voice.
Make sure you’re sitting down and buckled up for this one because it’s going to take you for a ride. Music Box with a Secret is an unbelievable creative trip that hails from mid-seventies Russia. Director Valery Ugarov (1941-2007) utilizes a pastiche of sixties and seventies styles and artists as diverse as Heinz Edelmann and Yellow Sub, psychedelia, Seymour Chwast, and Victorian revival, and transforms it into an utterly unique and beautifully animated experience. The synth and electro-soundtrack adds a lot and is an inspired solution to a film about music boxes.