Robotomy tells the story of Thrasher and Blastus, two outsider teenage droids who are only slightly less horrific than the ultra-powerful robots that populate their planet, Killglobe. Now they face their greatest challenge yet: high school. Armed with a desire to fit in (and little else), Thrasher and Blastus navigate their lives with varying degrees of success. Stand up comedy icon Patton Oswalt (Ratatouille, King of Queens) voices Thrasher, with John Gemberling as Blastus. Other celebrity cameos in the first season include Jack McBrayer (30 Rock), Lewis Black (Daily Show), Eliza Dushku (Dollhouse), rapper Lil Jon, and comedians Gilbert Gottfried and Lisa Lampanelli. Created by Michael Buckley (N.E.R.D.S., The Sisters Grimm), Joe Deasy and co-executive produced by Christy Karacas (Superjail), Robotomy, a quarter-hour series, is produced in at New York World Leaders Entertainment.
Premiere: Monday, October 25 at 8:45pm ET/PT following MAD
Terrific photo-collage style and overall art direction in “Red Head Speedskater,” a music video for Airpushers directed and animated by Oliver Conrad at the New York studio Kompost. I love the movement of the titular character, which has a video game influence. Sophisticated design choices abound in this video; note how the director maintains interest by varying the timing of the skater’s movement and also by cutting the camera frequently while maintaining the illusion of a smooth ride.
I’m ashamed to say that I was unfamiliar with Kompost’s work until now. In fact, the video is from two years ago and I only learned about it because it was featured on Vimeo’s front page over the weekend. Here’s a more recent spot that Kompost recently completed for McDonald’s. It’s also directed by Conrad, and it’s one of the most genial and artistic spots I’ve ever seen selling hamburgers:
Indie filmmaker Caveh Zahedi has incorporated animation into his features and also made a couple animated shorts, including One Minute Racist, a film whose message is as timely as ever. It was made in collaboration with Ian Danskin and Alan Peterson, who animated the film. The animation is crude as could be imagined, but I’ll choose crudity with a point of view over a slick, aimless display of nothing any day.
High-profile children’s entertainment licensor Kenn Viselman (Teletubbies, Thomas the Tank Engine), who refers to himself as the Madonna of the toy business, is launching a new preschool program called Millipede and he’s looking for content from children’s producers. The submission form contract has raised some eyebrows from people who have emailed us about it, and I’m curious whether others out there would feel comfortable submitting to Viselman’s show.
There’s a lot of legalese in there, so I attempted to translate it into human-readable language. Here’s what I came up with: Before you submit anything to Kenn, you have to acknowledge that your property is not unique and that Kenn may have already had the same idea. You also have to acknowledge that you won’t file a lawsuit if he ends up producing something that looks exactly like your own work. If he likes your idea, and hasn’t already thought of it himself, he’ll offer you a deal within his “standard parameters.” If you end up having any dispute with Kenn, you can’t take him to court. Instead, you have to agree that a random dude named Skip will resolve your problems (seriously, I’m not making this up folks).
I’m sure some of the terms are industry-standard for submission releases, but even if that’s the case, I find the entire process off-putting and one-sided, especially considering that Kenn’s the one looking for material. Here’s a longish article about the guy from a 2003 issue of Inc. magazine.
While animation is usually a time-consuming craft, some people push it further than others. All I could think of while watching Kangmin Kim‘s Visit was how long it took him to make the film. The mixed-media project (stop motion, cut out and paint on glass) was made in the CalArts experimental animation program, and while the storytelling leaves something to be desired, the careful attention to visual detail is entrancing. The making-of video after the jump offers a glimpse at his insane production process: Continue reading →
Colored pencils, cut-outs, and graphite pencil are eloquently blended in Indians. The folk art mixed-media approach does a nice job of evoking warm autumnal feelings. It was made by Louise Cailliez at ESAAT, a French school in Roubaix.
Stand-Up (2008) by Joseph Pierce made a strong impression on me when I saw it at Annecy a couple years ago. Since then, I’ve searched every so often to see if Joseph had posted the film on-line, and he’s finally made it available. I’m happy to report that Stand-Up holds up and then some. This was Pierce’s graduation film produced at the UK’s National Film & Television School, and since then he’s gone on to direct the short film A Family Portrait, which won the Grand Prize at the Stuttgart animation festival earlier this year.
As a generality, rotoscoped animation doesn’t do much for me. It mostly leaves me scratching my head and wondering why did they even bother to animate it in the first place. Animation can be (and should strive to be) much more than a watered-down impersonation of reality. Pierce gets that, and uses roto as a means to an end.
The quirky visual style of Stand-Up is exhilarating, as is the way that Pierce’s creative animation weaves in and out of the underlying roto. The main character’s agitated graphic transformations push far beyond the live-action source, illustrating both narrative and psychological aspects of the unsettling story. The story itself, loosely structured but thoughtful, is a look into the world of a boozing stand-up who uses his routine to make a startling confession. The inherent ‘creep’ factor that is an annoying by-product of the rotoscope process actually feeds into the film’s style and makes the comedian’s tale that much more disturbing. It all adds up to a short film that you won’t forget anytime soon.
The Eagleman Stag is a new short by 26-year-old London-based animator Mike Please, who is a graduate of Royal College of Art. It has some nice translucency and film grain effects that lend the computer animation a handmade feel.
Oh wait, it’s not computer animation:
This trailer had me totally fooled when I saw it. By paring down his stop motion models to their rawest element–unpainted foam–Mike achieves strikingly distinctive look. A few months ago, I purchased a hot wire foam sculpting tool on a whim, so intrigued was I by the device after watching a live demonstration. I’m even more fascinated by the possibilities of foam after watching this trailer.
OUR FIRST TWITTER CONTEST IS NOW OVER! WE’LL HAVE MORE SOON!
Bill Plympton’s feature Idiots and Angelsopens in New York tomorrow and to celebrate, we’re giving away three Idiots and Angels movie posters signed by Bill Plympton. To win, simply be one of the first three (US or Canada-based) people to answer this question on Cartoon Brew’s Twitter account (make sure to direct the answer to us @cartoonbrew):
Bill Plympton was born in Oregon. What other famous animator, who coined the term Claymation, was also born in Oregon?
[Note: Comments are turned off on this post because answers should be posted on Twitter.]
David Wilson created this visually arresting hand-drawn music video to accompany “Let Go,” a new track by The Japanese Popstars. The concept and execution are very polished, but Wilson might want to do a better job of masking his influences (the similarities to animation by Blu, Christy Karacas, and especially Andreas Hykade’s Love and Theft gave the whole thing a feeling of ‘been there, done that). Impressively, the video was created in twenty days. Here’s a making of piece that explains some of the ideas behind the piece. Continue reading →
Take Ward Kimball’s crazy space creatures from Mars and Beyond, add some computer animation, and voila, you get this fantastic trailer for Doomed, a new series by Pocoyo co-creator Guillermo GarcÃa CarsÃ and his studio El SeÃ±or.
Boy, does this look fun! I love Guillermo’s approach to computer animation, which avoids the cacophonous visual overload of most computer animation by making clear and bold artistic choices. It’s what made Pocoyo such a refreshingly different series, and Doomed appears to be on the same track.
According to the site, they’ve just completed the pilot episode. CarsÃ calls it a biological cartoon that displays the failures of natural selection: “A set of strange creatures whose instincts, instead of focusing on survival, have doomed them to an absurd and comic extinction, in the presence of the astonished gaze of the narrator.”
Bill Plympton’s fifth animated feature Idiots and Angels opens Wednesday in Manhattan at the IFC Center (323 6th Ave. at West 3rd St). The film screens for an entire week at the IFC (screening times HERE). Though it was completed in 2008, it has never received distribution outside of the festival circuit, where it has received nearly twenty awards. The feature will be preceded by Plympton’s latest short The Cow Who Wanted to Be A Hamburger. Bill will personally be appearing at the theater for Q&As on Wednesday, October 6 and Thursday, October 7.
Bill is self-distributing the film to cinemas, something which he has never done before. Three of his features–The Tune, Mutant Aliens and I Married a Strange Person–had film distributors, and his fourth feature, Hair High, was never distributed theatrically. He’s been keeping a diary on his blog Scribble Junkies that documents the challenges of theatrical self-distribution. In his entries (which sadly aren’t tagged properly for easy browsing), he discusses why he chose the self-distribution route and how he found a theater in New York.
Tomorrow, we’ll be running an Idiots and Angels contest here on Cartoon Brew. Below is the new trailer for the film:
Portland’s Floating World Comics store presents their fourth annual animation screening, DMTV, on October 13 at the Holocene club (1001 SE Morrison). Trailer is up top. The one-night event includes an intriguing line-up of experimental, abstract, psychedelic and digital animation, as well as live music performances by Nice Nice and Atole with visuals mixed by e*Rock and Yoshi Sodeoka. Tickets are an affordable $7 day of show or $5 in advance purchased at Floating World. More details at the Floating World Comics website. Needless to say if I lived in Portland, this is where you’d find me on Wednesday, October 13.
Regardless of your politics, “Right Wing Radio Duck” is a nearly seamless remix of Disney cartoons that pits Donald Duck against Glenn Beck, and captures the spirit of any number of earlier Disney propaganda shorts. The second half of the cartoon is particularly brilliant. It was created by Jonathan McIntosh, and dare I say, it’s the funniest and most relevant that Disney animation has been in years.
UPDATE: The creator of the piece Jonathan McIntosh did a blog post about the reactions to this Donald Duck remix. He says that his “favorite thread” about this cartoon has been right here on Cartoon Brew. So everybody, pat yourselves on the back.
This is a new one on me: Glen Keane animated a Burger ‘n Bones dog food commercial ca. 1983. Wow! The commercial was produced by Kurtz & Friends, and the jingle was recorded by Leon Redbone, who was well known for his rendition of the Mercer/Carmichael song “Lazy Bones”.
Keane’s expressive and inventive animation steals the show. Can anybody think of any piece of commercial character animation today that’s as competently drawn or fun to watch as this? I sure as heck can’t. Some parts of the spot seem unnecessarily complicated–the moving camera at the beginning, the design of the dog–but perhaps those were intended to add some flash and glitz to what is essentially a simple, character-oriented piece of animation.