I haven’t worked in an office for many years so I have no idea if this video for Tahuna Breaks’ “Giddy Up” qualifies as NSFW, but the video thumbnail offers a good clue about whether you should click or not. It’s a dirty and clever nod to the Pointer Sisters’ Sesame Street classic. There’s a smart lesson within: if you’re going to do a parody, don’t settle for middle-of-the-road references–go all out and own it.
Directed and Illustrated by Leah Morgan
Edited and Animated by Morten Leirkjaer
Produced by Fish N Clips, Auckland, New Zealand
The second edition of Midsummer Night Toons will take place on Thursday, June 10 at the M1-5 Lounge (52 Walker Street, NY, NY 10013). Started by filmmaker Matt Lee, the event is designed to give New York animators a venue to premiere new animated shorts. Six filmmakers will present five new animated shorts at this year’s show–Matt Burnett and Ben Levin, Mike Carlo, Joe Cappabianca, Gary Doodles, and Matt Lee. There will also be an original animated intro by Kat Morris and outro by Al Pardo.
Admission is FREE. Doors open 7pm, screening starts at 8:30pm. DJ Pensatore will be spinning music before and after the screening. More details at MidsummerNightToons.com.
Photographer Joy Harmon Prouty was asked by a couple to create an engagement portrait shoot themed around the childhood pastimes of Carl and Ellie in Pixar’s UP. View the photos: Part One and Part Two. The images are cloyingly sweet, but admittedly it’s better than the couple’s first idea of staging an Osmosis Jones-themed engagement shoot.
Devin Crane‘s first solo European show, “Heaven Can Wait,” will open at Galerie Arludik in Paris next week. Crane, whose animation connection is visual development at DreamWorks, focused his slickly stylized series of seventeen paintings around the female form, and if the tanned and fit (some would say emaciated) form of woman that he paints look like they belong on a Southern California beach, it might be because Crane is a lifelong LA native. High fashion plays a central role in these works, with a sprinkling of theologic undertones, if not already evident from the title of the show. More information about the show and paintings can be found at the gallery’s website. Galerie Arludik is located at 12-14, rue St. Louis en l’ÃŽle 75004 Paris. (Please note the opening date has been moved up one day to May 25 because of a planned labor strike in Paris.)
NY animator and filmmaker Fran Krause (Moonraker, The Upstate Four) attended the CalArts Producers’ Show in LA last week and took some notes for Cartoon Brew about what he saw. Here’s Fran:
Last Thursday, I was in California to show my work at the CalArts campus in Valencia and to check out their year-end Producer’s Show. I thought I’d pass on my picks, along with my thoughts on this year’s group of films. It was an interesting experience for me, since I’m an East Coaster. I’ve taught at Pratt, NYU, and Mercy College, and attended RISD as an undergrad, so it was nice to see what’s been going on out West.
Here are my picks from the show:
Crater Face by Skyler Page (2nd Year)
When The Time Is Ripe by Shion Takeuchi (4th year)
Dad? by Zesung Kang (3rd year)
SunGuy by Michelle Xin (3rd year)
The Hardest Jigsaw by Eric Anderson
Work by Michael Rianda (3rd year)
Night Parade by Sabrina Cotugno (2nd year)
It was a really inspiring group of films. The level of craft and storytelling were impressive, especially considering that, with one exception, the above films were all from second and third-year students. On the East coast, students tend to make a junior and senior film, but CalArts has their students making films all four years. The practice is getting really mature work out of the students, with sophomore and junior films holding up well next to the seniors. It’s also teaching them quite a bit about directing and managing their own projects.
“Crater Face” and “When The Time is Ripe” especially stand out to me as two films that are very well paced, with great styles and a consistent level of craft and finish. Still, I wonder if the responsibility of making a film each year is keeping the student’s schedules too busy to dabble in some more technical classes, or to learn some new techniques. Out of the twenty films in the show, only one used much 3D. The professors I talked with said that there’s been some changes recently in the curriculum that are meant to get the students more comfortable with non-2D animation, and I’m looking forward to seeing how things turn out.
There was quite a wide range of drawing styles in the program, without a noticeable “Institution Style”, as some schools seem to unfortunately put on all their films. Also of note, about half the films in the show were from women, whose presence is unfortunately all too rare in animation. I was bummed that so many of the films this year used copyrighted music. It would be great if there was more collaboration with the CalArts music students. Still, it was a really solid show and I’m glad I had the chance to check it out. I hope I’ll be seeing these films on the festival circuit this year. It’s a good thing that so many of them are available on Vimeo for everyone to see. When I wrote this article last night “The Hardest Jigsaw” wasn’t available. As I was making a couple revisions this morning, I noticed Eric posted it, so luckily we all get to see another cartoon!
Richard O’Connor, a co-owner of New York-based commercial studio Asterisk Animation, wrote a post yesterday about how to create an animation budget. It’s the first in a series of posts that he intends to write. Budgeting animation isn’t sexy, but it’s nuts-and-bolts knowledge that any student, indie artist, and free-lancer who wants to be successful should understand (and judging from personal acquaintances, few do). Take advantage of Richard’s generosity and pick up some tips from him. You won’t find this valuable information anywhere else on-line.
A creative trailer for Kometen, an equally creative iPhone/iPad game created by Swedish artists Niklas Ã…kerblad, who did the watercolor animation and music, and Erik Svedäng, who was responsible for game design and programming. I purchased the game ($3, link to iTunes store) based purely on the hand-drawn quality of the artwork and have found it to be an enchanting and relaxing game experience. The creators describe the gameplay as such: “In short the game is about exploring space to find art, while at the same time learning how to fly around in a graceful way. There isn’t any scoring system or way to lose, instead it’s all about self improvement and judging your own performance.”
Gorgeous trailer for the computer game Machinarium. I love how it feels like you’re playing in the world of an indie animated short and not a videogame. It’s made by the Czech game studio Amanita Design, and it should come as no surprise that the people who made it also make films.
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: