Even if you’ve already decided who you’re voting for tomorrow, you may be ready to change your candidate after watching NY animator James Buran‘s astute short Nobody for President.
Even if you’ve already decided who you’re voting for tomorrow, you may be ready to change your candidate after watching NY animator James Buran‘s astute short Nobody for President.
Would you watch a film about a senior citizen skateboarding veterinarian voiced by Sean Connery? What happens if I told you this veterinarian has a sidekick: a gay goat in Kill Bill-style spandex with bladder control issues? Still not convinced. What if skateboarding Sean Connery and his gay goat were on a mission to save Scotland’s last beaver, Bessie Boo? This is the compelling plotline of Scotland’s first CG animated feature, Sir Billi, written and directed by the husband-and-wife team of Sascha and Tessa Hartmann.
We’ve been following Sir Billi since 2010 and we’re going to keep following it until it wins the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. The film has a newly released trailer:
The new Sir Billi trailer has a more adult vibe than the earlier preview which focused on the high-octane beaver-saving elements of the film:
The only review of Sir Billi I could find online was clearly written by someone that hates skateboarding senior citizens who befriend incontinent goats and save beavers. Plus, any family movie with a double entendre tagline like this can’t be all bad:
(Thanks, David OReilly)
Disney’s $4.05 billion acquisition of Lucasfilm has generated more questions than answers. The Mouse has made it clear that they bought Lucasfilm for one thing, and one thing only: the Star Wars property.
But Lucasfilm’s business also includes other components such as Skywalker Sound and the visual effects studio Industrial Light and Magic (ILM). The fate of these entities remains unknown and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future.
For example, what to make of ILM’s promising start as a producer of animated features? Don’t forget that ILM’s first original film Rango won an Oscar earlier this year for Best Animated Feature. But Disney already owns its own feature animation studio as well as Pixar. It hardly needs a third studio, especially one that offers an original take on computer animation that could make the work of its other studios look formulaic by comparison. In other words, it’s a likely bet that ILM won’t be making any more animated features of its own.
However, ILM will likely continue creating the visual effects for the Star Wars films that Disney plans to start releasing in 2015. According to Variety:
On the Star Wars movies, Lucasfilm has long relied on having the resources of ILM inhouse to control vfx costs. A Lucasfilm spokesman said [Kathleen] Kennedy will continue to have autonomy to use ILM on future Star Wars films. However, that doesn’t guarantee that all work will be done in San Francisco. ILM has offices in Singapore and Vancouver and has alliances with companies in Beijing and Europe. It will continue to leverage those alliances and offshore locations to keep costs down.
And what about the visual effects work that ILM creates for other studio’s films? In his initial statements, Disney chairman-CEO Robert Iger gave a less than ringing endorsement of ILM’s business model.
The LA Times quoted Iger saying, “Our current thinking is that we would let it remain as is. They do great work. They do work for multiple studios. It’s been a decent business for Lucasfilm and one we have every intention of staying in.” The emphasis on the words ‘current’ and ‘decent’ are mine, and it’s not too difficult to read between the lines, especially when the NY Times added that Iger wants to “reap the value” it can from ILM.
History is not on ILM’s side either. In 1996, Disney acquired another respected visual effects studio DreamQuest. It merged it with its own in-house computer animation department and renamed it The Secret Lab. The Lab’s most notable effort was the feature film Dinoasur before the division was shuttered in 2002. It will be tougher to dismantle ILM, but there’s a good chance that Disney will explore some type of reorganization/merger/consolidation/sale of the studio in the coming years.
The same questions exist to a lesser degree for Lucasfilm’s storied gaming division, LucasArts. That division has struggled in recent years, as the LA Times reported:
LucasArts is currently operating without a permanent president and has not made a new game since 2010′s poorly received “Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II.” This year it announced a new title in the works, “Star Wars: 1313,” but because that game is intended to carry dark themes and be rated M (the video game equivalent of R), it may not fit into Disney’s intent to position “Star Wars” as a family entertainment brand.
Despite its recent missteps, LucasArts (and now Disney) owns a back catalog of beloved gaming classics like The Secret of Monkey Island, Grim Fandango, Full Throttle and Maniac Mansion. It’s hard to imagine what Disney will do with those titles, though Monkey Island creator Ron Gilbert tweeted a tongue-in-cheek suggestion earlier this week:
Finally, the question that many are asking is how George Lucas will spend his newly earned wealth. Lucas, who was already a billionaire before the sale, is now officially the wealthiest artist in the United States. Because he owned 100 percent of Lucasfilm, he will receive the entire $4 billion himself, roughly half in cash and the rest in Disney stock, turning him into Disney’s second-largest non-institutional shareholder with approximately 2.2% of the company.
It might be expected that Lucas would spend his money on silly douchebag toys—Lucas has reportedly spent millions on picture frames for his vintage European movie poster collection—but instead he plans to do something far more worthwhile with the bulk of his cash: philanthropy.
Education is a passion for Lucas, and he made a pledge in 2010 to dedicate the “majority of my wealth to improving education.” After this week’s sale to Disney, Lucas reiterated that goal. “As I start a new chapter in my life,” he said, “it is gratifying that I have the opportunity to devote more time and resources to philanthropy.” If he ends up following through on the pledge, this may end up being one of the few corporate mergers that has a happy ending after all.
First, Mark explains why this purchase hurts animation artists in the Bay Area:
If you happen to be somebody working in computer animation in the San Francisco Bay Area, there is now one less employer in the market. Pixar and ILM have been charged with collusion, cooperating to make sure that they didn’t hire employees from each other. Now they’re the same company and they can do what they like with hiring policies and pay scales.
If you’re unaware of the collusion charges, read about the case HERE.
Second, Mark explains how Disney CEO Robert Iger is shortchanging the company’s future by focusing too much on rehashes of tired properties insteading of creating original work:
Robert Iger is clearly looking backwards more than forwards. But don’t forget that the Muppets started out as a small troop of puppeteers on local television, Marvel started out as a handful of creators working out of their homes, and George Lucas got turned down by everyone until Alan Ladd, Jr. took a chance (but didn’t realize the value of sequel or merchandising rights or he would have kept them). What Robert Iger doesn’t see is that great creations don’t come from large companies, they come from people committed to their own ideas who work out of basements, garages, warehouses and other out of the way places. Sort of the way Walt Disney started. Remember him? Which means that while Iger is busy grinding out Muppets, Marvels and Star Wars, the great creations of the 21st century will be happening elsewhere.
It’s not April Fools’ Day. The Walt Disney Company is acquiring Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise for $4.05 billion. The press release:
Global leader in high-quality family entertainment agrees to acquire world-renowned Lucasfilm Ltd, including legendary STAR WARS franchise.
Acquisition continues Disney’s strategic focus on creating and monetizing the world’s best branded content, innovative technology and global growth to drive long-term shareholder value.
Lucasfilm to join company’s global portfolio of world class brands including Disney, ESPN, Pixar, Marvel and ABC.
STAR WARS: EPISODE 7 feature film targeted for release in 2015.
An investor conference call will take place at approximately 4:30 p.m. EDT / 1:30 p.m. PDT today, October 30, 2012. Details for the call are listed in the release.
BURBANK, Calif. & SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Continuing its strategy of delivering exceptional creative content to audiences around the world, The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd. in a stock and cash transaction. Lucasfilm is 100% owned by Lucasfilm Chairman and Founder, George Lucas.
Under the terms of the agreement and based on the closing price of Disney stock on October 26, 2012, the transaction value is $4.05 billion, with Disney paying approximately half of the consideration in cash and issuing approximately 40 million shares at closing. The final consideration will be subject to customary post-closing balance sheet adjustments.
“Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company. “This transaction combines a world-class portfolio of content including Star Wars, one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time, with Disney’s unique and unparalleled creativity across multiple platforms, businesses, and markets to generate sustained growth and drive significant long-term value.”
“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” said George Lucas, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lucasfilm. “It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime. I’m confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come. Disney’s reach and experience give Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment, and consumer products.”
Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of Lucasfilm, a leader in entertainment, innovation and technology, including its massively popular and “evergreen” Star Wars franchise and its operating businesses in live action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects, and audio post production. Disney will also acquire the substantial portfolio of cutting-edge entertainment technologies that have kept audiences enthralled for many years. Lucasfilm, headquartered in San Francisco, operates under the names Lucasfilm Ltd., LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound, and the present intent is for Lucasfilm employees to remain in their current locations.
Kathleen Kennedy, current Co-Chairman of Lucasfilm, will become President of Lucasfilm, reporting to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. Additionally she will serve as the brand manager for Star Wars, working directly with Disney’s global lines of business to build, further integrate, and maximize the value of this global franchise. Ms. Kennedy will serve as executive producer on new Star Wars feature films, with George Lucas serving as creative consultant. Star Wars Episode 7 is targeted for release in 2015, with more feature films expected to continue the Star Wars saga and grow the franchise well into the future.
The acquisition combines two highly compatible family entertainment brands, and strengthens the long-standing beneficial relationship between them that already includes successful integration of Star Wars content into Disney theme parks in Anaheim, Orlando, Paris and Tokyo.
Driven by a tremendously talented creative team, Lucasfilm’s legendary Star Wars franchise has flourished for more than 35 years, and offers a virtually limitless universe of characters and stories to drive continued feature film releases and franchise growth over the long term. Star Wars resonates with consumers around the world and creates extensive opportunities for Disney to deliver the content across its diverse portfolio of businesses including movies, television, consumer products, games and theme parks. Star Wars feature films have earned a total of $4.4 billion in global box to date, and continued global demand has made Star Wars one of the world’s top product brands, and Lucasfilm a leading product licensor in the United States in 2011. The franchise provides a sustainable source of high quality, branded content with global appeal and is well suited for new business models including digital platforms, putting the acquisition in strong alignment with Disney’s strategic priorities for continued long-term growth.
The Lucasfilm acquisition follows Disney’s very successful acquisitions of Pixar and Marvel, which demonstrated the company’s unique ability to fully develop and expand the financial potential of high quality creative content with compelling characters and storytelling through the application of innovative technology and multiplatform distribution on a truly global basis to create maximum value. Adding Lucasfilm to Disney’s portfolio of world class brands significantly enhances the company’s ability to serve consumers with a broad variety of the world’s highest-quality content and to create additional long-term value for our shareholders.
The Boards of Directors of Disney and Lucasfilm have approved the transaction, which is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, certain non-United States merger control regulations, and other customary closing conditions. The agreement has been approved by the sole shareholder of Lucasfilm.
Note: Additional information and comments from Robert A. Iger, chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company, and Jay Rasulo, senior executive vice president and CFO, The Walt Disney Company, regarding Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm, are attached.
Investor Conference Call:
An investor conference call will take place at approximately 4:30 p.m. EDT / 1:30 p.m. PDT today, October 30, 2012. To listen to the Webcast, turn your browser to http://thewaltdisneycompany.com/investors/events or dial in domestically at (888) 771-4371 or internationally at (847) 585-4405. For both dial-in numbers, the participant pass code is 33674546.
The discussion will be available via replay on the Disney Investor Relations website through November 13, 2012 at 5:00 PM EST/2:00 PM PST.
ROBERT A. IGER, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY
REMARKS FOR ANALYSTS REGARDING DISNEY’S ACQUISITION OF LUCASFILM LTD., AS PREPARED
As we just announced, The Walt Disney Company has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm and its world class portfolio of creative content – including the legendary Star Wars franchise – along with all of its operating businesses, including Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound.
George Lucas is a visionary, an innovator and an epic storyteller – and he’s built a company at the intersection of entertainment and technology to bring some of the world’s most unforgettable characters and stories to screens across the galaxy. He’s entertained, inspired, and defined filmmaking for almost four decades and we’re incredibly honored that he has entrusted the future of that legacy to Disney.
Disney has had a great relationship with George that goes back a long way – with Star Wars theme attractions in our parks in Anaheim, Orlando, Paris and Tokyo. This acquisition builds on that foundation and combines two of the strongest family entertainment brands in the world. It makes sense, not just because of our brand compatibility and previous success together, but because Disney respects and understands – better than just about anyone else – the importance of iconic characters and what it takes to protect and leverage them effectively to drive growth and create value.
Lucasfilm fits perfectly with Disney’s strategic priorities. It is a sustainable source of branded, high quality creative content with tremendous global appeal that will benefit all of Disney’s business units and is incredibly well suited for new business models, including digital platforms. Adding the Lucasfilm IP to our existing Disney, Pixar and Marvel IP clearly enhances our ability to serve consumers, strengthening our competitive position — and we are confident we can earn a return on invested capital well in excess of our cost of capital.
Star Wars in particular is a strong global brand, and one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time, with hundreds of millions of fans around the globe. Its universe of more than 17,000 characters inhabiting several thousand planets spanning 20,000 years offers infinite inspiration and opportunities – and we’re already moving forward with plans to continue the epic Star Wars saga.
The last Star Wars movie release was 2005’s Revenge of the Sith – and we believe there’s substantial pent up demand. In 2015, we’re planning to release Star Wars Episode 7 – the first feature film under the “Disney-Lucasfilm” brand. That will be followed by Episodes 8 and 9 – and our long term plan is to release a new Star Wars feature film every two to three years. We’re very happy that George Lucas will be creative consultant on our new Star Wars films and that Kathleen Kennedy, the current Co-Chair of Lucasfilm, will executive produce. George handpicked Kathy earlier this year to lead Lucasfilm into the future. She’ll join Disney as President of Lucasfilm, reporting into Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn and integrating and building the Star Wars franchise across our company.
Our successful acquisitions of Pixar and Marvel prove Disney’s unique ability to grow brands and expand high-quality creative content to its fullest franchise potential and maximum value.
We’ve leveraged Pixar’s terrific characters and stories into franchises across our company – from feature films to consumer products online games, major attractions in our theme parks, and more.
The 2006 Pixar acquisition delivered more than great Pixar content — it also delivered the means to energize and revitalize the creative engine at Walt Disney Animation – which was crucial to our long term success. Animation is the heart and soul of Disney and our successful creative resurgence will be on full display this weekend when Wreck-It-Ralph opens in theaters across the country.
Our acquisition of Marvel three years later combined Marvel’s strong global brand and world-renowned library of characters with Disney’s creative skills, unparalleled global portfolio of entertainment properties, and an integrated business structure that maximizes the value of creative content across multiple platforms and territories. Our first two Marvel films – Thor and Captain America grossed a total of more than $800 million at the box office. This year, Marvel’s The Avengers grossed more than $1.5 billion to become the world’s third highest grossing movie of all time – and an important and lucrative franchise for us.
We’re looking forward to a robust slate of new Marvel movies – starting with Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World next year, followed by Captain America: The Winter Soldier in 2014. And, as we announced previously, Joss Whedon is writing and directing Avengers 2 and developing a Marvel-based series for ABC.
Pixar and Marvel both fit our criteria for strategic acquisitions – they add great IP that benefits multiple Disney businesses for years to come, and continue to create value well in excess of their purchase price. The acquisition of Lucasfilm is in keeping with this proven strategy for success and we expect it to create similar opportunity for Disney to drive long-term value for our shareholders.
We’re clearly excited about this move forward. We believe we can do great things with these amazing assets….we have a proven track record of maximizing the value of our strategic acquisitions…. and we’re poised to do the same with this one.
JAY RASULO, SENIOR EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND CFO, THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY
REMARKS FOR ANALYSTS REGARDING DISNEY’S ACQUISITION OF LUCASFILM LTD., AS PREPARED
Lucasfilm, and more specifically the Star Wars franchise, fits perfectly within the Disney portfolio of intellectual properties and the strategic and financial implications of this acquisition are compelling. Our team has spent a tremendous amount of time evaluating this deal and we have concluded we are uniquely positioned to maximize the value of Lucasfilm’s IP in a manner that can generate substantial value for our shareholders above and beyond the purchase price.
In this transaction we will acquire rights to the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, a highly talented and expert team, Lucasfilm’s best-in-class post production businesses, Industrial Light and Magic and Skywalker Sound, and a suite of cutting edge entertainment technologies. Our valuation focused almost entirely on the financial potential of the Star Wars franchise, which we expect to provide us with a stream of storytelling opportunities for years to come delivered via all relevant platforms on a global basis.
There are a number of ways our company will derive value from Lucasfilm’s intellectual property—some of which can be realized immediately while others will accrue to us over time. George and his team have built Star Wars into one of the most successful and enduring family entertainment franchises in history, as well as one of the best selling licensed character merchandise brands in the U.S. and around the world. However, we believe there is great opportunity to further expand the consumer products business. Today, Star Wars is heavily skewed toward toys and North America. We see great opportunity domestically to extend the breadth and depth of the Star Wars franchise into other categories. We also plan to leverage Disney’s global consumer products organization to grow the Star Wars consumer products business internationally.
Let me note that in 2012 Lucasfilm’s consumer products business is expected to generate total licensing revenue that is comparable to the roughly $215 million in consumer products revenue Marvel generated in 2009, the year in which we announced our acquisition. With renewed film releases, and the support we can give the Star Wars property on our Disney-branded TV channels, we expect that business to grow substantially and profitably for many years to come.
We also expect to create significant value in the film business. We plan to release the first new Star Wars film in 2015, and then plan to release one film every two to three years. These films will be released and distributed as part of our target slate of 8-10 live-action films per year, and will augment Disney’s already strong creative pipeline for many years to come. Lucasfilm has not released a Star Wars film since Revenge of the Sith in 2005. However, adjusted for inflation, as well as growth in both international box office and 3D, we estimate the three most recent Star Wars films would have averaged about $1.5 billion in global box office in today’s dollars. This speaks to the franchise’s strength, global appeal and the great opportunity we have in the film business.
We also expect to utilize Star Wars in other businesses including Parks & Resorts, in games and in our television business. These initiatives were also considered in our valuation.
Under the terms of the agreement, Disney will buy Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion, consisting of approximately fifty percent cash and fifty percent in Disney stock. Based on Friday’s closing price of Disney stock, we expect to issue approximately 40 million Disney shares in this transaction. We continue to believe our shares are attractively priced at current levels and therefore, we currently intend to repurchase all of the shares issued within the next two years– and that’s in addition to what we planned to repurchase in the absence of the transaction.
Our valuation of Lucasfilm is roughly comparable to the value we placed on Marvel when we announced that acquisition in 2009. Our Lucasfilm valuation is almost entirely driven by the Star Wars franchise, so any success from other franchises would provide upside to our base case. I realize it may be a challenge for you to quantify our opportunity given the limited amount of publicly available information. But to give you some perspective on the size of the Lucasfilm business– in 2005, the year in which the most recent Star Wars film was released, Lucasfilm generated $550 million in operating income. We’ve taken a conservative approach in our valuation assumptions, including continued erosion of the home entertainment market, and we expect this acquisition to create value for our shareholders.
In terms of the impact on our financials, we expect the acquisition to be dilutive to our EPS by low single digit percentage points in fiscal 2013 and 2014 and become accretive to EPS in 2015.
Our capital allocation philosophy has been consistent since Bob took over as CEO. In addition to returning capital to shareholders, we have invested, both organically and through acquisitions, in high quality, branded content that can be seamlessly leveraged across our businesses. Our acquisition of Lucasfilm is entirely consistent with this strategy, and we’re incredibly excited by the prospect of building on Lucasfilm’s successful legacy to create significant value for our shareholders.
UPDATE (9:42PM ET): George Lucas and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy discuss the Disney buyout in this video:
UPDATE (10/31 — 4:12AM ET): Disney Chairman/CEO Robert Iger talks about the Lucasfilm acquisition:
Here is the the complete list of 57 animated shorts that qualified for the 2012 animated short Oscar, courtesy of Michael Sporn. Bear in mind, anyone can qualify a film for Oscar consideration if they follow the proper steps so being on this list doesn’t signify any kind of special accomplishment.
Members of the Academy’s animation branch have now voted on these shorts. Their voting will result in a shortlist of 10 films. Then, a second round of voting will whittle down the shortlist to the five Oscar nominees.
It’s been a while since the last installment of Animated Fragments so here’s another random assortment of short animation tests, exercises and other brief pieces that I’ve run across recently:
AD by Adam Dedman (UK)
Bassawards “Call for Entries” spot by Lobo (Brazil)
Animated walks and runs by Michael Schlingmann (UK)
“Cuckoo” by Alexander Pettersson (Sweden)
Run Cycle by Matt Abbiss (UK)
Pictoplasma will stage the fourth US edition of their character design conference this weekend in New York City. The two-day conference (Nov. 2-3) will include artist talks, animation screenings and a roundtable discussion focused around the use of character design in contemporary culture. The full conference schedule can be found on the Pictoplasma website.
Speakers will include the standard mix of artists from the animation, illustration and design communities. The artists who will speak at this edition are Buff Monster, Gemma Correll, Jason Freeny, Mark Gmehling, Anna Hrachovec, David OReilly, Ryan Quincy, Julia Pott, Andy Rementer, Adrian Sonni, Olimpia Zagnoli, Steven Guarnaccia, Taylor McKimens and Mark Newgarden.
Online registration is $190 HERE. The conference will take place at the Parsons’s Tishman Auditorium (66 W. 12th Street, NY, NY).
Transparency in the crowdfunding community is highly valued, and animators tend to be most successful when they are upfront about the length of the animation they plan to produce with the monies raised. The unintended result of this openness is that the opaque world of animation budgets has begun to fade away.
When Cartoon Brew published a crowdfunding report last month, we cataloged the per-minute costs of various high-profile animation projects on Kickstarter. The costs ranged from $3,333 to 13,750 per minute of completed animation.
Now, we look at two more recent Kickstarter projects that have recently achieved their goals: Michel Gagné’s short The Saga of Rex and Masaaki Yuasa’s short Kick-Heart. At first glance, the two projects could not be more different: Gagné is a former feature film animator who works largely by himself from a home studio, while Yuasa is producing his short using a full crew and traditional production pipeline at Tokyo-based Production I.G..
However, both films share one thing in common: they have budgeted their animation at $15,000 per minute. Gagné set his goal at $15,000 to produce one-minute of film, with each additional minute produced at a $15K increment. Yuasa asked for $150,000 to produce a 10-minute short. This is not a particularly high per-minute production rate for the type of animation that they’re creating, but it is on the upper end of rates for Kickstarter animation campaigns.
The takeaway: not only are more projects being successfully crowdfunded nowadays, but the per-minute rate for A-list animators is growing alongside it. Even with the aid of digitial technology, animation like the kind that Gagné and Yuasa produce remains a laborious, hand-crafted process. It’s encouraging that the backers of their campaigns recognize this since a decent per-minute production rate is essential for crowdfunding to make a sizable impact in the world of animation production.
UPDATE: Michael Gagné has written an insightful blog post on Kickstarter explaining the complex production process for full animation. He also explains that though he’s asking for $15,000 per minute, after Kickstarter/Amazon fees and rewards, he only gets to apply about half of that amount to animation production:
When I worked at Don Bluth Studios, we were expected to create roughly 3.5 seconds (5 feet of 35mm film) of rough character animation a week. And that was only the rough keys. Some of the star animators produced up to 10 seconds a week. To be completed, the animation still had to pass through several hands. No wonder feature quality traditional animation typically cost between $80,000 and $1,000,000 per minute to produce within the studio system.
Although the goals on my Kickstarter project are set at $15K per minute, this won’t be the amount I’ll be getting for the production. Kickstarter and its partner, Amazon.com, keep 10% of the proceeds. Then, around 40% of the budget is applied towards the rewards and shipping cost. So roughly, I am left with around $7.5k per minute.
Now, to produce the film with the quality I want to achieve, I estimate that I will be working roughly 50 hours a week over a 10-week period, for each minute I create. Add to this, 7 weeks building and designing the campaign (that includes doing the animation test), running the campaign (which is turning out to be nearly a full time job), and a full month of work, fulfilling the rewards (packaging, printing, shipping, drawing, etc)—an estimate based on talking with several people who are dealing with their own successful campaigns—and you will see why I’m calling this a labor of love.
Ready…set…pre-order Tod Polson’s book about legendary Warner Bros. layout man Maurice Noble. The book is called The Noble Approach: Maurice Noble and the Zen of Animation Design. Publisher is Chronicle Books; street date is May 31, 2013. Retails for $40, Amazon price is $26.40.
There’s a strong wave of indie animators emerging from Asian countries like Japan, South Korea, and China. The latter country’s indie scene is the focus of the documentary The Beginning directed by Jess Zou of NeochaEDGE. The film, which debuts in NY next week at the China Institute (125 East 65th Street, NY, NY 10065), features profiles of twenty Chinese animators and studios who are pursuing a more independent approach in their work. The 100-minute film is in Mandarin with English subtitles. Tickets are $8 and pre-registration is required on the Institute’s website.
Artists and studios featured in The Beginning include: Ray Lei (Beijing), Sun Haipeng (Shenzhen), Liu Jian (Nanjing), Mao Qichao (Magic Animation Studio, Chengdu), Pi San (Beijing), Anytime (aka: ANI7IME) Animation Studio (Zhang Chunli, Pu Junhan, Li Weikun, Su Jingxin: Guangzhou), Seen Studio (Zhang Naowen, Aspirin, Zeng Xun: Beijing), Song Siqi (Henan)/Wang Qing (Suzhou), Li Dongzhen (Beijing), and Beijing Film Academy student animation group (Sun Yiran, Wang Xingchen, Chen Xi, Zhang Yi, and Zhang Xiadian).
This Tuesday, October 23, there will be a public memorial for the great East Coast animator Tissa David, who passed away last August at the age of 91. The memorial will begin at 7pm at the Academy’s Lighthouse Theater (111 E. 59th St
New York, NY 10022). Artists who knew and worked with Tissa will speak about her work, and a selection of her work will be screened from the Hubley Studio, Raggedy Ann & Andy, The Ink Tank and Michael Sporn Animation. Admission is FREE.
Killer Mike’s song “Reagan” offers a much-needed corrective to the partisan politics of American election season. The lyrics, which boldly declare all American Presidents as puppets who tell “lies on teleprompters”, are accompanied by striking visuals by Harry Teitelman and Daniel Garcia, who use a red-white-and-blue color palette in the most ironic way possible.
A couple nights ago, I had a lengthy phone conversation with Tim Miller, who is the creative director and co-owner of Blur Studio, the studio that will produce The Goon. It was an intense but respectful discussion.
I like Blur and sincerely hope they’re able to make The Goon, but the core issue of whether it’s appropriate to use Kickstarter to fund pre-production for a feature film that has no guarantee of completion is problematic. On that issue, we weren’t able to come to any conclusion. However, I offered Tim the opportunity to respond in any way that he sees fit. You can read his side of the argument below—uncut and unedited.
Many of the animators here at Blur are regular readers of Cartoon Brew and we were all disturbed to see this post. We really care what the animation community thinks and we care about our reputation so I felt the need to respond. I love a healthy debate and some of his issues are worthy of discussion but what I DIDN’T love was the tone of the article and the implication that Blur and David Fincher were somehow being deceptive and that we’d broken the rules of Kickstarter.
I called Amid and we discussed some of his issues and—though I didn’t change his mind—he did offer me a forum for rebuttal—so here I am rebutting! Let’s start with this one:
“Kickstarter launched with the promise of helping independent artists raise funding for projects that otherwise couldn’t easily be financed.”
At 110 fulltime artists and production folk and NO studio or corporate backing, Blur is—by any industry definition I know—an independent studio. Blur is owned by 2 artists and a programmer (I’m one of the artists)–not wealthy corporate CEO types. Amid’s statement here describes our studio and our Goon project perfectly; we’re an independent studio that couldn’t get our project easily financed.
“….those projects have been drowned out by the established creators who are grabbing much of the attention nowadays.”
He may have a point there but that’s not really a reason to put down our project. And for a positive spin it could be looked at another way; if a big named “established creator” brings attention to Kickstarter it CAN draw eyeballs and traffic to the site that otherwise might not show up there. More traffic means more attention; more light that can shine on ALL Kickstarter projects. I’m not painting our Goon project as some sort of altruistic endeavor or even a big draw—I’m just positing the more attention Kickstarter gets the better it COULD be for everyone.
“Curiously, the story reel that will be produced won’t be made available to the backers of the campaign.”
Not true, it will be available to SOME—though—granted only at insanely high donation levels. The reason for this is simply we have to keep story under wraps and can’t have copies floating around. A fair number of people have complained and we agree it’s not optimal so we’re working on ideas to show the final product to more people. Ideas that simply didn’t occur to us before as we (naively) didn’t think it was such a big deal; live and learn.
“Should the film be made by a corporate film studio, that company just saved themselves half a million dollars on the backs of dedicated animation fans who believe they’re funding an indie project, when in reality they’re funding a mainstream Hollywood feature.”
Let me first reiterate that we aren’t some big film corporation and any money “saved” will be put right back into the film, not our pocket. But let’s look at a current Kickstarter project to invent and prototype a new type of light bulb. Let’s say the inventor reaches his funding goal and it pays for the R&D and prototype development of a new energy saving bulb, which he then takes to, say… G.E., who buys the design, makes the bulbs and distributes them around the world. Is that evil or wrong? Does that violate “the spirit” of Kickstarter? I don’t think so—I think it’s great that something got made that’s good for the world that otherwise might not have.
“There is nothing “indie” about the way Fincher and Blur are setting up the film, and they have a responsibility to be upfront about the reality of what they’re creating.”
This implies that we are somehow being deceptive about our goals when we say clearly, in bold and all caps several times on the Kickstarter’s front page that we are creating a STORYREEL. Implying we’re deliberately attempting to fool people is not only insulting but completely false. Neither Blur nor David Fincher have ever or WOULD ever try to “cheat” fans or anyone else—this is the comment that bothered us most and made me call Amid to defend our honor, something we take very seriously here at Blur.
“A number of backers have expressed their concerns on the campaign’s comments page:”
True, a few backers have issues, but one look at the comments page will show you 20 positive and excited fans for every doubter.
“The problem with The Goon Kickstarter boils down to this: They’re not producing a story reel that will be made available to the project’s backers. That means it’s an open-ended project, and if that’s the case, then it’s a clear violation of Kickstarter’s policies.”
First of all, this is a false statement. We are producing a product: The Goon Storyreel. Secondly, this project was thoroughly vetted and approved by the Kickstarter folks who have been EXTREMELY helpful and supportive and done their best to give advice and encouragement. So my question is this: Who is a better judge of the Kickstarter policies and philosophy–the people that created and operate the site or Mr. Amidi?
What really bothers me here boils down to this: Blur is trying to make an animated film that is outside the box of the usual animated films and in so doing bring joy to our artists, bring Eric Powell’s great characters to life and maybe—if we’re lucky—make enough money to keep the aforementioned joyful artists employed on future films. We’re not greedy and we’re no shills for some mega-corp—we’re just creators who want to make something different. We’ve tried the traditional routes to get this film made and they haven’t worked—so we’re trying something new that MAY help move the needle and get our project made.
And one last thing on the “David Fincher” of it all. Believe me when I say this guy has many, many, many project opportunities he could spend his time and money on. Opportunities that I’m sure have a greater profit potential if that’s what he was interested in. But truth is I know David well and I know he’s involved because he loves the project and loves animation, NOT because he needs to trick any Goon fans out of their 10 bucks.
Thanks for posting this Amid, we may not agree but appreciate you giving us our day in court.
I’ve received a slew of messages in the past week from people who pre-ordered Full Steam Ahead!, which is the biography I wrote about the life of animation legend Ward Kimball. People who pre-ordered the book on Amazon have been receiving updates that say the book’s release date has been delayed from November 2012 until May 2013.
According to my editor at Chronicle Books, the earliest possible date that Ward’s biography will be available is June 2013. The book was wrapped up a long time ago, and was submitted for approval to the Walt Disney Company last January. The Disney company hasn’t approved the book yet. I am hopeful that we will resolve all the corporate issues soon and get this book released so we can talk about what’s really important: Ward’s creative accomplishments.
(Note: The cover design above is not final.)
Fox debuted a political animated short yesterday called Robama. They’re making shorts as part of their cheekily named ADHD property, which stands for Animation Domination High-Def. It’s a multi-platform property with content appearing online and, beginning next year, on late-Saturday night Fox TV broadcasts.
It’s an extension of their Animation Domination label, which is how Fox markets their Sunday night cartoon block with The Simpsons and Family Guy.
ADHD is headed up by Nick Weidenfeld, who has worked as an Adult Swim exec. There are few details on what will air on ADHD; Axe Cop is the only announced series so far. Fox is soft-launching ADHD this month with a website and some random shorts like Robama and a series called Hamsters on Rollerskates:
Kickstarter launched with the promise of helping independent artists raise funding for projects that otherwise couldn’t easily be financed. As I wrote last month, the site’s animation category has more recently transformed into a place where established creators are raising six-figure dollar amounts from their fanbases. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of independent projects on Kickstarter too, but those projects have been drowned out by the established creators who are grabbing much of the attention nowadays.
While Cartoon Brew has a longstanding policy to not promote active crowdfunding campaigns, the prominence of crowdfunding demands that we report on key campaigns that have news value to the community. The project discussed within has already received plenty of media attention, but it also has broader relevance to the animation crowdfunding discussion.
Last week, a Kickstarter was launched to fund an animated adaptation of Eric Powell’s Dark Horse-published comic The Goon. The project has a lot of high-profile names attached to it including live-action director David Fincher (Fight Club, Se7en), vfx/animation outfit Blur Studio, and actors Paul Giamatti and Clancy Brown.
The idea has been around for a while—a proof-of-concept trailer for The Goon was produced in 2010—but the project hasn’t moved beyond that stage. Now, Fincher, Blur, et al., are asking for the largest amount yet for a Kickstarter animated project—$400,000. What’s especially noteworthy—and troublesome—about their campaign is that not a single frame of animation will be produced for that amount of money.
Because they are asking for $400,000 to create a story reel for the feature film. Curiously, the story reel that will be produced won’t be made available to the backers of the campaign. While plenty of other rewards are being offered, The Goon represents a first for an animated project on Kickstarter—asking people to donate money to something they can’t see.
So what, you might ask? You’ll be able to see the finished animated feature. Well, maybe. If these guys require nearly half a million to create a story reel, that means they’re budgeting it as a traditional mid-sized studio feature, which will run in the range of $40-70 million (give or take ten million). There’s no guarantee the film will be made unless they can get that funding from a major studio, something that they haven’t been able to do thus far.
Should the film be made by a corporate film studio, that company just saved themselves half a million dollars on the backs of dedicated animation fans who believe they’re funding an indie project, when in reality they’re funding a mainstream Hollywood feature. There is nothing “indie” about the way Fincher and Blur are setting up the film, and they have a responsibility to be upfront about the reality of what they’re creating.
A number of backers have expressed their concerns on the campaign’s comments page:
The problem with The Goon Kickstarter boils down to this: They’re not producing a story reel that will be made available to the project’s backers. That means it’s an open-ended project, and if that’s the case, then it’s a clear violation of Kickstarter’s policies.
Further, while I’m sure Fincher and Blur Studios are well intentioned in their desire to make an animated feature, their approach of mixing their fans’ money with those of media corporations, the latter of whom will receive all the profit from a Goon feature, leads to an uncomfortable situation that is contrary to the entire spirit of Kickstarter. Artists should use the generosity of backers in crowdfunding campaigns to fulfill a creative vision, not to help corporations make money, as The Goon Kickstarter is currently set up to do.
[UPDATE]: Blur Studio’s Tim Miller just posted a comment on the Goon‘s comments page in which he said he wouldn’t share the story reel with the overwhelming majority of backers because, “[W]e believe having the whole film online would cause serious issues with any studio who wants to back the project.” This confirms my thoughts above that this project wouldn’t be possible without a major studio’s support. It also turns the Kickstarter campaign (in its current form) into an open-ended project with no complete project delivered to backers and no funding in place to take it further. This, as I mentioned above, is a violation of Kickstarter’s policies.
[UPDATE #2]: Read the response of Blur Studio’s Tim Miller to this commentary.
Over the past decade,the husband-and-wife team Andy and Carolyn London have produced one of the most eclectic bodies of indie animated shorts in New York City. Working under the banner of London Squared, their films—Subway Salvation (2003), The Back Brace (2004), A Letter to Colleen (2007), The Lost Tribes of New York City (2009)—have a distinctive personal voice that is refreshingly unburdened by animation storytelling cliches. Their visual style has an earthy urban tone, and is a playground for stylistic exploration. They jump from style to style, and technique to technique, having made use of hand-drawn, stop-motion, pixilation, rotoscope, and After Effects.
I recently conducted an email interview with Andy and Carolyn. We talked about their history, their earlier short films, and the major new project that they’re developing: Eager to Please, an idea based on Andy’s family life that has already generated a graphic novel, interactive on-line comics, mini-shorts, as well as an offshoot TV series currently in development called Our Crappy Town.
Cartoon Brew: Your films are among the most stylistically diverse of any New York animators. Do you consciously attempt a different style with every film?
Carolyn and Andy London: We don’t consciously set out to do a different style, but in order to stay inspired and true to the story we want to tell, we almost always change mediums. A big part of what makes us happy as filmmakers is experimentation and being playful, but we usually let the story dictate the medium we work in. When we became obsessed with voices and the hilarious people you saw every day in the city, it led to our clay animated film Subway Salvation in 2003. When we were attempting to adapt an autobiographical “memory” story, it led us to create a ghostly, rotoscoped technique for A Letter To Colleen. When we need to tell the story of Andy and his scoliosis in a really demented comic way, it led to the cut-out physical object style of bagels, tuna cans and toilet paper tubes of The Backbrace. So who knows where it takes you.
Cartoon Brew: Do you think the constant experimentation has hurt you in any way or prevented you from broader recognition?
Carolyn and Andy: Sure, we’re confident that having a singular style is useful to getting the attention of a commercial rep or production company, but I guess we’ve been really undisciplined about that. It’s always been more interesting to us to keep growing, experimenting and developing our story telling skills. But oddly enough, two things have happened just by making films for the last 14 years.
1. We’ve gotten really good at storytelling and have started to create a world and recurring characters that are showing up in TV shows we’re developing and other series ideas.
2. The second thing that’s happened is we’re finally settling on a “signature look.” We’re starting to call it “THE MAGIC EYE.” Do you know those 2D image books where your eyes have to de-focus, and suddenly the 3D images come into the foreground? That’s the heart of what we do. Whether we’re finding faces in inanimate objects OR taking inanimate objects and abstracting them into characters, we’re using a Magic Eye technique and showing you characters that you didn’t know were there. It’s a kind of alchemy that we find endlessly entertaining and seems to be lending itself to a rich world. You can see examples of what we’re talking about in examples for the latest TED TALK we made and also the style frames for a series we’re developing called Our Crappy Town. This is the total example of ‘magic eye’.
Cartoon Brew: I think part of what makes your work so refreshing is that neither of you come from a traditional animation background. You had a lifetime of experiences before you made your first film. Tell me a little more about your backgrounds prior to becoming filmmakers. What attracted you to animation and made you choose it as an expressive outlet?
Andy: I majored in painting at Pratt in the Eighties. I worked as a guard at the Met and sold my work—mostly kinetic sex-related sculptures—at auctions at an East Village gallery called the Emerging Collector. Then I moved to Prague and wrote a graphic novel called Jeremy Pickle Goes to Prague that got published by Fantagraphics. It was there I learned to teach English as a Second Language, my trade for the next fifteen years. When I returned to New York with my future wife and collaborator Carolyn, I continued to teach ESL. First in illegal immigrant schools, then in tourist programs, then privately. Mostly Japanese bankers’ wives. Carolyn and I got a commission to do a music video in the late-Nineties and it was an excuse to dive into animation, which turned out to be a great fit.
Carolyn: I studied theater and playwriting at Brandeis University. I wasn’t exposed to a formal animation or film program, but I was exposed to set design, costume design, directing. A very early influence was growing up in Chicago. In the 80’s, they used to run the “Spike and Mike Animation Festival” at the Music Box Theater across the street from where my father lived. That was my early introduction to underground animation. And it was also the same time of Liquid Television on MTV. But all of the stuff I was watching on TV, my interest in writing and direction, plus my predilection for punk rock and new wave music shaped my sensibility. When I met Andy in the Czech Republic and he was doing comic books and graphic novels…it felt like a natural fit to bring our aesthetics and points of view together. It’s doing whatever you need to do to be in service of the story. And animation is a great way to make something. You can control all aspects of the product and use a wide range of elements to be infinitely expressive.
Cartoon Brew: One of your new projects, Eager to Please, is a step in a different direction yet again—it’s a graphic novel, an interactive on-line experience and a series of brief animated shorts called Made You Cringe. How do these all fit together, and what do you hope to accomplish with this expansive approach to narrative as opposed to the self-contained shorts you’ve produced in the past?
Carolyn and Andy: We want to create a world this time. A world that is the source material for a TV series. So a couple years ago, [Andy] decided to bite the bullet and write a graphic novel with a whole TV season’s worth of content. Then it came time to find a publisher and get it out there in the world. We soon quickly learned that there is limited interest in publishing graphic novels in the U.S. So this lead to rethinking the whole project. We put together a website called Eager-To-Please.com and began to explore various ideas. First was an interactive comic based on one of the stories from the book that did cool shit when you click and roll over things. Then we added an animated section called Made You Cringe based exclusively on the characters from the book. Those shorts gave us a chance to explore what an animated Eager To Please TV show would look like.
AND then we went to LA last year and started to work with a manager to help sell this idea. The funny (or not so funny part ) of this story is that we spent the last 8 months developing the look for the TV pitch, we have a 23-minute pilot episode, we created an animation test, bringing in graphics and packaging….and after all that work it seems like this series idea may be more successful as a live action idea. GOOD TIMES! But I guess this is normal in the development process. SO now we’re looking for the right producers to partner with and networks to pitch to. But in the meantime, we’d love to share our animation test online so everyone can see the development process.
Cartoon Brew: Eager to Please is intensely personal. In fact, one of the “stars” is Andy’s handicapped sister, which some readers might be uncomfortable with as a source of humor. It doesn’t seem that there’s anything in your personal life that you consider off-limits. Granted, Andy wrote it under a pen name, but do you ever feel you’ve gone too far afterward?
Andy: I don’t set out to humiliate my family. I love them. But there are stories that are crazy and poignant and funny and deep and I need to get them out in the world. Some of them are just straight up batshit. Some are heartbreaking. And I want to share this craziness with everybody because it’s so great. What parent do you know that makes twelve-foot tall barbecue pits out of Belgian blocks? Does anybody else have a 39-year-old sister whose spiritual guide is Mr. T? Maybe I shouldn’t write about how my parents had my sister arrested for sport but then I wouldn’t be doing the story justice or true to myself as a writer. My family is very unique, and think the world will appreciate every nutty detail.
Cartoon Brew: The first of the interactive Eager to Please shorts—”The Elephant Dollar”—is now on-line. Do you consider this more of an animated graphic novel or an interactive film? What do you think it’s possible to communicate with interactivity that you couldn’t through a traditional passive viewing experience?
Carolyn and Andy: It’s more of an animated graphic novel than an interactive film at this point. We want to go further with this idea. Perhaps with Andy’s follow up graphic novel entitled “I Give Up.” With iPad and smart phone technology, the possibilities are endless. We love printed books, however at the same time, we’re excited about all the new possibilities with web browsers, apps and e-readers. Film is beautiful but it’s not exactly interactive. And it seems like there should be a way to have a narrative experience that embraces the interactive technology of gaming– but still has the intimacy and pleasure of a graphic novel. We don’t know what this experience is just yet….it’s not a book and it’s not a game and it’s not a film…it’s something else and we’re challenging ourselves to figure out what that next thing is and how we can make it a cool, entertaining experience.
Cartoon Brew: Last year, one of your earlier films The Lost Tribes of New York City was featured in the high-concept “Talk to Me” exhibition at MoMA. How’d you manage to get your work into such a prestigious museum?
Carolyn and Andy: They found us! We had Lost Tribes running in various film festivals and online for approximately three years. Apparently they did a search and found our film and it fit into the theme of the show. It was pretty cool to be part of a show on technology, communication and design and see Lost Tribes in the context of other art projects other than film. It was also exciting to be part of a bigger dialogue about communication and technology and to get to contribute to this pool of ideas. We’ve always felt very inspired by established and contemporary art.
To learn more about their work, visit LondonSquared.net
I can’t praise enough Google’s use of their homepage to give credit to animation and comic pioneers. Their front-page Google Doodle for Monday, October 15, is a tribute to Winsor McCay and his comic strip Little Nemo.
The interative, animated HTML5 comic is entitled Little Nemo in Google-land and was created by Jennifer Hom and Corrie Scalisi. It’s being released on the 107th anniversary of McCay’s comic. If you can’t wait until tomorrow to see it, it’s already live on Google sites in other parts of the world.
One of the giants of 20th century animation, Czech animator and director Břetislav Pojar, died last Friday evening [link to story in Czech newspaper]. He was 89. After studying architecture in college, Pojar started his animation career in the early-1940s. He was among the first group of artists to work at the state-run Studio Bratri v triku in Prague. There, he met Jiří Trnka, and in the mid-1940s, he left with Trnka to start a new animation studio. Pojar became Trnka’s key animator on numerous puppet shorts in the late-1940s and early-1950s, including Story of the Bass Cello, The Emperor’s Nightingale, and Old Czech Legends. Even after Pojar became a director, he continued to animate on Trnka’s later films like A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Pojar began directing his own films with the 1951 short Gingerbread House (Pernikova chaloupka). Among Pojar’s first important films was the anti-drinking short A Drop Too Much (O sklenicku víc. The film is a mixed bag: “Today’s viewer might find [it] melodramatic and artificial,” says historian Giannalberto Bendazzi, but he also praises “a rare cleverness in its camera movements, expressionist illumination and visual invention.”
Pojar’s 1959 short The Lion and the Song (Lev a písnicka) is an allegorical tale about the struggle of art against power. The short won the top prize at the very first Annecy animation festival held in 1960.
The films by Pojar are not easily classifiable and represent one of the most diverse bodies of work by an animation director. He worked in stop motion and drawn animation, and his films tackled a wide range of eclectic themes, often revolving around political, humanistic, social and anti-war concerns.
Pojar’s films also displayed a sophisticated sense of comedy and humor. His most beloved work is the 1960s children’s series Hey Mister Let’s Play. The shorts, which were featured years ago on Cartoon Brew, have a freshness and playfulness that sets them apart as some of the most brilliant children’s animation ever produced.
Even when tackling serious ideas like intolerance, as in the NFB short Balablok, Pojar did it with style and humor.
Pojar was active until the very end. He continued to direct well into the new century, and at the time of his death, Pojar was the head of the animation department at FAMU (Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts) in Prague.
To learn more about Pojar’s work in English, I recommend this essay written by Zdena Škapová.
The Show by Rebecca Hayes offers a beautifully animated glimpse into the private lives of performers in a traveling circus troupe. Although the film’s genteel slice-of-life approach doesn’t build to much of a climax, its charm grows on the viewer. The student short was completed in 2010 at RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology), but released online yesterday.
(Thanks, Rubber House)
There are not too many must-attend animation events for animation history buffs in New York, but tonight promises to be one of them. ASIFA-East and the School of Visual Arts will present a retrospective celebration of Perpetual Motion Pictures, one of the major NY commercial animation studios of the 1970s. The event is bittersweet because both of the studio’s founders—Buzz Potamkin and Hal Silvermintz—passed away in the past year.
The event begins at 7PM at the SVA theater (333 West 23rd Street, between 8th and 9th Ave in Manhattan). Admission is FREE!
Tom Warburton (creator, Kids Next Door) will moderate the panel of Perpetual Motion veterans, including Mordi Gerstein (who also worked at UPA-LA), and four other artists who got their starts at Perpetual: Russell Calabrese, Candy Kugel, JJ Sedelmaier and Thomas Schlamme (exec producer, The West Wing, Studio 60). Photos of many of the artists can be viewed on the ASIFA-East website. Other Perpetual veterans, including NY legends like Vinnie Bell, Rose Eng and Doug Crane are also scheduled to be in attendance. In other words, DON’T MISS THIS!