(via Mark Mayerson)
This week respected animation director Darrell van Citters will release his new book The Art of Jay Ward Productions. The 352-page book contains nearly one thousand illustrations featuring the studio’s classic cartoon characters including Rocky and Bullwinkle, George of the Jungle and Mr. Peabody and Sherman.
Van Citters has not only created a lush coffeetable book, he aims to rewrite the studio’s history. The artwork of the Jay Ward shows isn’t typically celebrated for its artistic merit, but Van Citters makes a strong case that the studio’s artistry is worthy of critical appraisal. He tells Cartoon Brew that one of the book’s primary goals was “to identify and properly credit as many of the artists as possible for their previously unheralded work.” Certainly, many great talents passed through the studio, including Bill Hurtz, Roy Morita, Pete Burness, Sam Clayberger, and Shirley Silvey, to name but a few.
In the following visual essay, Van Citters traces the lineage of some of the studio’s most famous characters and explains the contributions of different artists.
The book, which is published by Van Citters’ personal imprint Oxberry Press retails for $49.95. It will debut this weekend at the CTN Animation Expo and will be available afterward at ArtofJayWard.com or Amazon.com.
Pixar co-founder (and current president of both Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios) Dr. Ed Catmull has written a book that explores how Pixar operates creatively. The 368-page book, Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, was co-written with journalist Amy Wallace and will be published next April by Random House.
From the description, it sounds like the book will be part-business management and part personal memoir, and a valuable title anyone who wishes to understand how Pixar functions as a company:
Creativity, Inc. is a book for managers who want to lead their employees to new heights, a manual for anyone who strives for originality, and the first-ever, all-access trip into the nerve center of Pixar Animation Studios—into the story meetings, the postmortems, and the “Braintrust” sessions where art is born. It is, at heart, a book about how to build and sustain a creative culture—but it is also, as Pixar co-founder and president Ed Catmull writes, “an expression of the ideas that I believe make the best in us possible.”
For nearly twenty years, Pixar has dominated the world of animation, producing such beloved films as the Toy Story trilogy, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Up, and WALL-E, which have gone on to set box-office records and garner twenty-seven Academy Awards. The joyousness of the storytelling, the inventive plots, the emotional authenticity: In some ways, Pixar movies are an object lesson in what creativity really is. Now, in this book, Catmull reveals the ideals and techniques, honed over years, that have made Pixar so widely admired—and so profitable.
As a young man, Catmull had a dream: to make the world’s first computer-animated movie. He nurtured that dream first as a Ph.D. student at the University of Utah, where many computer science pioneers got their start, and then forged an early partnership with George Lucas that led, indirectly, to his founding Pixar with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter in 1986. Nine years later and against all odds, Toy Story was released, changing animation forever. The essential ingredient in that movie’s success—and in the thirteen movies that followed, all of which debuted at #1 at the box office—was the unique environment that Catmull and his colleagues built at Pixar, based on philosophies that protect the creative process and ideas that defy convention, such as:
• Give a good idea to a mediocre team, and they will screw it up. But give a mediocre idea to a great team, and they will either fix it or come up with something better.
• If you don’t strive to uncover what is unseen and understand its nature, you will be ill prepared to lead.
• It’s not the manager’s job to prevent risks. It’s the manager’s job to make it safe for others to take them.
• The cost of preventing errors is often far greater than the cost of fixing them.
• A company’s communication structure should not mirror its organizational structure. Everybody should be able to talk to anybody.
• Do not assume that general agreement will lead to change—it takes substantial energy to move a group, even when all are on board.
I’m going to assume that the cover is not final since it’s simply the Pixar in Concert logo with some text dropped over it. Pre-order the book on Amazon for $20.82..
Starving soldiers divide a measly last meal when sick allies arrive at their base. When the refugees turn to bread people, the battle between hunger and humanity begins.
The CTN Animation Expo returns to the Burbank Airport Marriott this weekend for its fifth edition. The three-day event is a mix of panels, lectures, tutorials, book signings, recruiter meetings, and exhibition halls, all of which are particularly attractive for students and young artists who are trying to break into the industry.
The expo attracts dozens of industry professionals due to its convenient Los Angeles location. Speakers and presenters this year include big names from the animation/vfx world, both young and old, including ILM’s Richard Edlund, Disney storyman Burny Mattinson, stop motion animator and designer Phil Tippett, animator Eric Goldberg, poster artist Drew Struzan, Ren & Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi, co-director of the Oscar-winning short The Lost Things Andrew Ruhemann, visual development artist Claire Keane, director Chris Sanders, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 directors Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn, and Wander Over Yonder creator Craig McCracken. And, if you’re really lucky, maybe even the mime guy.
Seth MacFarlane’s stable of animation writers have finally been given a dumping ground for all their offensive Mexican jokes and stereotypes. Fox has announced a 13-episode pick-up of Bordertown created and written by Family Guy exec producer Mark Hentemann, who will executive produce with MacFarlane. Alex Carter (Family Guy) and Dan Vebber (American Dad) are the co-executive producers.
The show, which wil debut in fall 2014 and will be produced by 20th Century Fox Television, is described as such:
Bordertown will take a satirical look at the cultural shifts occurring throughout America. Set in a fictitious desert town near the Mexico border, the series centers on the intertwining daily lives of two neighbors: Bud Buckwald and Ernesto Gonzales. Married and a father of three, Bud is a Border Patrol agent who feels threatened by the cultural changes that have transformed his neighborhood. Living next door to Bud is Ernesto, an industrious Mexican immigrant and father of four, who is proud to be making it in America. As Bud and Ernesto’s paths begin to cross, their families become bound by friendship, romance and conflict.
The show was designed to replace American Dad! which is moving from Fox to TBS in 2014. Bordertown will air on Sundays alongside The Simpsons, Family Guy, and Bob’s Burgers on Fox’s Animation Domination line-up.
A lone fish, hooked by an angler’s line, encounters another in the same dire situation. As the two fish struggle, they develop an entangling attraction. Is it love or merely a will to survive?
The Making of A Tangled Tale
British department store John Lewis has released an ambitious annual Christmas advertisement, a £1 million hand-drawn spot with stop motion backgrounds called The Bear and the Hare. The piece was directed by Yves Geleyn and Elliot Dear through Hornet/Blinkink.
The hand-drawn character animation was created by two veterans of Disney’s former animation studio in Orlando: Dominic Carola who runs Premise Entertainment and Aaron Blaise who gained plenty of experience drawing bears when he co-directed Brother Bear. Aaron offered some details to Cartoon Brew about the project:
“I designed all of the characters while Dom and I supervised all of the animation. I personally animated all of the Bear and the Hare while Dom and his crew animated the rest of the animals. It was taken all the way through final line at Premise in Orlando. It was so great to do 2D again! I was even working on paper at my old Disney animation desk! Something I hadn’t done since Brother Bear!“
Executive Producers: Bart Yates, Michael Feder
Producers, Bart Yates, James Stevenson Bretton, Josephine Gallagher
2D Animation: Premise Entertainment LLC
2D Animation Supervisors: Aaron Blaise, Dominic Carola
2D Animators: Erin Humiston, Darko Cesar
Head of Clean-up 2D Animation: Janelle Bell-Martin
2D Clean-up Artists: Mi Yul Lee, Teresa Quezada-Geer, Jacque Pierro, Chad Thompson, Jason Peltz
2D Compositor/Scene Setup: Mac Masters
2D Artistic Coordinator: Pam Darley
2D Digital Artist: Anthony West, Enoc Castaneda
2D Lead Colorist/Coordinator: James Lancett
2D Colorists: Sean Weston, Joseph Sparkes, Frankie Swan, Harriet Gillian
Assistant 2D Colorist: Lila Peuscet
2D Illustrator Technician: Albert Sala
Printers: The Graphical Tree
Laser Cutting: Ewen Dickie
Designer/Typographer: Robert Frank Hunter
Storyboard Artists: Sav Akyuz, Steve Tappin, James Lancett, Robert Frank Hunter
3D Technical Director: Patrick Hearn
3D Previsualisation Artist: Simone Ghilardotti, Lucas Cuenca, Johannes Sambs
Lead Stop-Frame Animator: Andy Biddle
Stop-Frame Animators: Daniel Ojari, Daniel Gill
Production Designer/Supervising Modeller: John Lee
Art Department Modellers: Colin Armitage, Sonya Yu, Maggie Haden, Collette Pidgeon, Yossel Simpson Little, Richard Blakey, Gary Welch, Christy Matta, Lucy Begent
Scenic Painters: Fiona Stewart, Beth Quinton
Rigging Department: Richard Blakey
Art Department Assistants: Morgan Faverty, Anna Ginsburg, Jennifer Newman
MOCO/Camera Assistant: Max Halstead
Director of Photography: Toby Howell
Gaffer: Aldo Camilleri
Runner: Robert Gould
Post Production: Blinkink Studios
Post Production/Compositing: Alasdair Brotherston, Ian Sargent, Carlos Diego, Jonathan Gallagher, Elliot Dear
Editors: Sam Sneade, Ellie Johnson
Sound Design: Sam Robson at Factory Studios
Colorist: Jean-Clement Soret at MPC
This afternoon, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced the ten animated shorts that have been shortlisted for the Best Animated Short Film category. The NFB leads the pack with three shorts. Notably, Pixar’s The Blue Umbrella wasn’t shortlisted. (Does anybody know when was the last time a Pixar short wasn’t shortlisted?) Much more commentary to come on the short category in a bit, but for now, here are the contenders. Congratulations to all!
November 7, 2013
BEVERLY HILLS, CA —The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that 10 animated short films will advance in the voting process for the 86th Academy Awards. Fifty-six pictures had originally qualified in the category.
The 10 films are listed below in alphabetical order by title, with their production companies:
“Feral,” Daniel Sousa, director, and Dan Golden, music and sound design (Daniel Sousa)
“Get a Horse!” Lauren MacMullan, director, and Dorothy McKim, producer (Walt Disney Feature Animation)
“Gloria Victoria,” Theodore Ushev, director (National Film Board of Canada)
“Hollow Land,” Uri Kranot and Michelle Kranot, directors (Dansk Tegnefilm, Les Films de l’Arlequin and the National Film Board of Canada)
“The Missing Scarf,” Eoin Duffy, director, and Jamie Hogan, producer (Belly Creative Inc.)
“Mr. Hublot,” Laurent Witz, director, and Alexandre Espigares, co-director (Zeilt Productions)
“Possessions,” Shuhei Morita, director (Sunrise Inc.)
“Requiem for Romance,” Jonathan Ng, director (Kungfu Romance Productions Inc.)
“Room on the Broom,” Max Lang and Jan Lachauer, directors (Magic Light Pictures)
“Subconscious Password,” Chris Landreth, director (National Film Board of Canada with the participation of Seneca College Animation Arts Centre and Copperheart Entertainment)
The Academy’s Short Films and Feature Animation Branch Reviewing Committee viewed all the eligible entries for the preliminary round of voting at screenings held in New York and Los Angeles.
Short Films and Feature Animation Branch members will now select three to five nominees from among the 10 titles on the shortlist. Branch screenings will be held in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco in December.
It has often been said that the rhythmicality of animation has much in common with music. The other, more unfortunate, similarity between the two arts is that the animation artist, like the musician, often has to contend with companies that believe the work they produce has no monetary value.
British indietronica artist Whitey finally had enough of the “there’s no budget for music” shtick after he was approached by the TV production company Betty, who asked to use his music for free in one of their shows. Whitey penned a biting response and promised to share it, which he did on his Facebook page.
The sentiment is not much different from what character designer Stephen Silver has preached to young artists, what writer Harlan Ellison has ranted and raved about, and what we’ve been saying on Cartoon Brew for years. It boils down simply to this: if you operate a company that earns money (and even if you don’t), don’t expect artists to work for free.
Here is the full text of Whitey’s letter to Betty:
Firstly, there is no label- I outright own my material, so I’m not sure who you’ve been emailing.
Secondly, I am sick to death of your hollow schtick, of the inevitable line “unfortunately there’s no budget for music”, as if some fixed Law Of The Universe handed you down a sad but immutable financial verdict preventing you from budgeting to pay for music. Your company set out the budget. so you have chosen to allocate no money for music. I get begging letters like this every week – from a booming, allfuent global media industry.
Why is this? Let’s look at who we both are.
I am a professional musician, who lives form his music. It me half a lifetime to learn the skills, years to claw my way up the structure, to the point where a stranger like you will write to me. This music is my hard earned property. I’ve licensed music to some of the biggest shows, brands, games and TV production companies on Earth; form Breaking Bad to the Sopranos, from Coca Cola to Visa, HBO to Rockstar Games.
Ask yourself—would you approach a Creative or a Director with a resume like that—and in one flippant sentence ask them to work for nothing? Of course not. Because your industry has a precedent of paying these people, of valuing their work.
Or would you walk into someone’s home, eat from their bowl, and walk out smiling, saying “So sorry, I’ve no budget for food”? Of course you would not. Because, culturally, we classify that as theft.
Yet the culturally ingrained disdain for the musician that riddles your profession, leads you to fleece the music angle whenever possible. You will without question pay everyone connected to a shoot – from the caterer to the grip to the extra- even the cleaner who mopped your set and scrubbed the toilets after the shoot will get paid. The musician? Give him nothing.
Now lets look at you. A quick glance at your website reveals a variety of well known, internationally syndicated reality programmes. You are a successful, financially solvent and globally recognised company with a string of hit shows. Working on multiple series in close co-operation with Channel 4, from a West London office, with a string of awards under your belt. You have real money, to pretend otherwise is an insult.
Yet you send me this shabby request – give me your property for free… Just give us what you own, we want it.
The answer is a resounding, and permanent NO.
I will now post this on my sites, forward this to several key online music sources and blogs, encourage people to re-blog this. I want to see a public discussion begin about this kind of industry abuse of musicians… this was one email too far for me. Enough. I’m sick of you.
In followup notes, Whitey clarified his stance on why he sometimes gives away his music for free:
I donate music all the time to indie projects, students and those who need it but cannot pay…I don’t want payment for everything. I don’t even care that much about money, I give away my music all the time. You and I live in a society where filesharing is the norm. I’m fine with that.
But I don’t give my music away to large, affluent companies who wish to use it to make themselves more money. Who can afford to pay, but who smell the filesharing buffet and want to grab themselves a free plate. That is a different scenario.
The Fredrikstad Animation Festival begins today in Fredrikstad, Norway, and continues through Sunday.
They always manage to get great guests, and this year is no exception. Tomorrow, they will host seminars about the making of three different animated features: director Benjamin Renner will discuss the making of Ernest and Celestine, director Tomm Moore (The Secret of Kells) and art director Adrien Mérigeau will discuss the production of Cartoon Saloon’s upcoming feature Song of the Sea (pictured above), and Bill Plympton will talk about the filmmaking process for his new feature Cheatin’.
For ticket info and full schedule, visit AnimationFestival.no.
If you are anywhere in or around Amsterdam next week, carve out some time to visit the Klik! Amsterdam Animation Festival. Every year, they program the festival around a central theme, and this year they’ve chosen to focus on the Cartoon Modern aesthetic with their “Fabulous Fifties” theme.
The six-day festival will next Tuesday, November 12, at the EYE Film Institute, which opened a beautiful new film and museum space last year:
For the past year, I’ve been working with Klik!, and especially their head programmer Tünde Vollenbroek, on the “Fabulous Fifties” theme, and we’ve managed to put together an extensive and wide-ranging survey of mid-century animation design. Here are the programs we’ve come up with:
The festival’s guest headliner is contemporary Cartoon Modern master Paul Rudish. He will present a lecture about his latest project—Disney’s new batch of super-entertaining Mickey Mouse shorts—for which he serves as supervising director and executive producer. In separate presentations, Rudish will discuss working on early Cartoon Network series like Dexter’s Laboratory and Powerpuff Girls, and do a Q&A after a screening of the documentary Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony.
There will also be talks by Danish animation studio Tumblehead about the making of their stylized CG short Rob ‘n’ Ron and a talk by Ryan Honey who is the creative director of the commercial studio Buck. The festival has a full slate of short film competition programs and special screenings, including Ari Folman’s feature The Congress and Kevin Schrek’s fantastic Thief and the Cobbler documentary Persistence of Vision, followed by a screening of Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut. Check out KLIK!’s film program and their special guests.
The crew at KLIK! like to have fun, and not only do they have a “Fabulous Fifties”-themed party planned, they even made a new animated piece that riffs on the classic “Let’s All Go to the Lobby” theatrical ad. The spot was created by Dutch animation students at HKU: Nicole Derksen, Rogier Henkelman, Mark Bastiaan, Rose Zhang, Merel van den Broek, Laurens van Walbeek and Jurgen Hofman:
How an animation studio runs portrayed through a ship analogy. We follow producers Jim and Jane as they navigate their way through the wonderfully chaotic world of animation.
Creator/Producer: Ariel Chao
Director/Writer: Paul Zeke
Shipbuilder: Alex Garcia, Miang Tassniyom
Ship designer: Julieta Colas, Rosie Ly
Animators: Alex Garcia, Alvaro Munoz Ruiz, Carolina Gonzales, Derek Anderson, Rosie Ly, Taylor Ramos
Lead character & background designer: Darcy Dee
Lead Builder: Sebastian Zegers R.
Character builder: Darcy Dee, Rosie Ly
Lead effects animator: Gideon Funk
Motion designer/Graphic designer: Jorge A. Martinez Teran
Narration: James R. Baylis
Music: Juan Camilo Arboleda
Made at Vancouver Film School, 2013.