Last week, I wrote about YooToon, a new Internet animation channel created by Fairly OddParents creator Butch Hartman. The premiere episode launched today. Watch it:
(Thanks, Jace Diehl)
Last week, I wrote about YooToon, a new Internet animation channel created by Fairly OddParents creator Butch Hartman. The premiere episode launched today. Watch it:
(Thanks, Jace Diehl)
Students will soon be racking up huge amounts of student loan debt while their money lines the coffers of vfx studio Digital Domain, but at least one person is doing well financially: Digital Domain CEO John Textor (pictured left). Digital Domain released its 2011 annual report yesterday, and it turns out that the man at the center of Digital Domain’s “pay-to-work” scandal is profiting quite handsomely, to the tune of $16 million dollars in 2011. Textor’s pay package included a salary of $791,372, a bonus of $407,000, shares through a stock exchange worth $6.5 million and a penny-a-share option award worth $2.5 million. Textor also received options with an exercise price of $9.63. Digital Domain will report the value of those options at $5.8 million. On top of the $16 million he received last year, Textor also owns 25% of Digital Domain, a stake worth $59 million.
Surely, stockholders are paying Textor handsomely because of the wealth he’s bringing into the company. Oh, wait…hang on…Digital Domain’s revenue dropped between 2010 and 2011? According to the Palm Beach Post, “For the full year, Digital Domain reported a loss of $141 million on revenue of $99 million, compared to a 2010 loss of $42 million on revenue of $105 million.” To put this into perspective, Time Warner chief executive Jeff Bewkes received total compensation of $26 million in 2011 for running a company that reported a profit of $2.9 billion.
It’s only fair to let Textor have the final word. His bizarre rationale for earning that much money is that he didn’t actually earn that much money. Textor told the Palm Beach Post, “Received shares in a company I started? I don’t really call that compensation–the accountants do.”
Never mind the fact that the accountants call that compensation because they’re legally obligated to do so, or that the rest of the business world also acknowledges such options as part of executive compensation packages. With a warped world view like this, it’s becoming become clear why Textor doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with making students pay to work at his company.
Textor’s comments, which were made last November but leaked online last week, center around Textor telling investors that 30% of Digital Domain’s workforce would be comprised of “student labor that’s actually paying us for the privilege of working on our films.” Artist Scott Benson dubbed it the Reverse Paid Internship. Today the story gained renewed momentum when the LA Times published a story about the controversy surrounding Digital Domain’s plans.
In the LA Times, Textor claims that his earlier comments were taken out of context and says, “Find me another visual effects company that is as committed to growing jobs in North America as Digital Domain. If this is taking advantage of kids, I wish somebody would have taken advantage of me when I was in school…. For $28,000 a year, you get an FSU degree and get to work at one of the leading visual effects companies in the world.”
The anonymous blogger at VFX Soldier rebutted those statements, pointing out that plenty of other vfx houses are building jobs in North America: “Sony, Rhythm & Hues, Zoic Studios, Image Engine, and many other companies have opened shop in Vancouver where there has been a huge growth in VFX jobs.” Furthermore, even with $132 million in cash, land, tax credits and financing from the state and the cities of Port St. Lucie and West Palm Beach, Digital Domain is still aggressively pushing forward on building studios in India and China. So much for North America.
Textor is clearly on the defensive, going so far as posting a comment on VFX Soldier, the site that initially broke the news about his comments. His rambling and combative commentary (“I was probably a 3D programmer before you were born.”) doesn’t address the ethical and legal issues raised by his pay-to-work idea. Instead, Textor claims that, “The VFX business model, as a pure services model, is broken,” and somehow that justifies students paying him to work at Digital Domain. Textor also states, “I cannot fix the VFX industry. I am definitely not smart enough for that.” That is something becoming increasingly clear to anybody who’s been following the story.
(Photo of Debbie and John Trextor via TCPalm.com)
Many artists have animated famous paintings before, but the husband-and-wife artistic team Rob and Nick Carter have taken it to a whole other level. They created a a three-hour animated version of an Ambrosius Bosschaert still life painting from 1618:
Every aspect of Bosschaert’s painting has been brought to life including each flower stem, insect and background scenery. The film…takes the painted scene from early morning darkness through to noon (where the film exactly resembles the original painting) into dusk and late night.
They worked with a team of nearly two dozen artists from the vfx house Moving Picture Company where they first recreated all of the painting’s elements in Maya. Then they spent two-and-a-half years animating the film. If you go to Rob and Nick’s website and click on #10, you can get a taste of the exceedingly subtle and meditative quality of the real-time animation.
This article in Computer Arts offers more details of the challenges involved in creating such a slow-paced animated sequence. The digital artwork, titled “Transforming Still Life Painting,” is being released in an edition of 12 (plus 5 artist proofs). Each one is valued at Â£50,000 ($80,000). The Mauritshuis Museum in The Hague, which houses Bosschaert’s original painting, has already agreed to acquire one of the Carters’ digital reproductions for its collection.
(Thanks, Alex Rannie)
April 2, 1934. Seventy-eight years ago to the day, a twenty-year-old kid started working at Walt Disney Productions. His name was Ward Kimball, and animation hasn’t been the same ever since. This fall, I’m celebrating his life in Full Steam Ahead: The Life and Art of Ward Kimball, a coffeetable book that is as much a how-to manual on being a creative innovator as it is a biography of a fascinating individual.
I announced the book last September, and I’m pleased to report that it’s finally available for pre-order on Amazon. The first printing of my previous book for Chronicle Books, The Art of Pixar, sold out in five weeks because of the short print run. The print run for the Kimball bio is similarly limited, so I’d recommend jumping on this if you want a first edition.
Here’s the official jazz from my publisher:
“Ward’s the one man who works for me I call a genius,” Walt Disney once noted. Ward Kimball’s career as an animator and Academy Award-winning director at Disney between the 1930s and the 1970s is legendary, but the work he created outside of the animation studio was equally fascinating, including building a functioning full-size railroad in his backyard and founding a successful jazz band. Director Brad Bird states in his foreword to the book that “Amidi’s meticulous research into Kimball’s life and workâ€¦gives a first-time glimpse into the life of one of the true kings of character animation.” With unprecedented access to his personal archives and private journals, celebrated animation historian Amid Amidi unearthed hundreds of never-before-seen drawings, paintings, comics, letters, and photos, including concept art and stories from his occasionally turbulent career at Disney. Featuring interviews with dozens of Ward’s colleagues, relatives, students, and friends, Amidi paints a complex portrait of one of animation’s most irreverent and influential artists in this definitive must-have biography.
Advance praise for Full Steam Ahead from John Canemaker, Oscar-winning animation filmmaker and author of Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men & The Art of Animation: “Capturing Ward Kimball’s long, lusty, eclectic personal and professional life on the printed page is like seizing lightning Ã la Pecos Bill, a character Kimball once animated brilliantly.Â Author Amid Amidi lassoes the electric, essential Ward Kimball in all his turbulent multifaceted glory in this profusely illustrated, extraordinarily candid biography. Â The full, intimate portrait that Amidi skillfully paints is supported by impeccable research, including Kimball’s private diaries. Â Writing with insight, passion and compassion about his mercurial subject, Amidi takes readers directly into the life and private thoughts of a uniquely modern Renaissance man whose contributions continue to resonate in American popular culture.”
The Museum of Modern Art in New York continues to be one of the most animation friendly museums in the US. This week they announced an exhibition and accompanying film retrospective celebrating the work of the 64-year-old identical twin animators Stephen and Timothy Quay, better known as the Brothers Quay. The show, “Quay Brothers: On Deciphering the Pharmacist’s Prescription for Lip-Reading Puppets,” opens on August 8, 2012. The show is being organized by Ron Magliozzi, who has also co-curated MoMA’s hit exhibitions on Tim Burton and Pixar. More from MoMA’s website:
Internationally renowned moving image artists and designers, the Quay Brothers were born outside Philadelphia and have worked from their London studio, Atelier Koninck, since the late 1970s. For over 30 years, they have been in the avant-garde of stop-motion puppet animation and live-action movie-making in the Eastern European tradition of filmmakers like Walerian Borowczyk and Jan Svankmajer and the Russian Yuri Norstein, and have championed a design aesthetic influenced by the graphic surrealism of Polish poster artists of the 1950s and 1960s.
Beginning with their student films in 1971, the Quay Brothers have produced over 45 moving image works, including two features, music videos, dance films, documentaries, and signature personal works, including The Street of Crocodiles (1986), the Stille Nacht series (1988—2008), Institute Benjamenta (1995), and In Absentia (2000). They have also designed sets and projections for opera, drama, and concert performances such as Tchaikovsky’s Mazeppa (1991), Ionesco’s The Chairs (Tony-nominated design, 1997), Richard Ayre’s The Cricket Recovers (2005), and recent site-specific pieces based on the work of BartÃ³k and Kafka.
In addition to their better known films, this exhibition will include never-before-seen moving image works and graphic design, drawings, and calligraphy, presenting animated and live-action films alongside installations, objects, and works on paper.
As a counterbalance to Digital Domain and its dunderheaded business strategy of making one-third of its staff pay them to work on its films, the video above features DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg speaking about he importance of honoring his studio’s employees. Katzenberg says in the interview:
The thing that I have learned, and I only wish that I knew it twenty-five or thirty years ago, which is to honor and celebrate, recognize and reward your employees and their work–is a fantastic business strategy. If they love their work, they love coming to work, they will strive to do great work and you’ll succeed.
George Griffin is one of the stalwarts of the New York indie scene, a filmmaker with an inspiring DIY approach who has been making films of every stripe continuously since 1969. His work hasn’t been readily available online, which is why I was excited to learn that he’s recently been uploading a selection of his films onto Vimeo. A more extensive collection of Griffin’s shorts can be purchased through his website.
If you’re unfamiliar with his work, you will want to read this 1997 interview on AWN in which he discusses his personal and artistic history, and why he values the idea of “doing my own thing.” Below are a few of his works that are currently online.
Flying Fur (1981), an “animated love song to the cartoon chase” set to Scott Bradley’s score from the Tom and Jerry short Puttin’ on the Dog.
Ko-Ko (1988), a collage-animation film that explores the visual equivalent to the aural improvisations of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.
New Fangled (1990) is rooted in Griffin’s experiences working in advertising and pillories the nonsensical jargon used by ad agency “creatives.”
Australian artist Tom Bone was laid up in a hospital bed for three weeks due to a broken pelvis. He made the best of his time and produced a four-minute animated short during his hospital stay. There’s a phenomenal amount of inventive character designs in his hilariously perverse morphing freakfest, which is looped multiple times below.
My Way is a sweet-natured short about the anxieties of growing up, and the unknown forces (represented by the metaphorical pebble) that shape our life experiences. Directed by Veljko PopoviÄ‡ and made at Croatia’s Bold Studio, the film is based on a book written and illustrated by Svjetlan JunakoviÄ‡. Despite remaining faithful to the illustrator’s richly textured style, the director PopoviÄ‡ manages to avoid the blandness that plagues many book adaptations through a dynamic use of screen space and creative transitions between scenes. My Way has played at dozens of film festivals since its debut in 2010.
Story and visuals: Svjetlan JunakoviÄ‡
Director: Veljko PopoviÄ‡
Producer: Masha UdoviÄiÄ‡
Music and sound: Hrvoje Å tefotiÄ‡
Narator: Charles Foster
Animation: Zvonimir Haramija, Mirela IvankoviÄ‡ Bielen, Ana Horvat, Juliana KuÄan, Ana-Marija VidakoviÄ‡
Compositing: Masha UdoviÄiÄ‡, Zvonimir Haramija, Juliana KuÄan
Digital Domain CEO John Textor (pictured above with his wife) envisions big things for his company’s new feature animation studio in Port St. Lucie, Florida called Tradition Studios. While we’ve written about the studio’s ambitious feature film plans, what wasn’t known until recently is how Textor intends to create the films. His plan is to convince students to pay Digital Domain to work on its films for free.
The blog VFX Soldier has obtained a speech that Textor gave last November to investors in which he revealed how the company’s new animation school Digital Domain Institute will be integrated with the Tradition studio. Textor told the audience:
Classes starting in the education space, what’s interesting is the relationship between the digital studio and the college. Â Not only is this a first in a number of ways that we’ve talked about, but 30% of the workforce at our digital studio down in Florida, is not only going to be free, with student labor, it’s going to be labor that’s actually paying us for the privilege of working on our films.
Now this was the controversial element of this and the first discussions with the Department of Education, ’cause it sounds like you’re taking advantage of the students. Â But we were able to persuade even the academic community, if we don’t do something to dramatically reduce costs in our industry, not only ours but many other industries in this country, then we’re going to lose these industries .. we’re going to lose these jobs. Â And our industry was going very quickly to India and China.
Students, in other words, will pay up to $105,000 for the “privilege” of working on Digital Domain’s features, the first of which will be The Legend of Tembo. As VFX Soldier points out, “It’s one thing to work for low pay, it’s another thing to work for free, but it’s unfathomable to be expected to pay to work for free.
If all of this sounds a little fishy, that’s because it is. The Animation Guild in Los Angeles is exploring whether Digital Domain might be in violation of state and federal labor laws. They’ve tried to communicate with multiple Florida government agencies, including the state’s Department of Education, with no luck yet. Federal labor laws, however, would appear to be in favor of artists as they clearly stipulate that interns cannot “perform productive work” (i.e. work on the production of a film) without being compensated with at least minimum wage and overtime pay. (Minimum wage, by the way, is $7.67 per hour in Florida.)
As animation education programs proliferate around the United States and competition intensifies for a finite number of jobs, studios find themselves in a position to exploit young artists more aggressively than ever before. Whether it’s Titmouse relocating its studio nearly 3,000 miles away to avoid paying its employees union wages or Digital Domain making people pay to work on its films, there are plenty of legal loopholes that studios can exploit to save a buck on the backs of their production crews. And some studio CEOs are so proud of themselves that they’ll publicly boast about how they’re getting away with it.
(Photo of Debbie and John Trextor via TCPalm.com)
British animation artist Edd Gould passed away on Sunday, March 25 from leukemia. He was the creator of the popular online animation series Eddsworld, which achieved a devoted following on numerous video platforms including Newgrounds and YouTube. On YouTube alone, his shorts have been viewed over 80 million times. The Eddsworld universe also included comics and Flash games. Gould animated all the shorts, co-wrote them, and provided some of the voices. It is not clear at this point whether the series will continue without his participation, but the rest of the Eddsworld crew has promised fans that they will finish the two-part episode that Gould was working on at the time of his death.
(Thanks, David OReilly)
Since last Friday’s news that you’re leaving Disney, you’ve launched a new parlour game What Will Glen Keane Do? Everyone is wondering: Will he jump to another studio? Will he work on his personal artwork? Will he attempt to create a feature film independently as Richard Williams is currently doing? This letter humbly offers my suggestion for what you should consider doing.
If the outpouring of sentiment surrounding your departure is any indication, you’re one of the few verifiable superstars in animation. Over five thousand people reblogged the news of your resignation on Tumblr alone. You’re riding a wave of decades of built-up goodwill, and fans are invested in your career as they are in the work of few other animators.
Animation and Disney lovers are clamoring to see what you do next, and more than anything, it seems they want to see you make a personal animated film. It doesn’t seem to matter what that film is, or whether it’s a feature or short subject–just so long as you’re directing it. This is your moment to blow our minds. You can reset the animation world with the most stunning animated film we’ve ever seen, a no-holds-barred work of pure artistry without restrictions or interference.
The timing could not be more ripe. Right now we are witnessing a paradigm shift in which artists increasingly receive their funding directly from fans, not business investors and corporations. Crowdfunding has taken off in the last year in all areas of creative culture. Video game designer Tim Schafer (Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, Grim Fandango) recently concluded a Kickstarter campaign to fund a “point-and-click” graphic adventure game. He aimed to raise $400,000 and ended up with $3.3 million. Comic artist Rich Burlew raised $1.25 million on Kickstarter to reprint his webcomic Order of the Stick. Comedian Louis CK self-produced his latest special and sold it online, reaping over $1 million in just a couple weeks. He ended up donating more than a quarter-million dollars to charity.
No animator has yet to pull in the kind of crowd-funding numbers as the examples above, but then again, no animator with your name recognition has attempted the feat. By forming a direct relationship with your fans, it’s a virtual guarantee that you can do whatever you want. That includes raising the money you need to create a personal animated film, and more than enough to pay for a healthy crew of assistants, clean-up artists, and others. And, if like, Louis CK, you already have enough money to produce the work independently, just know that there are many fans waiting to see your work.
Few Disney animation superstars, past or present, have created personal animation projects. Among the Nine Old Men, only Ward Kimball ever created an animated short on his own time, and that film was only a few minutes long. You have the unique opportunity to change that history. In your resignation letter, you wrote that, “I am convinced that animation really is the ultimate art form of our time with endless new territories to explore. I can’t resist its siren call to step out and discover them.”
Everyone supports you in your desire to discover the art form’s new vistas. I sincerely feel that your best opportunity for exploring that creative vision is to do it independently–with the backing of your thousands of fans and admirers.
Best of luck,
The word of the year for Internet content is CHANNELS. Google’s YouTube announced last fall that they’re partnering with media companies and celebrities to launch one hundred channels of original content in 2012. They’re expected to officially unveil the channels next month. But those who aren’t funded by the deep pockets of Google will be joining the fray too. Among the early animation-related channel contenders will be YooToon, which is created by Butch Hartman, creator of TV series like Fairly OddParents and Danny Phantom.
Butch Hartman follows in the footsteps of Rocko’s Modern Life creator Joe Murray who launched his Kaboing TV channel last year. Cartoon Brew noted last January that Murray’s channel has struggled to gain traction with viewers. It has debuted just one new piece of content in the last seven months. Murray’s experiences highlight the challenge for established show creators wishing to translate their success in producing mainstream animation to programming an Internet channel. It remains to be seen how Hartman will cater to the tastes of Internet animation viewers who, thus far, have favored content that is vastly different in tone than normal TV fare.
Hartman’s YooToon channel has yet to officially debut, but he is promoting the channel on Facebook and Twitter, while soliciting submissions on Tumblr. Filmmakers: be sure to review YooToon’s terms carefully before submitting. The biggest red flag for any creator, amateur or experienced, should be the following language: “If my video is selected, I understand that I grant exclusive and sole ownership of my video to YOOTOON Studios upon submission.”
UPDATE: YooToon has updated its submission form since Cartoon Brew posted about the channel few hours ago. But they haven’t updated the terms, and the channel still claims ownership over the films Hartman chooses for his channel. The new “details” posted on the submission form are vague beyond reason and create more questions than answers:
YOO retain all rights to your animated creation, we just own the particular video you submit. We want your idea to succeed! If it attracts an audience under the YooToon banner, we will provide the funding deemed necessary by YooToon to make more videos. If the idea REALLY takes off and goes viral, YooToon will strike a best effort deal with the creator to make the video into an online series! Imagine, you could be making an online series with Butch Hartman!
(Thanks, Jace Diehl)
As if yesterday’s news of the Nine Old Men flipbook set wasn’t tantalizing enough, there’s also the Mary Blair Treasury of Golden Books planned for release on August 7. The volume collects Mary Blair’s essential children’s book illustration, along with a foreword by her biographer John Canemaker. More from the publisher:
Fans of illustrator Mary Blair will cherish this never-before-published treasury of her Golden Books, which includes material that hasn’t been in print in decades. I Can Fly is here in its unabridged glory, as are Baby’s House, The Up and Down Book, and The Golden Book of Little Verses. Many of the finest pages from The New Golden Song Book are included, to round out this gorgeous collection. All of the original artwork has been digitally reproduced, and has never looked more breathtaking!
Pre-order is $13.59 on Amazon.
A new animated piece by Theodore Ushev is always cause for celebration. His latest, “Demoni,” is a zoetrope-inspired music video for the Bulgarian band Kottarashky & The Rain Dogs. Ushev, whose artwork tends to be dramatic (Lipsett Diaries, Tower Bawher, Drux Flux), takes a light-hearted turn in this video and fills a series of spinning records with playful bouncing shapes and figures. Graphically, he’s playing in the same sandbox as early-20th century surrealists and abstract painters. One imagines if Miro, Kandinsky and Klee had teamed up to make an animated music video, it would have looked something like this.
Theo describes his process:
The animation film was created using about 50 vinyl recordings. It was painted directly on the plates with oil and gel paint markers, and acrylics. Different speeds of the “Viking” gramophone were used to create the movement. Some shots were done also with stopmotion using a Canon 5D, Carl-Zeiss macro lenses.
The Archive Series–Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men: The Flipbooks will release on September 18. This pet project of UP director Pete Docter is among the more unique book concepts, and pays tribute to the work of the Nine Old Men in the best way possible: by displaying scenes their animation work. Amazingly, none of the Nine Old Men’s full animation scenes have been made available to the public before, which makes this both a valuable historical and educational project.
There’s no better choice than Docter to spearhead the project; he’s a big fan of the flipbook format and creates a flipbook ever year as his personal Christmas card. Here’s the official book description:
This box set of nine flip books pays tribute to Walt Disney’s original animators–the Nine Old Men: Les Clark, Eric Larson, Frank Thomas, John Lounsbery, Ward Kimball, Ollie Johnston, Mark Davis, Wolfgang Reitherman, and Milt Kahl. Each flip book features a scene from an animated Disney feature in its original line-drawn form, having been selected from among a wide range of films for great movement and classic characters. Such iconic clips from the reel of Disney animation history include: Lady and the Tramp’s moonlit spaghetti dinner; Sorcerer Mickey’s ordeal with a horde of mops; and Thumper’s announcement that a prince has been born! In addition to the flip books, the box will contain a booklet providing additional information about the artists.
List price is $60, but pre-order for $37.42 on Amazon.
In the course of reading up on Glen Keane, I ran across this extensive gallery of Glen’s figure drawings and sketchbook studies. They’re available for sale at the Galerie Arludik in Paris, but at $2,500 per drawing, all I can afford is the JPGs.
Thirty-seven years! That’s the length of time that Glen Keane worked at Disney Feature Animation and it’s the figure that stood out to me in yesterday’s surprise announcement that he was leaving Disney. How does that length of employment compare to the Nine Old Men and other famous Disney artists? The list below shows a cross-section of well known Disney artists, past and present, and how long each of them worked (or more appropriately, survived) at the studio.
LENGTH OF EMPLOYMENT FOR FAMOUS DISNEY ARTISTS
|John Hench||64 years|
|Burny Mattinson||59 years|
|Eric Larson||52 years|
|Les Clark||49 years|
|Woolie Reitherman||48 years|
|Ken Anderson||44 years|
|Frank Thomas||43.5 years|
|Ollie Johnston||43 years|
|Marc Davis||43 years|
|Milt Kahl||42 years|
|Ward Kimball||40.5 years|
|John Lounsbery||40 years|
|Ron Clements||38 years|
|Ham Luske||37 years|
|GLEN KEANE||37 years|
|Mark Henn||31.5 years|
|Andreas Deja||30.5 years|
|Ruben Aquino||30 years|
|Joe Grant||28 years|
|Bill Peet||27 years|
|Fred Moore||20.5 years|
|Eric Goldberg||15 years|
|Art Babbitt||9 years|
|James Baxter||9 years|
|Bill Tytla||9 years|
(Note: Many artists, like Keane himself, left the studio and returned. I’ve tried to take those departures into account while compiling the list, but if you find inaccuracies, please let me know.)
The Twitterverse reaction to Glen Keane’s resignation from Disney is all over the map. Many fans are wishing him well and excited to see what he’ll do next, while others are bawling their eyes out and some are blaming Disney for his departure. Here’s a sampling of the animation fan reactions on Twitter:
It’s the end of an era. This is the full text of Glen Keane’s letter sent out to his Disney co-workers within the last hour:
March 23, 2012
Dear Colleagues and Friends of the Walt Disney Animation Studio,
After long and thoughtful consideration, I have decided to leave Disney Animation.
I am convinced that animation really is the ultimate art form of our time with endless new territories to explore. I can’t resist it’s siren call to step out and discover them.
Disney has been my artistic home since September 9,1974. I owe so much to those great animators who mentored me—Eric Larson, Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston—as well as to the many other wonderful people at Disney whom I have been fortunate to work with in the past nearly 38 years.
Over these four decades I have seen so many changes, but the one thing that remains the same is that we all do this because we love it.
I am humbled and deeply honored to have worked side by side so many artists, producers and directors during my career here at Disney, and I am tremendously proud of the films which together we have created. I will deeply miss working with you.
With my most sincere and heartfelt good wishes for your and Disney’s continued artistic growth and success,
People posting on Twitter have independently verified our original story. Glen Keane has left Disney’s Feature Animation studio. He worked at Disney for approximately 37 years. Disney artists received an email late-Friday afternoon LA time with the text: “Glen Keane has decided that the time has come to take the next step in his personal exploration of the art of animation.” (UPDATE: Cartoon Brew has the exclusive full text of Glen Keane’s letter to his co-workers.) Keane had worked at Disney since 1974, though he left the studio in 1986 and worked as a freelancer for a period of time. If you have more info, please contact me.
All Luciano Foglia wanted to do was create an animation app exploring the “visual geometry containing the non-explicit description of sexual organs or activity.” Apple rejected it from their App Store on these grounds:
Apps that present excessively objectionable or crude content will be rejected. We found that many audiences would find your app concept objectionable, which is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines.
Foglia’s piece suggests the power of abstraction in art. When placed in a certain sequence, even the simplest marriage of form and color can be considered “objectionable” and “crude.” Mason Gentry on Vimeo suggested a way for Foglia to extend his experiment:
“I think you should make it slightly more abstract, then resubmit the app. And if it gets rejected again, make it even more abstract. Continue the process until we have a definitive example of what Apple thinks is and isn’t porn.”
It’s the time of year when many of our student readers are finishing up their student films, and inevitably there will be lots of questions: Should I submit my film to festivals? Should I post my film online? Will posting my film online hurt my festival chances? Avner Geller, the co-director of the Student Academy Award-winning short Defective Detective, has shared his personal experiences dealing with these issues in this must-read blog post. He addresses the myth that festivals disqualify filmmakers if a film is posted online, however, Avner points out that both the Student Academy Awards and SIGGRRAPH’s Computer Animation Festival require filmmakers to keep their films off the Internet. Take heed of that advice if qualifying for either of those events is part of your gameplan.
Also, I shouldn’t let this moment pass without pointing out that Geller’s film debuted online last year as part of Cartoon Brew’s Student Animation Festival. It has been the most viewed film in our festival with over 425,000 views to date. We’ll be launching the 2012 edition of the student animation festival shortly–stay tuned to Cartoon Brew for submission details.