Remember folks, the deadline is tomorrow afternoon to submit your entries for becoming a “guest brewer” on Cartoon Brew. We’ve already received dozens of terrific entries, and it’s going to be mighty difficult choosing our first winner. Submission rules are HERE.
We’ve had some crazy ideas before here at Cartoon Brew, but this one may top them all. We’re having a contest to find a Guest Brewer, somebody who will blog right alongside the Brewmasters – Jerry Beck and Amid Amidi. Anybody can enter – animators, fans, directors, historians, board artists, executives – if you like the Brew and feel you have something interesting to say, we want to hear from you. The winner will receive a two-week gig on the Brew. Now here’s where it gets interesting. At the end of two weeks, the entire Cartoon Brew readership will get to vote on whether the Guest Brewer can continue blogging or not. If so, our Guest Brewer gets another two-week term, if not, we introduce the next Guest Brewer.
Why are we doing this? Because while we both love discussing the art and craft of animation, we know that we’re not the only passionate voices out there. By doing this, we hope to encourage new voices in the animation blogging community and bring to light different points of view about the art form. Plus, we think it can be a lot of fun. If you’re interested, simply send an email to cartoonbrewer [at] yahoo.com. Tell us (briefly) why you should be our Guest Brewer. Tell us your areas of expertise and give a sense of the topics you’ll be writing about. This is such an untested idea that we don’t quite know how we’ll be judging this yet. We simply want to hear from passionate voices in the community and give them exposure on the Brew. Convince us that you’re going to be the best Brewer. Entries will be accepted until noon on Thursday, May 25. We’ll announce a winner here on Friday, May 26.
The Tale of How is a mostly CG animated short produced by the South African animation collective Blackheart Gang. Credits are Marcus Wormstorm (music, writer), Cherie “Ree” Treweek (design/illustration), Jannes Hendrikz (creative director/2D animation and compositing) and Justin Baker (lead CG animator). According to the filmmakers, the story is about an octopus named Otto, “and he’s an island that all the Piranha birds live on. His broken heart has made him mean, and he eats piranhas even though he’s not hungry.” The lush, densely layered visuals look completely unlike anything else out there. Blackheart Gang doesn’t fall into the all-too common trap of using computer animation to make photorealistic art, instead creating a fluid and organic world that draws upon the tradition of illustrators like Rackham, Nielsen and Beardsley.
(Thanks, Craig Clark)
Ok folks, something a bit different. We’re looking to redesign the CartoonBrew logo. It’s been up for two years, and we think it’s high time for a new look. We want something really solid, worthy of the Brew name. The project is a little more involved than just a logo for the site, so make sure you’re good. Also, we are paying. Not a fortune, but enough that hopefully you won’t want to do bodily harm to us. Please send links to your portfolio site or email examples of your work to both of us at:
amid at animationblast dot com
jbeck6540 at aol dot comThanks,
Better late than never. Here are a few thoughts from your Brewmasters – Jerry Beck and Amid Amidi – about what might happen in animation during 2006. It’ll be difficult to top the excitement of last week’s Disney-Pixar deal, but we think there’s still room for other interesting things to develop during the next eleven months.
→ 2006 will be the great shake-out of computer animated features. More CG films are planned for release in 2006 than ever before, and most of them (at first glance) range in quality from mediocre to awful. As we earlier noted HERE, there are at least eight films planned for 2006 release that are about a group of anthropomorphic animals on a grand adventure. Throw in FOODFIGHT, MONSTER HOUSE and YANKEE IRVING, and it’s a virtual guarantee that there’s going to be a lot of animated flops this year. We feel that these poorly conceived, hastily executed, unoriginal CG features will erode the cachet of CG animation, while at the same time leveling the playing field and creating new and exciting opportunities for films of different techniques, styles and stories.
→ Pixar’s CARS will be the most financially successful animated feature of 2006. CARS may not be the envelope-pushing artistic achievement of THE INCREDIBLES, but it looks like solid entertainment. Furthermore, the weak slate of animated films this year will only will reaffirm Pixar’s dominance in the field of computer animation, and remind us why the studio has yet to fail at the box office.
→ Los Angeles, which used to be the only major center of feature animation production, is increasingly losing that distinction. Feature production has been slowly moving northward for a number of years. Pixar and Dreamworks/PDI are already producing animated features in the Bay Area. Now, the Orphanage and Wild Brain are joining them in 2006, and the Bay Area is on its way to becoming a major center of feature animation production. A little further north in Portland, Laika is also staffing up for feature production, and the feature industry is becoming less LA-centric than ever before.
→ If a 20-year-veteran of the cable industry and the president of the #1-rated kids’ network (Nickelodeon) resigns from his post, wouldn’t the number #2 and #3 kids cable networks be lining up to grab him, no matter what the cost? The reality is that Herb Scannell is either talking to (or already has a deal with) Disney Channel or Cartoon Network to become the new boss. Both are rumored to be undergoing major shake-ups this year. With Jobs and Lasseter in control at Disney, Scannell at Disney Channel seems like a perfect fit. If not CN or the Mouse, where then? Perhaps Comcast. The cable giant has long announced plans to create new cable channels using its programming content acquired as a result of the Sony-MGM merger. Herb could come in and launch a slew of new networks for cable, Internet and broadcast TV. Wherever Herb lands, he’ll do a great job. A beloved creative exec with a proven track record won’t be idle for too long.
→ “Adult Swim” will spin-off into its own channel by the end of the year, due to changing cable laws and the “a la carte”-ization of the cable industry. Cartoon Network proper will continue its decline, if not in ratings then in quality of programming. Once a powerhouse of ‘creator-driven’ animation, it has increasingly lost its focus and sense of direction. There is so much confusion that the network has taken to screening live-action programming in recent months. The network’s vice president of development, Sam Register, recently stepped down from his post, highlighting the internal turmoil and lack of clear consistent direction for the network.
→ The new CW Network (combining the WB and UPN) could have had a Saturday Morning combining Nickelodeon cartoons (recently ousted from the CBS Saturday Morning schedule), Kids’ WB! animation and Cartoon Network originals. The combined Viacom and Warner Bros. Animation library is a goldmine of classic cartoon greatness: Looney Tunes, Terrytoons, and Tex Avery to name but a few. Just imagine a new special featuring Spongebob beating the crap out of Coconut Fred, or THE MIGHTY HEROES taking on the LOONATICS – now that would be worth getting up early for. But forget about that. Word on the street is that Kids’ WB! alone will continue to supply the Saturday morning block with its own brand of derivative pap. We do hope they will at least allow us to see the thirteen half hours of new TOM & JERRY TALES which WB Animation produced last year for foreign broadcast and is otherwise sitting on the shelf. And CBS has announced a Saturday morning schedule that sounds like an acid flashback to 1975: ARCHIE, SABRINA, THE LITTLES, INSPECTOR GADGET and STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE. The entire line-up produced by DiC. If someone had told us 20 years ago that Filmation and Hanna Barbera would be gone and that DiC would produce an entire Saturday morning network schedule, we’d never have believed it. The bottom line: We predict low Saturday morning ratings for CBS and CW – while the dedicated cable channels continue to dominate the children’s cartoon market.
→ We previously labeled 2004 “the year of the animation blog” and the summer of 2005 as the “animation artist’s blog renaissance.” What will 2006 be? There is little doubt that blogs will continue to grow in importance within the animation community. Moving beyond a place for showcasing art and sharing opinions, blogs will increasingly become a vital networking tool. Blogs are connecting animation artists all over the globe in ways previously unimaginable, allowing talented artists from around the world to show their artwork to the rest of the animation industry and receive instant feedback on their work. Future animated productions will benefit by having an entire world of talent to choose from, with blogs becoming a modern, more efficient, form of the portfolio. Also, in the second half of 2005, many animation bloggers began adding video to their sites, including Seward Street and Nick Cross, and the video trend will only grow in 2006.
In honor of our 1500th post here on Cartoon Brew, we’d like to offer you some 1930s Harman-Ising animated goodness in the form of MGM-era Bosko and Honey model sheets. Click on images for full versions:
It was a very tough decision – but the Brewmasters have spoken!The winning entries came from Rex Hackelberg (above – click on image to see his full comic strip entry) – and Lars Edwards, whose spot-on rendition of “The Animation Pimp” won us over. These two boys will be waltzing around the Ottawa festival like big shots because they will get in free. Congratulations, Winners!And a sincere Thank you to all our readers for entering our little contest. See you at the Ottawa International Animation Festival from September 21-25!
We’re giving away two full passes to North America’s most prestigious animation event, the Ottawa International Animation Festival (September 21-25, 2005). We will select the two best entries from readers who submit an essay (50 words or less) based on the theme: “Why I want to go to Ottawa”. We’ll also accept drawings based on that idea.
You must provide your own transportation to the festival and your own lodging in Ottawa. Contest closes when we get too many entries or on Friday, whichever comes first. Send your essay to: [email protected]
Our Ottawa Animation Festival CONTEST, in which we’ll be giving away two complete passes to the festival, will take place tomorrow morning. Stay tuned.
Heads up: on Monday, August 22, we’re having a most excellent contest on Cartoon Brew where we’ll be giving away two full passes to the Ottawa International Animation Festival (September 21-25, 2005). Two lucky individuals will each receive the Ottawa “Animapass” valued at $195Can. The Ottawa festival is a who’s who gathering of notable animation talents, and one of a handful of truly world-class cartoon events. These passes offer access to all the events at OIAF including:
* all screenings and workshops
* the famous OIAF picnic
* all the parties
* and an OIAF program book
Thanks to our friends at the Ottawa festival for generously making these passes available to Brew readers. Stay tuned for details…
Who wants to win a Hanna-Barbera dvd set?Once again, starting tomorrow at nine a.m. (unless we oversleep) we will post a brain twisting cartoon trivia question – the first two correct answers will win a prize.You can win one of the new DASTARDLEY AND MUTTLEY or PENELOPE PITSTOP complete series collections… so join us each day, for the next three days, at 9am Pacific (12 noon Eastern).
Disney will host a tribute to the late Joe Grant (1908-2005) on Tuesday night June 28th at the Alex Theatre in Glendale. Leonard Maltin will host, and guest speakers (including Eric Goldberg, Mike Gabriel, Pete Docter, David Stainton, Don Hahn, Burny Mattinson, Dean DeBlois, Roy Disney, among others) will tell personal stories of their collaborations and encounters with the legendary storyman. “Pink Elephants on Parade,” “Baby Weems,” “Willie the Operatic Whale,” and “Lorenzo” will be screened.
Our 1000th post on Cartoon Brew! It took us just over a year to reach this mark. A huge thanks to all of our readers who check out the site daily, and a shout out to our Guest Brewers who have contributed to the site: Mark Mayerson, Ken Pontac, Harry McCracken and Rita Street. We both still have plenty to write about so let’s commence the next thousand.
The animation blogging community is growing in leaps and bounds, and we’ve updated our “Brew Recommends” links section (in the right-hand column) with six new sites that we recommend. They are:
Cold, Hard Flash
News and opinions about the rise of Flash-animated TV production from animation producer Aaron Simpson.
A collaborative weblog devoted to illustration, art, animation and cartooning.
Nancy Beiman’s Blog We Must
A blog by veteran animator Nancy Beiman.
Nick Cross’ Plog
Documenting the production of the hand-drawn animated short THE WAIF OF PERSEPHONE.
The Private Dick Plog
Documenting the production of Tennessee Reid Norton’s stop-motion short RICHARD PRIVATE: THE PRIVATE DICK.
Documenting the production of the Nick Jr. tv series WUBBY, WIDGET & WALDEN created by Bob Boyle.