It doesn’t show much footage, and the video quality is poor, but this is our first glimpse at Dreamworks next feature – from Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois:
I’ve just read David Levy’s new book Animation Development: From Pitch to Production and it’s a must-read for anyone who plans to create a show for television. I am a huge fan of David’s first book, Your Career In Animation: How To Survive and Thrive and I particularly love Levy’s down-to-Earth, easy-to-digest writing style, peppered with humor and loaded with truth. This time Levy focuses in on what you should expect, how you should proceed and lots of sound advice on the animation development process – using his own experiences and choice quotes from all those who have been there – development execs, creators, artists and writers. It’s illustrated with examples of actual pitch bibles and development art, and he takes you through every step in the process – from securing legal services, through pitch meetings to producing a pilot.
I’ve been there myself, on both sides of the table, as both a development exec and as a creator and producer – so I can assure you that David has nailed the process from soup to nuts (the “nuts” being certain network TV big-wigs). If you can’t make the panel at SVA in NYC (mentioned in the post below), order the book and learn about the process from the inside. Highly recommended.
Kenny Scharf, one of the first “lowbrow” artists to popularize cartoon culture in ‘fine art’, is back with a new exhibit of Flintstone and Jetsons mash-ups. His new show, Barberadise, opened tonight at the Honor Fraser Gallery on La Cienega Blvd. in Los Angeles.
The show features several “re-appropriations” of cartoon characters created by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera, including “the contrasting stone-age family, The Flinstones and the futuristic Jetsons amidst world annihilation”. The exhibition will run through on October 31st. Can’t make it? You can scan 20 pieces in the exhibit online if you click here.
A genuine animation expo is shaping up for this November in Burbank – and even Cartoon Brew will have a presence at the event. Tina Price (former Disney character designer and an animator herself) is putting together the CTN Expo at the Burbank Marriott Convention Center – conveniently located across the street from the Burbank Airport and an Amtrak Station – on Friday November 20th through Sunday, November 22nd.
My advice: Be there.
This may be the only place where you’ll be able to meet so many international animation industry professionals under one roof. Among those already committed to speak at this event: illustrator Peter de SÃ¨ve, director Don Bluth, comics artist Mike Mignola, art director Andy Gaskill, character designer Harald Siepermann, Dreamworks animtors Dave Burgess and Jason Ryan, production designers Alex McDowell and Kathy Altieri and on and on. Some of the artist exhibitors will include Damon Bard, Brittney Lee, Ben Balistreri, David Colman, Robin Joseph and Kathy Zielinski.
Disney, Nickelodeon, Dreamworks, Digital Domain, Exodus Filmgroup and other companies will have recruiters there to look at portfolios. Cartoon Brew will host an artists-only VIP lounge area. There is much, much more to this event and we’ll be posting updates in the upcoming weeks. Consider this an advance head’s up.
Early bird tickets are $25 for the exhibit floor only, $50 for a day pass and $125 for a 3-day pass. Early bird deadline is Sept. 30, 2009. Discounted rates are available to students, active military and professional industry organizations. Space is strictly limited at this groundbreaking event. Click here for more information or to register or call (800) 604-2238 and mention the special member discount code (BeckX09) to obtain an extra 10% off any 1-day or 3-day professional/general passport.
Incredible eye candy in this new animated music video by Watermark, an illustrator’s collective based in New Zealand and Australia. With only 8 weeks from start to finish, they created a music video for Greg Johnson’s song I Got Opinions utilizing the creative talents of eight different illustrators and their distinct styles. You can see a hi-def clip on the Watermark homepage, and check out the production blog with storyboards, pre viz and stills, as well as the animators credits here.
(Thanks, Dave Follett)
I dropped into the big D23 Disney Fan Expo in Anaheim today, attended Bob Iger’s talk and watched the Disney Legends ceremony. The big surprise at the show was a screening of the first half hour of The Princess and The Frog (PATF). I’m now officially enthused. If the rest of the film is as good as the first 1/3 I saw today, it will be a huge hit for the studio — and just could revive Hollywood’s dormant interest in hand drawn character animation. They’ve got the visuals, the humor and the heart down tight on this one. I had a huge smile on my face throughout the screening. What I really like about what I’ve seen of PATF so far, is that it combines familiar elements of classic Disney and throws them into a whole new stew, completely different in tone from the rest of the traditional “princess” films. I’ll leave the plot surprises for you to discover – but I must quickly comment on one musical sequence: The “I Want” song. It’s called Almost There and it’s terrific. But it’s especially interesting as it’s visualized in an art deco/poster graphics style of the 20s (can anyone inform me which artist inspired this sequence?) and its directed like an homage to the 1936 Tex Avery short, Page Miss Glory!
The other PATF news today, is that the studio is opening the film early in L.A. and New York. It’ll open November 25th exclusively at the Ziegfeld Theatre in Manhattan. In L.A., the studio is playing the film for two weeks on the studio lot. For the first time I know of, the general public will be able to buy a ticket (at $30 bucks a pop) and screen the film in a Disney screening room! In addition, Disney will “dress” the backlot like a mini-Disneyland with PATF-themed attractions! For more information and tickets click here.
Fred Seibert says he’ll be looking for new ideas that can be developed for all manner of animation techniques: hand drawn, CG, stop motion or any other form defined as animation. Sony Pictures Animation has recently announced other development deals, including a first look agreement with The Gotham Group, distribution of Aardman Animation features and the acquisition of several properties including The Familiars and Hip Hop from Platinum Studios. And of course, Sony Animation’s next movie, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, opens on September 18th.
I don’t have the mp3′s of these recordings, but the sleeves are too cool not to share. Click thumbnails below to see larger images.
Brew reader Hiland Hall sent in the front and back sleeve of a rare Mel Blanc promotional recording (below left and center) with nifty unidentified artwork. It’s hard to believe Blanc had to pitch himself like this – he must have been the world’s most famous voice actor at the time. UPDATE: Steve Worth at the Asifa-Hollywood Animation Archive posted the audio from this record here.
Below right is the cover of some bizarre kiddie record I got off one of my daily visits to the LP Cover Lover blog. Check that out regularly for the coolest in oddball albums.
Shane Acker’s feature version of his UCLA short – “9″ – opens today in theatres nationwide. What did you think? This talkback is set up for our readers to discuss the feature. Only those who have seen the movie should comment below.
I’m all for aiming cartoons towards adult audiences, but here’s one of the strangest Looney Tunes items ever licensed. Currently on ebay is set of Warner Bros. mini liquor bottles by Alpa Distillery, Italy dating from 1978. The set being offered includes Bugs Bunny, Honey Bunny, Wile E. Coyote, and Hippity Hopper. Hippity Hopper comes in the original box. Click on thumbnails below to see larger images.
Several years ago, Tim Cohea and Jon Cooke on the Termite Terrace Trading Post pointed out that there were at least seven others in the collection: Elmer Fudd, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Speedy Gonzales, Foghorn Leghorn, Petunia Pig and Granny.
Damn, these are ugly figurines. I could use a drink.
(Thanks, Joe Szczender)
Poetic justice – or inevitable? The Los Angeles Times reports that the Norwegian lamp maker is suing over non contractual uses of its lamp design in merchandising and at Disney World.
UPDATE: Fellow Brewer Amid wrote about the relationship between Luxo and Pixar in his recent book The Art of Pixar Short Films. The following excerpt from the book explains that Pixar was granted permission to use the Luxo name, so the issue appears to stem from Pixar’s merchandising of the lamps:
The success of Luxo Jr. caused one unanticipated problem: Pixar had used the name of a trademarked porduct without permission. This misstep was hastily corected by Ralph Guggenheim, a veteran of NYIT and Lucasfilm, for which he headed the development of Lucas’s EditDroid editing system. Guggenheim, who joined Pixar’s animation group around the time Luxo Jr. premiered at SIGGRAPH, immediately contacted Jac Jacobsen Industries to clear the use of the name. Computer animation was so new that the Luxo representatives could not even understand what Pixar had done. “They thought we had taken two of their lamps and animated them by hand in stop motion,” said Guggenheim. The notion of computer animation was still unfathomable for most of the public. Ultimately, Pixar and Luxo reached an agreement in which Luxo could screen the film at its own trade shows and Pixar could distribute the film without restraint.
Artist and beloved CalArts instructor, E. Michael Mitchell, passed away early this morning. He was incredibly influential to many now working in the industry. Mitchell had worked extensively in animation with many credits, including conceptualizing FernGully: The Last Rain Forrest. One of his students, Spencer Ockwell, posted a tribute to Mitchell on his blog, including many photos of his amazing concept art. Here is his (woefully incomplete) IMDb page.
Mike Peters takes a few shots in our direction this week: