I was flipping through the paper today – the entertainment section – and came across a trio of the ugliest movie ads I’d ever seen. The fact that they were for animated features (or mostly animated features) didn’t help ease the pain. In fact, I found them downright embarrassing (Click thumbnails below to see larger images):
Regardless of these films entertainment value, or their effectiveness in generating box office bucks, the ads are atrocious. To the general public they represent the current, sad state of theatrical family fare and could (despite Pixar’s best efforts) perpetuate negative stereotypes on animated films. What happened to style? To appeal? To a sense of wonder? Call me old-fashioned, but the ugly anthropomorphic things staring at us in these ads are not cartoons – they are simply another bunch of freaky flickers.
Last year we posted a link for a new animated film called Freaky Flickers. Recently, Brew reader Joshua Bell decided to check the site again for any updates. What he saw wasn’t pretty.
The writer/director/animator of this mess, Cary Howe, posted the story of how his producing partners ripped him off. (The site died a week ago and Josh had to use Google to catch the links). Here’s the opening:
“This is the sad tale of how a landmark film was born and died. Late 2005 I began early tests for a possible TV series based on the Freaky Flickers toyline. By February 2009 the project had expanded to a 90 minute theatrical feature. We had a 2,800+ theater release with MGM and it seemed like nothing could stop us.
“On 6/9/09 I finished my night’s work at 12 noon. Exhausted I wished my “friend” David Kann good night/afternoon and went to bed leaving him editing in my living room. I put in ear plugs to drown out the noise of the render boxes in the next room and fell asleep. I awoke just before 8pm to a silent dark empty house. Mr. Kann and the equipment were gone as were the external hard drives with the project back ups. While I slept, my business associate Peter Gantner… took everything. What made the Freaky Flickers film so unique is that it was written, directed, modeled, animated and rendered by one person with a final budget of around 250K. A first for a major theatrical release. As I write this the film is in the hands of the lawyers but the odds of it ever seeing the light of day are near zero. I entered the business in 1979 and after my experience with Freaky Flickers I can’t see myself ever making another film. On 6/9/09 not only did a film die but a career and a hundred plus unmade films passed.”
Cartoon Network seeks Teens (12-18) for new competition show! (Los Angeles)
CASTING TEENAGERS AGES 12-18 FOR HIGH ENERGY/POP CULTURE SHOW THAT CHALLENGES YOUR MIND AND YOUR BODY!!!!
THIS IS NOT ABOUT ANY ONE SKILL, BUT YOUR DESIRE TO WIN!!
Are you fast on your toes and quick on your trivia knowledge?
The Cartoon Network is looking for FUN & ENERGETIC teens to show us what they know in a fast paced competition show that’s big on thrills!!!
Shoot Dates (MUST BE AVAILABLE ALL 3 or 4 DAYS):
TBD MID SEPTEMBER
Contestants will be paid a participation fee + a chance for CASH PRIZES!!
Participants MUST have or obtain an entertainment work permits. If you do not have a work permit we can provide you with the paperwork, but your legal guardian and school will need to approve ASAP.
Parent or Legal Guardian must accompany teens under 18 to shoot.
MUST provide age verification at audition (Birth Certificate and School ID) and a copy of current work permit if available.
If interested, please email email@example.com with a recent PHOTO, your age/birthdate, and a quick couple lines to introduce yourself
Location: Los Angeles
Compensation: daily participation fee + cash prizes
We haven’t plugged any podcasts in a while. Here’s one that’s worth your time: Todd Dolce runs an animation/cartooning webcast that should be of interest to many Brew readers. Recently, Dolce has done terrific interviews with Gene Deitch (Tom Terrific), Don Bluth (Secret of Nimh), Dan Thompson (Rip Haywire), Joe Harris (Underdog), cartoonist Bob Scott, and illustrator Lowell Hess. All deserve a listen. It’s officially called the Boing Podcast and here is the link.
Game site 1Up.com is reporting on an ambitious new “steampunk” Mickey Mouse game in development, codenamed Epic Mickey. Warren Spector (video game superstar behind System Shock, Deus Ex) and Disney’s Junction Point Studios are working on this secret project, in development for Nintendo’s Wii. Artists Tony Pulham, Gary Glover and Fred Gambino are said to be doing development art (click thumbnails above for larger images). For more art and info, click here.
The folks at the John Basmajian Collection have just unearthed – and posted – a reel of rare 8mm film footage of the infamous 1941 Disney animators strike. This is new stuff and incredibly rare. They even did a nice job of adding sound effects to bring it to life. Tom Sito points out, when watching the footage, to look for these highlights:
â€¢ The first man shown speaking on a microphone is Animator Art Babbitt.
â€¢We see a shot of Walt Disney standing in the guard shack, hat on head and white shirt open at the neck, watching the strikers outside his gate.
â€¢ The second closeup of a man using a microphone is actor John Garfield, a matinee idol of the 1940s.
â€¢ The next shot is Walt Disney going through the picketline in his fashionable Packard.
â€¢ The next person driving his car through the disapproving pickets is director Ham Luske.
â€¢ The group carrying the Guillotine is the Warner Bros unit, led by picket captain Chuck Jones- the young man to the left in the black shirt. The effigy in the Guillotine was supposed to be of Disney’s attorney Gunther Lessing.
Thanks to its huge opening weekend box office gross, Paramount is fighting back with the Rats of Nimh. Neil Burger, who wrote The Illusionist and is currently working on The Bride of Frankenstein for Universal, is turning his attention to a CG re-do of Don Bluth’s The Secret of NIMH, according to Variety.
Meanwhile, Variety is also reporting that Universal Pictures and their animation division, Illumination Entertainment, are joining forces to turn the Dr. Seuss book The Lorax into a 3-D CG animated feature. The project will be co-directed by Chris Renaud and Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio, with Paul & Daurio writing the script. The picture is targeted for a March 2, 2012, release, which falls on the birthday of Theodor Geisel, who died in 1991.
I’ve nothing against adapting great children’s literature, or remaking cartoons based on great children’s literature, but why hasn’t the success of UP (U.S. gross $284,239,283. to date) inspired Hollywood to create something original? Oh, yeah… it’s Hollywood.
I had an opportunity to join selected journalists at a Hayao Miyazaki-John Lasseter press conference held yesterday (7/28) before their appearence at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences last night. I also shot some video (sorry for the shakey hand held camera work, and the low audio) and thought it was worth sharing with our readers. In this first part below Miyazaki talks about using (or not using) CG and his chances of making a film in 3-D. Lasseter discusses the process of dubbing a Miyazaki’s films. Interesting to note they’ve already dubbed Tales From Earthsea.
In the second part, Lasseter discusses 3-D animated films; Miyazaki talks about what’s happening with his son:
In the third part, John Lasseter discusses his admiration of Miyazaki’s films, his reaction to the first one he saw, Castle of Cagliostro, Miyazaki’s influence in Pixar films, and why he wants to bring Miyazaki’s films to the US:
Next Tuesdsay night at 8pm, I’ll be presenting a program of animation reflecting the styles, language and music of the Beat Generation. The screening will take place at the Silent Movie Theatre in Hollywood (on Fairfax and Melrose), continuing my series of first-Tuesday-of-each-month animation spectaculars there. Rare film prints and video will be screened and the program will include independent films, TV cartoons (though not any Dick Tracy cartoons with Heap O’Calorie and Nick, as pictured above). We will screen works by Ernest Pintoff, Bob Clampett, Jay Ward and others. Grab an Espresso and join me next week. It’ll be cool, Daddy-o! More info here.
Welcome to Cartoon Brew – where rejected pilots from Cartoon Network come to play. Here’s another one:
Here is what the creator, Lincoln Peirce, had to say about it:
“Spang Ho is the latest of several pilots of mine Cartoon Network has rejected over the years. No, it wasn’t for Cartoonstitute; that program hadn’t officially been launched when CN bought Spang Ho. Frankly, I’m not sure exactly why they bought it, since nobody there seemed too sanguine about its prospects as a CN series. There was a lot of turmoil going on in the CN programming and development depts at the time (as there continues to be), and CN actually fired Spang Ho’s in-house producer when we were about halfway done without telling us. (When I say “us” I’m referring to myself, my director Rich Ferguson-Hull, and the crew of Global Mechanic, the house that did the animation.) But they allowed us to finish it, and then they focus-grouped it. The kids were only luke-warm about it, and that was the end of that. It was likely my last TV writing stint for awhile, since I’m working on some kids books for Harper Collins right now featuring my comic strip character, Big Nate.”
One of the saddest things about the current deconstruction of Cartoon Network is the bits and pieces of pilots and projects being leaked that point to what could have been. Animator Stephane Coedel has posted these charming opening and closing title sequences for a CN rejected pilot created by Rikke Asbjorn.
Little Rikke was co-directed by Rikke Asbjorn and Chris Garbutt
- Character design: Rikke Asbjorn
- Storyboard: Chris Garbutt
- Backgrounds: Sylvain Marc
- Character animation: Rikke Asbjorne, Sylvain Marc, Ben Marsaud
- Compositing, animation, sound supervision: Stephane Coedel.
-Development team of concept: Rikke Asbjoern, Chris Garbutt, Alan Kerswell, Dave Needham, Charlie Bean, Sylvain Marc.
If you’re stuck in Los Angeles, and you can’t get into tonight’s Academy program with John Lasseter and Hayao Miyazaki, take heart! Cartoon Dump goes on this evening at 8pm with our gala 2nd Anniversary Show!
That’s right! It’s our second birthday (our first performance was in July 2007) and tonight we celebrate with special guests David Feldman (from Conan, Comedy Central, and Bill Maher) and Dave “Gruber” Allen(Freak & Geeks, Naked Trucker, Two Headed Dog)!