This week we are getting our first look at Disney’s next animated feature, Wreck-It Ralph. USA Today got the exclusive first pics from Rich Moore’s film – and the teaser trailer should be online tomorrow. I’m actually excited about this film, because from all indications it will be a big change from the traditional fairy tales and animal adventures Disney has been producing of late. The film re-teams director Moore (from The Simpsons and Futurama) with writer Jim Reardon (Simpsons, Tiny Toons, Bakshi’s Mighty Mouse… not to mention, Wall-E), bringing a new comic sensibility to the studio. Bring it on!
If You Ever Need Someone, a new stop motion animated music video by Aaron Kaminar, was produced using over 25,000 post-it notes. No pun intended, but stick with it – It really starts doing it’s thing at around 1:20. Says Kaminar:
“We spent nearly four months creating this stop motion animation for the debut single off of The Family Bones upcoming record. We used a green screen for the live action elements and utilized a few loops and split screens to make it possible to pull this off without a label or a budget. All of the post its you see are real and were put up by hand.“
If you can’t make it to Annecy this week – you can always stay home with a case of wine, with labels drawn by an international collection of animators. Our friend Dave Filipi recently spotted this bottle of wine (above left) with a label drawn, storyboard style, by Bill Plympton. Further investigation found that several years ago, Portuguese winemaker Niepoort recruited a group of renown cartoonists to illustrate their various international labels (Plympton told me “It’s something to look at while you get drunk. I did mine five years ago.”).
Apparently each label uses an artist from the area the wine will be marketed in: Phil Mulloy created a label (above right) for the British market; Priit Pärn drew the Estonian label; Fintan Taite, an award-winning Dublin-based cartoonist created the bottle for Ireland; cartoonist Martin Kellerman provided art for the Swedish label.
For a closer look at Bill Plympton’s label, click here. A full rundown of the winemakers complete line: here.
Last year we found an animatic for an unproduced Post cereal product: Pink Panther Foods. Here’s another one, circa 1968, featuring Casper the Friendly Ghost for “Post Ghosties”. What makes this spot particularly nauseating is the sickly sweet soundtrack and the awful song – horribly “sung” by Casper and his “friends”. It’ll haunt you forever. Please note: this spot never aired, nor was this product ever produced.
Animatics like these were devised for focus groups to test their appeal. Here’s a less offensive one for Dennis The Menace Peanut Puffs.
The Annecy Animation Festival starts Monday and the opening night feature is Patrice Leconte’s The Suicide Shop. Based on a bestselling book by Jean Teulé, it’s a black comedy about a morose family who run a shop for suicide supplies in a bleak and depressing city. Their family business is threatened when a new baby arrives, making everyone around him happy. And it’s in 3D. Here’s a look:
Stathes’ latest blog post features stills from some of the cartoons acquired since he began the project, as well as a comparison of two prints of Farmer Alfalfa’s Revenge (1916); an old version that has circulated for years and a longer, better version Tom recently acquired of the same film. Another Bray Studios discovery, Paul Terry’s very rare and politically-incorrect 1916 film, Farmer Al’s Watermelon Patch (time-coded frame grab above), is part of an ambitious forthcoming video project – a direct result of the existence of the website – that is going to be announced in the near future.
Many incredibly exciting rare film finds have been made since the site’s debut twelve months ago and Tom assures, “there will be more cool announcements coming up.” Congratulations Tom Stathes and keep going – you’re doing the Lord’s work!
Women in Animation is bringing together a panel of development, production and consumer products executives to discuss the decision making process involved as to which series get picked up, go into production and how & why those decisions get made. The Green Light: Who Says Yes? And Why? will include Donna Ebbs (Sr. VP, Programming, The Hub), Katie Krentz (Manager, Comedy Animation, Cartoon Network), Eric Homan (VP, Development, Frederator Studios/Cartoon Hangover), Rick Blanco (VP, Cartoon Network Enterprises), David Corbett (Executive Director North America, RGH Entertainment), and moderator Craig Miller (writer/developer of animated series).
The panel will meet Thursday, June 21st in the second floor meeting room of The Animation Guild (1105 N. Hollywood Way in Burbank, just north of Magnolia). Doors open at 6:30 pm (panel starts at 7:00). Light refreshments will be served prior to the panel. Please RSVP to lachapterrsvps-at-aol.com. Seating is limited. Women in Animation Members admitted free; all others: $10 donation.
The complete output of animation produced by UPA may never be definitively collected, as they produced a large quantity of material for the Army and the Navy; commercial, educational and industrial films for various clients; and interstitial bits and pieces – many of which are unaccounted for and some still undocumented.
The Sailor and the Seagull is a fascinating little film. The lead character, “McGinty”, is a cross between the Navy’s Mr. Hook and UPA’s future character Pete Hothead. He is voiced by John T. Smith. Daws Butler is the Seagull, an classic old-school wise guy. It’s a pretty traditional looking picture until about 3:20 when an Arabian Nights fantasy sequence (predating the Magoo feature by ten years) turns it briefly into a stylized feast of scantily clad ladies and drunken debauchery!
There are no production credits, but I think its safe to assume that the direction is by John Hubley, the girl animation is by Pat Matthews and the music composed by Del Castillo. I welcome educated guesses as to who might have animated what – or any corrections to the above.
We don’t cover pre-school here as much as we should, but I’m particularly proud to post today’s announcement by Nickelodeon concerning the pick-up of 52 episodes of Quick Quack Duck. Co-created by my girlfriend Yvette Kaplan (Beavis and Butt-head Do America) and Gili Dolev (The Happy Duckling), the show has been several years in development and is about to commence production in Israel. As you can see by the pilot clip above, the series is set in a ‘pop-up book’ world and has a unique paper sculpture look, courtesy of art director Erez Gavish. The show won’t debut for over a year, but I already know it’s going to be a winner. Congratulations Yvette, Gili, Erez and producer Ronen Shani! You did it!
The assigned topic was: “The Kitchen”. This one made me smile – and may make you hungry. One Small Dish For Man (Un Petit plat pour l’Homme) by Corentin Charron, a third year student at Supinfocom Arles.
Animation voice actor Richard Beals (aka Dick Beals) passed away this week at age 85. Nobody has a better obit online than Mark Evanier, but I couldn’t let him pass without a remembrance here on the Brew. Beals had essentially one voice – that of a cheerfully optimistic little boy – but it was used often and well by just about everyone in Hollywood. Most famously, Beals voiced Ralph Phillips in Chuck Jones’ theatrical cartoons (above) and was Speedy Alka-Seltzer in numerous TV commercials (below).
In addition, Beals was Davey in Davey and Goliath, Buzz Conroy on Frankenstein Jr. and Birdboy on the Birdman series. Hanna Barbera used him to re-dub live action boy actors in (or more likely, they pre-recorded the tracks for) Gene Kelly’s Jack And The Banstalk and in commercials like this:
Beals had a long career on radio and on early live television before settling into voice-over roles. Perhaps my favorite was this one – in support of Gary Owens as two members of the American Eagle Squadron, as both Dan and Yank on Roger Ramjet (below). There is no better way to pay tribute to Beals today than to rewatch and listen to his work – and to thank him for all the memories. Rest in peace.
Less than one month to go before the release of the next Pixar “original” and the publicity is certainly heating up. Billboards are up all over Los Angeles and tie-in merchandise is hitting the stores. Two traditional indicators of the film’s quality have now shown up on my desk – and the good news is they do not disappoint. Chronicle’s The Art of Brave, written by Dreamworks’ story artist Jenny Lerew, is as usual a visual feast. I’ve become a real fan of these Art-Of books – even more so as the digital age threatens to do away with print. The artwork preserved here, perfectly printed on sumptuous glossy paper, is glorious to behold. The book presents hand drawn pre-vis by such notable talents as Tony Fucile, Matt Nolte, Peter Sohn, Steve Pilcher, Carter Goodrich and others – as well as Brenda Chapman (who contributes a Foreword, along with a separate one by co-director Mark Andrews). No controversies here – this is gorgeous stuff. Plentiful story sketch and color keys, sculpts and character designs. I can spend 20 minutes on each page. If the movie is half as good the art in here, it’ll be another classic.
At the other end of the spectrum, the Brave Little Golden Book is out. I bought one today at Ralph’s supermarket. For $3.99. Long time readers know I love the Pixar Little Golden Books, as they are executed in the lush, classic tradition of the series – which dates back to the 1940s. They usually choose one of the best artists – either from Pixar itself, or the Disney Publishing pool of talent – and this time Disney’s Lori Tyminski got the opportunity to show off her delightful style on this material. Bright and lively – and oh so appealing. Highly recommended! Now bring on the movie – I’m ready to see it all in action.