One last post and a few more snaps from CTN yesterday:
Peter De Seve signs copies of his new book A Sketchy Past for a huge crowd. NOTE: Stuart Ng has Peter’s new book in stock and available NOW. Amazon won’t have it until March (and Ng’s copies have an exclusive signed illustrated bookplate).
The final day of the CTN event was as exciting as the first two. Everyone I spoke to agreed that this was a successful first effort and all praised Tina Price for creating such an artist friendly evironment. The whole thing felt less like a Comic Con and more like a party for cartoonists and animators – a great way to spend the weekend with old friends or making new contacts. I picked up a lot of sketchbooks, prints and art that I will write about in a separate post later this week.
We’ve posted about Mish Mish cartoons before – but here’s a new one you gotta see. The character was the star of a popular Egyptian cartoon series of the 1930s by the Frenkel Bros. – who apparently were so taken with American cartoons they literally traced animation, character designs and ideas directly from them. This one, National Defense, is a World War II epic presented in two parts. In the musical first half, the animators borrow from Bosko and Buddy, mix belly dancers and dancing hooka’s, and possibly the worst caricatures of Laurel and Hardy, Eddie Cantor and Charlie Chaplin you’ll ever see. The second half takes place on the battlefield and it’s probably the funkiest animated propaganda ever made. The crude animation only adds to the charm. No matter what you think of Mish Mish, they don’t make ‘em like this anymore!
This week’s comic strips with references to classic cartoon stars. Above Mark Parisi’s Off The Mark from Thursday (removed by request from the cartoonist), and below Mike Peter’s Mother Goose and Grimm on Friday. If you spot any like these during the week let me know and I’ll save them up for a semi-regular Sunday showcase.
And on the Second Day, the CTN Expo became Comic Con for animators.
Day 2 at CTN-X was wall-to-wall with attendees, standing room only panels, exhibits, demonstrations, screenings and parties. Andreas Deja drawing in the lobby surrounded by hundreds of students and pro’s; talks by Roger Allers, Bill Kroyer, Peter De Seve, Rob Minkoff and Simon Wells; a screening of The Secret of Kells and a preview of Don Hahn’s Waking Sleeping Beauty; a party hosted by Disney Animation… and that’s not the half of it.
I moderated an interview with Don Bluth and Gary Goldman (photo above: Goldman at left, Don in center and yours truly pointing to screen at right). We only had 45 minutes, but we covered an awful lot of their history and gained new insight as to why and how they left Disney thirty years ago (in 1979). Don and Gary inspired the SRO crowd with their love of, and enthusiasm for, the future of hand drawn character animation.
In an instant, a new major animation event has emerged. The CTN Expo has turned out to be a huge success. If you are reading this in Los Angeles and have a few hours to spare today, I highly recommend dropping by the Burbank Marriott on Hollywood Way between 10am and 7pm. A few of today’s highlights include Charles Solomon interviewing the creators of The Secret of Kells, Yvette Kaplan moderating a panel on comedy writing in animated cartoons, Harald Siepermann discussing character design and Ed Gombert on The World of Appeal. See you there.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today its short-list of the 10 animated short films that will vie for nomination slots for this years Academy Awards. Thirty-seven shorts had originally qualified in this category and were screened last weekend for members of the shorts branch. The short-list includes Nick Park’s latest Wallace and Gromit short, Pixar’s Partly Cloudy and Cordell Barker’s Runaway.
The 10 films are listed below in alphabetical order by title, with their production company and a link to their website:
The Cat Piano – Eddie White and Ari Gibson, directors (The People’s Republic of Animation). A Cat Writer tells about a fiendish piano made of cats. When the keyboard is struck, spikes go through the cats’s tales, making them “sing”.
French Roast – Fabrice O. Joubert, director (Pumpkin Factory/Bibo Films). A man in a French Restaurant loses his wallet. He sits at the table drinking coffee after coffee until a homeless man kindly pays his check. There is a subplot about a bank robber who is really an old lady wearing a mask.
Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty – Nicky Phelan, director, and Darragh O’Connell, producer (Brown Bag Films) – see clip above! An old lady tells her frightened grand daughter of not being invited to Sleeping Beauty’s christening party.
The Kinematograph – Tomek Baginski, director-producer (Platige Image). The “inventor” of cinema has his own camera made of wood, stereo sound with two Victrolas, and a two-layer color process before the Lumiere brothers experiments, however, his beloved wife dies of consumption and he abandons his apparatus, just as the Lumiere’s breakthrough is being announced in the street by newsboys.
The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte) – Javier Recio Gracia, director (Kandor Graphics and Green Moon). The Grim Reaper keeps trying to collect the soul of an old woman. She is brought back to the living numerous times by her well-meaning young doctor. The old woman really wants to die and join her beloved husband however, so she electrocutes herself towards the end of the film.
Logorama – Nicolas Schmerkin, producer (Autour de Minuit). Mo-Cap. Imagine a world made up entirely of advertising characters, such as the Michelin tire guys, Bob’s Big Boy, Esso Oil Drop and an evil Ronald MacDonald who shoots everybody with a machine gun.
A Matter of Loaf and Death – Nick Park, director (Aardman Animations Ltd.) Wallace, the baker, meets his dream girl, the Lite Dough Girl, who has put on a bit of weight since her days as an advertising model for flour. She has killed twelve baker husbands and wants to make Wallace the 13th. Of course Gromit sees through her flirtatious act and manages to stop her from killing Wallace. Gromit has a romance with the Dough Girl’s French Poodle into the bargain.
Partly Cloudy – Peter Sohn, director (Pixar Animation Studios). Clouds make the babies out of bits of water vapor and give the infants to embattled storks who deliver the kids to their parents. One cloud gets stuck with making the “prickly” critters, such as crocks, porcupines, sharks, etc.
Runaway – Cordell Barker, director (National Film Board of Canada). A passenger train has a hard time scaling a mountain and runs out of coal, the passengers throw all their clothes in the firebox and half the passenger cars to get steam up.
Variete – Roelof van den Bergh, director (il Luster Productions). A man juggles plates on poles with the various elements of his life on top of the plates, such as girlfriend, school teacher, best buds, parents, wife, children, etc. Eventually he can’t sustain the numerous spinning plates and all collapse, clearing the way for the next generation.
Lou Romano (center) gives a young artist some advice.
Craig McCracken (right) and his wife Lauren Faust (left) look over some of their notes.
For a Friday afternoon of an inaugural event it was pretty spectacular. This was supposed to be the “slow day”, but the first day of the CTN-Expo in Burbank was a overwhelming success due to the large amount of attendees and the incredible array of artist exhibitors. In addition to the large exhibitor room, there are two rooms of informative panels which are seemingly filled at all times. An interview with Mike Mignola (Hellboy) and a seminar on Crafting the Pitch were particularly popular. The day concluded with a VIP Party which ran from 6pm to midnight.
Day two starts today at 10am. If you want to be in the industry, want to be inspired by other artists, or simply want to hang out with a who’s who of current cartoon making, check out the CTN-Expo today or tomorrow. If you were there yesterday (or today) let us know what you think of the Expo in the Comments section below.
Every year, the BBC airs a Children In Need charity fundraiser. This year they produced a stop motion music video which, especially for cartoon buffs in the UK, is a pretty big deal. It collects around 120 characters (approximately) from British children’s shows from the last 30 (or more) years. It features classics like Paddington Bear, the Wombles, Roobarb and Custard, Peppa Pig, Bagpuss and Muffin the Mule, along with newer characters like Fifi and the Flowertots, Pingu, Bob the Builder, Postman Pat and many more (including a few cameo appearances from US superstars Scooby-Doo and Spongebob Squarepants).
It took many different companies (many of them rivals) coming together to make this piece. Chapman Entertainment produced and Tim Harper directed.
I got into a discussion with a friend last week about the horrible theatrical cartoons of the 1960s. I call them “drive-in cartoons” because I see no use for them except to be filler at drive-in theaters, allowing time for kids to get concessions or for teenagers to make-out before the main feature. Almost all 1960s Walter Lantz cartoons, Terrytoons and later Warner Bros. cartoons (the Larriva Road Runner and Daffy-Speedy crap) fall into this definition. Most would include the Paramount cartoons into this club. I don’t, but here’s one that’s pretty bad – and a perfect example of what I’m talking about.
Two By Two has the distinction of being the cartoon that got Howard Post fired from his position as head of the Paramount Cartoon Studio. It wasn’t the abysmal quality of the film, the awful character designs or the lame jokes. It was the fact that he was spoofing a story from the bible; it offended someone (A Paramount exec? An exhibitor?) and got him canned. Personally, I’m offended that the highly creative Post – whom I am a huge fan of – conceived such a poor rip-off of Daffy Duck (aka “Quacky Whack”). At one point, Quacky impersonates God… perhaps this what ticked off the Paramount brass? Shamus Culhane (Post’s successor) says in his book that Paramount was pressuring him to create a “Bugs Bunny” type cartoon. Perhaps Post was simply trying to give his bosses what they wanted… unfortunately, he failed quite miserably. Here… you be the judge:
I just found out that as part of its monthly Monday Nights With Oscar film series in New York, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present eight 35mm UPA shorts, including Academy Award winners Gerald McBoing Boing (1950) and Mister Magoo’s Puddle Jumper (1956), in a program selected and hosted by Oscar-winning animator and animation historian John Canemaker.
The screening will take place on Monday, December 14, at 7:00 pm (EST). Location is the Academy Theater at Lighthouse International (111 E. 59th Street, NYC). Tickets are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students w/ID. Advanced tickets must be purchased online or at the theater box office on the night of the event (pending availability). New Yorkers, check this out.
A new museum of animation, cartoon and comic art has opened in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It’s called ToonSeum and it just had its grand opening last weekend. Reportedly it’s not a huge space, but is nicely done. Their first exhibit focuses on animation art:
“Enchanted Drawings: A Century of Animation.” The exhibit will feature original art from Gertie the Dinosaur to Spongebob and more. On display will be rare artifacts, including an original Disney animation director’s desk from the early Hyperion studio.
It’s quite an achievement to establish a cartoon museum in such a sports oriented city — I wish it luck. The ToonSeum is located on the first floor of the Bruno Building at 945 Liberty Avenue. The Enchanted Drawings exhibit runs through Jan. 3, 2010.
Starz Film-Roman is producing this new animated direct-to-video feature, Dante’s Inferno: the Animated Epic, through animators in Japan and Korea. It’s based on a popular video game and – be warned, especially those who had a problem with Hairballs – the trailer below is graphically violent.
The CTN-EXPO has given us a prize package to give away to one of our lucky readers. The third correct answer received below (in our comments section) to the trivia question below will win. The first and second place winners will receive an animated DVD (of our choice).
The Big Prize: A FREE 2-night stay at the Burbank Marriott Hotel (Friday and Saturday), a Free 3-Day Pass to the CTN Animation Expo, and a Saturday morning Breakfast with the Pros.
The Easy Question: Don Bluth is a special guest of the CTN-Expo this weekend. What was the name of the first feature film Don directed? HINT: Released in 1982.The Contest is now Closed!
The Fine Print: Do not enter this contest unless you can actually use the CTN prize package. Let me repeat, do not enter this contest unless you can be in Burbank this weekend to attend the CTN-X. If the 3rd place respondant cannot attend the weekend, the prize will be offered to the next contestant (5th, 6th, 7th, and so on) until a winner can be determined.
The Contest is now Closed! The Grand Prize winner is Robert Palmer. The other prizes went to George Colon and Rick Ridgway. Congratulations to the winners and thanks to all who entered. Hope to see everyone at CTN-EXPO this weekend!
The inevitable Disney knock-off DVD has arrived early this year! On sale December 1st from our friends at Goodtimes Home Video is the The Frog Prince. Yeah, we know there are dozens of live and animated adaptations of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale out there – but this new one also happens to have a black princess as its central character. A coincidence? I think not. We have no idea who produced this, so if anyone wants to spend $13.49 and send us a few frame grabs, it would be most appreciated. We just want to give credit where credit is due.
Guess who’s going to have a booth at the CTN Expo this weekend? Nickelodeon, Disney, Dreamworks, Don Bluth, Cal Arts, Sony Pictures Animation, Warner Bros. Animation, Animboom, Stuart Ng and about 50 others – including studio recruiters, artists with sketchbooks and me (Jerry Beck), where I’ll be selling old stuff like toys, comic books, maybe a few 16mm cartoons, DVDs, and fun stuff like that. Here’s a partial list of vendors.
Everyone who reads Cartoon Brew in Southern California should plan to drop in for a day or two. To help out, tomorrow morning (Wednesday), 10am, right here, we’ll have a contest. I’ll ask a few trivia questions and the prizes will be free VIP passes to this weekend’s animation event — the CTN ANIMATION EXPO in Burbank.
The artwork above was from a presentation I created when I was an exec at Nickelodeon 13 years ago. It was (and still is) my mission in life to revive Viacom’s Terrytoon characters, then under Nickelodeon. This Heckle and Jeckle piece was drawn and designed by my friend “Mr. Lawrence” – and I’ve always loved it, as it retains their classic look, yet feels updated in a smart, slick way.
Mr. Lawrence is one of the true multi-hyphenates working in the animation industry today. He’s been a stand up comedian and actor, he’s made live action short films and created comedy series (Lost on Earth). He’s also written and directed TV cartoons – and is the voice of such Nickelodeon characters as Filbert on Rocko’s Modern Life and Plankton on Spongebob Squarepants. What’s he up to now? In addition to his continuing role on Spongebob, Lawrence is developing for Nick a new series The Kumquat Kwadruplets and, in his spare time, boarding his own independent animated horror-comedy feature.
One of the best pilots I’d ever seen was one he created for Film Roman about ten years ago, Hairballs. It’s co-directed by Lawrence and Craig Kellman, with character layouts by Kellman, Carey Yost and Mark Colangelo, and timing by Genndy Tartakovsky. The rights to this show have since reverted to Mr. Lawrence and I’m still hoping someone (Fox? Adult Swim? Comedy Central?) will pick this gem up.
Jason Anders continues to interview cult directors, hot starlets and distinctive animators. He’s just posted a conversation with Ralph Bakshi on his Fulle Circle Blog — and whatever Ralph has to say is always worth a read.
Tonight in Glendale, Joe Bev will be doing a live taping of his radio show at the Glendale Library Auditorium with special guests June Foray, Bill Marx (son of Harpo); Mark Evanier; Earl Kress; Gregg Berger,and more. Tonight at 7:00 pm at 222 E. Harvard St. in Glendale, California. Admission is FREE. No reservations are required. Autographed books by the participants will be on sale – Proceeds from the sale of books to benefit the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archives.
Cartoon Network takes a lot of heat around here, but when they do something right we’ll report it and celebrate it. Starting today, classic Warner Bros. cartoons return to the channel in a six-hour marathon (1pm-7pm EST), and the network has scheduled a regular daily hour of Looney Tunes at 11am Eastern (8am Pacific) each weekday. You can check the schedule here. Let’s support this move. Watch some Looney Tunes today, and tell your friends. Let’s show them that cartoons belong on a Cartoon Network.
Trying to find a free online version of Doug Sweetland’s Pixar short Presto, reader Michael Rianda instead found this: a Chinese knock-off.
Some group of people completely reanimated and remodeled, a shot-for-shot remake of Presto (except for the crucial addition of a color changing iguana). And it’s a complete testament to the power of character animation. It’s the exact same story, timing and sound as Presto, except it’s about 100 times worse because the animation is so bad. The gags don’t come across, you don’t feel as much for the characters….it just doesn’t work.
Film editor Stan Warnow has made a documentary about his father, the musician/composer/inventor Raymond Scott. Deconstructing Dad: the Music, Machines and Mystery of Raymond Scott is now playing film festivals around the world. The six minute preview above explains it all, with commentary from musicians Mark Mothersbaugh, John Williams, historians Irwin Chusid, Will Friedwald, producer Hal Willner and many more. I can’t wait to see the whole thing.
Whenever I appear on Shokus Internet Radio, I get to plow through Stu Shostack’s incredible library of TV Guide back issues – and I always seem to find something of interest for Cartoon Brew. This time I grabbed the July 1st 1961 issue, with the Flintstones cover (click thumbnail at left to see at full size), which contains a good article on the then-current trend towards prime time animation. It’s a pretty nice piece. The writer includes an intriguing list of forthcoming shows that were apparently never made: Sir Loin and the Dragon, Waco Wolf, Muddled Masterpieces and The Late Late War.
(Click thumbnails below to read pages at full size)
Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox opens today in New York and Los Angeles. The mainstream movie critics love it. Rotten Tomatoes is saying 91% Fresh on the Tomatometer based on the 77 reviews garnered so far.
The film has stirred debate among animation fans. Those who have seen clips or the trailer are not thrilled. However, most who have actually seen the film, love it. I loved it.
I love that this stop motion film is as far away from Coraline (which I love equally), Mary & Max and A Town Called Panic (two incredibly strong films) as it can get. I love Anderson’s take on the story, the performances of the voice cast …and even the intentionally funky character animation won me over.
What did you think? If you’ve actually seen the film, post comments below.
The film’s sound track is a bit annoying, but this short has an energy that’s undeniable. It’s called Fumiko no Kokuhaku (or Fumiko’s Confession) and apparently it’s an independent production produced by 21-year-old student and aspiring animator, Hiroyasu Ishida. Ishida has also posted a production blog (in Japanese) featuring storyboards, backgrounds and character designs.
Next weekend (11/20-22) is the CTN Animation Expo, and that’s where I’ll be with several hundred of my friends. It’s a convention/trade show/seminar for those in, those who want to be in, and just plain fans of, the world of animation. If only the invitees show up, it’ll be a success – and very well attended. Tina Price is running the event and she says, “Everyone will walk away from this event with more than the walked in with whether an idea, a job opportunity or a career mentor.”
Some of the highlights of the event:
â€¢ Simon Wells and Rob Minkoff discuss the differences of directing live action vs. animation.
â€¢ Don Bluth and Gary Goldman interview (with me, Jerry Beck)
â€¢ Peter de SÃ¨ve, Harald Siepermann, Kent Melton, Mike Mignola, Lou Romano talk about their careers and share industry secrets. Maquette artists Kent Melton and Ruben Procopio discuss maquettes.
â€¢ Special screening of The Secret of Kells followed by round table discussion with the Producer and Director moderated by LA film critic Charles Solomon.
â€¢ Pixar in the house with Art Director Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi, Animator and founder of Spline Doctors Andrew Gordon, Character Designers Derek Monster, Scott Morse, Bill Presing and more…
â€¢ Exhibitors will include Blue Sky Studios, Cal Arts, Disney Animation Studios, Sony Pictures Animation, Rik Maki, Mike Mignola, Stuart Ng Books, Nucleus Gallery, Bill Pressing, Renegade Animation, Stephen Silver, Dean Yeagle and many many more artists, animation studios and organizations.
CTN-X takes place at the Burbank Marriott Convention Center with ample discounted parking, conveniently located near the Burbank Airport and an Amtrak Station. Early bird pricing and discounted rates are available to students, active military and professional industry organizations. Early bird prices extended to Nov 15th. Prices start at $25 for exhibit floor only. For more information and to register, please visit www.ctnanimationexpo.com for more info.
PSSST: Cartoon Brew will hold a contest within the the next few days to give away a few tickets – AND a two night FREE stay at the hotel during the Expo. Stay Tooned…
Believe it or not, this is from a kids show which just won a Scottish Bafta Award last week for Best Children’s TV! The KNTV Show is an educational TV program that has been broadcast on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom since 2006. Previous seasons tackled science and philosophy – this year they take a frank look at sex. Wikipedia describes the show this way:
The show is presented by two animated fictional teenagers from Eastern Europe (specifically the fictional state of “Slabovia”, the “last remaining communist state in Europe”), called Kierky and Nietschze, named after SÃ¸ren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche. The show melds comedy and education into one as form of edutainment.