These two recent music vid discoveries make me very happy.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ “Umo” is a primarily stop motion video directed by Shoji Goto for the all-female Japanese group OOIOO. The energetic uninhibited filmmaking in this piece is a true delight. Peep it here or download a better quality Quicktime version here (28mb).
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ “Frog Dance” is an inspired bit of Flash animation by Jamie Mason (aka Hobo Divine) produced for the Nick Jr. series Yo Gabba Gabba. It’s mighty rare to see anybody today pull off this type of super-limited animation with such charm and vitality. (via)
The 2007 edition of the Ottawa International Animation Festival kicks off today, and as always, Ottawa’s artistic director Chris Robinson has pulled together a solid lineup of programs. Sadly I can’t make it this year, but if I were going, here are some of the things I’d be checking out:
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ The competition screenings are always one of the strongest parts of Ottawa, and this year’s selections are no exception. All of this year’s major shorts are playing up there including Koji Yamamura’s A Country Doctor, Luis Cook’s Pearce Sisters, Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski’s Madame Tutli-Putli and Don Hertzfeldt’s Everything Will Be OK, but there’s always a lot of pleasant unexpected discoveries at Ottawa as well.
It’s that time of the month again to bring some attention to Cartoon Network’s repudiation of cartoons in favor of transforming itself into a second-rate knockoff of Disney Channel and Nick. Yesterday’s Hollywood Reporter offered details on the network’s latest live-action project: a pilot deal with actor David Duchovny. According to the article, the show “centers on a junior high school student from a long line of newsmen who turns his school AV Club into a hard-hitting citywide broadcast.” For the project, Duchovny is teamed up with producers of live-action kids shows that had aired on Disney Channel and Nick like Even Stevens and The Secret Life of Alex Mack.
Additionally, throughout the month of October, Cartoon Network will be airing nightly reruns of the live-action series Goosebumps. An original live-action made-for-TV movie of their animated series Ben 10 will debut in November. And last week, CN debuted the live-action/animated series Out of Jimmy’s Head, a spinoff to their live-action film Re-Animated.
This new video posted onto YouTube showcases some of the cartoonier moments (in slo-mo) from early Simpsons episodes. According to the video creator, they were animated by David Silverman. Looking at the show today, it’s difficult to believe that the Simpsons ever featured such entertaining animation-driven moments. (Update: Part 1 was removed from YouTube due to a “copyright violation” claim by Fox, but we’ve posted the second part below which highlights more Silverman animation.)
And here is director/animator David Silverman demonstrating another of his passions: the tuba (at Burning Man no less).
The young Santa Monica animation studio Three Legged Legs continues to impress with each new project they turn out. Reza Rasoli, one of the principals in the studio, wrote to give me a heads up on their latest campaign, “XGames” for Amp energy drink. The three Amp feature the most extensive traditional character animation that they’ve produced to date. They’ve also posted an excellent case study that showcases the artistic talent and concept artwork behind the Amp spots.
I’m in New York today and having a blast with barely any time to read email or blog. The weather is really beautiful this week and that may have something to do with how much I’m enjoying the city. Had a great screening last night at ASIFA-East, and thanks to all the Brew readersÃ¢â‚¬”and all my big city buddiesÃ¢â‚¬”who showed up to razz the Worst Cartoons Ever.
Right before the screening I tried checking in with Fred Seibert. He was in L.A., so Lee Rubinstein and Jeaux Janovsky (pictured below right) showed me around the Frederator/Next New Networks offices – we sat in Fred’s office and looked at all his DVDs. I stole one of those Frederator awards, but I traded it back to Jeaux for a can of ginger ale. Tonight I’ll try to crash the Pat Smith opening, then off to Ottawa for the animation festival tomorrow.
I’ve gotten more than several emails from readers concerned about edits, cuts and omissions from forthcoming Popeye and Looney Tunes DVD collections. Let me assure you that classic cartoons on both these series will remain uncensored on their upcoming DVD releases. Scenes, such as this brilliant take-off on Cab Calloway (that’s Porky Pig above, in Frank Tashlin’s Porky At The Crocadero), remain completely intact in Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol. 5.
In fact, the DVD will not only include the uncut suicide gag from Clampett’s Hare Ribbin’ (two frames pictured below), in which Bugs hands his opponent a weapon to blow his brains out, the DVD will also include the alternate “director’s cut” version (bottom image) in which Bugs Bunny himself pulls the trigger!
BCActionPoet.org is a delightful series of eleven bite-sized shorts, each set to a poem by US Poet Laureate Billy Collins and read in an amusingly dry tone by Collins himself. The films were commissioned by The Sundance Channel, in partnership with J. Walter Thompson, and the individual shorts were farmed out to various commerical animators. Some of the standout pieces which I thought were able to graphically complement and build upon, but not parrot, Collins’s evocative words, were “The Last Cigarette” by Will Hyde of Superfad, “Forgetfulness” by Julian Grey of Toronto’s Head Gear Animation, and “No Time” animated by Jeff Scher.
David Nethery shares a rare 1963 magazine article by Twice Upon a Time director John Korty offering tips on how to get started in animation. My favorite tip from Korty: “Don’t be afraid to shoot 20, 40 or 80 frames without movement.”
We’ve extended the pre-order deadline for the new Cartoon Brew book Inside UPA. All orders via Paypal, or postmarked in the mail, by this Tuesday, September 18, can take advantage of the cheaper price of $35 (plus S&H). After that, the price will become $45. All proceeds from this limited edition book will go towards the funding of the UPA documentary project headed up by Tee Bosustow, son of UPA co-founder Stephen Bosustow. For more details, see this earlier post on the Brew and to pre-order your discounted copy visit UPApix.com. With only one thousand copies being published, it won’t be around for long, and it certainly won’t be this cheap again after a couple more days.
New York animator Patrick Smith, who has also created numerous public art installations throughout the years, is making a major entry into the fine art world. His first one-man show, “Configurations,” opens this Tuesday, September 18, at CVZ Contemporary Gallery in SoHo (446 Broadway, 5th Floor, New York, NY, 10013). The opening reception is from 6-10pm. Two of the acrylics from the show can be seen above (larger versions here).
Smith says of these paintings, “Using the figure as a building block, intertwining with other figures, is a powerful method of constructing a broader configuration. The concept of people supporting others to achieve something larger than themselves can have a sublime result, and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s something that I enjoy illustrating.” To my eyes though, while some of the characters look like they’re cooperating and helping one another, others look like they’re taking advantage of one another to pull ahead. It lends an intriguing complexity to the true intent of these contorted and expressionless figures. Here is a time-lapse video showing the creation of one of these paintings.
In today’s edition of South Florida’s Sun-Sentinel, television columnist Tom Jicha answers reader’s mail. Here is a slightly edited version of today’s first question (you can read the complete version here):
Q. What do you think of adults watching cartoons? Since your sense of humor is counterintuitive, I assume you won’t even dignify an adult watching a cartoon. But the writing in cartoons is sometimes brilliant and the jokes go way over most kids’ heads. I’d appreciate your opinion on adult cartoon watching. – S.E., via e-mail
A. If you’re out of your teens and still watching Bugs Bunny and Donald Duck, I don’t think I’d want you baby-sitting my kids. But The Simpsons, King of the Hill, Family Guy and South Park are among the smartest shows on TV. Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim apparently has some gems, too, although they’re not on my TiVo Season-Pass list. Going back a bit, Rocky and Bullwinkle worked for adults and kids for different reasons. I still get a kick out of those on DVD.
Well I don’t know about you, but as someone who still enjoys Bugs Bunny and Donald Duck – often over the antics of South Park and Family Guy – I’m insulted. Couldn’t Jicha have chosen two other characters to make his point than Bugs and Donald? Couldn’t he have used Clifford and Blue’s Clues? What would you suggest?
Spumco bigshot Jim Smith is auctioning some of his layouts from the original Ren & Stimpy series on eBay. The prices are reasonable and there’s some nice drawings available. Here is the complete listing of art.
Here’s a book that I recently picked up. The unlikely pairing of Schulz and Disney on a book cover was simply too good to pass up. The cover also offers the interesting revelation that when Schulz draws adults, they end up looking like King of the Hill characters. Thankfully it’s not something he did often.
Click on the front and back cover images for larger views.
I just caught the teriffic trailer for next year’s big budget live action Iron Man movie. Looks like they nailed it – but we’ll wait and see.
Of course I couldn’t help but think about how far we’ve come from those cheapie Marvel Super Heroes cartoons from the late 1960s. Actually. most of us who grew up with these god-awful things have fond memories of them. At the time, it was all we had. Among its assets, John Vernon (“Dean Wormer” from Animal House) as the voice of Tony Stark (he also did double duty as Sub-Mariner), and the Iron Man theme song is a classic.