Celebrating Christmas old-school Chipmunk style…
Manchester-based vfx house AHD Imaging created this timely and clever Internet viral for the holidays:
“AHD168 is a computer generated robot who was written out of a TV advert due to credit crunched budgetary constraints. AHD168 now spends his days wandering the streets looking for a meaningful role in an animated TV project.”
(Thanks, Aaron Bynum)
I can’t help it, I’m in the holiday spirit, so here’s another one for today: the Firehouse Five Plus Two, led by Disney director and animator Ward Kimball, perform holiday music with Dixie flair.
Well, imagine my surprise when I sat down to watch Saturday’s installment of Random Cartoons (10:30am/1:30pm on Nicktoons Network) and up popped my own cartoon Hornswiggle. Had I known it was going to run this weekend, I would have let you all know.
I was very disappointed I couldn’t give Brew readers advance notice. The good news is that someone posted the broadcast on YouTube – not quite the way I wanted you to see it, but it’ll have to do. Enjoy!
Rooftop Films, the yearly film festival that takes place across the rooftops of New York City, is currently accepting submissions for its 2009 summer series. Next year’s festival, the 13th anniversary of Rooftop, runs from May through September. The early submission deadline is January 5, 2009. Submission fees are a reasonable $9, and everybody who submits receives two free passes to any Rooftop Films show. They’re a solid filmmaker-friendly organization that I hear only good things about and should be commended for supporting both animation and live-action filmmakers. Complete submission info can be found on the Rootop Films website.
Joe Dante’s Trailers From Hell is down for Christmas week, so instead of trailer commentaries he’s running The Hangman, a rarely-seen 1964 short subject designed by Paul Julian and co-directed by Julian and Les Goldman, based on Maurice Ogden’s classic poem. If you are only familiar with Julian’s work through his years of background design for Warner cartoons or UPA’s version of “The Tell-Tale Heart” (1953), you know you are in for a treat. Haunting and moody – believe it or not, they used to show this to us in public school in the 1960s!
Today’s entry from the UK is more curio than classic: the 1959 Halas and Batchelor cartoon The Christmas Visitor, directed by John Halas, designed by Ted Pettengell, and animated by Harold Whitaker and Tony Guy. The cartoon, like a lot of Fifties work by Halas and Batchelor, is an uncomfortable mix of ‘cartoon modern’ styling and traditional animation movement. Its rarity makes it worth a view.
(via the excellent Saturday Morning Blog)
Chris Hardwick is our guest comedian for Tuesday night’s live Cartoon Dump show in Los Angeles. If you don’t know him, he’s a very funny writer/actor/comic who is currently a regular on G4′s Attack Of The Show, blogs on Nerdist.com and provided the voice for the hero Green Arrow on the The Batman (2004), the villain Glowface on Nickelodeon’s The X’s, and stars as Otis the Cow on Back To The Barnyard.
It’s our Christmas Special – and Mighty Mr. Titan will be one of the chestnuts we’ll be roasting in a open fire. Join us on December 23rd at 8pm at the Steve Allen Theatre in Hollywood.
P.S. Good news for our friends and fans in the Bay area – we are coming to the Eureka Theatre on January 31st. Cartoon Dump will be part of the San Francisco Sketchfest – with guest comedians Andy Kindler and Mary Lynn Rajskub (“24″). Join us there at 8pm. Tickets available now!
The big animation layoff news of the past week came out of Oregon-based Laika. The Oregonian reported that the studio laid off 65 people and cancelled their post-Coraline followup, Jack and Ben’s Animated Adventure. The CG film had a troubled production history and had been in development at Laika since 2005. Last year, the film’s original writer and director, Jorgen Klubien, left the project over “creative differences.” Mulan director Barry Cook was the new director when the studio pulled the plug. According to a Laika spokeswoman, the studio will make announcements about new projects early next year. My only observation is that if a film still has the words “Animated Adventure” in its title after four years of development, then it’s probably a wise bet to can the idea. Seriously, who’d ever go watch a film titled The Dark Knight: Live-Action Adventure.
(via Mark Mayerson)
Der Schneemann (The Snowman) is a delightful 1943 animated short directed and animated by Hans Fischerkoesen in Nazi Germany. Fischerkoesen was arrested after the war accused of being a Nazi sympathizer but was eventually able to prove that he had been a member of an underground resistance group of artists. Read more about his life and work in this article by William Moritz.
YouTube user ‘VidResidue’ has uploaded a couple of rare 1950s animated commercials worth sharing. The first is a Kool-Aid spot directed by Tex Avery and designed by Ed Benedict. I think it’s amazing that Avery’s last theatrical cartoon–Sh-h-h-h–was released in 1955 when he was only 47 years old. Tex’s flame burned out prematurely. As much as I enjoy his TV commercials (of which I’ve only seen a dozen or so out of hundreds that he directed), it’s disheartening that one of animation’s greatest directors has a late body of work that is comprised entirely of lightweight advertising jobs and cheap TV shows. (Earlier this year I did a lengthier post about Avery’s late-career.)
Next is a Peter Pan Peanut Butter spot designed by Tom Oreb. I’m guessing the director of the spot is Charles Nichols.
Here is the model sheet that Tom Oreb created for the TV version of Peter Pan characters (click for bigger version).
We’re sticking around in the Thirties today for the Van Beuren short Pals (aka Christmas Night) starring Soglow’s The Little King. A creepy Santa and two hobos complete the package. Jim Tyer animated on this film as well.
I’ve discovered over the years that studying a studio’s movie advertising and film promotion collateral is often a good way of gauging the studio’s overall health. For example, compare this coloring page that Sony Pictures Animation created for the first Open Season:
to what arrived in our email yesterday from a PR company promoting Open Season 2:
This is a fairly significant lapse in quality control. How hard is it to have an artist spend a couple hours whipping up a proper illustration of the studio’s franchise characters? Instead they created the line art by tracing the contours from a CG model resulting in an awkward, wonky, tangent-filled piece of crud. Infer what you want from this little promotional piece, but I don’t see successful studios like Pixar and DreamWorks making these type of bush-league mistakes.
For the record, the PR company also made us this offer: “We are happy to offer DVD giveaways with this coloring page as well.” I think we’ll take a raincheck on that offer.