Toby Barlow, author of the book Sharp Teeth, let me know about a beautiful viral created by Eun-Ha Paek to promote his book. There are more animated pieces related to the book at SharpTeethTheBook.com. I love seeing such an ambitious use of animation to promote a print novel; hopefully more animators and novelists will explore these possibilities together.
Every year, US households and businesses throw out 251 million tons of trash and our second biggest export to China is trash! Good Magazine packages these disturbing facts into a cute animated short called Mister Trash Can that’s guaranteed to make you feel bad about yourself. It’s directed by Garrett Morin, animated by Chad Colby and written by MacKenzie Fegan. The video is below but if you want a higher-res version, head to Good‘s website.
Just a quick note: if you’re part of the media (print or online–US/Canada) and would like a review copy of my new book The Art of Pixar Short Films (now with a striking cover of Luxo Jr.), then drop me a line with your details. Review copies will be going out soon. There’s a limited number I can send from my side, but I’ll try to get you on the list. I received an advance of the book this week and I think it’s a really nice addition to Pixar’s ‘art of’ series. I’ll also be doing book give-aways for Brew readers sometime in the next month or two.
Tomorrow, Saturday, January 31st at 4pm, there will a celebration of Bob Winquist’s life in the Palace at Calarts. Winquist, who passed away last September, is not a household name but he is an influential figure in animation history through his role as an instructor and director of the character animation program at CalArts. Disney story artist Jenny Lerew, who told me about this event and has done a number of posts about Winquist since his passing, said in an email to me:
Bob was a breath of fresh air, had no limits in what he wanted people to be able to do–no “censorship” as he put it, no preconceived notions of what our films should be. He wanted to discourage people from only thinking of animation as a trade, and in that sense he ran the dept. as a kind of atelier, as did Jules Engel downstairs, whom he respected. He was in every way what a teacher and mentor should be.
Bob had such a wide influence and was loved by so many people: it ranges from Bob Kurtz and the seminal members of the LA “Cool School” of painters like John Altoon and Robert Irwin, both former students when Bob taught at Chouinard during the ’50s and ’60 to Pulitzer-winner Ann Telnaes, Ralph Eggleston and Pete Docter–just a whole slew of people.
If you’re interested in attending, Jenny has more details about the event on her blog. And here’s an odd curio featuring a cartoon version of Bob Winquist–it’s an opening for the yearly CalArts Producers’ Show circa 1988 created by first-year students Chris Ure, Pete Docter, Mark Kennedy, Ashley Brannon, Van Cook, Tim Myers and Paul Rudish.
PictureBox, a fine Brooklyn-based book publisher who I’m currently working with, is holding a sale on nearly every item on their website. The sale lasts through February 8 and there’s some real bargains to be had. For example, their huge two-volume 688-page retrospective of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse production designer Gary Panter, which was published last year at $95, is currently only $30 through their website. Overspray: Riding High with the Kings of California Airbrush Art is a beautifully-produced look at West Coast airbrush culture in the 1970s and shows how it entered the mainstream advertising and film through artists like Peter Lloyd who created airbrush art for Tron. That book which retails at $50 is available for only $20. Also, pick up Paper Rad and Michel Gondry books for $7, Mark Newgarden’s Cheap Laffs for $6, and lots of quality art/indie comics at fire sale prices. Every order also ships with a FREE copy of Paper Rad’s DVD Problem Solvers.
I’m a big fan of the Syncho-Vox process. I regularly feature these cartoons at Cartoon Dump (speaking of which, there are still a few tickets left for our Saturday night show in San Francisco. End of Plug). I love how the article admits:
Clutch Cargo’s success is one of those things that defies all ordinary rational standards. Artistically speaking, it is hardly in a class with UPA’s Mr. Magoo, or Hanna Barbera’s Huckleberry Hound or with any of the creations of the master, Walt Disney…
The show’s creator claims they are creating “motorized movement” — to which the writer points out “is really no movement at all”.
Paul Greer created this viral for part of a Nizlopi song called “Without You.”
Though it’s not a recent piece, I thought it looked interesting visually so I asked Paul if he could describe the process he used to achieve this look. Here’s his explanation:
The budget for the viral was very slight and I had about three official working days to get it done, coming up with a method that would be effective and efficient was therefore key. Back in the days before computers, myself and fellow students experimented with ways of producing un-registrated animation, drawing on rolls of paper and cards and the like. To integrate this thought process into CGI has been something that has always fascinated me, and I have used it before on projects like “The Boy with the Incredible Brain”.
The whole sequence was drawn as curves in Maya, with a Wacom and then “inbetweened” using deformers. I didn’t have time to do any kind of shoot, so I photographed work colleagues, friends and family memebers, then rotoscoped the stills. These were worked in with improvised drawing and rotoscoped CGI (I had a second hand beating heart knocking about). The final result was very simple illustration of the lyrical content of the song, I would’ve like to have taken it further. I did storyboard the whole song, with a psychdelic bit for the upbeat section in the middle, but they only wanted the last third of the song done.
I think I’ve finally found a reason to have a kid: this traditional 1930s boy’s Japanese kimono decorated with images of Mickey is a beaut and it’s currently available for purchase. I’m not sure what I’d do with the boy after I dressed him up, but he’d look quite natty which is good enough for me.
(Thanks, Chappell Ellison)
Yesterday I appeared on Stu Shostack’s internet radio show. While waiting for our broadcast to begin, I was rummaging through several copies of Stu’s collection of vintage TV Guide back issues. In one 1960 edition, I found two cartoon items of interest. The first was this full page ad for Sylvania television picture tubes featuring radio and TV personality Arthur Godfrey interacting with Hanna Barbera TV stars Ruff and Reddy.
I love it when cartoon stars were used to sell products to adults. This was the same year The Flintstones were sponsored by Winston cigarettes and Mr. Magoo was hawking Stag Beer. And what a great sketch of the characters! An very appealing pose of Ruff — and check out the attitude on Reddy.
As for the second animation item I found in that TV Guide — check back tomorrow.
CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. THANKS TO ALL WHO PLAYED!
We’re giving away three pairs of tickets to this Friday’s screening of Emily Hubley’s feature film debut The Toe Tactic at MoMA. The screening is at 4pm. Please enter the contest ONLY if you plan on attending. The first three people to answer the following question correctly win tickets.
The music in The Toe Tactic is provided by a band that Emily Hubley’s sister Georgia is a member of. What is the name of this band?
Once upon a time, long before home video, the internet, and 24 hour cartoon channels – Saturday mornings were an oasis of animation. Most of it wasn’t very good, but like junk food, it was addicting. For those jonesing for another fix, Warner Home Video will be releasing two double-disc DVD sets on May 19th that collects many of classic Saturday Morning Cartoons we grew up with.
These sets feature the first DVD appearence of many well known characters – including Hanna Barbera’s Quick Draw McGraw, 60s anime Marine Boy and Filmation’s Tarzan.
The 1960s disc features:
TOP CAT – The Tycoon
ATOM ANT/PRECIOUS PUP/HILLBILLY BEARS
THE PETER POTAMUS SHOW (with Breezly & Sneezly, Yippee, Yappee and Yahooney)
SECRET SQUIRREL/SQUIDDLEY DIDDLY/WINSOME WITCH
THE FLINTSTONES – The Happy Household
THE PORKY PIG SHOW – Often An Orphan/Mice Follies/The Super Snooper)
THE QUICK DRAW McGRAW SHOW (with SNOOPER AND BLABBER and AUGIE DOGIE) – Dynamite Fright/Outer Space Case/Growing Growing Gone
THE JETSONS – Rosey The Robot
MARINE BOY – Battle To Save The World
SPACE GHOST/DINO BOY
HERCLULOIDS – The Beaked People / The Raider Apes
FRANKENSTEIN JR. AND THE IMPOSSIBLES – The Shocking Electric Monster / The Bibbler / The Spinner
THE MAGILLA GORILLA SHOW (with PUNKIN PUSS and RICOCHET RABBIT)
THE QUCK DRAW McGRAW SHOW (with SNOOPER AND BLABBER and AUGIE DOGIE) – Dough Nutty / El Kabong Was Wrong / Gem Jam
Bonus Documentaries on QUICK DRAW McGRAW, MAGILLA GORILLA, FRANKENSTEIN JR. and THE IMPOSSIBLES.
The 1970s disc contains:
THE JETSONS – The Space Car
THE BATMAN TARZAN ADVENTURE HOUR
HONG KONG PHOONEY
GOOBER AND THE GHOST CHASERS
WHEELIE AND THE CHOPPER BUNCH
AMAZING CHAN AND THE CHAN CLAN
JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS
THE NEW SCOOBY DOO MOVIES
Bonus Documentaries on THE FUNKY PHANTOM, JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS and THE CHAN CLAN.
$26.99 is the official retail price per set. Amazon has it on pre-order for $18.99.
Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson, has taken Bart out of Springfield and plopped him into the real-world by using the iconic character to promote her personal religious causes. Below is a robo-call in which she uses Bart’s voice imploring people to attend a Scientology event. All I can say is it’s extremely uncomfortable hearing Bart in this context.
Courtesy of the Life Magazine photo library, now online as part of Google Images, comes a treasure trove of behind the scenes publicity photos from Time For Beany. There are ten pages of incredible pictures, several featuring creator Bob Clampett and even more with performers Stan Freberg (above) and Daws Butler. Go here NOW and enjoy!
(Thanks, David King)
Director and animator Emily Hubley is embarking on a nationwide screening tour of her live-action/animation feature film debut The Toe Tactic. The film starts a six-day run at the Museum of Modern Art in New York this evening. After that, she’ll travel with the film to Rochester, NY, Los Angeles, San Diego, Cambridge, MA, Williamstown, MA, St. Louis, Portland, Seattle, Houston, Ann Arbor, MI, and Austin. A complete schedule can be found at TheToeTactic.com. For ticket info on the MoMA screenings, visit the MoMA website, and be sure to check back tonight at 8pm (EST) for a ticket giveaway to this Friday’s screening at MoMA. We’ll be handing out multiple pairs of tickets.
I did a short e-mail interview with Emily to find out a bit about what she’s been up to lately:
For people who haven’t heard of the film, tell us a little about what The Toe Tactic is about?
Well, there are all kinds of reasons for those times in life when you lose your footing, but in this case it’s a young woman’s revisited grief for her dead father when she learns her childhood home has been sold. Her temporary withdrawal from the action of her life triggers the connection to an animated reality in which four dogs play a game of cards, the object of which is to get her back in step with the world.
As a short filmmaker, how easy or difficult was it transitioning to feature filmmaking? Was there any aspect of the production that took you by surprise or was it fairly similar to the short film process?
Everything was more complicated, took longer, and cost more money. But the business of bringing so many talented people into the process was invigorating and providing cast and crew with what they needed to do their best work without diluting the film’s distinct personality, was a really fun challenge – one I’d never had in the making of my short films.
You’ve mentioned in prior interviews that your parents, John and Faith, were influential in your decision to enter filmmaking. What sort of lessons, filmmaking and beyond, did you learn from your mom Faith, whom you worked with closely for a number of years?
The word is a cliché, but Faith was so contagiously passionate about her work, being disciplined, and the role of the artist â€¦ it was hard for anyone to be around her without catching that I some way and I was around her a lot!. (though I wish I was more disciplined.) I think I have an inability to do work I don’t love — and over the years, I’ve been able to find ways to be proud of what I do well without wasting time feeling too ashamed of what I stink at.
Beginning this week, you’re going on a nationwide theatrical tour with Toe Tactic and offering audiences an opportunity to see it on the big screen. Why did you go through the effort of self-organizing a tour like this in a day and age where most indie filmmakers are content to simply release their features onto DVD?
There is something about watching a film with a group that you don’t get at home. It’s my instinct that the movie is learning how to ride a bike and I’m not ready to let go of the back of the seat. Come May, when the tour (at this point anyway) will be about done, I’m sure I’ll be more than ready. We expect to release a DVD in the Fall — keep posted.
What are some other projects that you’re currently working on?
Collaboratively, Jeremiah Dickey and I just completed inserts for two great documentaries – William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe directed by Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler, which just showed at Sundance, and What’s On Your Plate? directed by Catherine Gund, which will show at the Berlinale next month. We also made a really fun title sequence for a TV pilot called “Living in Captivity” and may create some inserts for their next cut.
Personally, I’m starting to write new material which I’ll continue to develop while I’m on the tour. It might turn into a movie, but it also might be some kind of written or performed piece with illustrations, It’s very mysterious at this point and secret. I hope to start noodling with these ideas by making a short or two as well. We’ll see!
The Toe Tactic @ MoMA
January 28—February 2, 2009
Tickets $10 (Adult), $8 (Seniors), $6 (Students)