What do you think? I much prefer this imaginative fan made video by Gabe Askew (below) over the official, professionally produced one posted on You Tube.
Haven’t done this in a while, so here are a few artist blogs worth your time:
Animator Sandro Cleuzo’s blog is just over a week old, and it’s already filled with rare material, including work from unproduced Disney projects like Sweating Bullets and My Peoples. His credits also include Fantasia 2000, The Emperor’s New Groove, Tarzan, Home on the Range, Enchanted, Anastasia, Curious George, Asterix and the Vikings and the upcoming The Princess and the Frog. Check Sandro out at his cleverly titled Inspector Cleuzo blog.
Illustrator and Ice Age character designer Peter de SÃ¨ve is also new to the blogging scene. I found it interesting to read a personal perspective on his forthcoming monograph, which I announced here last week. Visit him at PeterdeSeve.blogspot.com.
Dexter Smith has been working in animation since the groundbreaking Batman, the Animated Series. Since then, he’s worked on Superman, Samurai Jack, Johnny Bravo, My Gym Partner’s a Monkey, Clone High, Freakazoid, and a bunch of other stuff. I liked seeing the artwork and hearing the development story about his personal project True Romance. More at Dexter-Smith.blogspot.com.
Bob Clampett was a genius.
And if you need further proof, the long-awaited Beany and Cecil: The Special Edition Vol. 2 dispenses it in spades. I just received my copy of this DVD and I cannot praise it highly enough. If you are a Clampett junkie like me, you’ve been Jonesing for this (no pun intended) for at least ten years (when the equally incredible Vol. 1 was first released).
First off, let me state that the Beany and Cecil cartoons are personal favorites of mine. They are among the funniest, and best, TV cartoons ever made – and still hold up great today. There are eleven beautifully restored B&C cartoons here, all from 35mm master elements, looking better than I ever recall them. A 12th cartoon included is a rarely seen alternate version of Beanyland (which was featured on Vol. 1). I’d normally pick a few to highlight, but they are all terrific cartoons–Cecil Meets Cecilia, Davey Cricket, Strange Objects, Ben Hare, etc. These alone would be worth the retail price. But they only represent about 1/5 of the disc’s programming.
The rest of the content is Bonus Material – so much so, I can’t even list it all. The biggest thrills for me: Storyboards (and a cut scene) from Bob’s 1947 Republic cartoon It’s a Grand Old Nag, two more Time For Beany kinescopes, more audio recordings of Bob discussing his influences and even reading a Milt Gross story! There’s also a reel of home movie footage, of Bob walking around New York City in 1945, filming Times Square billboards – including an Otto Messmer/Douglas Leigh animated billboard! A complete list of the disc’s contents is posted here.
Beany and Cecil the Special Edition Volume 2 officially goes on sale September 8th. However, you can buy Volume 2 right now, along with the long out-of-print Volume 1, from the Beany and Cecil web site. A limited supply of Volume 1 was found unopened in the family’s warehouse and they are being offered, one per customer, to anyone who buys a copy of Volume 2. Volumes 1 & 2 (purchased together) sell for $54.95 + Shipping. Do this today – you won’t be sorry.
Just spotted on zazzle.com. Gotta admit I wish I had thought of this first…
There are bi-coastal events tied in to Ted Thomas’s must-see documentary Walt and El Grupo that Brew readers may want to attend.
In New York, the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art will present a special advance screening of the film, along with a Q&A with writer/director Ted Thomas and producer Kuniko Okubo, moderated by John Canemaker. The screening will be Thursday, August 27th, 7:30 PM at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, BAM Cinema 4, (30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, NY). Admission is free for Members of MoCCA. To rsvp, call (212) 254-3511, Tuesday through Sunday between 12-5 PM. Seating is limited.
In L.A., The Egyptian Theatre will be hosting a panel, moderated by Geoff Boucher of the LA Times, with panelists including writer/director Ted Thomas, producer Kuniko Okubo, composer James Stemple and director of photography Shana Hagan, who will discuss Disney’s South American tour. The evening will include a rare theatrical showing of Saludos Amigos in 35mm. This event will take place on Tuesday September 8th, 7:30pm at the Egyptian on Hollywood Blvd. It is FREE for Asifa Hollywood members and members of the American Cinematheque. Check the Egyptian’s website for more details later this month.
UPDATE: We just found out these are fairly private events, with only seats available for members. Cartoon Brew is giving away 5 pairs of seats at the NY event to the first 5 people who request them at fumi-at-theprkitchen.com.
We will give away 20 seats for the L.A. American Cinematheque/Asifa event at the Egyptian, sometime next week. Stay tuned to Cartoon Brew for further details.
I nominate this exchange between director/illustrator Ward Jenkins and his daughter, Ava, as the best animation-related tweet of the day:
John K. is calling his “Cartoon College.” It is a free, invitation-only private blog in which he’ll spend time giving individual notes to the promising artists that apply. He admits in this introductory post about the program that part of the motivation for giving away free training is selfishness:
The kind of cartoons I make require these skills, and I can’t afford to teach them during a production. Cartoon budgets go down every year and so I need people who already understand what I’m looking for and are functional. I always want to do layouts in my cartoons – it’s what separates my cartoons visually from so many others, but layout is mostly not done anywhere anymore. Nowadays, they just design the characters from a couple different angles, take them into Flash and then move the still pieces around like paper doll puppets. I can’t make my kind of custom stories and acting using that system. I need talented and SKILLED people to help. It’s worth it to me to help out before a production begins, but it will be up to you to practice and apply and critique yourselves according to what you learn. I will give some critiques and everyone here can learn from each other’s studies.
Bill Plympton is starting up his class in the real-world. Beginning September 16, for 14 consecutive weeks, he will teach a two-hour class every Wednesday evening from 6-8pm. It will take place at his studio in Chelsea, Manhattan. The cost is $1000 per person and is limited to 15 students. According to the description which he posted on Facebook, students will:
Learn how you can make amazing films that can earn money. Learn the tricks of drawing, design, layouts, storyboards, writing, humor, directing, backgrounds and editing. Learn the business of animation, budgets, funding, selling, distribution, festivals and cost-cutting tricks. Call (212) 741-0322 or email at Plymptoons (at) aol (dot) com for more information.
The script was on par with typical (re: Fox) animated series these days, but I found the animation, produced by Eric Fogel (Celebrity Deathmatch) refreshing. What did you think?
The LA Times has a huge front page story in it’s Business section today, reporting on
Cartoon Network’s recent programming gamble on live action. From the article:
The new shows haven’t reversed the slide. In July, the network had the fewest viewers in that target age range since May 2000 and its least-watched month overall since June 1998.
There is internal tension as well, with many veteran animators either quitting or being handed their walking papers. There are even whispers inside the channel’s Burbank animation studios that the network might drop “Cartoon” from its name.
If the ratings on CN were bad before, they are worse now. As an example of some of the actual numbers, courtesy of Nielsen Media Research Data, here are final K6-11 Ratings for Saturday, August, 8, 2009, Cable Networks only (Live + Same Day Data):
NICKELODEON – 4.1/25 Avg. (7a-1p)
Jimmy Neutron 1.4/20; Jimmy Neutron 1.9/21; Fairly OddParents 2.8/24; Fairly OddParents 3.5/24; SpongeBob SquarePants 5.0/29; SpongeBob SquarePants 5.6/29; Penguins of Madagascar 4.3/21; Back at the Barnyard 4.5/21; Mighty B! 4.1/20; SpongeBob SquarePants 5.2/25; SpongeBob SquarePants 5.3/28; SpongeBob SquarePants 5.6/30
DISNEY CHANNEL – 2.1/13 Avg. (7a-1p)
My Friends Tigger & Pooh 1.3/19; Little Einsteins 1.3/15; Special Agent Oso 1.6/14; Handy Manny 1.8/13; Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 1.9/12; Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 1.7/9; Imagination Movers 1.8/9; Handy Manny 2.0/9; Phineas and Ferb 3.1/15; Phineas and Ferb 3.5/17; Cow Belles (100 minutes) 2.5/13
CARTOON NETWORK – 1.4/8 Avg. (7a-1p)
George of the Jungle 0.9/10; Chaotic 1.0/8; Secret Saturdays 1.3/9; Pokemon: Diamond and Pearl Galactic Battle 1.3/8; Star Wars: Clone Wars 1.3/7; Ben 10: Alien Force 1.7/8; Batman: Brave & The Bold 2.0/9; Bakugan 1.9/9; Thumb Wrestling Federation 1.2/6; Teen Titans 1.4/7; Teen Titans 1.6/9
To our friends at Cartoon Network, we want you to succeed. We know we’re not in your demographic, but I and hundreds of thousands of others like me actually care about what you’re doing. We love cartoons and we want them back.
To paraphrase 14-year-old Ashley Rosario, quoted in the LA Times article, we’re open to new things as long as they’re not crummy. Stop looking at market research and viewer surveys – you clearly don’t understand them. Or us.
What might work at AMC or SYFY or USA and TBS won’t work here. Cartoon Network is a niche channel and you must give the viewers what you promise. I don’t want mustard coming from my ketchup bottle. As long as you are content to follow your competitors, and to recycle worn out ideas, you won’t succeed. You must lead with new ideas, new concepts, new animation.
You are programming Cartoon Network as a run-of-the-mill cable kids channel, instead of using the incredible opportunity you have to lead and bond with the animation community – where there is a wealth of talented creators and an abundance of original ideas just waiting to happen.
I strongly believe in the potential of Cartoon Network – otherwise I wouldn’t post so much about it. I am heartened by the recent announcement of the two new animated shows and the ongoing production of Pen Ward’s Adventure Time. So until the day you drop the “Cartoon” from your channel’s name and dive completely into obscurity, I’ll be keeping tabs on you. And our readers will let you know what they think.
If you’ve ordered Darrell Van Citters wonderful Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol book and never received your copy – please read the following. Paypal recently experienced a pretty severe glitch in payments and for those who got caught in the snafu, Darrell has a message for you:
Apparently, Paypal dropped a number of orders after the posting on Cartoon Brew. If you have been expecting a copy of the book but none has shown up, you most likely received a Paypal transaction ID of “0″. That indicates that I never received the order and you were never charged for it. The site still takes Paypal as its primary payment service but we have also added Google Checkout as a backup, should you have trouble. I have no way of knowing who did or didn’t order the book so I am offering free domestic shipping for a limited time to anyone who might have had a problem ordering the author signed book or to those who couldn’t make it to Comic Con. To take advantage of this, click on this link.
In 1923, Davis was picked by Walt Disney in Kansas City to star in his proposed series of live action and animation shorts. Davis followed the Disney Studio to Hollywood to star in over a dozen Alice Comedies. She was Disney’s first movie star.
Later in her career, Davis appeared in Three On a Match (1932), with Joan Blondell, Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart, as well as The Harvey Girls (1946). Virginia was in the scene with Judy Garland and Ray Bolger where they introduced the Academy-Award winning song “On the Achison, Topeka and the Santa Fe.”
Above, in tribute, is a particularly fun Alice from 1924, Alice and the Dog Catcher (pardon the foreign titles, and some politically incorrect humor).
(Thanks, Steve Waller)
Great-looking experimental music video for The Fiery Furnaces’ song “Charmaine Champagne.” It was directed by Phillip Niemeyer of Brooklyn-based Double Triple. Niemeyer writes:
It’s stop motion, and it builds on a lot of things we were just discovering when we did the Spoon video. Mike Reddy, illustrator for all of the Furnaces’ records is responsible for most of the art. We shot most everything on an art store light table. We photocopied many of these assets onto office transparencies. All the color comes from either paint, markers or silkscreen. The band was photographed and these were assembled into stop motion loops — no video. No digital motion — we wanted that janky look, even on the pans. We took some process photos and posted them here.
Director: Phillip Niemeyer of Double Triple
Artwork: Mike Reddy
Additional artwork (action painting): Hannah Cole
Animation: Phillip Niemeyer, Alex Marie Egan, Mike Reddy, Jeremiah Dickey, Christine Nguyen
Photography: Phillip Niemeyer and Ethan Finkelstein
Alternative cartoonist and animator Mark Marek has been quite successful drawing comics, doing illustrations, animating and directing animation for some time now. His terrific new website shows off his past and present animated works, including an attempt (not in his usual primitive style, above) designing a moody, atmospheric Warner Bros. Animation logo for the company’s superhero shows.
The trend toward remaking animated shows into live action, taken to its most illogical extreme:
(Thanks, Adam Blake)