Channel Frederator Opens Their Wallet for the First Time

I’d like to applaud Channel Frederator for finally seeing the light after nearly four years of operation, and announcing that they’re going to begin doing what Cartoon Brew TV has been doing since day one: paying filmmakers for their content.

They even made a video to commemorate this momentous occasion:

Let’s get one thing straight: Paying artists is always a positive thing. But the manner in which the guys at Channel Frederator are doing it continues to reflect their lack of regard and respect for the filmmaking community upon which they’ve built their brand. Seriously, in what universe is $50 considered an acceptable fee for anything nowadays? Have they been misinformed that filmmakers can time travel back to 1964 to make all their purchases?

Here’s a reality check–the last time I went out to lunch with Channel Frederator founder Fred Seibert, our lunch bill ended up being over fifty smackers. In other words, this paltry amount isn’t even enough to fill up Fred’s tummy for one afternoon, yet somehow it’s supposed to represent a filmmaker’s reward for months of blood, sweat and tears. They’ve also announced that every month they’ll pay the filmmaker of the most viewed film a whopping $200. Guess what? That’s still less than what we pay every single filmmaker on Cartoon Brew TV.

Cartoon Brew TV doesn’t claim to be the standard bearer for online film distribution. Our company is two guys, Jerry and myself, and we’ve never received tens of millions of dollars in funding like Channel Frederator’s parent company, Next New Networks. But at the end of the day, I sleep well knowing that I do my best within our limited means to give something back to the community. I don’t make self-congratulatory videos and blog posts when I decide to do the right thing that I should have been doing all along. I put my money where my mouth is instead of making grandiose outward shows of being artist-friendly and supportive of creators. And most importantly, I don’t insult filmmakers by paying them fifty bucks. 

I truly believe that there needs to exist an alternative to the hucksters who have been exploiting the animation talent pool for years. This is what drives me to continue building Cartoon Brew TV into the premier destination for animated shorts online. We all know that the possibilities for filmmakers to earn money on the Internet are greater than ever. And while I don’t have a lot of money, I have more than $50, and I’m more than happy to dole it out when I put your film on the site. Who knows, maybe this idea of paying animators a respectable fee for showing their work online will someday become an industry-wide practice. It’s only fair, right?

The Continuing Media Bias Against Animation

And so it goes: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was the number #1 film in the country last week, grossing $30.1 million dollars in its first three days of release. However, Ben Fritz of the LA Times choose to report the story this way:

Sony’s animated film opens at No. 1, but its $30.1 million is so-so. Although it’s relatively strong for the historically slow movie-going month of September, the opening of “Cloudy” is decent but not spectacular compared with its $100-million budget.

Animated features are earning big bucks, but what does it take for animation to earn some respect? Cloudy had a $30 million dollar opening, coming in at #1 – with #2 (Soderbergh’s The Informant) grossing almost $20 million dollars less, $10.5 million. Hollywood would declare any live action flick earning $30 million over three days in September, beating the competition two-to-one like Cloudy did, a major blockbuster. Instead, the film’s opening gross was “decent, but not spectacular.”

Instead of comparing Cloudy to other movies in the marketplace, or maybe to previous live action comedies, the LA Times rated its success against Dreamworks, Pixar and Blue Sky’s CG films – and judged it poorly against them. To quote again from Mr. Fritz:

It also keeps Sony behind several of its more experienced animation competitors — DreamWorks, Disney’s Pixar and Fox’s Blue Sky — all of whose movies usually have bigger openings.

For good measure, Fritz decides to remind us of how poorly Sony’s previous film did – and despite Cloudy’s number one status in South America, has doubts about its chances in Europe:

The studio’s second animated movie, 2007′s “Surf’s Up,” was a box-office flop that opened to just $17.6 million. It remains to be seen how Sony’s new animated film will perform overseas, although it did open at No. 1 this weekend in four countries: Britain, Mexico, Chile and Ecuador.

It never ceases to amaze me. You can have the biggest hit in Hollywood, and the industry trade reporters will still treat your film as a second-class citizen – if its animated.

Now, for a second week in a row, Cloudy came in again at #1 – with a 19% drop-off in attendance from the previous week. Word of mouth is clearly kicking in; and 19% is a record low for a second week of any Hollywood film. Still, several industry pundits are now tying Cloudy’s surprise success to the fact that it was released in 3-D.

Has it ever occurred to these geniuses that maybe, perhaps, possibly… that this non-Pixar-Dreamworks-Blue Sky animated film could actually be “good”. That audiences might conceivably want a funny story, with crazy characters, spectacular visuals and great animation?

Until they figure it out, animation will remain Hollywood’s biggest mystery. And like Rodney (or Rover) Dangerfield, animated features will still be waiting for respect.

Family Guy goes Disney

I’m still not a fan of Family Guy, but I have to admit this is a terrific sequence from last night’s 8th season premiere episode.

UPDATE: You should read the comments on this post for sequence production details from Family Guy director Greg Colton, and the lead animator of the piece, Darlie Brewster (posting with the handle DarlieB). Our thanks to both of them for participating in the comments.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Update

Artwork by Pete Oswald
Drawing by Pete Oswald

Last weekend, Sony’s Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs surprised everybody by grossing $24.6 million and staying atop the North American box office for a second week in a row. More impressively, the film declined only 19% from its opening weekend, putting it behind just Taken and Coraline for the smallest drop of any new movie in 2009.

A number of artists who worked on the film have been posting stuff from it on their blogs. Here are a few links:

Pete Oswald, character design: Post 1, Post 2

Armand Serrano, visual development: Post 1, Post 2

Kris Pearn, storyboard – Post

Chris Mitchell, visual development – Post

Dave Gibson, animator – Post

Jeremy Bernstein, animator – Post

Or if all this clicking is too much, just pick up a copy of The Art and Making of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs .

Angel Vitamina

This is an absolutely beautiful teaser trailer for a proposed feature by a group of Argentine animators. Diego De Rose and his grupo at Wujoco Animation sent us the trailer along with this introduction:

WUJOCO was formed by a team of professional animation artists who were determined to fuse their skill in the craft, as well as their experience in the trade, in order to produce original content of their own. So far, I would like to introduce you to an animated feature film project we are working on, whose title is Angel Vitamina.

Angel Vitamina is a low budget independent project that required a huge effort by the group, and most of our working time, just to reach to this level. We at Wujoco realize that this is just a beginning. But, nevertheless, we think this tale is something worth fighting for. Please, take a look: our Angel needs a lot of support to rise and fly!

The character designs and a short storyline can be found at angelvitamina.com. I’m certainly rooting for Wujoco to finish the film.

Princess and the Frog Little Golden Book

I collect all the Pixar and Disney Little Golden Books because they usually feature incredible artwork by the studio’s best artists. And the price is right too, only $3.99. The uber-talented Lorelay Bove illustrated the latest one based on The Princess and the Frog and she’s offering a tiny sneak peek on her blog. It’ll go on sale October 13th – and I can’t wait.

Jules Engel DVD

We’ve posted often about Jules Engel, and now the iotaCenter has released a DVD of his later, rarely seen experimental works. Jules Engel: Selected Works, Volume I is a collection of fifteen animated films from the famed artist, animator and educator.

Engel, who started as a inbetweener on Columbia Krazy Kat and Scrappy cartoons, went on to become a major influence at Disney during it’s golden age, a key artist and designer at UPA in their heyday, a founder of Format Films, a beloved teacher at Cal Arts, an acclaimed abstract artist and experimental animator.

Check out the excerpts (below) from his 1963 personal film Carnival and see excerpts from others films contained on the DVD at iotacenter.org.

Britain’s Health Cartoon Contest

Britain not only has universal health care, but their National Health Service is supporting animation with a competition to find a new cartoon spokesperson. Five finalists have now been chosen and the NHS has posted them online for public feedback. You can view the films on the shortlist here – and scroll down to see a vintage Halas and Batchelor cartoon, Charley in Your Very Good Health, which introduced the NHS to the public in 1948.

All five are of merit. This one (below) by The Brothers McLeod is perhaps my favorite.

Here Comes Science

Here Comes Science

Here Comes Science is a new album of science-related children’s songs by They Might Be Giants. The dvd that is included with the package offers an animated short for each of the nineteen songs. The videos were clearly made on a budget, and some of them suffer for that, though there are plenty of good ones too. Overall, it’s worth applauding the ambitiousness of the project. Here are some of the videos that have appeared online:

“Science is Real”
Directors: David Cowles, Andy Kennedy
Character Design: David Cowles
Backgrounds: David Cowles, Andy Kennedy
Animation: Andy Kennedy, Chris Conforti, Adam Sacks, Sean McBride

“Put It to the Test”
Directors: David Cowles, Jeremy Galante

“How Many Planets?”
Director: Colourmovie

“Electric Car”
Directors: Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata

“Why Does the Sun Shine?”
Director: Hine Mizushima

“Meet the Elements”
Director: Feel Good Anwyay

Dead All Along

“Enchanted by a pixie, a child called Yorick enters a magical kingdom, but when Yorick returns he finds his world ravaged by time.”

Another nice music video by Giles Timms, this time set in a hand drawn pen and ink world inspired by Edward Gorey and animated in a cut-out style. Compositing and animation in After Effects. Produced at the Animation Workshop at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. The track, Dead All Along, is performed by Ceri Frost.

How to see Mary and Max

In case you were wondering what happened to a U.S. release of Adam Elliot’s clay animated feature Mary And Max… The film was finally picked up for US distribution by Sundance Selects, a video-on-demand service that’s an adjunct to the Sundance Channel and the Sundance Film Festival. The film will be available to purchase and view on cable and satellite systems beginning October 14th.

If you have a hankering to see the film on the big screen, the way it was designed to be seen, it starts tomorrow at the Laemmle Town Center 5 in Encino for an Oscar qualifying one week run. It will screen everyday at 10am Friday and Saturday at 10pm, Sunday through Thursday at 1pm. Asifa-Hollywood members have been invited to a private screening in Glendale next Wednesday, which will feature a Q&A with director Eliiot.

Mary and Max will also screen Wednesday October 14th, 7pm, as the opening selection at the Ottawa ’09 International Film Festival.

(Thanks, Eric Graf)

ASK THE EXPERTS: Online vs. Festival

We’re launching a new–and hopefully regular–feature on the Brew today where you ask the questions, and we find the answers. I wanted to kick things off with a question that I’ve been asked repeatedly by animation students and short filmmakers, and about which there seems to be an endless amount of misinformation and confusion.

Here is the question as it was posed to us by filmmaker Eric Bates:

I’m just writing to see if you had any advice in regards to submitting a short animation to festivals versus posting online. I remember the status quo while I was a student at the Emily Carr University of Art in Vancouver, was, of course, to submit to festivals, but I remember a negative view of posting online, as if posting online took away from the credibility of the piece. Times are changing, but I’m still not so certain what is the best way to go. Do you have any views on whether posing online before showing in a festivals may be a good thing or a bad thing? Would posting online first negatively affect acceptance in a festival?

For some opinions, I decided to ask two people who program animation festivals: Chris Robinson, the Artistic Director of the Ottawa International Film Festival, and Susie Wilson, the Festival Director of Projector and a member of film selection committees at festivals like Annecy. (Also, see the UPDATE below from Mark Osborne.) Here’s what they had to say:

Chris RobinsonCHRIS ROBINSON
Dear Eric,
I don’t really see why it has to be an either/or situation. Granted, it’s nice for a festival to have a film that few people have seen because it creates excitement, but it’s really not a huge deal if it’s not a premiere. I certainly don’t punish a film because it’s been screened online. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Amid here at Cartoon Brew posted a couple of films this year that we hadn’t received at the festival. I liked both of them, contacted the filmmaker, and invited the films to be in competition. If those filmmakers only went the festival route I might not have seen their films.

I guess the negative side of posting things online is quality. There’s nothing like sitting in a cinema with a thousand people watching a film on a big screen. People talk about the increased connection you get between artist and audience online, but nothing is more immediate that the reaction you get (or don’t get) in a cinema.

It’s also a bit of a different audience. The bulk of the audience at animation festivals are animation professionals or students. Online screenings can open you up to a slightly different audience.

Short film animators have limited opportunities to get there films out there so take advantage of everything available to you.


Susie WilsonSUSIE WILSON
No, Web exposure is not high on the list of factors I consider when programming. If a film is absorbing/funny/gorgeous (in short: good) enough, then even if it’s been seen a million times online, I’d still want it in my line up. The viewing experience is so very different from cinema to computer that even if I’m pretty sure my audience has seen it on the Web already, I’d still program it. Also, because it will be quite another film depending on what sits either side of it in the program. It’s definitely the quality of the film and what it contributes that counts, not its previous exposure. (In selection at Annecy last year, it was one of the few things all three of us agreed on!)

What do you the film-maker want for, and from, your film? It’s your answer to this question that will guide you in managing its exposure.

Some initial elements to consider:

Is the volume of viewers important to you? Quality vs. quantity. Yes, the Web might reach more people, but also think about the cinema experience which can be far superior, no matter how hi-res the computer screen or how woof the speakers.

Is your film non-narrative, experimental, abstract? If it’s a difficult piece, festival audiences can be more open. (Ok, not counting the notoriously impatient Grand Salle crowd at Annecy.) However, there can be more cohesion in groupings of films online, and the viewer can make up their own private festival. But wait, they can also stop watching it if it’s not satisfying them whereas in a cinema situation, they’d have to sit through the whole damn frustrating prickly amazing piece!

Think a year ahead when you’re planning on where to send your film and read the requirements of what you consider to be the most significant festivals in the upcoming twelve months. If they demand virgin births or non-line pedigrees, and it’s an event that will introduce you to what you consider to be an important audience, abide by their rules.

The clearer you are about where you want your film to go, the easier it will be for you to navigate all the festival and Web opportunities out there. Sit down, think about the ultimate destination, then chart your course. It’s your film, it’s your call.


A closing thought from myself: the trend clearly favors filmmakers nowadays, and most festivals don’t require filmmakers to keep their films off-line. Whenever somebody poses this question to me on the Brew, I always encourage artists to post their films online. The benefits of having your film on the Internet far outweigh the potential (and increasingly unlikely) exclusion from a handful of film festivals. (On a sidenote, the administrators of animation schools that require their students to keep their animation off the Internet should be slapped. They are performing a disservice to their students at a crucial time when these young filmmakers are trying to make a name for themselves.)

Even festivals that require films to be offline, like Sundance, are not enforcing their rules strictly. Last year, Sundance selected a number of shorts that had already debuted online. One of those, From Burger It Came, was a film that was available on Cartoon Brew TV, and at the request of the filmmaker, we removed the film for the period of the festival to comply with Sundance’s rules. However, another short film in Sundance competition, which was already an online hit, remained online throughout the festival without any repercussions.

UPDATE: Director Mark Osborne wrote to say that if you’re trying to get an Oscar nomination, then posting the film online is a bad idea. Mark says:

In regards to the issue of posting films online, please, PLEASE point out that if any one posts their film online they may DISQUALIFY themselves for Academy Award consideration. This is a very tricky issue and the Academy has made it very clear that it wants to honor theatrical production and so they are holding firm to the notion that if a film is on TV or online before it is in theaters it is not a theatrical production. (Article III-b of the Academy rules states: A short film may not be exhibited publicly anywhere in any nontheatrical form, including but not limited to broadcast and cable television, home video, and Internet transmission, until after its Los Angeles theatrical release, or after receiving its festival or Student Academy Award. Excerpts of the film totaling no more than ten percent of its running time are exempted from this rule.) I suspect this rule is why some schools don’t allow posting of films online, which is totally understandable considering this rule. And this is not to say that every film is an Academy contender, but I believe it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Robbert Bobbert and The Bubble Machine

Robbert Bobbert is a character and album created by Robert Schneider of The Apples in Stereo. The new music video, We R Super Heroes, was directed by Puny Entertainment. Super Hero Guest Artists include: Jordan Crane (The Clouds Above, NON, Uptight), Gene Ha (Top 10, The Fourty Niners. DC Cover Artist), Craig McCracken (Powerpuff Girls, Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends), Chris McDonnell (Meat Haus, Vice Comics), Mark Todd (Whatcha Mean, What’s a Zine?) and Todd Webb (Tuesday Moon, Nickelodeon Magazine).

Sneak Peek: The Disney Family Museum

Animator Steve Segal had an opportunity to preview the new Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, which is opening to the public next week. He sent us this eyewitness report of what to expect:

On Sunday I visited the Disney Family Museum. If you’re even a casual Disney fan and you are in the vicinity of San Francisco you must make a point to visit it when it opens in the beginning of October. Unfortunately they don’t allow picture taking so you’ll have to come to see it yourself. I took some pictures from the outside and was able to sneak a few in less traveled areas (Click thumbnails below for larger images).

There are 9 separate galleries containing a staggering 214 video presentations. Some projected, most were small video screens populated throughout the museum. It covers pretty much all of Walt’s life and work. Here are some of the highlights (spoilers below):

• In the entryway is a collection of awards, including the famous 8 Oscars custom-made for Snow White.

• There are some recreations, but lots of original artwork, like storyboards, animation drawings and cels; the most memorable for me being Tytla’s drawings of Chernobog from Night on Bald Mountain in Fantasia. Exquisite draftsmanship was on display in some drawings from The Band Concert, and the Brave Little Tailor.

• They have the actual train that Walt gave rides to his guests in his backyard.

• Correspondence from famous people, dozens of TV screens playing his myriad television programming.

• One of the most impressive recreations was an exact replica of the multiplane camera, you first encounter it from the second level and look down through several levels of art, then when you are down on the first floor the controls and background from Bambi (a recreation) is in the gift shop.

• There is also a gigantic model of Disneyland (or at least what they claim is Walt’s original idea for the park, which is probably not true, but impressive nonetheless).

• There are some interactive games for kids like making sound effects to go along side Steamboat Willie and Silly Symphony quizzes.

• There are a large number of kiosks where you can hold an old timey telephone speaker to your ear and hear a personal story from a friend or Disney artist.

• There is an interactive representation of the pages from the notebook of Fantasia effects animator Herman Schultheis. You can enlarge and move around the pages on a huge table. Check out Michael Sporn’s Splog for some pictures.

• There is also a small state of the art theater that will have special guest lecturers and screenings of Disney classics. Fantasia, Sleeping Beauty, The Three Caballeros and Walt and El Grupo are scheduled.

The Walt Disney Family Museum is located at 104 Montgomery Street, in The Presidio district, San Francisco, CA. For more information, visit the website.

Bart Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror #15

Treehouse of Horro

The annual Treehouse of Horror issue is out today. It’s guest edited by Sammy Harkam, the creator of the Kramers Ergot anthology. If you can’t find it at a comic store, it’s available for purchase online at the PictureBox website. Here’s the eclectic line-up:

Among Halloween-inspired short strips by such visionary cartoonists as C.F. (Powr Mastrs), Will Sweeney (Tales from Greenfuzz), Jordan Crane (Uptight), Tim Hensley (MOME), and John Kerschbaum (Petey & Pussy), are four featured tales of inspired Simpsons lunacy: heralded artists Kevin Huizenga (Ganges, Or Else) and Matthew Thurber (1-800 Mice, Kramers Ergot) collaborate on a weird and wild story equal parts Lovecraftian eco-horror and Philip K. Dick identity comedy. Jeffrey Brown (Incredible Change- Bots, Clumsy) does a creepy and suitably pathetic story featuring Milhouse in a “Bad Ronald”-inspired tale of murder and crawl space living. Harkham and Ted May (INJURY) pull out all the stops for a tragic monster tale of unrequited love, bad karaoke, and body snatching at Moe’s Bar. Ben Jones (Paper Rad) does the comic of his life with an epic tale of how bootleg candy being sold at the Kwik-E-Mart rapidly spirals out of control into an Invasion of The Body Snatchers-like nightmare of a Springfield filled with cheap bootleg versions of familiar characters. And nobody does squishy, sweaty, and gross like up and coming cartoonist Jon Vermilyea (MOME), who outdoes himself with “C.H.U.M.M.,” a C.H.U.D.-inspired parody featuring everybody’s favorite senior citizen, Hans Moleman!

My Trip To Korea

I just got back from Seoul, Korea, where I spoke at a conference called DICON 2009, a digital conference that was part of the International Creative Content Fair. I liked that this event had its own slogan, “Show the Spirit of Creative Content!” since I rarely attend events that have slogans these days. I don’t think the Ottawa Festival has a slogan. I can only imagine what it would be. (“Sit down, shut up, listen to Chris?”)

While at DICON, I gave a presentation on the elements of quality cartoons. I was happy they had asked about that particular topic since it’s a fun topic to talk about. No one in the US seems terribly interested in pondering this anymore. I guess we have it all figured out here.

The Korean animation industry is an interesting case study. After years of doing service work for the US, Canada and Europe, throughout the 2000s, the animation industry in Korea shifted its attention to creating cartoons. Schools added programs in animation, and beautiful, moody Korean short films began showing up in festivals worldwide. Within a matter of years, original Korean series began showing up on the air in Korea.

The Korean animation industry’s most recent focus has been how to sell these cartoons outside of Asia. It is hard to sell to the US, even for people who live here, I assured them. There’s not a lot of space on the air and there are a lot of shows out there.

The American animation industry has a long and interesting relationship with the Korean animation industry. Through the 1980s and 90s, a great deal of animation service work was sent to Korea. Most animation executives, creators and producers participated in a particular rite of passage, a trip to Korea to visit the production studios. Reeling from jet lag, you would then have the surreal experience of seeing hundreds of people you had never met sitting and drawing or painting various series you worked on. Actually, some would be working on your series, and the people next to them would be working on series for rival networks, which would make it even more surreal.

I was always impressed with the work of the studios we worked with, Rough Draft, Yeson, Sae Rom, and several others. I remember thinking over the years that it was just a matter of time before these animators and studios would want to create original content, shows in Korean that they could watch on the air. By the early 2000s, much of the Korean animation industry had jumped head first into the murky waters of intellectual property development, along with a great deal of help from the Korean government, by way of KOCCA, the Korea Creative Content Agency.

The focus on service work had come out of a long history of Korean manufacturing. Conversely, the desire to create and own intellectual property probably came more from the marketing and publishing areas of Korean business and the desire to own the rights to the series they are producing, as well as the honor of seeing these Korean series get sold internationally.

I have met several newer studios over the years, through pitches and visits, and I have always sensed that frustration you have when you first start out doing something and you want everyone to appreciate what you are doing right away. I got a sense that the Korean government was looking at the American and Japanese industries and wondering why after six or seven years, Korea’s animation industry hadn’t caught up yet.

I have taken a number a pitches from these Korean studios over the years and one thing has been consistent — the amazing artwork. They make CGI look effortless and almost each show I’ve seen features amazing artwork. Direction and design in the pilots I look at is always topnotch.

However, I have watched a number of pilots wondering whether I’d watched something with a plot or characters, or just a study in movement. I often feel the same way watching Japanese animation, and I’ve always chalked it up to the idea that the way Japanese animators tell stories is just different from the way we westerners tell stories. No problem, I’d think, every culture deserves to have a national film style. But the issues kick in when the Korean studios want to sell these series to the US, Canada and Europe. Some of their series that remind me of independent films, but then I see they are targeted to preschool or 6-8 audiences. I guess that’s why we were invited there to give our speeches.

There was a mix of speakers from the US at DICON: Max Howard, David Voss from Mattel, Christopher Skala of HIT, Josh Selig of Little Airplane, Brian Konietzko and Seung Hyun Oh of Avatar: The Last Airbender, and a long list of other speakers from Asia and Europe. I did my session with Celine Chesnay from France Television. Kevin Rafferty, the well known feature film visual effects supervisor gave a keynote speech along with Rintaro (aka Shigeyuki Hayashi), the Japanese director of Galaxy Express 999 and Metropolis.

They didn’t just cover the film and television industries. Other sessions focused on mobile and internet content, social networking, co-productions, financing, and the music industry.

For my speech, I did walk through a long list of things you must do to make a cartoon a good cartoon. After my presentation, I received a number of smart and well-thought-out questions. The most direct was, “be honest, what do you think are the weaknesses of Korean animation?” I said what I’d been saying right along, “You create amazing artwork here and direction is always great. You need to focus on character and story.” A few of the studios pointed out they had hooked up with British writers. That’s a start, I suppose.

All in all, it was a fun trip. There was a store called Aniland right near the hotel, with Totoro right on the sign next to the store’s logo. I bought some great toys for my kids. The Korean aesthetic is all about extreme cuteness. Their toys and designs are even cuter than Japanese characters. That’s good news if you have a four-year-old daughter. I bought all the toys from vending machines that looked like gumball machines. We have a good collection of Tofu-head magnets now.

However, I slept no more than ten hours in three nights so I have been spending the week catching up on that all important sleep.

Cartoon Carnival

Shokus Internet Radio, where I occasionally appear on Stu’s Show (my next appearence there is scheduled for November 11th), now has a new regular daily show for classic animation buffs. Cartoon Carnival with Joe Bevilacqua is broadcast online everyday at 3pm (PDT), 5pm (CT) and 6pm (ET). This week, for example, host Bevilacqua (co-author of the biography Daws Butler, Characters Actor) will present part one of a tribute to Bob Clampett’s Time for Beany; an interview with Stan Freberg; and a live performance of Dudley Doo-Right featuring June Foray. For more information on previous shows and upcoming episodes, check JoeBev.com.

Animation Editing at the Academy

Next week, as part of it’s Perspectives on Editing series, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is hosting a seminar on Editing For Animation. Hosted by Academy Editor’s Branch Governors Donn Cambern (The Last Picture Show) and Mark Goldblatt (Teminator 2), the seminar will feature film clips and open discussion between audience and guests. Panelists include Kent Beyda (Scooby Doo), John Carnochan (Ice Age, The Simpsons Movie), Nancy Frazen (Runaway Brain, Surf’s Up), Lois Freeman-Fox (Fantasia 2000, Osmosis Jones) and Kevin Nolting (Up).

The event takes place at the Academy’s Linwood Dunn Theater on Vine St. on Tuesday September 29th 7:00-10:00pm. For more information and tickets, visit oscars.org.

Annie Awards ’09: Call for Entries

ASIFA-Hollywood has announced its Call for Entries for this year’s 37th Annual Annie Awards.

Annie Awards will be presented in 25 categories including best animated feature, home entertainment, television production, television commercial, short subject, video game, as well as individual achievements. Entries can be submitted for consideration from productions released in the United States between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009. The deadline to receive entries is Friday, October 16, 2009.

Some big changes to the voting rules have been instituted this year, most significantly that ASIFA-Hollywood members will vote only on the Production categories, and that a final election committee of animation professionals will determine the award recipients for all of the Individual Achievement categories.

This year’s ceremony will be held on Saturday, February 6, 2010 at Royce Hall on the campus of UCLA. The updated ‘Rules and Categories’ list, entry forms and more information can be found online at www.annieawards.org.

“Var jeg en vind” by Jan Rune Blom

Among the many fine people I met at the Fredrikstad Animation Festival in Norway last year was stop motion artist Jan Rune Blom. He promised to send me a link to this music video for singer Helene Bøksle when he was done with it. He didn’t let me down.

After the singer was filmed, the stills were transferred onto paper, cut out, and shot as stop motion. He tells me:

There are no digital effects or digital post production on the piece. Everything was shot on a Canon 300D SLR camera, and all pictures were imported into Final Cut for editing.I really like working with a lot of analog details and solutions. And I like the “analog feeling” of the end product. My brother Tor Harald Blom made the original 2D illustrations of trees and animals. Everything else I did myself. I spent like seven to eight months working on this.

These behind-the-scene pics on Jan’s blog give a hint of the painstaking work that went into making this piece. The results are lovely.