Buddy Hickerson’s Quigmans from Monday 1/18/10:
Bob Thaves’ Frank and Ernest from Wednesday 1/20/10:
(Thanks, Jim Lahue and Chuck Wilson)
Take a look at this distasteful work-for-free ad that Virgin Records posted on the Anime Studio Forum under the title “Volunteer your work for Virgin’s new online music show”:
Hi, I’m one of the producers of Virgin’s new global online music show Red Room. The show is aiming to be community-based and feature lots of user-generated content. Each week we feature new titles to go over new title music supplied by unsigned bands wanting a bit of exposure.
So-oooo – we are on the look out for animators who want to create a 4-8 second title sequence in turn for full credit and something to add to your showreel. Sorry we can’t pay you – but we’ve hardly any money oursleves right now to produce the show! The show has just started so it’s early days but we are aiming to get it shown around the world on different Virgin platforms as well as YouTube etc
If you’re up for it – let me know! To prove I’m real – here we are:
The company is part of EMI, the third largest music company in the world, and not affiliated with Richard Branson’s Virgin company which owns the airlines and mobile service providers. Yet when it comes to paying a few bucks to an animation artist, they have the gall to claim that “we’ve hardly any money ourselves right now.”
The readers of Anime Studio Forum are way too smart for this, and immediately called out Virgin for its embarrassing ploy to take advantage of the animation community. Forum user Rylleman wrote, “Isn’t Virgin one of the largest music companies of the world? To ask for free work in that position sounds greedy to me. Call a school and get an intern if you can’t afford to pay people for their work,” while Parker wrote, “I dont want to be rude but dont expect users work for you for free, please offer some money.”
This is the trailer for Tinga Tinga Tales, a 52-episode children’s series produced by Nairobi, Kenya-based studio Homeboyz Animation. It will air on Disney Channel and BBC’s children’s network CBeebies, among other broadcasters. This is a BBC video news story about Homeboyz that shows glimpses of their studio and interviews artists working there. As far as I know, this is the first 100%-animated TV series to be produced out of Kenya.
The animation world is on the verge of a revolution in ideas and content. Tens of thousands of artists from Africa, Asia, South America and the Middle East have entered the industry in the past decade thanks to digital technologies that have made animation production affordable and accessible to all. As one of the Homeboyz artists says in the BBC piece, they’re gaining experience and knowledge so they can someday start producing their own scripts and ideas. It’ll be really exciting when they do.
(Thanks, Joe Fournier)
Move over Robert Zemeckis – your ideas are old hat. Max Fleischer invented the rotoscope in 1917 and, thanks to this newly discovered piece of film, we now know Westworld Artists conceived motion capture for animation in the 1960s. Only they called it AnimaScope (nifty title, eh?).
AnimaScope was “animation without drawings”. It was created by Leon Maurer (brother of comic artist Norman Maurer) and is related to his Colormation technique, which we posted about in 2007. AnimaScope was used in the original Yellow Submarine (ironic, isn’t it?) and several Bakshi feature films, but essentially abandoned after that. Here’s a look at the future of animation, that never was:
(Thanks, Andrew Sylvester)
Ever wanted a Wall-E crew jacket — or a Woody doll autographed by Tom Hanks? Lee Unkrich (Director of Toy Story 3) is holding charity auction right now on Ebay. Lee is auctioning off a bunch of personal Pixar memorabilia with all money going to benefit Haiti. People can find out about the items and bid by checking out his Twitter posts.
(Thanks, Bobby Podesta)
Yes, in case you were wondering, I’m still co-producing the monthly live comedy-bad cartoons-musical show Cartoon Dump. We are now on the fourth Monday of every month at the Steve Allen Theatre in Hollywood. Different special comedy guests every month. More info here. Next show on Monday (1/25) – another plug to follow.
This animated viral Avatar spoof by Harry Partridge is XXX-rated – but it’s also very funny (if you’ve seen the film) and I had to share it here.
When the Fleischer Studio moved to Miami in 1938, Paramount built a state of the art studio building for them to create Gulliver’s Travels, the Superman cartoons and Mr. Bug Goes To Town (not to mention continuing the popular Popeye series). 70 years later, the building is still there at 1701 NW 30th Avenue (near the corner of NW 17th Street and 29th Ave. – current ariel view, above, via Bing Maps). It was, for over 30 years, a Miami-Dade County Child Development Center. Now, Brew reader Bob Frable sends us an update: the building was renovated to become a police station in 2007.
Photo’s below (click thumbnails to enlarge) shows the Miami Police Grapeland Heights Substation as it appears today (left), an overhead veiw via Google Maps (center), and a diagram of the original Fleischer Studio offices (right).
As award season continues, the British Academy Film Awards were announced today. Congratulations to Coraline (Henry Selick), Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson) and UP (Pete Docter) for the feature animation nominations. The animated short film nominations went to The Happy Duckling (Gili Dolev), Mother of Many (Sally Arthur, Emma Lazenby) and The Gruffalo (Michael Rose, Martin Pope, Jakob Schuh, Max Lang). The winners will be announced on Sunday February 21st.
I have no love for Cartoon Network these days, but I will not let that stop me from trumpeting the forthcoming debut of Pendelton Ward’s animated series Adventure Time (it’s official title is Adventure Time With Finn and Jake but it’ll always be simply Adventure Time to me). The on-air promos have started playing and the production blog is loaded with cool artwork. I’m excited!
Jason Brubaker, currently at Dreamworks, has been working in the freelance commercial world, art directing, animating and toiling on a graphic novel on the side. His “reMIND” graphic novel was originally going to be animated but, he says:
“I scrapped it after doing 5 minutes because it took way too long. Jim Ballantine suggested I make a graphic novel instead and here I am now. Most of this art is what got me hired at Dreamworks to do visual development, but I still force myself to work on it at nights and weekends. Gotta keep the dream alive. Luckily most of it was finished before I started at Dreamworks so I’m more or less just finishing the coloring now days.
“I’m giving myself the goal of November to finish so that I can have it ready for the next Comic Con. Basically by the time I have most of the pages online, It should be in print. Hopefully. My site features my working pages as well as what I’ve been learning in the process.”
The reMIND blog not only previews Jason’s incredible art and comics, but offers invaluable step-by-step lessons on creating a graphic novel. Well worth exploring.
Make room for another solid addition to the animation blogosphere: Scribble Junkies is a blog by well-known New York indies Bill Plympton and Pat Smith (who is currently living in Singapore). I know them both well, and I enjoy hearing their perspectives on the art form, even if I don’t necessarily always agree with them. If it’s not clear from the name of their blog, both of these guys are driven by their passion for the art of drawn animation, and they’ve told me that they plan to have guest contributions from other artists who are similarly passionate about drawing and draftsmanship.
I’m way overdue in reporting on the current activities of cartoon creator Craig McCracken (Powerpuff Girls, Foster’s Home) and his wife, animator Lauren Faust (Iron Giant, Cats Don’t Dance). I caught up with them at the CTN Expo last November where they were displaying their latest projects.
Craig is developing Wander Over Yonder (above), a new character he hopes to bring to life in animation but is only available now in sneak peek form – in a sketchbook and on a T-shirt available directly from Craig himself. The sketchbook is really cool because, though it’s a series of still pictures, it tells a little story about an appealing oddball character. Check it out here.
Lauren has developed a line of girl characters and limited edition dolls (available only at FAO Schwarz) called Milky Way and the Galaxy Girls (below). Apparently it’s catching on, and gaining quite a cult among gals of all ages. I love it when animators like McCracken and Faust use their skills to create their own properties and find ways to bypass the traditional business model to connect with an audience. That’s the way it should be.