I am a second year high school student. The time when I have to decide on which university I want to go to, and what kind of career I want, is rapidly approaching. I know this sounds vague, but I am filled with the desire to make a living by drawing. I can’t talk to my parents about this. The last time I told them “I want to draw for a living,” they basically told me “there’s no career in that. You should go to university and become an OL (office lady) like other people.” After hearing this kind of thing I lost interest in discussing it with my parents, but it’s a fact I need to start making decisions about my future. Even if I am hazy about what it’s going to be. That’s why I’m writing you, Director Tomino. How can I decide my future path? I’m willing to take anything you dish out, so I’d really appreciate it if you could share your thoughts.
Miyuri, Aichi Prefecture
Now that is a tough question. All I can tell you is the same thing your parents did: you should go to university and become an OL.
If you’re a second-year high school student saying you want to be an illustrator, you’re old enough to be asked about your qualifications. Seeing drawing as a job you can just somehow land is an amateur’s way of looking at things. You need a great deal of actual experience to work in this industry. Continue reading →
A pudgy, goofy-looking guy with a beard almost became an animator? I don’t think that’s ever happened before. From this piece about Giamatti:
“After graduation, I moved to Seattle thinking I would – oh, I don’t know what in hell I was thinking,” he says. “Get into animation, I guess – although, wow, just put a bullet in your head, there’s a really hard way to make a living. I ended up doing experimental theater, which was fun, but the money, when they had it, was like $16. That was it, that was your ‘stipend,’ $16. So I did a lot of odd jobs, and thought about going back to school and finally, weirdly, lucked into getting an agent.”
I love how he decided to pursue what he thought would be a more lucrative field than animation, like experimental theater.
Fans of Warner Bros. Animaniacs series are quite vocal in their devotion to the old episodes and their desire to see the series return. The Animaniacs Revival Project is a group on Facebook devoted to trying to convince Warner Bros. and Spielberg to produce more episodes.
To that end, here’s the opening to Animaniacs re-animated in South Park’s cut-out animation style, created using Flash 8, by UK animaniac “Dr. Toonhattan”. You gotta admit the opening song is catchy…
One of the most delightful childrens films screened at the Ottawa Festival last fall was Max Lang and Jacob Schuh’s The Gruffalo. Now it’s on the short-list of nominees for this year’s Academy Award. The studio behind the film, Magic Light Pictures, just posted this informative “making of” video:
If you have lots of money and love string, we’ve got the perfect thing for you. We’ve written about string holders before (here and here), and Hake’s Collectibles is currently auctioning holders based on cartoon characters including a lovely set of six from Alice in Wonderland. From an aesthetic standpoint, the whimsical folk-art quality of these objects is very appealing. Unfortunately, with bidding starting at $600 per string holder, should I ever find myself in a string-dispensing situation, I’ll have to use my hands.
The folks at Parallax Studioworks put together this five minute video wrap-up of the recent Los Angeles Animation Festival. The event actually was as much fun as this video makes it out to be. FYI, they have me labeled as a “Festival Programmer” – Festival Consultant would’ve been more appropriate. I was there, made a few suggestions, I hung around watching films, and did the Q&A with Teddy Newton. John Andrews, Miles Flanagan, Alex McDonald and Hadrian Belove deserve all the credit or blame…
Add another title to the list of animated features opening in the US in 2011. According to The Ghibli Blog, Arrietty the Borrower (directed by Miyazaki’s key animator Hiromasa Yonebayashi) will open in American movie theaters via Disney later this year. Frank Marshall is once again producing the US translation (as he had with Ponyo in 2008). The borrower sprite Arriety is being voiced by Bridgit Mendler (Disney’s Good Luck Charlie), her parents are being dubbed by Will Arnett and Amy Poehler. David Henrie (Disney’s Wizards of Waverly Place) and Carol Burnett will be voicing the human characters, Sho and his Aunt respectively. Based on Mary Norton’s 1952 book, The Borrowers, the Studio Ghibli production was released in Japan last July. It will most likely open in the U.S. during late summer.
This weekend, Sylvain Chomet’s The Illusionist opens in more locations around southern California, as well as San Francisco and Chicago. More dates follow later in January, with the film’s widest release happening on February 4. The film will eventually screen in over 150 theaters over 38 states. Here’s the official release schedule so you can check to see if it’s playing in your neighborhood.
On Wednesday, January 19th, check out “Crossing The Line: Animation Show & Tell”, a retrospective of the works of gender-bending Swedish animator Lisa T. Afterward, Lisa (aka Lasse Persson) will be interviewed by New York filmmaker Signe Baumane. Lisa and Signe will talk about animation, transvestism and closely examine the inspiration behind each one of Lisa’s films. It’s a virtual guarantee that any event with Signe will be entertaining, and I can’t imagine this will be any different. The fun begins at 7pm at the Gershwin Hotel (7 E. 27th St. at 5th Ave, New York). Screening is FREE!
Below is one of Lisa T’s films from 2004 called Bikini:
Here’s another historical curiosity courtesy of animator Mike Kazaleh.
Songwriter Mel Leven (“Cruella de Vil” for 101 Dalmatians) wrote many songs which were turned into mini-musicals for UPA’s Boing Boing Show (1956). Two of his most famous were Three Horned Flink (Fred Crippen animated and directed, above, from a design by Jimmy Murakami) and Fight On For Old (dirty print transfer embed below, directed by Ernest Pintoff, designed and animated by Fred Crippen).
The Boing Boing Show came and went in the late 50s, but Leven apparently felt his songs were worth another shot. In 1959, with UPA’s approval, Verve Records released a single featuring “Fight on for Old” backed-with “Three Horned Flink”. Says Kazaleh:
“These were recorded in 1959 after the “Boing Boing Show” was finished. Notice these are different arrangements from the versions used on the show. While researching UPA and Bobe Cannon, I had several visits with Mel Leven. On one of the visits he loaned me his copy of the 45rpm. I took it home and taped it, now I’ve digitized it for your pleasure.”
Once again, neither song attained mass popularity. In fact, both the films and the record are some of the most obscure productions UPA ever made. They shouldn’t be – Leven’s tunes (and his voice on Flink) are quite charming. You can see the original UPA versions above and can hear both sides of the 1959 single after the jump: Continue reading →
For nearly thirty years, animation legend Ward Kimball contributed a cartoon page called “Asinine Alley” to the bi-monthly magazine Horseless Carriage Gazette, which was a specialized magazine geared towards collectors of vintage automobiles. For a few issues, he also created ads for Mobil, and someone on Ward’s very active Facebook page has been posting them on-line.
I read an interview with Ward once in which he described how Walt Disney became angry when he saw these ads displayed at a studio show, and told Ward that he couldn’t do them anymore. Ward said he was never paid for the ads and was making them as a favor to the magazine, but nevertheless, he stopped. The last one was created in 1960.
Like the cartoons he created for the Gazette, the ads are created in a diverse range of styles from cartoon drawings to collage paste-ups to photography. A gallery of Ward’s Mobil ads can be seen after the jump: Continue reading →