I always hated Captain Planet, but if it were this cool back then I would have watched it more often. From Funny or Die, Don Cheadle takes Captain Planet in a new direction:
For the Pink Panther fanatic who has everything…
When the Pink Panther theatrical shorts were first broadcast on NBC’s Saturday Morning in 1969, DePatie Freleng created a live-action opening title segment (see below) using a customized “Panthermobile“, designed by Jay Ohrberg. Now, the original car is now being offered for sale via an online auction from September 4th through October 14th. I was never sure what they thought creating such a vehicle would do for the Pink Panther – other than create publicity at car shows around the world – but it’s a pretty cool car. If you got the green (and the pink) for it, a once in a lifetime opportunity could be yours.
(Thanks, Charles Brubaker)
Lots of buzz yesterday over the announcement of Wacom’s new Inkling device. It allows users to sketch directly onto paper using a real pen, and records the strokes, which can then be exported to the computer as a vector file. The consensus amongst various professional artists posting on Twitter appears to be, “Wow, this is a cool gadget, but I’m not sure how it fits into my workflow.” On the plus side, it’s priced at $200 which is a relatively affordable cost of entry for a new technology. Are you excited about the Inkling? Can you envision using it in your film production workflow?
Watch this intro to the Inkling:
Eighty-one-year old Fred Cohen, owner of Poughkeepsie’s Overlook Drive-In movie theater, is either clairvoyant or a crotchety old man. He offered his assessment of 3-D movies in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal and it ain’t pretty:
“I’ve been in this business long enough to see it fail once. And I’ll be in it long enough to see it fail again.”
The jury is still out on how much longer Fred will have to wait.
Produced by Luc Besson, Bibo Bergeron’s A Monster In Paris looks gorgeous… but the story, about a giant singing flea, seems a bit slight. Hope I’m wrong. It opens in France in October. No U.S. distributor or release date yet, but here’s the English language trailer:
One of the reasons I like Chipotle is their emphasis on humanely raised animals. Whether raising meat can ever be as idyllic or beautiful as depicted in this new stop motion short called Back to the Start is open to debate, but it’s an undeniably attractive piece of advertising. It was directed by designed by London-based Johnny Kelly whose hand-made approach to the art form is a perfect match for Chipotle’s message. Like George Pal’s Puppetoons, Kelly knows how to animate stylized geometric forms with organic appeal.
Behind-the-scenes production photos on Johnny Kelly’s Flickr account.
Making of video and credits after the jump:
Don’t let your rat touch your stash. Seth Brady made Ratticus at NYC’s School of Visual Arts.
Passenger is a hand-drawn film that abstracts the nighttime driving experience into a playful, kinetic performance of color and shape. It’s a junior year film by the piquantly named Africanus Okokon. He attends Rhode Island School of Design, which was also the point of origin for Playing for Keeeps, the short that we debuted yesterday as part of our Student Animation Festival.
John K. has several new pieces of animation coming up – bumpers for Adult Swim – that explore a more abstract style. I have no idea if these have aired yet, but John is posting clips and discussing them on his John K. Stuff blog.
Eddie Fitzgerald thinks this (below) is “one of the funniest walks in the history of TV animation“. He might be right.
UPDATE – Here’s one that did air:
Playing For Keeeps comes to us from Dylan Hayes who graduated last spring from the Rhode Island School of Design. The film is both witty and violent, primitive and sophisticated, and through all its strangeness, surprisingly poignant. Hayes uses hand-drawn animation to startling effect, creating a stark, ominous environment with a minimalist drawing style. The motivations of each of the film’s characters is crystal clear, yet the message one takes away is open to viewer interpretation. Perhaps a clue lies in Hayes’s film synopsis, in which he outlines the rules of his world:
Lesson 1. Everyone gambles, not everyone loses.
Lesson 2. The world is full of traps.
Lesson 3. You cannot win if you don’t take risks
Comment on the film or read production notes from the filmmaker on Cartoon Brew TV.
Here’s an animated piece by Maud Remy and Gérald Guerlais describing Sketchtravel, a sketchbook that has been sent around the globe and drawn in by over seventy artists, including Frederic Back, Quentin Blake, Juanjo Guarnido, Glen Keane, Hayao Miyazaki, and Carlos Nine. We first announced the project back in 2006. The book is finished now and will be auctioned off later this year. A reproduction of the book will also be published and it is available for pre-order on Amazon France. A new website, Sketchtravel.tv offers video interviews with the participating artists.
I’ve attended my fair share of foreign animation festivals over the years, and have always bemoaned the lack of Los Angeles industry artists at these gatherings. In Annecy artists from throughout Europe’s animation industry show up, in Ottawa a sizable lot from the New York and Toronto industry attend, but artists from Los Angeles have been conspicuously absent at every animation festival I’ve ever attended. There might be a few stragglers, but undoubtedly they’ll be outnumbered by the LA-based development and creative execs, who pounce on any opportunity for a free “business” trip.
The apathy of LA industry artists is historical. During the legendary 1967 Montreal animation expo, which was one of the great all-time gatherings of animation talent, only one Disney animator who had worked on Dumbo and was still employed at the company, took the time to attend the screening of that film. It was, of course, the studio’s most creatively curious artist, Ward Kimball.
This all leads up to some positively encouraging news. Browsing through the schedule for the upcoming Ottawa International Animation Festival, I noticed that not only are Adventure Time and Flapjack being shown in competition screenings , the creators of both shows–Pen Ward (top photo, left) and Thurop Van Orman (r.)–will attend and participate in a discussion about their work. This interaction between Los Angeles animators and the much larger world of animation beyond the San Fernando Valley doesn’t happen nearly often enough. Considering how relatively inexpensive it is to attend one of these festivals versus the mind-expanding benefits of meeting like-minded artists and seeing innovative new animation, I’m surprised that more studios don’t encourage and finance these trips for their employees. It would certainly be a wiser investment than shipping a cartload of executives to each festival.
The appearance of Ward and Van Orman isn’t the only TV-centric event at Ottawa either. Aaron Augenblick (top photo, center) who runs Brooklyn-based Augenblick Studios (Superjail!, Wonder Showzen, Ugly Americans) will be presenting a retrospective of his work. The program isn’t exclusively TV-related, but Augenblick is best known nowadays for his studio’s consistently high quality TV output, which is no small accomplishment.
As we head into this heatwave (west coast)/hurricane (east coast) weekend, we pause to take note of the passing of Tex Avery 31 years ago today. (Click on obituary above to read how Variety reported it).
I never met Avery, but by sheer coincidence I attended his funeral and memorial service. I was living in New York at the time, but came into L.A. that fateful week to attend Cinecon (where I’ll be hanging out once again next weekend). Everybody who was anybody – from Hanna and Barbera, to Chuck, Friz and Bob Clampett, Bill Melendez, Virgil Ross and probably the whole Termite Terrace crew – was there. I don’t remember much of the details, except that the tone was serious and somber. I was personally thrilled to see so many veteran animator luminaries in one place – but it was obviously not a place to network…
But enough about me. Let’s take a moment to remember Avery today. Click the images below to enjoy some of Avery’s work, starting with his first directorial credit, Gold Diggers of ’49.
Tex Avery was a superb cartoonist, animator and filmmaker; a timing genius, a brilliant gagman and above all, an innovator. Chronologically, after Fleischer and Disney, Avery changed the face of popular animation. His influence over Warner Bros. cartoons, and later at MGM, defined what the Hollywood cartoon would be world famous for – and his influence still felt today in the biggest TV series and feature films.
“Incredible, ain’t it?”
Last May, we posted Peter Lowey‘s short Sidewalk Scribble, which was an entry in the Annecy animation festival’s YouTube contest. The film went on to win first prize in the Annecy contest, and Lowey’s rewards were trips to both Annecy and Los Angeles.
Lowey, who runs Piepants Animation in Melbourne, just wrapped a music video for Art vs. Science’s “With Thought.” In the video, he illustrates a challenging concept–human thought–which he portrays graphically as a billowy, mutating object that stems from individuals but also forms a collective consciousness. Like a cloud, the abstract form occasionally resolves itself into recognizable imagery before returning to its ethereal state. It’s an elegant piece of animated filmmaking that serves the music well.
Music by Art vs Science
Directed and animated by Peter Lowey at Piepants Animation
Compositing, TD, backgrounds and animation by Glenn Hatton
Backgrounds and inbetweening by Young Ha Kim
What advice would you give to a budding artist who’s considering entering the lucrative and glamorous animation industry? It’s tough telling someone where to start, but I’ve rarely seen better advice than this blog post by “Waveybrain”. The artist who wrote it has experience in both feature and TV animation, and his advice is grounded in hard-earned personal experience, which he generously shares in the post. With the school year kicking into gear, it’d be a good idea for students to read Waveybrain’s post as a reminder of what they need to learn if they want to end up with a job in the industry.