Last week we posted a first-look link to a Russian language version of the trailer for Genndy Tartakovsky’s forthcoming Hotel Transylvania. Today, Sony Animation uploaded the U.S. English language version and we have a better idea of how it works with Adam Sandler and the all-star voice cast. Here it is:
Since last Friday’s news that you’re leaving Disney, you’ve launched a new parlour game What Will Glen Keane Do? Everyone is wondering: Will he jump to another studio? Will he work on his personal artwork? Will he attempt to create a feature film independently as Richard Williams is currently doing? This letter humbly offers my suggestion for what you should consider doing.
If the outpouring of sentiment surrounding your departure is any indication, you’re one of the few verifiable superstars in animation. Over five thousand people reblogged the news of your resignation on Tumblr alone. You’re riding a wave of decades of built-up goodwill, and fans are invested in your career as they are in the work of few other animators.
Animation and Disney lovers are clamoring to see what you do next, and more than anything, it seems they want to see you make a personal animated film. It doesn’t seem to matter what that film is, or whether it’s a feature or short subject–just so long as you’re directing it. This is your moment to blow our minds. You can reset the animation world with the most stunning animated film we’ve ever seen, a no-holds-barred work of pure artistry without restrictions or interference.
The timing could not be more ripe. Right now we are witnessing a paradigm shift in which artists increasingly receive their funding directly from fans, not business investors and corporations. Crowdfunding has taken off in the last year in all areas of creative culture. Video game designer Tim Schafer (Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, Grim Fandango) recently concluded a Kickstarter campaign to fund a “point-and-click” graphic adventure game. He aimed to raise $400,000 and ended up with $3.3 million. Comic artist Rich Burlew raised $1.25 million on Kickstarter to reprint his webcomic Order of the Stick. Comedian Louis CK self-produced his latest special and sold it online, reaping over $1 million in just a couple weeks. He ended up donating more than a quarter-million dollars to charity.
No animator has yet to pull in the kind of crowd-funding numbers as the examples above, but then again, no animator with your name recognition has attempted the feat. By forming a direct relationship with your fans, it’s a virtual guarantee that you can do whatever you want. That includes raising the money you need to create a personal animated film, and more than enough to pay for a healthy crew of assistants, clean-up artists, and others. And, if like, Louis CK, you already have enough money to produce the work independently, just know that there are many fans waiting to see your work.
Few Disney animation superstars, past or present, have created personal animation projects. Among the Nine Old Men, only Ward Kimball ever created an animated short on his own time, and that film was only a few minutes long. You have the unique opportunity to change that history. In your resignation letter, you wrote that, “I am convinced that animation really is the ultimate art form of our time with endless new territories to explore. I can’t resist its siren call to step out and discover them.”
Everyone supports you in your desire to discover the art form’s new vistas. I sincerely feel that your best opportunity for exploring that creative vision is to do it independently–with the backing of your thousands of fans and admirers.
Best of luck,
To celebrate the publication of Adam Abraham’s essential new UPA history, When Magoo Flew and the just-released TCM/Sony DVD set, UPA: The Jolly Frolics Collection, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) will be presenting a mega-celebration of the UPA animation studio this Friday, March 30th beginning at 7:30pm.
I will be introducing two programs of animated films – the first at 7:30pm which will feature ten newly restored 35mm prints of UPA classics including Rooty Toot Toot, Magoo’s Express, and Fudget’s Budget. Adam Abraham will sign copies of his newly released book at 8:45pm and at 9:15pm a second program of 35mm Hollywood cartoons that were influenced by UPA will screen. This second screening will include Disney’s Toot Whistle Plunk and Boom, Terrytoons’ Flebus (both of these in CinemaScope), Tex Avery’s SHHH-H-H-H and Gene Deitch’s Topsy TV (also in ‘Scope). Several UPA veterans will attend the show – and we hope you will too. Click here for information and tickets.
CONTEST: Courtesy of LACMA, I have two gift-pack prizes for two lucky Cartoon Brew readers in the Los Angeles area. The first two people to answer the UPA trivia question below will win a pair of tickets to Friday’s event and a copy of Adam Abraham’s book When Magoo Flew (both prizes will be waiting for you at the museum’s box office). Do not enter the contest if you cannot attend the event in Los Angeles. The Contest is now CLOSED:
Who was the voice of Mr. Magoo?
We have our winners!
DoYaThing by Gorillaz, Andre 3000, and James Murphy
Released a few weeks ago but still a worth post on Cartoon Brew, this new music video is tied into marketing a Gorillaz Converse sneaker line. Directed by Gorillaz co-creator Jamie Hewlett, this fast-paced making of video shows you how it was done.
Illy Godzilla (El Rey TritÃ³n) by The Dragulas
This animated music video, a combination of cut-out animation and stop-motion photography by Rodrigo Hernández and Cecilia Beavan, is for Mexican pop-glam band The Dragulas. The song is a tribute to Illy Keller, one of the pioneers of punk and glam music in Mexico, who died in 2010.
Animal by The Gorgeous Colors
The word of the year for Internet content is CHANNELS. Google’s YouTube announced last fall that they’re partnering with media companies and celebrities to launch one hundred channels of original content in 2012. They’re expected to officially unveil the channels next month. But those who aren’t funded by the deep pockets of Google will be joining the fray too. Among the early animation-related channel contenders will be YooToon, which is created by Butch Hartman, creator of TV series like Fairly OddParents and Danny Phantom.
Butch Hartman follows in the footsteps of Rocko’s Modern Life creator Joe Murray who launched his Kaboing TV channel last year. Cartoon Brew noted last January that Murray’s channel has struggled to gain traction with viewers. It has debuted just one new piece of content in the last seven months. Murray’s experiences highlight the challenge for established show creators wishing to translate their success in producing mainstream animation to programming an Internet channel. It remains to be seen how Hartman will cater to the tastes of Internet animation viewers who, thus far, have favored content that is vastly different in tone than normal TV fare.
Hartman’s YooToon channel has yet to officially debut, but he is promoting the channel on Facebook and Twitter, while soliciting submissions on Tumblr. Filmmakers: be sure to review YooToon’s terms carefully before submitting. The biggest red flag for any creator, amateur or experienced, should be the following language: “If my video is selected, I understand that I grant exclusive and sole ownership of my video to YOOTOON Studios upon submission.”
UPDATE: YooToon has updated its submission form since Cartoon Brew posted about the channel few hours ago. But they haven’t updated the terms, and the channel still claims ownership over the films Hartman chooses for his channel. The new “details” posted on the submission form are vague beyond reason and create more questions than answers:
YOO retain all rights to your animated creation, we just own the particular video you submit. We want your idea to succeed! If it attracts an audience under the YooToon banner, we will provide the funding deemed necessary by YooToon to make more videos. If the idea REALLY takes off and goes viral, YooToon will strike a best effort deal with the creator to make the video into an online series! Imagine, you could be making an online series with Butch Hartman!
(Thanks, Jace Diehl)
It’s not your grandfather’s Disney studio: this anime TV spot for their Tokyo Resort theme park shows up online the day after Glen Keane resigns. Sorta sums it all up, doesn’t it?
(Thanks, Chris Sobieniak)
As if yesterday’s news of the Nine Old Men flipbook set wasn’t tantalizing enough, there’s also the Mary Blair Treasury of Golden Books planned for release on August 7. The volume collects Mary Blair’s essential children’s book illustration, along with a foreword by her biographer John Canemaker. More from the publisher:
Fans of illustrator Mary Blair will cherish this never-before-published treasury of her Golden Books, which includes material that hasn’t been in print in decades. I Can Fly is here in its unabridged glory, as are Baby’s House, The Up and Down Book, and The Golden Book of Little Verses. Many of the finest pages from The New Golden Song Book are included, to round out this gorgeous collection. All of the original artwork has been digitally reproduced, and has never looked more breathtaking!
Pre-order is $13.59 on Amazon.
Here’s a little treat I’d never seen before – and I don’t see it listed in any of the filmographies: a rare ten minute Felix the Cat sponsored short for General Electric. It was preserved by the Schenectady Museum who had it in their General Electric Archive. The film itself is quite good – the story concerns Felix’s midnight drive, to his wedding, in a car without proper GE headlights – and the print is in excellent shape. Animated by Otto Messmer (from 1925, or maybe 1927), The Cat and The Kit:
(Thanks, Scott T. Rivers)
Speaking of Cartoon Dump – from the people who brought you Chop Kick Panda and Puss In Boots: A Furry Tale comes: Tappy Toes. This new 41-minute, direct-to-dvd Happy Feet knock-off may not be entirely awful – like the previous two, it’s done in the style of a Jay Ward cartoon, by our buddy Darrell Van Citters (Renegade Animation). Here’s a peek:
(Thanks, Teddy Hose)
A new animated piece by Theodore Ushev is always cause for celebration. His latest, “Demoni,” is a zoetrope-inspired music video for the Bulgarian band Kottarashky & The Rain Dogs. Ushev, whose artwork tends to be dramatic (Lipsett Diaries, Tower Bawher, Drux Flux), takes a light-hearted turn in this video and fills a series of spinning records with playful bouncing shapes and figures. Graphically, he’s playing in the same sandbox as early-20th century surrealists and abstract painters. One imagines if Miro, Kandinsky and Klee had teamed up to make an animated music video, it would have looked something like this.
Theo describes his process:
The animation film was created using about 50 vinyl recordings. It was painted directly on the plates with oil and gel paint markers, and acrylics. Different speeds of the “Viking” gramophone were used to create the movement. Some shots were done also with stopmotion using a Canon 5D, Carl-Zeiss macro lenses.
Yep, I still do this. Once a month I run a bunch of truly awful cartoons surrounded by an absolutely hilarious live comedy show with Frank Conniff, J. Elvis Weinstein (both of MST3K) and Erica Doering. We call it Cartoon Dump and perform it at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood. Our special stand-up comedy guests this month are Matt Kirshen and Hannah Gansen. Showtime is 8pm and tickets can be purchased here. Check out the new FaceBook page for more information and updates. Please come – it’s funny!
Longtime TV animation director and producer Jim Duffy passed away Friday night after a long bout with cancer. Duffy spent much of the last 20 years at Klasky Csupo supervising many of their Nickelodeon shows, particularly Rugrats – directing more episodes of that series than any other artist. He was Creative Producer and Director of Aaaahhh, Real Monsters, Rocket Power, As Told By Ginger, and All Grown Up. Before that he’d worked at Hanna Barbera and Marvel on various shows including Captain Planet, Smurfs, G.I. Joe and Jem.
According to his website, Duffy was born in the USA and grew up in London UK. He has been involved in the production of around 400 half-hours of animated TV series, commercials, and National Coal Board Safety Films as a director, animator, producer, writer, tracer/painter, storyboard artist, and/or designer. He has directed 3 shows nominated for Humanitas awards, two of which won. He’s also been awarded 3 Emmys out of 15 nominations. His personal films have been shown at festivals in Oberhausen, Tours, Nyon, Lucca, Bilboa, Zagreb, and Annecy.
On Facebook, Chuck Swenson wrote:
“Jim Duffy passed away last night at 3:15 am. On the good side, he went peacefully in his sleep surrounded by his family. He was truly a good friend and a good man. To say he will be missed is a gross understatement.”
The Archive Series–Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men: The Flipbooks will release on September 18. This pet project of UP director Pete Docter is among the more unique book concepts, and pays tribute to the work of the Nine Old Men in the best way possible: by displaying scenes their animation work. Amazingly, none of the Nine Old Men’s full animation scenes have been made available to the public before, which makes this both a valuable historical and educational project.
There’s no better choice than Docter to spearhead the project; he’s a big fan of the flipbook format and creates a flipbook ever year as his personal Christmas card. Here’s the official book description:
This box set of nine flip books pays tribute to Walt Disney’s original animators–the Nine Old Men: Les Clark, Eric Larson, Frank Thomas, John Lounsbery, Ward Kimball, Ollie Johnston, Mark Davis, Wolfgang Reitherman, and Milt Kahl. Each flip book features a scene from an animated Disney feature in its original line-drawn form, having been selected from among a wide range of films for great movement and classic characters. Such iconic clips from the reel of Disney animation history include: Lady and the Tramp’s moonlit spaghetti dinner; Sorcerer Mickey’s ordeal with a horde of mops; and Thumper’s announcement that a prince has been born! In addition to the flip books, the box will contain a booklet providing additional information about the artists.
List price is $60, but pre-order for $37.42 on Amazon.
Hauke Scheer is a character designer from Germany, designing 3D characters for computer games, animation and advertising. He just completed this test film for his latest idea, Mechawhales – about whales in giant mechasuits protecting humanity from evil aliens. It’s ridiculous, but no nuttier than most TV cartoons of the 1980s. Check it out:
Those of you who only know of Marsupilami from Disney’s Raw Toonage 20 years ago, might be surprised to learn that the character has been a beloved Belgium comic book character since 1952. And you might even be more surprised to know there’s now a French live action/animation feature coming out next month.
Directed and starring Alain Chabat (Asterix and Obelix Meet Cleopatra) HOUBA! On the Trail Of The Marsupilami opens April 4th in France – and, though furry fans may like it, it looks pretty dumb. Click here to see the trailer.
(Thanks, Tony McCarson)