Click to enlarge this newly released limited edition Paramount Pictures 100th Anniversary Poster, created by L.A.’s Gallery 1988. Comprised of graphic icons representing the studios biggest films – and I’m happy to report animation is well represented (I mean, all things considered – there’s no Popeye, Betty Boop or Casper but those were shorts and these buttons represent features). Look close and you’ll spot Max Fleischer’s 1939 Gulliver’s Travels, George Pal’s 1953 War of The Worlds; Beavis and Butt-head Do America (1996), South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut (1999) and The Spongebob Squarepants Movie (2004) also make the cut. Our condolences to Charlie Brown,
Tintin, Rugrats and Jimmy Neutron – maybe next time.
This would be funny… if it weren’t so true:
Edited by Derek Lieu
This week we are getting our first look at Disney’s next animated feature, Wreck-It Ralph. USA Today got the exclusive first pics from Rich Moore’s film – and the teaser trailer should be online tomorrow. I’m actually excited about this film, because from all indications it will be a big change from the traditional fairy tales and animal adventures Disney has been producing of late. The film re-teams director Moore (from The Simpsons and Futurama) with writer Jim Reardon (Simpsons, Tiny Toons, Bakshi’s Mighty Mouse… not to mention, Wall-E), bringing a new comic sensibility to the studio. Bring it on!
In the mid-1990s, Bill Damaschke was a struggling LA actor who found a job working as a PA on Pocahontas. Today, he is the Chief Creative Officer of DreamWorks Animation. He also owns a classic Modernist home in the Hollywood Hills. The Wall Street Journal recently published a piece about how Damaschke and his partner, John McIlwee, have restored the home. The article comes complete with a quote from Jeffrey Katzenberg.
The architect of the house, John Lautner, also designed the UPA studio in 1949, that sadly was demolished a long time ago. Damaschke and McIlwee purchased the Lautner classic in 2002 from actor Vincent Gallo. They paid $1.3 million for the home, and have spent another $1 million on renovating it. The article doesn’t mention that a few months ago, Damaschke and McIlwee also bought President Gerald Ford’s Rancho Mirage retreat for $1.675 million.
If You Ever Need Someone, a new stop motion animated music video by Aaron Kaminar, was produced using over 25,000 post-it notes. No pun intended, but stick with it – It really starts doing it’s thing at around 1:20. Says Kaminar:
“We spent nearly four months creating this stop motion animation for the debut single off of The Family Bones upcoming record. We used a green screen for the live action elements and utilized a few loops and split screens to make it possible to pull this off without a label or a budget. All of the post its you see are real and were put up by hand.“
Check out the behind the scenes video for more info on how it was made. Full credits after the jump.
Here’s another success story from LA’s growing independent studio scene. Veteran feature film animator Ken Duncan, responsible for characters like Meg in Disney’s Hercules and Jane in Tarzan, has successfully completed a Kickstarter campaign for the interactive iPhone/iPad app My Beastly ABC’s.
Duncan’s fundraising goal for the project was $35,000, and he ended up with $37,900 from 405 backers. The project will be produced through his company, Duncan Studio, which also recently produced the drawn animation for the short Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Masters. My Beastly ABC’s is slated for release this September.
A companion to my upcoming biography of Ward Kimball, 365 Days of Ward will be updated EVERY SINGLE DAY for the next year. The site is a bit of an online experiment–an attempt to explore biographical storytelling through the crisp rapid visual bursts of the Tumblr format. Perhaps there’s something dissonant about presenting someone’s life via a blogging platform that didn’t exist when they were alive, but considering Ward’s forward-thinking approach to life, I want to honor his legacy with a little unconventional thinking.
By itself, I hope 365 Days of Ward will provide a daily jolt of inspiration–an introduction to the wealth of creativity that flowed from Ward’s mind for over 80 years–but I also hope it’ll whet your appetite for the in-depth book Full Steam Ahead!: The Life and Art of Ward Kimball, which provides the context for much of what I’ll be sharing over the next year.
Below is the daily schedule of posts. I anticipate there’ll be breaks in the format, but this is the general plan:
Mondays: Animation-related artwork by Ward
Tuesdays: “Asinine Alley”, a look at the antique automobile comics that Ward drew for thirty years
Wednesdays: Animated GIFs of some of Ward’s famous animation moments
Thursdays: Dedicated to the Grizzly Flats, the legendary full-sized railroad that Ward operated in his backyard
Fridays: Music-related posts that explore Ward’s twenty-plus years as the leader of the quirky jazz group The Firehouse Five Plus Two
Saturdays and Sundays: Random fun–childhood artwork, personal sketches, caricatures, posters, photos, and other ephemera
If you’ve always wanted to know more about animation’s rebellious wild man, pay close attention for the next 365 days.
If you can’t make it to Annecy this week – you can always stay home with a case of wine, with labels drawn by an international collection of animators. Our friend Dave Filipi recently spotted this bottle of wine (above left) with a label drawn, storyboard style, by Bill Plympton. Further investigation found that several years ago, Portuguese winemaker Niepoort recruited a group of renown cartoonists to illustrate their various international labels (Plympton told me “It’s something to look at while you get drunk. I did mine five years ago.”).
Apparently each label uses an artist from the area the wine will be marketed in: Phil Mulloy created a label (above right) for the British market; Priit Pärn drew the Estonian label; Fintan Taite, an award-winning Dublin-based cartoonist created the bottle for Ireland; cartoonist Martin Kellerman provided art for the Swedish label.
Last year we found an animatic for an unproduced Post cereal product: Pink Panther Foods. Here’s another one, circa 1968, featuring Casper the Friendly Ghost for “Post Ghosties”. What makes this spot particularly nauseating is the sickly sweet soundtrack and the awful song – horribly “sung” by Casper and his “friends”. It’ll haunt you forever. Please note: this spot never aired, nor was this product ever produced.
Animatics like these were devised for focus groups to test their appeal. Here’s a less offensive one for Dennis The Menace Peanut Puffs.
(Thanks, M. PaÅ¾anin via The Odds and Ends Channel)
The Annecy Animation Festival starts Monday and the opening night feature is Patrice Leconte’s The Suicide Shop. Based on a bestselling book by Jean Teulé, it’s a black comedy about a morose family who run a shop for suicide supplies in a bleak and depressing city. Their family business is threatened when a new baby arrives, making everyone around him happy. And it’s in 3D. Here’s a look:
How’d I miss this? In late-April, Glen Keane spoke for the first time about his post-Disney plans. He talks about wanting to return to hand-drawn animation, but not Disney-style “cel” animation where his drawings would be cleaned up by others. Keane said of the traditional Disney look, “It’s a style that looks that way because of a technical limitation.” He continued, “I thought if I ever get a chance, I want to animate something where my original drawing stays on the screen.” Frédéric Back and William Kentridge, watch out!
We’re extending the deadline for student film entries in Cartoon Brew’s 3rd annual Student Animation Festival through this Sunday, June 3. We’ve had a record number of entries so far this year, but we’d still love to to see a few more films. Go here for entry details.
(Submit photo via Shutterstock)
Seoul Sessions is a well-made mini-doc series by Creative Control about animation director LeSean Thomas (The Boondocks, The Legend of Korra, Black Dynamite: The Animated Series), who moved to Seoul, Korea to oversee the production of the shows he’s directing. Lots of American animators make the move to Korea at some point or another in their careers, but it’s unlikely that anyone has done it with as much swag as LeSean. The first episode is above; next installment will be released end of June.
If you missed Brad Bird’s talk in San Francisco about “The Disney Treatment: Walt’s Versions of Classic Stories,” the Walt Disney Family Museum blog offers this lengthy summary of the talk. Brad sounds sharp as usual:
Brad pointed out that while Snow White had a very simple opening, it showed what a good storyteller Walt was. When the book of the Snow White fairy tale opens, it has a bit of a “silent movie” approach, with text that audiences have to read. When the Queen’s castle is revealed, Brad noted, “Instead of happy music it begins with mysterious music, which immediately puts you in a different state of mind. The coolest thing is he (Walt) instinctively begins with not only the Queen, but also the mirror. He shows right away she is a slave to her own image.”