Sony’s “Hotel Transylvania” Debuts With $42.5 Million

The Genndy Tartakovsky-helmed Hotel Transylvania overcame overwhelmingly negative reviews to lead the U.S. box office with an opening weekend total of $42.5 million. It is the best opening weekend ever for a Sony Pictures Animation feature, topping the $35.6 million opening of The Smurfs in 2011 and the $30.3 million opening of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs in 2009.

Cartoon Network’s 20th Anniversary Video

This mind-blowing video greeting card – animated by London-based I Love Dust – commemorating the 20th anniversary of Cartoon Network features what seem to be every character the Network owns the rights to. Let us know if you spot any missing. CN made its debut at 12 noon on October 1st, 1992; This video will be premiere on Monday night at 6:58pm. For reference, Variety posted a list of Cartoon Network milestones.

June Foray and Johnny Carson

Everyone has to start somewhere. Johnny Carson started in 1951 with a painfully unfunny sketch comedy show called Carson’s Cellar. That, in itself, is hardly Brew-worthy, but this episode posted on Archive.org will delight cartoon fans. The woman who appears at the 4:30 mark is none other than the legendary June Foray, who just celebrated her 95th birthday.

(Thanks, @SquidyUK)

“A Hitch in Time” By Chuck Jones

A Hitch in Time is a new one for me: a 1955 propaganda short directed by Chuck Jones that encouraged U. S. Air Force personnel to re-enlist. The cartoon appeared last year on the first volume of the Looney Tunes Platinum Collection.

What impresses most about this short are the production values. Layout artist Ernie Nordli and background painter Philip De Guard give a masterclass in composition and color.

There is absolutely no reason a didactic re-enlistment film like this needs to look so good except that the artists who made it didn’t know how to do it anyway else. They were craftsmen at the top of their game, and they managed to turn the most mundane material into something entertaining and beautiful.

Chuck Jones is at his peak as an artist, and his character layouts of the two main characters are lots of fun. The animation is equally expert. Although the movement plays second fiddle to Jones’s overpowering poses, it’s no mean feat to give life to designs as organic and complex as these.

The film is no classic, but it’s a must-see for any fan of Chuck Jones and Golden Age Hollywood animation.

(via Cartoon Retro)

Rhinestone Gorilla Burlesque Presents “Good Idea/Bad Idea: A Fully Scripted Burlesque Tribute To ‘Animaniacs’”

with a performance by Rob Paulsen–the original voice of Yakko and Pinky–and all live music by The Rhinestone Gorilla Band.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 12 @ 9pm
THE HELEN MILLS THEATER, $26.50

After a sold-out, three-week run this August, Rhinestone Gorilla revives its Animaniacs burlesque musical with an exciting new twist: the troupe will be joined onstage in a special performance by Rob Paulsen, the original voice of Yakko and Pinky.

After revisiting their childhoods through their memories of educational children’s television (Public Bracasting System), Disney (Bibbity Bobbity Boobs), and their tenth birthdays (Ass From the Past), Rhinestone Gorilla Burlesque continues to mine the nostalgic depth with GOOD IDEA/BAD IDEA: A Fully-Scripted Burlesque Tribute to Animaniacs, with all live music by The Rhinestone Gorilla Band. Starring Jo Boobs Weldon, with Angelique A’LaMode (Yakko), Gemma Stone (Wakko/The Brain), Kinky Demure (Dot), Lucida Sans (Pinky/Runt), Avian Rush (Hello Nurse), Spartacus Rising (Chicken Boo), Debra Delorean (Randy Beaman Kid), Charlotte Pines (Rita), Billie Shakes (Slappy the Squirrel), Joseph Raik (Deuce Velvet III), Amplexus Attack (Foley), and Fancy Feast. Featuring the newly-crowned Miss Coney Island 2012, Miss Cherry Delight, as The Mime.

Rhinestone Gorilla Burlesque presents GOOD IDEA/BAD IDEA on Friday, October 12th at 9pm at the Helen Mills Theater, 137 West 26th Street. Tickets ($26.50) are available online via Brown Paper Tickets. Photographers and videographers are welcome. A limited number of press tickets are available. Please contact [email protected] for more information.

In this original burlesque musical, the Warner brothers, Yakko and Wakko, and the Warner sister, Dot, fell upon hard times following the unfortunate merger of the WB and UPN. When Dr. Scratch’n’Sniff is finally arrested for sniffing too much scratch, Wakko, Yakko, and Dot lost their sole protector on the Warner Studio Lot; after years being locked into their water tower, the Warners were finally locked out. After more than a decade in exile, the Warners’ fortunes sunk so low that they turned to hosting cheap burlesque at a seedy club in midtown Manhattan, where they now share the stage with neo-burlesque luminaries like Rhinestone Gorilla Burlesque and Jo Boobs Weldon, headmistress of the New York School of Burleque and head mistress of half the world’s leaders.

Rhinestone Gorilla will be joined onstage by voice actor Rob Paulsen, who will sing as Yakko and Pinky–the characters that he created. Paulsen won a Daytime Emmy in 1999 as “Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program” for Pinky and The Brain. “It’s a treat to portray a complex character,” Paulsen explains about Pinky, a goof-ball mouse with funny teeth, a head filled with clouds, and an inane imagination. “Besides…where else could I find a job where emotional outbursts and odd exclamations like ‘Egad!,’ ‘Narf!,’ ‘Poit!,’ ‘Splonk!’, and ‘Zort!’ are allowed and, in fact, encouraged?” With over 2,000 half-hours of animation to his credit, Paulsen’s versatility shines in his starring roles as the voices of Yakko, Pinky, and Dr. Scratch ‘n’ Sniff in the Peabody and two-time Emmy Award-winning series Animaniacs. Some of Paulsen’s other well-known animated characters include Raphael in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Arthur in The Tick, the title role in The Mask, and the title role in Mighty Max.”.

Rhinestone Gorilla Burlesque is New York’s ragtag army of art school delinquents. The troupe–which specializes in narrative burlesque, pop culture and literary adaptations, lowbrow comedy, audience competitions, cheesy disco covers, and self-indulgent ’90s nostalgia–are not your average showgirls; they’re rhinestones in the rough, anti-glamour guerilla grrrls prone to attack and entice.

Formerly known as Alpha Psi Ecdysia, Rhinestone Gorilla Burlesque was founded in 2008 as the nation’s premier undergraduate burlesque troupe. While based on the campus of the State University of New York at New Paltz, Rhinestone Gorilla lived a double life as an educational institution and a professional producing entity. On the New Paltz campus, Rhinestone Gorilla dedicated itself to teaching burlesque history, the politics of neo-burlesque and the practice of burlesque performance; off-campus, Rhinestone Gorilla was the underage darling of the New York stripperformance art scene, getting naked on school nights at The Slipper Room, Rififi, Public Assembly, and Sugarland and in venues in LA, SF, Boston, and beyond. Though frequent subjects of controversy and police activity, Rhinestone Gorilla’s students on the SUNY campus–who have inherited the name Alpha Psi Ecdysia–remain the only state-sponsored strippers in the nation.

“Wildly inventive, completely nuts, and charming through-and-through.” -Flavorpill

“[Rhinestone Gorilla] is the future of burlesque.” -San Francisco Burlesque Review

Tonight in Brooklyn: Final Night of Priit Pärn Screenings

It’s the last night of Priit Pärn screenings at the Spectacle Theater in Williamsburg (124 S. 3rd Street, Brooklyn, NY). Pärn is visiting from Estonia and will appear in person at the screenings at 7:30 and 10pm. Seating is limited at the theater (which is actually more a room than a theater), and most screenings so far have been sold out, so get there early if you’re interested.

One of Priit Pärn’s classics that didn’t screen in New York this week is Time Out (Aeg Maha, 1984), which you can see below. Parn elevates the visual non sequitur into an art form, and the film’s style remains fresh nearly thirty years later. A lot of animation today attempts to recreate a similarly surrealistic madcap tone, none as successfully as this film:

Boomerang Brews Up Something Special For Halloween All October

Boomerang Brews October of Spine-Tingling Halloween Programming Highlighted by The Munsters, The Addams Family & Scooby-Doo
Family-Friendly Line-up Includes Creepy Classics and Haunted Holiday Movies
All Presented Commercial-Free

Boomerang is bewitched this October with a line-up of spooky episodes and specials themed around everyone’s favorite haunted celebration. Spotlighting the month-long Halloween festivities, Boomerang will feature spooktacular blocks of The Funky Phantom, Goober and the Ghost Chasers, What’s New, Scooby-Doo?, The Munsters (live-action series, 1964-66) and The Addams Family (animated, 1992-95, as well as live-action series, 1964-66) on weekdays from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. (ET, PT) and 9 p.m. to midnight (ET, PT).

On weekends, the network is offering a bag full of treats with classic series and specials, including The Halloween Tree, The Flintstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone and Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (ET, PT) and 10 p.m. to midnight (ET, PT).

The Munsters comically depicted the “average” American home life of a close-knit blue-collar family—of monsters—that were based on the classic monsters of Universal Studios, including Frankenstein, Count Dracula, The Werewolf and The Bride of Dracula. Presented in black-and-white, the half-hour series starred Fred Gwynne as Herman Munster; Yvonne De Carlo as his wife, Lily; Al Lewis as Grandpa; Butch Patrick as Eddie; and Beverly Owen/Pat Priest as Marilyn, the “ugly niece” who resembled Marilyn Monroe. The show featured satirical situations where the lovable Munsters interacted as normal, good citizens with an unsuspecting public, who were terrified solely by their appearance. The Munsters premiered on CBS Television on Sept. 24, 1964, and played for two full seasons (70 episodes) that concluded on May 12, 1966.

Based on Charles Addams’ New Yorker comics, The Addams Family featured a much more well-to-do family of creepy characters that generally stayed within their eerie yet palatial mansion. Also shot in black-and-white and immortalized by a catchy, snappy theme-song, The Addams Family starred John Astin as Gomez Addams; Carolyn Jones as his wife, Morticia; Jackie Coogan as Uncle Fester; Ted Cassidy as the butler, Lurch; Blossom Rock as Grandmama Addams; and Lisa Loring and Ken Weatherwax, respectively, as the Addams’ children, Wednesday and Pugsley. The series’ humor derives from a culture clash with the rest of the world—the Addams treat normal visitors (often arriving with evil intentions) with great warmth and courtesy, but are puzzled by the horrified reactions to their “ordinary” behavior and tastes. The Addams Family premiered on ABC Television on Sept. 18, 1964, and presented 64 episodes that concluded on April 8, 1966.

Additional highlights of Boomerang’s October programming schedule include the following:

The Funky Phantom (TV-G) M-F, 2 p.m. (ET, PT)—Three teenagers and the ghost of a patriot (Jonathan “Mudsy” Muddlemore) from the American Revolution set across the country to uphold justice and fight discrimination.

Goober and the Ghost Chasers (TV-G) M-F, 2:30 p.m. (ET, PT)—A dog, able to become temporarily invisible, and his three human companions (Tina, Gilly and Ted) investigate mysteries involving the paranormal.

What’s New Scooby-Doo (TV-Y7FV) M-F, 3 p.m. (ET, PT)— A club of teenage super-sleuths and their talking dog named “Scooby-Doo” solve mysteries involving supposedly supernatural creatures through a series of antics and missteps.

The Addams Family (TV-G) M-F, 4 p.m. (ET, PT)—In this animated series, the Addams are not your typical family: they take delight in most of the things that “normal” people would be terrified of. Gomez Adams is an extremely wealthy man, and is able to indulge his wife Morticia’s every desire—be it cultivation of poisonous plants, or a candlelit dinner in a graveyard. People visiting the Addams family just don’t seem to appreciate the 7 foot tall butler “Lurch” or the helping hand (which is just a disembodied hand” named “Thing”).

The Halloween Tree (TV-G) Saturday, Oct. 27, 9 a.m. (ET, PT) —Based on the fantasy novel by renown author Ray Bradbury, a group of children learn the origins of Halloween customs while trying to save the life of their friend. On Halloween, a group of boys discover their friend Pipkin has been whisked away on a journey that could determine whether he lives or dies. Aided by a mysterious character named Moundshroud, they pursue their friend across time and space through ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman cultures, Celtic Druidism, Notre Dame Cathedral in Medieval Paris, and The Day of the Dead in Mexico. Along the way, they learn the origins of the holiday that they celebrate. The Halloween Tree itself, with its many branches laden with jack-o’-lanterns, serves as a metaphor for the historical confluence of these traditions.

The Flintstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone (TV-G) Sunday, Oct. 21, 9 a.m. (ET, PT) — The Flintstones and Rubbles win a trip on “Make a Deal or Don’t” to Count Rockula’s castle in Rocksylvania where they have an unpleasant meeting with the Count and his servant, Frankenstone.

DOK Leipzig to Showcase Polish Puppet Animation

No other country is as closely associated with puppet animation as Poland. This tradition was begun in the early 20th century by Wladyslaw Starewicz. After World War II, filmmakers piggy-backed on the origins of Polish puppet animation and continually found new ways to bring puppets to life.

As part of its Let the puppets dance! Polish puppet animation after 1945 series, DOK Leipzig will be showcasing a cross-section of films from past decades. Particularly noteworthy are the works from the socialist era, which steered clear of the ideology of the time. Unlike, for example, their Czech counterparts, the Polish filmmakers avoided politically explosive issues and found a niche with historical material and stories for children.

This special program features widely varying ideas, scripts and techniques: Life-size puppets come to life alongside small wire-frame figures and even animated household objects. Philosophical and musical pieces will be shown in addition to children’s films and fairy tales. A program of seven short films that invite you to dream and let your imagination run wild.

DOK Leipzig 29 Oct – 4 Nov 2012 55th International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film.

Psyop, ROKKAN Create Prequel to “Dishonored”

Psyop and ROKKAN created the engrossing, animated prequel series – The Tales from Dunwall –  for Bethesda Softworks and Arkane Studios’ highly anticipated multi-platform title Dishonored. The online series gives gamers a first-hand glimpse into the steampunk-inspired, shadowy whaling city of Dunwall, where plague is rampant and the city is in disarray and on the verge of dystopia.

ROKKAN and Psyop, together with Bethesda Softworks, worked to design a truly unique look for the series. Inspiration was taken from the game’s artistic direction established by Arkane Studios, but with a twist.

The three webisodes were predominantly produced by hand. Each frame was essentially a fully rendered style frame, which was then enhanced with 3D elements to add to the painterly atmosphere, dimension and depth of each shot.

“Usually when we animate, it is largely a CG production” said Psyop creative director Jon Saunders. “After we saw the story line, we decided to draw each style frame thirty or forty times and create a cell animated look and give it a sort of a painting-come-to-life effect.”

The prequel videos, although stylistically different from “Dishonored” the game, accurately portray the story of Dunwall and showcase the fantasy worlds that Psyop is known for creating.

“After vetting several animation studios, Psyop stood out because they understood the story we were trying to tell. They were the only studio who could really bring the stories to life with their world-renowned animation precision and craft,” said Charles Bae, Chief Creative Officer, ROKKAN. “Bethesda and ROKKAN’s approach to the prequels was to give context to the oppressive world of Dishonored, establishing the story up to the point of the player’s immersion at the start of the game. Our primary objective was to tell a great story in the simplest and most compelling format we could, period,” added Bae.

Dishonored will be available in North America on October 9, 2012 and throughout Europe on October 12, 2012, and is slated for release on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. For more information on Dishonored visit: www.Dishonored.com.

Technicolor, Mercury to Partner on “Atomic Puppet”

Paris, France — Technicolor announced it has entered into an agreement with Canada’s Mercury Filmworks to co-develop and co-produce the animated children’s television series, Atomic Puppet.

Currently in development on 52 x 11 minute episodes, Technicolor and Mercury Filmworks will offer Atomic Puppet to international buyers at MIPCOM 2012. The 2D animated comedy series targets Boys 6 – 11 and is based on a concept created by Mark Drop and Jerry Leibowitz.

“Mercury Filmworks is a brilliant animation producer and they completely understand the vision for Atomic Puppet,” comments Steven Wendland, Technicolor’s Vice President of Animation. “This series has all the elements that will appeal to our demographic—comedy, action, and super heroes —and we are excited to bring Atomic Puppet to the attention of international buyers at MIPCOM.”

Atomic Puppet is sure to stand out for buyers at MIPCOM”, enthuses Clint Eland, President & Executive Producer of Mercury Filmworks. “We’re delighted by the opportunity to partner with Technicolor in developing this great show. Atomic Puppet is pure fun.”

In Atomic Puppet, when Captain Atomic, Model City’s fearless superhero, is transformed into a powerless puppet by his disgruntled sidekick, the hero’s powers are accidentally transferred to his biggest fan, 12-year old Joey. Together the two form an awkward and comedic partnership as they strive to become the city’s greatest superhero team.

Technicolor will be presenting Atomic Puppet and other projects at the market and will be located at the Buyers Club Level 01 in the Palais des Festivals.

“Tales of the Night” Sees New York City Premiere

Tales of the Night is renowned animation auteur Michel Ocelot (Kirikou and the Sorceress, Azur & Asmar)’s first foray into 3D animation. A hit at the Berlin Film Festival, the film extends the earlier shadow puppet style of Ocelot’s Princes and Princesses, with black silhouetted characters set off against exquisitely detailed Day-Glo backgrounds bursting with color and kaleidoscopic patterns, with the subtle use of 3D creating a diorama-like effect.

The film weaves together six exotic fables each unfolding in a unique locale, from Tibet, to medieval Europe, an Aztec kingdom, the African plains, and even the Land of the Dead. In Ocelot’s storytelling, history blends with fairytale as viewers are whisked off to enchanted lands full of dragons, werewolves, captive princesses, sorcerers, and enormous talking bees – and each fable ends with its own ironic twist.

Tales of the Night had its North American premiere this week at the New York International Film Festival, and will be screened at the IFC Center through Tuesday night leading up to a limited U.S. release.

Check out the trailer, below, and if you’re in New York, head to the GKIDS website for tickets.

Toei to Introduce “Driland” at MIPCOM

Tokyo, Japan Toei Animation will introduce Driland – its newest animated series based on the hit social game – at MIPCOM 2012, it was announced by Hiroyuki Kinoshita, Managing Director for Toei Animation.

Developed by GREE, the wildly popular social game of the same name boasts over 200 million users worldwide.  Driland (13+ X20’) brings the game’s enigmatic storyline to life by following the ongoing adventures of the game’s main characters, Princess Davina and her band of heroes – Milo the manservant, Horace the hunter and Ryan, the rear guard.  Embarking on a quest to search for the most revered treasure throughout Driland, they come across mysterious monsters and discover a cloud of evil making its way across the land, threatening its very existence. What does fate have in store for them as Davina and her friends fight against the impending crisis?

“Since its debut in the gaming world, Driland has captured the imaginations of millions of players,” said Kinoshita. “With the series, we’re bringing the game’s legend to the next level by expanding on its memorable characters and developing a unique storyline that will be embraced by fans and newcomers worldwide.”

Driland is produced by Toei Animation and is available for viewing at stand # R35.17

“009 Re: Cyborg” trailer

If I were still running Streamline Pictures, I’d be fighting to pick up a film like this. It looks friggin‘ cool! This new anime feature updates Shotaro Ishinomori’s 1960s manga, Cyborg 009, a classic character who has appeared in animated series and features in the 1960s and 70s, the 90s and 2000s. Kenji Kamiyama directs this reboot in 3D for Production I.G.009 Re: Cyborg will open simultaneously in Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, and South Korea on October 27th.


Just for fun, compare the trailer above to the original 1966 Toei feature (below):

“Hotel Transylvania” talkback

The New York Times has flicked off this film with a 180-word blurb by third-string reviewer Neil Genzlinger. He essentially says, “The story flags, but the animation… is never less than vivid.”

Betsy Sharkey of The Los Angeles Times calls Hotel Transylvania “…a droll bit of cartoon fluff”. Sharkey gives the film a mixed-to-the-positive review, but calls attention to what she calls the “clash between the character animation and the storytelling style”. She states,

“Hotel Transylvania” marks the feature-directing debut for animator Genndy Tartakovsky, the artistic mind behind such cult TV favorites as “Dexter’s Laboratory” and “Samurai Jack.” The hyperkinetic cartoon vibe and visual style of those series can be felt in the film, with the animation team exaggerating effects rather than going for a more life-like design, as motion capture in particular has aimed to do in recent years.

I’ve seen the film and I liked it. In fact, I saw it a few days ago – and the more I think about it, the more I like it. I’m going to go see it again. To be sure, Genndy Tatakovsky’s Hotel Transylvania is not the heaviest, most important animated film of the year. But it’s good entertainment and even more important, I think it represents a trend that I hope to encourage.

Genndy made a full “cartoon” feature – with caricatured creatures, comically exaggerated poses and physically impossible “gags” that would make no sense in the somewhat realistic worlds of Happy Feet, Rio or Shrek. Trying to make “cartoons” in CG isn’t new – it is something Pixar has been working towards since day one. Lasseter and his team of classically-trained animators have done a good job infusing Disney-style storytelling into computer generated images. So good, it permeates the entire field. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

But it’s time for Hollywood’s CG features to evolve – and it looks like it will take a cartoonist to blaze that trail. I like what Genndy is bringing to the table – a sense of style and humor that pushes (however slightly) what a modern day animated feature can be. It’s a small refreshing step in a exciting direction – and I look forward to seeing where this could go.

But that’s what I think – what about you? What did you think of Hotel Transylvania? Submit your reviews and opinions in the comments section below. (As always, this talkback post is only open to those who have actually seen the film. Since we’ve seen it, we can tell if you have too. We will delete comments by those who have not actually seen the film).

Cartoon Network Celebrates Halloween All October with Brand New Original Specials

Celebrate Halloween All Month Long with Brand New Creepy Cartoon Network Originals and Spooky Specials
October Line-up Loaded with All-New Spine-Tingling Specials of Regular Show, Annoying Orange, The Amazing World of Gumball, MAD and Ben 10 Omniverse

Cartoon Network is full of ghoulish goods this October with a line-up of frightfully fun all-new episodes of Regular Show, Annoying Orange, The Amazing World of Gumball and MAD all themed around everyone’s favorite haunted holiday. The entire month will feature premieres of Halloween-inspired episodes, original movies and many spooky specials all leading up to a marathon of spine-tingling programming from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on October 31. Bright spots in the October schedule include:

All-New Creepy Cartoon Network Originals

Monday, October 15 at 8 p.m. (ET, PT)

·Regular Show: (half-hour special) “Regular Show Presents Terror Tales of the Park II” – Mordecai and Rigby are driving to a Halloween party and tell scary stories to pass the time. Replay Wednesday, October 31 at 5 p.m. (ET, PT)

Monday, October 22 at 8:30 p.m. (ET, PT)

·Annoying Orange: “Welcome to the Fruitmare” – Orange is haunted by dreams of Teddy Juicer, the monster who juices from the inside while they sleep! It’s up to Orange to keep everyone on the fruit cart awake, but when his plan fails, he must dive back into dreamland.

Tuesday, October 23 at 7 p.m. (ET, PT)

·The Amazing World of Gumball: “Halloween” – Carrie takes Gumball, Darwin and Anais to a real haunted house party on Halloween!

Thursday, October 25 at 8 p.m. (ET, PT)

·MAD: “FrankenWinnie/ ParaMorgan” – It’s a MAD Halloween special! When Winnie the Pooh falls apart, Christopher Robin is determined to bring him back. Then, Norman is a weird little boy who hears voices… of Morgan Freeman! Plus Halloween Spy vs. Spy, Alfred E. Neuman and more!

Saturday, October 27 at 9 a.m. (ET, PT)

·Ben 10 Omniverse: “So Long, and Thanks for All the Smoothies?” – When Ben and Rook investigate a mysterious alien ghost ship, they discover that Argit and the Vreedle Brothers are fighting for possession of a doomsday device!

Bone-Chilling Blocks

Weekdays

·11 a.m. (ET, PT): Casper’s Scare School – For werewolves, vampires, zombies and ghouls, pretty much anything goes…except making friends with humans! When Casper, the world’s friendliest ghost, befriends a Deedstown boy, his uncles send him to the only place that can cure his friendliness once and for all, Scare School!
·11:30 a.m. (ET, PT): What’s New Scooby-Doo? – A club of teenage super-sleuths and their talking dog named “Scooby-Doo” solve mysteries involving supposedly supernatural creatures through a series of antics and missteps.

Spooky Specials

·Saturday, October 13 at 5 p.m. (ET, PT): Scary Godmother – Halloween Spooktakular – This hour-long CGI special follows the first trick-or-treating adventure of Hannah Marie, a young girl whose older, meaner cousin babysits her one dark Halloween night. Hannah’s cousin cooks up a scheme to frighten her, but the scheme backfires when Hannah gets help from her Scary Godmother and her quirky monster friends.
·Monday, October 15 at 2:30 p.m. (ET, PT): A Scooby-Doo Halloween – The gang visits Velma’s relatives during a Halloween festival headlined by KISS, but the festivities are interrupted by the ghost of the town’s founder and a bevy of living scarecrows.
·Tuesday, October 16 at 7 p.m. (ET, PT): Dear Dracula – Unwilling to wait until Christmas so he can write to Santa, Sam decided to write to Dracula for Halloween instead. Much to his surprise, Dracula personally responds showing up at Sam’s doorstep and turning his life upside down.
·Wednesday, October 17 at 3 p.m. (ET, PT): Billy and Mandy’s Jacked Up Halloween – Jack, a headless prankster from Grim’s past, uses Billy to steal Grim’s scythe so he can destroy Grim and then take over the world with demons from the Netherworld.

Saturday, October 13 at 6 p.m. (ET, PT): Scary Godmother II: The Revenge of Jimmy– Monster-phobic Jimmy hopes that getting rid of candy and costumes will put an end to Halloween. Scary Godmother and her creepy pals, the Fright Sight Gang, will have seen their last Halloween if Jimmy succeeds in erasing the day he despises most from the calendar. Unless Hannah can stop him, everything creepy, weird and spooky will vanish forever.

Monster Marathon

Wednesday, October 31

·9 a.m. (ET, PT): Scooby- Doo and the Witch’s Ghost – Ben Ravencroft, a famous horror writer who Velma is a big fan of, assists the Mystery, Inc. gang in solving a case at a museum.
·12 p.m. (ET, PT): Big Top Scooby-Doo! – Can Scooby and the gang save the greatest show on earth? Mystery, Inc.’s own Fred Jones has always dreamed of performing death-defying acrobatics under the big top. So when the Brancusi Circus comes to town, he leaps at the chance to check it out.
·2 p.m. (ET, PT): Billy and Mandy: Wrath of the Spider Queen –When Grim’s past comes back to haunt him, Billy and Mandy must join forces with their greatest enemies to save the day and defeat the Spider Queen before everyone gets eaten by her spider minions and conquers the world. To do that, Billy will have to conquer his fear of spiders and team up with his “son” Jeff the spider, and Mandy will have to team up with Mindy, her old arch enemy.
·4 p.m. (ET, PT): Johnny Test: “Fangs a Lot Johnny” – Susan and Mary discover Gil’s a fan of the latest teenage vampire saga, so they transform into vampires to get his attention. Johnny and Dukey turn vampire hunter to rescue Gil and turn Johnny’s sisters back to normal.
·4:30 p.m. (ET, PT): Johnny Test: “Johnny Trick or Treat” – Johnny and Dukey spend the night in a haunted house to win a ton of candy, but can they survive the night? “Nightmare on Johnny’s Street” – In their latest plan to win Gil’s heart, the twins invent a machine that makes dreams come true. Except their little brother ‘borrowed’ it and thanks to his nightmares, Johnny now has to conquer the monsters that are destroying Porkbelly!
·5 p.m. (ET, PT): Regular Show: (half-hour special) “Regular Show Presents Terror Tales of the Park II” – Mordecai and Rigby are driving to a Halloween party and tell scary stories to pass the time.
·5:30 p.m. (ET, PT): Regular Show: “Regular Show Presents Terror Tales of the Park” – “In the House” – Rigby eggs the wrong house that’s owned by a vengeful wizard. “Death Metal Crash Pit” – Muscle Man and High Five Ghost want to crash an old RV into a pit, but it’s haunted by a 80s death metal band. “Creepy Doll” – Mordecai and Rigby discover an old Victorian Doll that Pop’s has not played with or seen since he was a child and unwittingly unleash its pent up rage against him.
·7:30 p.m. (ET, PT): Scooby-Doo! Music of the Vampire – When Daphne becomes the star of a vampire film, the production is thrown into chaos by a real vampire, forcing the Scooby-Doo team to investigate who’s behind this monstrous mayhem.

SIGGRAPH Asia Unveils 2012 Computer Animation Fest Preview

SIGGRAPH Asia has released a preview for the 2012 Computer Animation Festival, the premier and most innovative computer animation festival in the world that showcases the most stellar work of the year.

An internationally recognized jury receives hundreds of submissions and presents the best work of the year in daily Animation Theater and Electronic Theater screenings. Selections include outstanding achievements in time-based art, scientific visualization, visual effects, real-time graphics, and narrative shorts.

From November 28 to December 1, 2012, Singapore will be the place for the international computer graphics and interactive techniques community to converge for SIGGRAPH Asia 2012.

This year, the fifth edition of the highly regarded and anticipated ACM SIGGRAPH Conference and Exhibition will be back in its inaugural city. Following its successful debut in Singapore in 2008, SIGGRAPH Asia returns to the city state this year, once again bringing together the best names in the animation, digital art, graphics and technology industries from around the world.

“A Very Venture Bros. Halloween” Premieres Sunday, October 28 at 11:30 p.m. (ET, PT)

The Venture Family fills your Halloween goody bag with fun-sized Truth in an all-new Halloween themed special of The Venture Bros. premiering Sunday, October 28 at 11:30 p.m. (ET, PT) on Adult Swim. Created and directed by Jackson Publick and written by Publick and Doc Hammer, both of whom also provide voices for the special, A Very Venture Halloween is produced by Titmouse, Inc.

JibJab Pushes Into Children’s Entertainment With StoryBots

Brothers Evan and Gregg Spiridellis, founders of JibJab, were visiting New York yesterday to officially launch their new multi-platform children’s project StoryBots. I met them in the afternoon at Rue 57 near Central Park to learn more about their plans for this new venture.

Jib Jab BrothersJibJab has evolved constantly since it was founded in a Brooklyn garage in 1999. In the beginning, JibJab was known for its goofy online Flash videos like Founding Fathers. The company gained widespread notoriety in 2004 with its election-themed short This Land, and soon became known for its “Year in Review” animated shorts. In 2007, the company pursued a new business model: e-greeting cards with the innovative “Starring You” technology that allowed people to insert themselves into animated cards. Today, the company specializes primarily in e-greeting cards and has over 40 employees in Venice Beach, California.

Now, with StoryBots, JibJab is expanding in a bold new direction: children’s entertainment. It’s also their biggest push ever into creating original content. Their vision for StoryBots is to build a “Sesame Street for a connected generation.” Using a cast of colorful, simply designed characters that they call StoryBots, JibJab envisions building “hundreds of products in the coming years” that are designed from the ground-up for mobile and tablet devices. These will include apps, ebooks, games, and videos. Educational content and personaliziation will be a key component of many of these products.

StoryBots could pose a major challenge to old children’s media institutions like Disney and Nickelodeon. Instead of doing what other content producers have done in the past, which is to sell a show to a network, JibJab is redefining what children’s entertainment can be in the 21st century and attempting to fundamentally reshape the long-established distribution models of children’s entertainment. Their savviness with monetizing Web content over the past decade leads one to believe that they may actually be able to pull off their ambitious goals.

The initial StoryBots launch includes five separate products:

StoryBots Starring You StoryBooks: A free iPad app that enables parents to create personalized, animated eBooks that include their child’s name and face in the stories.

StoryBots Starring You Band: A free video series on the web that allows parents to insert their kids directly into music videos and jam out alongside the StoryBots.

The StoryBots ABC Jamboree: A collection of 26 one-minute, foot-tapping music videos designed to help kids recognize the sounds and shapes of the letters of the alphabet.

The StoryBots Activity Center: A place on StoryBots.com where parents can download and print over 100 free coloring, tracing, mazes and word finds to – ironically enough – help get their kids off of the computer and back to the kitchen table with crayons and pencils.

The StoryBots Beep & Boop iPhone app: Turns learning good behavior into a game kids love, bringing old-school reward chart systems into the 21st century. Parents give kids BEEPs for good behavior and BOOPs as reprimands. Parents can use the app to create goals and prizes to motivate and celebrate their children’s achievements.

Much of what the Spiridellis brothers have planned for StoryBots can’t be announced publicly yet, but I can say that their plans are impressive. The ABC Jamboree is an excellent example of what makes StoryBots such a unique endeavor.

JibJab is hiring talented animators from around the world to create content for StoryBots, and giving them freedom to animate the StoryBots characters in their own styles. The end result is animation that is not only educational, but also fun to watch for all ages. Just a few of the artists and studios involved with StoryBots so far include Alla Kinda (Spain), Rubber House (Australia), Animade (UK), Chris Garbutt, and Estudio Ronda (Argentina).

Here are two of the ABC vids by Max Winston (letter L) and Nate Theis (letter N):

There’s also a StoryBots Tumblr with behind-the-scenes artwork from the various StoryBots projects being developed.

Dreamworks “The Croods” teaser poster

Already one the most anticipated animated features coming in 2013, Chris Sanders and Kirk DeMicco’s The Croods keeps looking better and better with each new tease. Dreamworks’ released the first poster today (below) and its gorgeous. It’s also the first of their 20th Century-Fox releases – note the logo bottom right.

In case you want to see what the characters faces actually look like, here’s the cover to Noela Hueso’s Art Of The Croods which Titan Books will release in February. (I’ve already pre-ordered mine).

ASIFA-East and SVA Present An Evening Celebrating Perpetual Motion Pictures!

Friday, October 12, 2012 at 7pm
SVA Beatrice Theater; 333 West 23rd St; NYC

ASIFA-East and The School of Visual Arts Animation Department will present the work of Perpetual Motion Pictures between 1970 and 1982 along with the artists who were there at the time.

What was Perpetual Motion Pictures, anyway? At its peak, it employed over 70 people to work on ads, programming, 5 Berenstain Bears holiday specials, and Strawberry Shortcake in Big Apple City.

Tom Warburton (Kids Next Door, Disney’s Fish Hooks) will be hosting the evening’s panel which will include Mordicai Gerstein (Director, Berenstain Bears holiday specials), Russell Calabrese (Animator and Animation Director), JJ Sedelmaier (Owner/Producer/Director, JJ Sedelmaier Productions), Thomas Schlamme (Director/Co-Creator, The West Wing, Studio 60, among others), and Candy Kugel (Director/Designer/Co-Owner, Buzzco Associates).

Click here for more information on this exciting evening we have planned!

Friday, October 12
SVA Theater
333 West 23rd Street
(between 8th and 9th avenues)
7PM Admission: FREE

Disney Publishing Worldwide Lets Fans Go Behind-The-Scenes Of Tim Burton’s New Animated Film, Unveling “Frankenweenie: An Electrifying Book”

Features Exclusive Art, Video, and Music into Disney’s First Book to Leverage Apple’s iBooks Author

Glendale, CA, September 27, 2012 – Disney Publishing Worldwide announced the release of Frankenweenie: An Electrifying Book , based on Walt Disney Studios’ highly anticipated stop-motion animated film directed by Tim Burton, Frankenweenie, in theaters October 5, 2012. Capturing the creative process from concept to completion, the interactive book integrates videos, vibrant music, and original sketches to offer readers a fully immersive behind-the-scenes look into the making of the movie. Available on the iBookstore, this book is Disney Publishing’s first to be created with Apple’s iBooks Author.

“We’re thrilled to give fans a look at how Tim Burton and his creative team brought Victor Frankenstein and Sparky to life in the town of New Holland,” said Lyle Underkoffler, vice president, Digital Media, Disney Publishing Worldwide. “Using iBooks Author, Disney Publishing was able to include more digital content than ever before—including previews of animated storyboards documenting the transition from sketch to screen.”

Frankenweenie: An Electrifying Book incorporates a brief history of the 1984 live-action short film and details the upcoming full-length stop-motion animated feature, including a foreword by Academy Award®-winning actor Martin Landau (the voice of Mr. Rzykruski in the film) and introductions to over 200 resident puppets of New Holland (with a special introduction to Victor and Sparky), as well as a look into The Art of Frankenweenie Exhibition, now on tour.

A chapter on the film’s music includes previews of each track from the original motion picture score by Oscar®-nominated and GRAMMY®-winning composer Danny Elfman and from Frankenweenie Unleashed!, a 14-song compilation of music from and inspired by the film, featuring artists including Karen O, Neon Trees, and Kimbra. Both albums will be available from Walt Disney Records on September 25 and can be purchased directly from within the book.

Using Apple’s iBooks Author app, Disney Publishing was able to include video, audio, multi-touch, and 3D widgets to create a robust storytelling experience that enlightens Frankenweenie fans of all ages. Readers can watch interviews featuring producer Allison Abbate and executive producer Don Hahn and explore the art of stop-motion animation with Tim Burton, while younger fans can create their own “chalkboard collage” using the film’s characters.

“Thirty years after he first visualized Frankenweenie as a student at CalArts, Tim Burton has finally made the movie he dreamed of making way back then,” said Martin Landau, voice of Mr. Rzykruski in the film. “The eBook reveals how a truncated, live-action version made by Tim three decades ago evolved into the 90-minute, black-and-white, stop-motion (Tim’s favorite animation process), 3D motion picture that he visualized all those years ago. It’s wonderful that Tim has managed to keep Victor and his friends young, energetic, and alive for 30 plus years.”

In addition to the eBook, Disney Publishing Worldwide has released several print books in support of the feature film, including Frankenweenie: A Cinematic Storybook, Frankenweenie: A Novel, and Frankenweenie: A Monstrous Menagerie of Stickers! A graphic novel and a visual companion will also be available at retail in the coming months.

Frankenweenie: An Electrifying Book is available for free exclusively on the iBookstore in 32 countries around the world.

Behind the 2D Animated Titles of “The Pirates”

Last year Michael Schlingmann found himself designing and animating all the 2D sequences for Aardman/Sony’s The Pirates: Band of Misfits. I wish the whole sequence was online – it’s a real highlight in an already outstanding film – but for now, check Schlingmann’s Doodlepirates blog, illustrated in-depth with words, art and video (like the piece below) detailing his thoughts and process.

“Adventures in Plymptoons!” Released

When it comes to independent animators, Bill Plympton is the undisputed King. His illustrations have been featured in The New York Times, The Village Voice, Vogue, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Penthouse, and National Lampoon. Plympton earned two Academy Award nominations for his films Your Face in 1987 and for Guard Dog in 2005. He has directed and animated over sixty animation shorts, live action features, music videos, commercials and documentaries. He also holds the title as the only artist who has animated six feature length films by himself.

Some of his most recognized work includes: the morphing heads which appeared on MTV in the late 80s, his animated music videos for Kanye West’s Heard Em Say video and Weird Al Yankovic’s Don’t Download This Song and his opening sequence for The Simpsons episode “Beware My Cheating Bart” which aired on April 15, 2012.

Cinema Libre Studio has released on DVD and VOD platforms Adventures In Plymptoons! a new film that documents the method and madness to one of animation’s greats. The film features Academy Award winner Keith Carradine (Dexter), Ed Begley, Jr. (St. Elsewhere), recording artist Moby and Weird Al Yankovic and animated feature film directors, Chris Wedge (Ice Age) and David Silverman (The Simpsons Movie).

Bulgarian Animation’s New Animated Series “The Show” Expected to Premiere on September 26th with Special Guest Animation, US President Barack Obama

Bulgarian Animations, is proud to announce the The Show, an animated late night talk show with a knack for drawing out famous celebrities.

An animated President of the United States, Barack Obama, will make his first appearance this Friday on Bulgarian Animation’s The Show. The animated President Obama will be sure to show off his dancing skills in front of the audience. While an animated Justin Bieber was rumored to appear on the pilot show, the animated President nudged out the international pop superstar. Highlights from the first episode include coded communication between animated President Obama and alien species, as well as previously unseen footage of the newest Olympic discipline.

Fans of the network, Adult Swim, are sure to appreciate the humor, the graphics and the sensibility of Bulgarian Animations.

Bulgarian Animations also recently launched the pilot episode of Brain Damage on September 18th. In the Himalayan Edelweiss, the two main characters undertake a series of exciting adventures in search of a rare flower. Both The Show and Brain Damage will launch regular episodes over the following weeks. To watch new episodes as they are released, visit the Bulgarian Animation YouTube channel.

“We are currently considering options for raising capital to further expand our portfolio of projects,” said Nick Mitov, managing executive of Bulgarian Animations. “We are also planning to release our first app game in the middle of October based on characters from The Show.”

“Meet the Small Potatoes” to Debut on Disney Junior

New York, NY – Disney Junior has acquired the rights to air the 45-minute movie special debut of the Small PotatoesMeet the Small Potatoes – in the U.S. and Japan it was announced.  The first animated movie from Little Airplane Productions, Meet the Small Potatoes stars the four popular singing spuds alongside legendary British actor Malcolm McDowell.   The movie will premiere in the U.S. on Disney Channel and Disney Junior in early 2013, and then later that year on Disney Junior in Japan.

The film was written and directed by eleven-time Emmy Award winner Josh Selig (Wonder Pets, 3rd & Bird).  The music for the film was written and produced by the Emmy Award-winning team at Little Airplane and features original songs by the late Jerry Bock (Fiddler on the Roof).  The cast of the film will include hundreds of custom potato avatars of Disney Junior and Small Potatoes fans, created especially for the film in the months preceding the premiere that will then be integrated into shots throughout the special.  Beginning Monday, November 5, DisneyJunior.com invites families to visit DisneyJunior.com/SmallPotatoes where parents can submit photos of their child for the chance to have them “potato-ized” and featured in the movie.

Meet the Small Potatoes is a new genre of film: the Animated Rock Mockumentary.  It features the voice of McDowell (Entourage, Clockwork Orange) as Lester Koop, the band’s manager. The film follows the story of the band’s rise to fame from their humble roots on a farm in Idaho.  We witness the struggles between Ruby, the band’s diva, and Nate, the band’s songwriter, and see the band’s historic break-up and their ultimate reunion onstage in New York City.

“We’re very excited that Disney Junior will debut Meet the Small Potatoes,” said Josh Selig, president and founder of Little Airplane Productions.  “We believe this is the first time an animated movie has integrated a brands’ Facebook community into the actual cast of the film.  We want to thank our huge international following on Facebook for helping us build the Small Potatoes from a series of shorts to a truly global on-line and broadcast phenomena.”

Josh Selig will take part in a special MIP Junior session in Cannes at 10am on Sunday October 7th, talking about the success of the Small Potatoes as a cross platform project.  The session, “KIDS IP, Where Does It Come From,” will be held at the Martinez Hotel.

 

ASIFA Atlanta Animation Stands at the ATL Mini Maker Faire

ASIFA Atlanta kicks off International Animation Day celebrations at the Atlanta Mini Maker Faire!

ASIFA Atlanta, the only chapter in the Southeast of this international animation society, will be on hand to demonstrate how to build a starter animation kit on a tight budget. Observers will learn how to animate using traditional and experimental techniques complete with in-camera layers. These techniques are so simple, observers can become participants and animate using a variety of materials on location!

ABOUT MAKER FAIRE:

Maker Faire is the World’s Largest DIY festival—a family-friendly showcase of  invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement. It’s a place where people show what they are making, and share what they are learning.
Makers range from tech enthusiasts to crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, artists, science clubs, students, authors, and commercial exhibitors. They are of all ages and backgrounds. Maker Faire’s mission is to entertain, inform, connect and inspire these thousands of Makers and aspiring Makers.
The inaugural Maker Faire was held in San Mateo, CA and in 2012 celebrated its seventh annual Bay Area event with some 100,000 people in attendance. As Maker Faire has grown in popularity and relevance, additional flagship faires were launched in 2010 in Detroit and New York City. Community-driven, independently produced Mini Maker Faire events inspired by Maker Faire are now being produced around the United States and the world, including your very own Atlanta Mini Maker Faire.

TICKETS

The Atlanta Mini Maker Faire will once again be free in 2012, though to help us get a good head count of attendees, we will be using an online ticketing system called EventBrite. It should take less than five minutes AND you will be entered into a drawing for some giveaways!

WHERE

The Faire will be on Georgia Tech’s campus, and the best address to feed your GPS is 349 Ferst Dr NW, Atlanta GA 30313. That will put you at a parking garage that is the closest walking distance to the Faire. See the linked map for more information about where we will be: 2012 Atlanta Mini Maker Faire.