Taylor Price is a student at CalArts who hails from Vancouver.
Her caricature drawings of classmates are often brutal and funny.
The boys at Melbourne and Sydney, Australia-based Rubber House Studios have attached some funny cartoon visuals to this tale narrated by Eighties wrestling star The Iron Sheik. It’s the first in a series of “Very Animated People” shorts that Rubber House is producing for the new YouTube comedy channel Jash.
Starring: The Iron Sheik
Director: Greg Sharp
Art Direction: Ivan Dixon
Animation: Rubber House
Supervising Producer: Jensen Karp
Producers: Page Magen and Jian Magen
Produced by AJ Tesler, Nicholas Veneroso
Animation Producer: MJ Offen
Audio Editor: Brett Kushner
If you’re an animation studio executive and you’ve just laid off a a crew of artists, what’s the first thing you should do? Going on Tumblr to blog about it should be nowhere near the top of that list. In fact, you shouldn’t even be thinking about whether that’s something you should be doing. Don’t tell this to Colum Slevin, Lucasfilm Vice-President, Head of Studio Operations, who decided that he would blog his company’s layoffs.
The layoffs probably weren’t Slevin’s decision. They are owed to the inevitable restructuring resulting from Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm. Disney’s cancellation of the Clone Wars TV series caused an initial round of layoffs last week. After crew members working on the show were let go, Slevin made this post on his Tumblr account:
In another context—like an Oprah TV special—this might have been a nice thought, but the fortune cookie-worthy sentiment is more than a little icky coming from a well-paid executive who doesn’t have to worry about where he’s getting his next paycheck.
Executives love to promote the idea that studios are families, which is a silly analogy for countless reasons. For starters, families don’t lay off their own members. That’s why it’s a good idea for execs like Slevin to reserve the paternalistic pep talks for their own kids, and avoid telling former employees that they have Character (with a capital C no less) and showing them garish personal photos—though the latter does bode well for Slevin’s bid to become a Creative Exec.
UPDATE: The post has been deleted from Slevin’s Tumblr account.
(Photo of Colum Slevin by Joel Aron)
Picking up where the original short left off, the urbane meet-cute of two young sweethearts brought together by a torrent of sentient paper products continues through their first date, first kiss and into the bedroom where the loose leaf matchmaker reveals ulterior motives. “Originally, the character of Paper was even more aggressive and unlikeable,” College Humor’s President of Original Content, Sam Reich told Cartoon Brew. “Paper isn’t a jerk; he just finds himself in the middle of a misunderstanding, and has to cope with his disappointment.”
Even those who turned their nose up at the cynical addendum could not help but be impressed by the level of accuracy in the aping of the source material’s groundbreaking, much debated faux hand-drawn style. This new short, produced by the Australian animation house, Studio JoHo and directed by Joe Brumm, achieved the original film’s look using Celaction, a versatile and intuitive 2D-rigged animation program that is rising in popularity in the U.K. and Australia. “They’re fans of the original piece,” says Reich “and were excited to create something that looked authentic.”
Among the factors that makes Paperman Threesome such a successful parody, Reich cites CH’s streamlined animation process that allowed them to make its timely deadline, the mutual trust between them and the animation studio, and of course, their choice to focus less on physical action and more on expressive performances. “Nothing really happens in our piece, apart from a conversation,” Reich said.
We’re deeply appreciative of Cartoon Brew’s readers who suggest dozens of films and post ideas to the site every day, through Twitter, Facebook, emails, and especially, our news submission form. This week we’re auditioning a new tool that will hopefully make the submission process both more efficient for us and more interesting for you.
Our News Submission page is now a public forum in which your news tips are shared with the rest of our community instead of being seen only by us. Everybody can vote on the news items they like, and we’ll also be keeping a close eye for items that are suitable for front page posts. And for those of you who prefer to submit privately using the traditional form, you can do so here.
The world’s longest-running and largest animation festival, Annecy, announced short film and TV selections today for its 2013 edition, which will take place June 10-15 in Annecy, France. This year’s competition will consist of 52 shorts, 51 graduation films, 35 TV series and specials, 11 music vids, 23 commercial projects and 4 educational/industrial films. Feature film selections will be announced at a later date.
Films that were rejected from competition still have an opportunity to screen at Annecy +, the renegade Annecy offshoot organized by Bill Plympton and Nancy Denney-Phelps. The seventh annual Annecy + takes place on the Friday of the festival. Submissions are being accepted until May 13. Submission details on Facebook.
(Annecy 2013 poster design by Arthur Collin)
LAIKA/house, the commercial arm of ParaNorman production studio LAIKA, announced today that they’ve added Carlos Andre Stevens to their directing roster. Stevens was most recently a director/creative director at LOGAN/NY, and prior to that worked at Seattle-based Süperfad.
In the press release announcing his arrival, Stevens said that his decision to move to LAIKA was based partly on the city’s lifestyle amenities:
“New York City was terrifically fun, but I need more nature. I was a competitive downhill and freestyle skier growing up, so I love the fact that I can be at the beach, in lush forests and on snow-capped mountains in less than a two-hour drive from Portland. Skiing ignited a passion for risk-taking that I continue to seek out in both my professional and personal life. The quality of life in Portland enriches creativity.”
His reel and various commercials directed by him can be seen on LAIKA’s website.
Justin Sweet works as a concept artist and illustrator developing the look of CGI-heavy films with his digital paintings. His recently updated website includes his latest work.
Justin also works in traditional media like oils, watercolor and pencils that create entirely different moods, perhaps because they also appear to be personal work and sketchbook material.
The three pieces above from Justin’s work on the recent Green Lantern and Snow White and the Huntsman films have the distinct, terrifying essence of the late Polish artist Zdzisław Beksiński’s work.
A pleasant surprise arrived in my mailbox yesterday: a copy of the new documentary Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony directed by Laurent Malaquais. The project raised $322,000 on Kickstarter last year, making it the second-most funded documentary in the crowdfunding site’s history.
The title tells you everything you need to know about the film, which surveys the unexpected fandom that has formed around the animated series My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Screen time is allotted to a wide range of individuals who identify with the fandom, including Bronies who serve in the U.S. military and Bronies who live abroad in countries like The Netherlands, Germany and Israel. Friendship is Magic creator Lauren Faust, and voice actors John de Lancie and Tara Strong participate in the documentary; they are credited as executive producers along with Michael Brockhoff.
I haven’t had a chance to watch the whole thing yet, but considering my association with the fandom, I’m looking forward to learning more about it. If you want to see the film for yourself, various DVD/Blu-ray/digital download options are offered at BronyDoc.com.
DreamWorks’ The Croods opened in first place at the U.S. box office with $43.6 million. That is almost the exact same opening as Chris Sanders’ last film, How to Train Your Dragon, which opened with $43.7 million in 2010. It is also much stronger than the studio’s last film, Rise of the Guardians, which earned $23.8 million during its opening weekend last November. The Croods netted an additional $62.6 million from its foreign debut. Russia, which as we’ve established is crazy for DreamWorks animation, was the film’s top foreign market and generated $12.9 million in box office earnings.
In other box office news, The Weinstein Company’s Escape from Planet Earth is winding down its theatrical run. It grossed $477,522 in its sixth frame, upping its total to $53.4 million. GKIDS expanded Goro Miyazaki’s From Up on Poppy Hill into 6 theaters and grossed $59,693. The film’s two-week U.S. total stands at $131,927.
Nearly 600 people took our Croods box office poll which asked readers to guess how much the film would earn during its opening weekend. The correct choice—$42-44 mil—was the sixth most popular answer, guessed by 7.35% of readers. Here were the top five guesses:
10.93% of readers guessed $38-40 mil
10.04% of readers guessed $40-42 mil
9.5% of readers guessed under $25 million
8.78% of readers guessed $36-38 mil
7.53% of readers guessed $30-32 mil
Randy Riddle has uncovered an extremely rare bit of Hollywood cartoon history: an an audition for a children’s radio series based on Walter Lantz’s creations like Woody Woodpecker and Andy Panda.
The half-hour pilot, titled "Sally in Hollywoodland," was recorded June 3, 1947, but apparently never went beyond this single test episode. Highlights include a creepy-sounding Woody at noraml recording speed, as well as performances by Billy Bletcher and a young June Foray. Had the show gone into production, it would have been the first time the Lantz characters appeared on air.
The show features Norma Jean Nilsson voicing the human protagonist Sally, Theodore Von Eltz as Woody Woodpecker, Billy Bletcher as Wilbur the Wolf, June Foray as Oswald the Rabbit, Sarah Brenner as Andy Panda, and Herb Lytton as Wally Walrus.
(Thanks, Eric Wilson)
Sometimes when I’m animating, I recharge my creative batteries by watching some of my favorite scenes or pieces of animation. There’s a handful of animated pieces that I watch again and again, but only one that I always return to without fail. It blows me away every time I see it, and upon each viewing, I always seem to discover something new. After every viewing, it makes me strive harder and harder to become a better animator.
No surprise that this scene from Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day (1968) is a Milt Kahl scene. I may be one of the very few people who has had the gall to say something remotely negative about Kahl’s animation in the past, but I still think all the admiration for him and his work is completely justified. He could handle anything, and make it look and move beautifully. It’s a shame he wasn’t given more assignments like this one, because I feel that his more cartoon-oriented animation really stands out as some of his best.
While the entire four-minute sequence of Tigger in Pooh’s house is wonderful (great personality animation, dialogue, pacing, etc.), it’s the shot of Tigger bouncing around Pooh that stands out for me. The reason I love that scene so much is that it perfectly encapsulates all twelve principles of animation. In about 7 seconds, each principle is flawlessly showcased, some multiple times, and some intertwining and overlapping one another. As broad and over the top as it is, there’s layer upon layer of intricate elements that make the scene work.
For starters, watch when Tigger first begins bouncing:
There’s little to no anticipation in his legs, but instead the anticipation is shown in the movement of his head going down before the take off. The tilt of his head, in relation to his arms, legs, ears and whiskers as he first jumps show a great use of arcs. Also notice the successive breaking of the joints on Tigger’s arms, from his shoulders to his elbows to his wrists, and the drag on his fingertips.
As he bounces in place, you can really feel the energy transferring through his body, from his head down to his tail and right back up to his head again, much like a wave action. The folds and wrinkles in his body as he squashes down not only tell us that Tigger is a well-worn toy with loose stuffing, but how much force and weight that Tigger is exerting with each bounce.
Now, Tigger begins to bounce in a circle around Pooh:
This is why Tigger’s stripes play such an integral role in his design. The stripes sell the idea that Tigger is not a flat drawing, but a three-dimensional living creature. His stripes wrap around the forms of his body and give the illusion of volume. So when Tigger is bouncing around Pooh, those stripes make it clear that Tigger’s body is turning away from us in perspective. Also notice the overlapping action on Tigger’s tail, and how it bends and swings at the kinked parts.
Tigger then jumps up and spins on his tail:
There’s so much going on in this one-second action. Tigger’s torso is twisting and contorting, his top half slightly delayed than his bottom half. Like before, his arms and legs following arcs, and his hands, ears and whiskers are dragging behind. And while all this is going on, he’s squashing and stretching on every bounce until finally easing into his final pose before making physical contact with Pooh and charging offscreen.
And throughout that entire scene, on every bounce, footstep and contact, Tigger is hitting every single beat in the song. Each of Kahl’s key poses are appealing, with clear staging and strong silhouettes. It’s almost contradictory how Tigger moves. While he’s galumphing around the screen like a roughhouse, there’s a certain level of grace in his movements. And both Tigger and Pooh’s personalities are easily distinguishable, Tigger being confident and boisterous and Pooh being underplayed and submissive. Overall, a tour de force of animation.
Coincidently, Kahl was also animating Shere Kahn in The Jungle Book around the same time. They’re both tigers (Tigger loosely so), but look how drastically different in approach and execution they are from each other. Shere Kahn is restrained and more subtle—built and functioning like a real tiger, while Tigger is so full of energy and enthusiasm that he’s practically bursting at the seams, and is a completely graphic design. Compare them to Kahl’s caricatured tiger from the Goofy short Tiger Trouble twenty years earlier and you have some sense of how broad Kahl’s abilities were as an animator.
I would’ve loved to know Kahl’s opinion about his own work on Tigger. I know there’s plenty of information floating around about how he felt animating Medusa, Shere Kahn, the Brers and all of his human characters, but barely anything about his work on Tigger. If anyone has any insight about this, please share!
For those that want a closer look at this scene, here’s a video of it slowed down 500% with annotations: