Brenda Chapman Acccuses John Lasseter of Micromanagement

Yesterday’s New York Times delivered a glowing profile of DreamWorks chief creative officer Bill Damaschke. The pieces describes how CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg is relinquishing oversight of creative matters to Damaschke, who for his part is trying to make the studio more creator-friendly.

It reads like your typical puff piece until it gets to the part about Brenda Chapman. The article reveals that Chapman, who co-directed the first DreamWorks film The Prince of Egypt before jumping to Pixar where she made Brave, has recently returned to DreamWorks. First, Chapman explains why she left DreamWorks:

“I left in part because I felt like I was being asked to do the same story over and over. I look at the movies DreamWorks is doing now, and I see the exact opposite happening.”

Then, it gets juicy when she places the blame for her removal as director of Brave squarely on the shoulders of John Lasseter:

She was pushed out of Pixar after clashing with that studio’s chief creative officer, John Lasseter. Although she could have joined another studio, she said she chose to return to Glendale in part because of Mr. Damaschke, who started at DreamWorks Animation in 1995 as a production assistant on The Prince of Egypt.

“As Jeffrey has gained experience and age, and DreamWorks has grown, he has stepped back and allowed other people to run creative,” Ms. Chapman said. “At Pixar, it’s all John’s show.” She added of DreamWorks Animation, “you can butt heads here and not be punished for it, unlike at another place I could name.”

It’s not exactly news that there was some kind of a conflict between Lasseter and Chapman, but it begins a new chapter in the story when Chapman publicly claims that Lasseter’s micromanagement was the cause of her rift with Pixar. And on another note, who would have ever thought that directors like Chapman and Chris Sanders would begin migrating to DreamWorks for its liberal creative environment. In the animation world, the times they are a-changin.

“Altneuland” by Sariel Keslasi

Altneuland (Old New Land) is a 2012 graduation film directed by Sariel Keslasi at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. In the film, Keslasi re-interprets Theodor Herzl’s 110-year-old utopian novel Altneuland through contemporary eyes. He writes:

By using a surrealist allegory, the film tries to deal with the collapse of Herzl’s dream and seeks to emphasize the sense of absurdity and instability of my personal experience as an individual in the Israeli society.

I met the thoughtful Keslasi a few months ago at the Anifilm festival in the Czech Republic, where his film was in competition. Altneuland also was in competition at Annecy last month. Keslasi’s strong art direction and his cinematic eye for staging and cutting has already landed him work in the Israeli animation scene, where he recently worked on Ari Folman’s feature The Congress.

“Despicable Me 2″ Beats Competition; Animation Rules American Theaters for 4 Straight Weeks

The audience pleasers Monsters University and Despicable Me 2 have now resulted in fully-animated features leading the U.S. box office for four straight weeks. Despicable Me 2 retained its number one slot this weekend while facing stiff competition from two newcomers—Grown Ups 2 and Pacific Rim. The modestly budgeted Illumination film grossed an estimated $44.8 million over the 3-day span, boosting its overall total to $229.2M.

To put this into perspective, the last time that fully-animated features led the U.S. box office for four weeks or longer was nearly twenty years ago, when Toy Story was the number one film for six straight weeks in 1995.

In its fourth weekend, Monsters University landed in sixth place, grossing $10.6M for a $237.8M domestic cume. International figures for these films coming soon.

How Bullwinkle’s Boss Brightened A Young Girl’s Life

Animation legend Jay Ward produced such cartoons as Rocky & Bullwinkle, Mr. Peabody & Sherman and George of the Jungle. Besides having a fine sense of humor, it turns out that he was a lovely human being, too. Cartoon researcher ‘Don M. Yowp’ uncovered this story published in a 1962 edition of the Abilene Reporter-News:

Linda Dill is a senior in Baird High School. She fell in love with the Bullwinkle nonsense when it came along, and since she has marked artistic talent, she made some tiny dolls to represent the characters, wrote a script for them and let them “perform” for various Baird classes. One day, she bundled up her Bullwinkle dolls and mailed them to Jay Ward. That started a friendship-by-mail. Jay wrote that the dolls were on exhibit in his Hollywood studio. He sent Linda a Bullwinkle clock and a battery-operated Bullwinkle figure. Linda, in turn, got up a “petition” in Baird seeking statehood for Moosylvania.

Then it developed that Jay Ward would be in Dallas for a show in mid-November and he wrote an invitation to Linda to drop by if she could. Linda would have but six-weeks exams conflicted and she had to decline the invitation. On Wednesday evening last week a long distance call came to Baird from Jay Ward at Dallas. He asked to speak to Linda. Then he learned. Linda is deaf, her mother told Jay…

Grab some Kleenex and read the rest of the story on the Tralfaz blog.

M.Wartella Launches His Dream Factory in Brooklyn

In Williamsburg, Brooklyn, there’s no shortage of businesses offering unique artisanal goods, which makes it an ideal location for Dream Factory Animation, the new full-service boutique animation studio fronted by alt-cartoonist M.Wartella.

While Wartella formed his company on 12/12/12, the doors to his new studio on Humboldt Street officially opened in May of this year. An underground illustrator who has dominated the pages of alternative publications for the last two decades and animated on various music videos and television shows, he has spent the last three years animating nearly 300 shorts for Cartoon Network’s animated sketch comedy program MAD.

While discussing with Cartoon Brew the transference of his print aesthetic to the studio’s signature style, Wartella cannot help but extol the quality of animation talent that has found their way to his studio. “All the animators here are great artists in their own right; we only hire people who can draw exceptionally well.” Wartella is so concerned about only attracting top-flight talent that he has chosen to eschew the industry standard of utilizing unpaid interns in his productions, as stated in a recent press release: “Everyone gets paid for their contributions. In fact, we operate a unique profit-sharing system whereby our animators share in part of the studio’s profits at the end of the year.”

However, his talented crew and high-profile, lowbrow background are not the only qualities that make his studio special. Wartella enthusiastically touts the development of a personalized production system for creating his animated shorts. A proprietary blend, of sorts, that enables his crew to produce “anything” in the studio’s signature style, quickly and efficiently. “Using my secret formula, we can produce super-high-quality cartoons in a time frame that would be virtually impossible for any other animation studio to rival,” he says. “We can turn out a fully animated 30-second spot from top to bottom in one business day if we have to. This brings traditional animation within reach for almost any commercial business that wants to get noticed.”

And while Wartella hints at a few yet-to-be-announced projects, (one involving Punk Magazine cartoonist/writer John Holmstrom and another that will revive “a classic cartoon character” for Warner Bros.) the only one he speaks openly about is a new webseries being made alongside @Radical.Media for Conde Nast Entertainment called WIRED: Mr. Know-It-All.

A series of ongoing shorts, WIRED: Mr. Know-It-All, based on the WIRED magazine articles of the same name, is a digital age advice column providing answers to a wide assortment of modern questions from Facebook etiquette to child rearing in the information age. It is produced in the style of illustrator Christoph Niemann and conceived, developed and animated by Wartella’s team. “I don’t think there is any other studio in New York or the world that can crank out animation as efficiently as we can,” he says. “We have a solid formula and a great team!”

“Night Stroll” by Tao Tajima

Japanese filmmaker Tao Tajima filmed the footage for Night Stroll around his Tokyo home. Then, with the aid of motion tracking, he added motion graphics and particle reflections to complete the piece. It’s always a treat to see someone use digital tools with restraint and thoughtfulness. The live-action backgrounds are somewhat superfluous; Tajima’s sense of mo-graph design is so strong that I’d venture the piece would be just as effective against a stark black background. Either way, it’s solid work.

(Thanks, Matt Jones)

Nickelodeon’s CG Artists Have Voted To Go Union

Late-breaking labor news out of Los Angeles:

Burbank, CA, July 12 — Newly organized CG artists have ratified a contract negotiated between the Animation Guild, Local 839 IATSE and Nickelodeon Animation Studios. Ratification was overwhelming, with 90.1% of the bargaining unit’s 70 employees voting “Yes.”

The Guild has had a contract with Nickelodeon covering traditional animation artists since 2004. Talks extending union contract protection to Nick’s CG artists extended from March to July of this year, between management and a committee of seventeen employees along with Guild representatives. The primary issue was bridging from Nickelodeon’s corporate insurance to the Motion Picture Industry Health Plan, to insure uninterrupted health coverage for covered employees.

Steve Hulett, the Animation Guild’s Business Representative Steve Hulett issued this statement:

“Five years ago, the Animation Guild went to work organizing Nick’s CG department. We had a number of setbacks, but last year, thanks to Guild organizer Steve Kaplan, communication with employees accelerated and support for the Guild increased dramatically. Early in February, Nickelodeon agreed to a neutral card count and negotiations for a contract started soon thereafter.

“Talks went on for months. TAG had a large negotiating committee of unit employees, most in their early to mid-twenties, and they were focused and tenacious through several long days of work. I doubt we could have reached agreement without them.

“Nick negotiators Bill Cole and Kevin Ellman were tough but flexible, and had a lot to do with the parties reaching agreement.”

Final negotiations over the Memorandum of Agreement wrapped on July 10, with ratification by unit employees taking place at the studio’s Burbank facility on Friday afternoon.

The Art of “Despicable Me 2″

For all of its success at the box office, Despicable Me 2 lacks something that nearly every other major animated film has: an ‘art of/making of’ book. Those of us who want to get a better look at the film’s development and concept art have to scour the Internet for whatever bits and pieces we can find. To help make that job easier, I’ve pulled together some sites and videos that feature artwork from the film. If you have others, please share them and we’ll compile our own online ‘art of’ book.

The video above, filmed at an exhibition of the film’s artwork at Galerie Arludik in Paris, features comments from art director Eric Guillon, production designer Yarrow Cheney, and character development artist Michael Defeo.

Guillon, who is credited as the designer of the Minions, recently started posting some of his super-appealing development art on his personal blog. He should be doing illustrated book tie-ins for the films.

Storyboard artist Steve Moore is interviewed about his contributions to the film at the Flip animation blog. (Moore is also the director of the cult Disney short Redux Riding Hood.)

Character designer Maël Gourmelen has dedicated a post on his blog to posting his character concepts for the film.

“How To Train Your Dragon 2″ Teaser Trailer

Watch the new teaser trailer for DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon 2 which follows the continuing adventures of Hiccup and Toothless. The film is set to be released in June 2014. The director is Dean DeBlois, who is helming an animated pic solo for the first time.

Sony Promotes “Smurfs 2″ with Britney Spears Music Video

Here is Britney Spears’ explanation for why she did this Smurfs music video called “Ooh La La”:

“The main reason why I did it was because my boys. They’re obsessed with the Smurfs. We’ve seen The Smurfs movie a million trillion times and they were told they could be in the video and all this cool stuff, so that’s the reason why I did it. It’s about feeling good. Like when a guy makes you giddy. It’s more of a feeling. When I eat chocolate I have that ‘ooh la la’ feeling.”

The First Footage of Tom Hanks as Walt Disney in “Saving Mr. Banks”

Here’s the trailer for Saving Mr. Banks, the fictionalized Disney-produced account of the relationship between Walt Disney and Mary Poppins creator P.L. Travers. The film, which stars Tom Hanks as Disney and Emma Thompson as Travers, is scheduled for release on December 13. It’s unclear what the studio is attempting to achieve with this film, but if the cornball trailer is any indication, it’s unlikely to make a dent in addressing the studio’s Walt Disney image problem.

“Little Witch Academia” Hit Its Kickstarter Goal in Under 6 Hours

Crowdfunding has yet to prove itself as a reliable source of funding for new animation concepts, but filmmakers who have a well established style or who want to fund an existing property are continuing to find success. The latest major beneficiary of a Kickstarter campaign is the young Japanese animation studio Trigger, which is using Kickstarter to fund the next installment of its animated property Little Witch Academia, created and directed by Yoh Yoshinari. This spring, they released the first Little Witch Academia short with English subtitles on YouTube, where it has gathered nearly 800,000 views:

Their second Little Witch Academia short was to have been 20 minutes long, but they started a Kickstarter asking for $150,000 to expand the episode by 15 minutes. They achieved that goal in under six hours. After three days, the total raised is $348,789 from 4,487 backers, and there are still 27 days left in the campaign. If they hit their new stretch goal of $500,000, they will release an audio commentary, a ‘making of’ documentary, soundtrack and art book.

Artist of the Day: Alec Mackenzie

Alec Mackenzie

Alec Mackenzie is an artist who creates corrupted, grotesque and funny loops of low-end 3D animation and presents them as animated GIFs.

Alec Mackenzie

Alec Mackenzie

You can find Alec’s archive of these on his Tumblr

Alec Mackenzie

Alec Mackenzie

Alec Mackenzie

Towards the earlier part of his blog, you can also see some kinetic wall installations that Alec created using black lines (possibly made of tape or painted to look blocky and computer generated). The lines animate directly on the wall with small motors and a scroll of paper.

Alec Mackenzie

Alec Mackenzie

Alec Mackenzie

Alec Mackenzie

Alec Mackenzie

Cartoon Brew Announces UK Correspondent

Please welcome our first international correspondent, Neil Emmett, who will join the ranks of Cartoon Brew’s estimable editorial staff. Since 2009, Neil has edited the indispensable blog on British animation aesthetics, The Lost Continent. Based in the United Kingdom, he is a graduate of the animation program at the Norwich University of the Arts as well as a former member of the BAFTA Youth Board.

Neil has been warming up for the past couple months and has already contributed several notable pieces to Cartoon Brew, including this popular post about pseudo-CGI. His writing combines an encyclopedic knowledge of British animation, both past and present, with a keen eye for animation art and techniques. With his arrival, Neil adds an important voice from abroad that will significantly expand Cartoon Brew’s editorial perspective.

Once and For All, Al Pacino Proves the Worthlessness of Celebrity Voice Actors

Among the juicier dramas surrounding the production of the megahit Despicable Me 2 is Al Pacino’s sudden departure from the film. Six weeks before the film’s premiere at Annecy, Pacino quit the film as the voice of the antagonist El Macho. Neither side will say what happening, simply citing ‘creative differences.’

At that point, the production was nearly finished and the animation had already been locked. This sent Illumination head Chris Meledandri scrambling to find a replacement, which turned out to be Benjamin Bratt. Since no new animation could be created at that late stage, Bratt re-recorded the dialogue by matching the existing animation, and in true Hollywood fashion, they fixed it all in post.

The controversy serves as a perfect case study for one of the long-running debates in the animation world, which is whether celebrities make any box office impact on the success or failure of an animated feature.

Back in the early-1990s, when Robin Williams provided the voice of the Genie in Aladdin, he earned scale pay for his performance, which was less than $100,000, so it hardly mattered whether celebrities affected the bottomline. But today, celebrities demand lucrative fees for their voices and drive film budgets up by tens of millions of dollars. Owen Wilson took home $2.5 million for Cars 2, Cameron Diaz had a $10 million payday for Shrek Forever After and Tom Hanks earned a reported $15 million for Toy Story 3.

What would happen if you took a celebrity out of one of these films? Would audiences still show up? That’s exactly what happened with Despicable Me 2. The result? It was the fourth-biggest opening ever for an animated feature in the United States.

Those who create animation know the reality: audiences don’t go see animated features because Al Pacino is in it. They go see animated films because they want to be entertained, and the quality of the animation performance and storytelling are far bigger factors than who voices any particular character. The most popular characters in Despicable Me 2, the minions, are voiced by two no-name French actors—Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin. They’re not well known actors because they were the directors of the film.

The celebrity culture of animated features won’t change anytime soon. Studios believe that they derive benefits from having A-listers in films because audiences love celebrities. But there’s no empirical evidence that audiences are attracted to famous voices in the same way that they are attracted to seeing those actors in the flesh.

Still, celebrities do play one hugely important role in the animation process. They pad the egos of fragile animation executives who would otherwise be embarrassed to tell people they produce animation. At Hollywood parties, these execs can tout to their friends that they, too, are working with A-list Hollywood stars. Because after all, who would want to tell their friends that the stars of their hit film is two French dudes* named Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin?

* Correction: Chris Renaud is an American with a French-sounding last name.

Artist of the Day: Alex Rimbault

Alex Rimbault

Alex Rimbault is a student at L’Ecole des Métiers du Cinéma d’Animation in Angoulême.

Alex Rimbault

Alex Rimbault

He designs a lot of characters and places them in complementary scenes. On his Vimeo account there are several simple scenes made to test characters in action.

Alex Rimbault

Alex Rimbault

See more of Alex’s work on his Tumblr and earlier sketches and animation assignments on his blog.

Alex Rimbault

Alex Rimbault

Alex Rimbault

Alex Rimbault

Alex Rimbault

“Crow’s Nest” by Robert Milne

London-based commercial animator Robert Milne tells a fine story in just over sixty seconds. Milne’s knowledge of traditional animation—he worked on films like Balto, The Prince of Egypt and Road to El Dorado–is put to good use on the crows whose movements and thoughts are communicated elegantly without need for any dialogue.

Pictures: Robert Milne
Sound: George Demure
Composition: Luke Carpenter

An Appreciation of Twitter’s Vine Format

Twitter’s six-second looping video platform, Vine, is not revolutionary, but it is an important evolutionary development in online video. The strength of the format is two-fold; firstly, it brings filmmaking tools to the masses, and secondly, it recognizes that the mobile Internet should have its own micro-formats (with built-in looping) because conventional formats—short films, features, commercials—don’t provide enough options.

The shortening length of online animation has been something that we’ve promoted on Cartoon Brew for the past couple years. We were, in fact, the first film/animation site to recognize the merit of micro-film clips and create an exclusive space for featuring them. We introduced the Animated Fragments column in 2011 with the idea that there were many creative bits and pieces of animation that didn’t fit into any traditional format. In our first post, the shortest animation was only eleven seconds long.

There was a difference though. No one created those ‘fragments’ with the intent of expressing a complete thought. They were simply interesting experiments. The six-second Vine format has encouraged filmmakers to think of six seconds as a filmmaking length in which a whole idea can be expressed. Clearly, the filmmaker is limited in the scope of their idea by the Vine’s running time, but it’s also surprising how much content can be squeezed into six seconds.

Animators who use Vine are employing a surprisingly wide variety of techniques that include paper cut-out, hand-drawn, stop motion, pixilation, and mixed media. Currently, the most popular animators using the format don’t come from a traditional animation background. They are artists from other creative disciplines who have become animators overnight.

Perhaps the real revolution of the Vine is its software, which is the easiest (and most accessible) animation creation tool ever made—even easier than creating animated GIFs. The Vine app will play an important role in moving animation out of the realm of the specialist and into an art form of the masses. Twitter, for its part, continues to upgrade its software and make it more animation-friendly. Last week, they released an updated version of the app which added gridlines, camera focus, and most importantly, onion-skinning (or as Twitter calls it, ‘ghost tools’).

The Vine platform, though less than six months old, has already made a significant impact on the animation world. Through its limitations, it has opened the door for many people to try animating for the first time as well as created a respectable new length for micro-animated shorts. Whether the format itself lasts or not, Vines have changed how we think about Internet animation.

See also: “How Etsy Is Using Vine and Stop Motion to Build Its Brand”

Here are examples of four artists who are currently creating animation for Vine:


Brock Davis

Meagan Cignoli

Ian Padgham

Artist of the Day: Wren McDonald

Wren McDonald

Wren McDonald works as an illustrator in Sarasota, Florida.

Wren McDonald

He doesn’t animate his work, but other people do it for him, like this animated GIF by KClogg based on the drawing below:

Wren McDonald

Wren’s work is character-driven but he considers the entire scene, and designs compositions in limited colors that enhance each narrative.

Wren McDonald

Wren McDonald

See more of Wren’s drawings and prints on his website and Tumblr.

Wren McDonald

Wren McDonald

Wren McDonald

Your Guide to Animation Events at San Diego Comic-Con (Days 3 and 4)

The remaining half of programming for San Diego Comic-Con has been announced, and for your convenience, we have separated out every animation-related program. The sheer number of programs is impressive, and fans of TV animation—past, present and future—have especially rich pickings. Nostalgia is rampant on Saturday and Sunday with panels devoted to The Simpsons, Futurama, Pinky and the Brain, The Tick, Batman: The Animated Series, and the Disney Afternoon.

Creators of current and upcoming TV shows are also well represented, including Alex Hirsch (Gravity Falls), Pete Browngardt (Uncle Grandpa), Rebecca Sugar (Steven Universe), Skyler Page (Clarence), J.J. Villard (King Star King), Will Carsola and Dave Stewart (Mr. Pickles), Glen Murakami and Mitch Watson (Beware the Batman) and numerous others. Visit the Comic-Con website for program updates and additional information.

Animation Events: Saturday, July 20

Creating Animated Series
What does it take to create or develop an animated TV series? Do you have to be a writer? An artist or animator? Both? Neither? What do you have to have to pitch an idea, and what are the studios and networks looking for? Members of the Writers Guild of America’s Animation Writers Caucus who have created and developed series and network/studio executives who buy them talk about it and answer your questions. Ted Biaselli (VP, programming and development, The Hub), Steven Melching (Transformers Prime, Star Wars: The Clone Wars), Craig Miller (Pocket Dragon Adventures, Trash Pack), Bob Roth (Disney’s Legend of Tarzan, Penguins of Madagascar), and Dean Stefan (Matchbox Big Rig Buddies,Quack Pack) join the discussion.
Saturday July 20, 2013 10:00am – 11:00am
Room 9

Hasbro Studios: My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic
Representatives from Hasbro Studios and The Hub TV Network’s My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic share details of the making of the popular animated series and how the “friendship” and “magic” are brought to life. Also includes Q&A time.
Saturday July 20, 2013 10:00am – 11:00am
Room 25ABC

Marvel Television Presents
It’s the biggest, most animated Marvel Television panel ever! Join Marvel’s head of television, Jeph Loeb, for the latest from inside Marvel Universe on Disney XD, including what’s next for Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man, a new episode of the hit series Marvel’s Avengers Assemble, and the world premiere of Marvel’s Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.
Saturday July 20, 2013 10:30am – 11:30am
Room 6BCF

Avatar the Last Airbender: Beginning and Beyond
This panel is for fans who can’t get enough of the Avatar: The Last Airbender universe. Moderator Avatar_Mom, Kevin Coppa (Puppetbenders), Alisa Christopher (FatCat Gameworks), Gene Luen Yang (writer, The Promise/The Search), Gurihiru (artist team Sasaki and Kawano, The Promise/The Search), Sifu Kisu (martial arts coordinator), and Dante Basco (voice of Zuko/General Iroh) will be on hand to share their experiences and answer questions. Who knows, perhaps a surprise guest or two might stop in! Finally, the panel will end with a show of talented cosplay contestants.
Saturday July 20, 2013 11:00am – 12:00pm
Room 29A

Gravity Falls
Creator and executive producer Alex Hirsch (Grunkle Stan), creative director Michael Rianda, and series stars Jason Ritter (Dipper) and Kristin Schaal (Mabel) uncover the mysteries of Disney Channel’s hit series Gravity Falls. Find out what’s in store for television’s spookiest town with an exclusive clip from the show’s exciting season finale and an audience Q&A. The panel will feature a sneak peek of Wander Over Yonder, the new series coming from Craig McCracken (Powerpuff Girls).
Saturday July 20, 2013 11:00am – 12:00pm
Room 7AB

Mattel: Monster High 2013: Where SCREAMS Come True!
Celebrate the freaky fabulous year of 13 with the Monster High Team! Get a freak peek at exclusive scenes from the newest Monster High DVD, 13 Wishes (this fall from Universal Studios Home Entertainment). The freaky talented Monster High voice actors, including Erin Fitzgerald (voice of Abbey, Spectra, Scarah, and Rochelle), Debi Derryberry (voice of Draculaura), and America Young (voice of Howleen and Toralei), will discuss the making of the ghouls’ latest adventure. Moderated by Emmy Award-winning executive producer of Monster High, Audu Paden. But that’s not all…the Monster High team is just dying to share more secrets lurking the halls of Monster High! Garrett Sander, Rebecca Shipman, Natalie Villegas, and Javier Meabe (toy designers), Roy Juarez (packaging designer), and Eric Hardie (copywriter) will reveal uhhh-mazing new Monster High ghouls and how they came to un-life! Don’t forget to dress your monster best for a chance to win some scary cool prizes!
Saturday July 20, 2013 11:00am – 12:00pm
Room 25ABC

We’re dooooooooomed! An epic panel for the ages will celebrate Futurama‘s latest and greatest final season. On hand will be most or all of Futurama‘s legendary voice cast, consisting of Billy West, John DiMaggio, Katey Sagal, Maurice LaMarche, Tress MacNeille, David Herman, Phil LaMarr, and Lauren Tom, performing never-before-heard scenes from the upcoming “Last Episode Ever.” Plus executive producer David X. Cohen, creator Matt Groening, and a cartooning showdown to the death! (Note: actual death not guaranteed.)
Saturday July 20, 2013 12:00pm – 12:45pm
Ballroom 20

The Simpsons
Celebrate The Simpsons’ 25th year on the air with creator Matt Groening, executive producer Al Jean, supervising director Mike Anderson, and consulting producer David Silverman, enjoy never-before seen footage from guest director Guillermo del Toro, and hear musical guests perform “We Put The Spring In Springfield!”
Saturday July 20, 2013 12:45pm – 1:30pm
Ballroom 20

Cartoon Voices I
Each year, moderator Mark Evanier gathers a bevy of the most talented cartoon voice actors working today and invites them to explain and demonstrate their artistry! This year’s lineup includes Scott Menville (Teen Titans Go, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Grey DeLisle (Scooby Doo, Pound Puppies), Christopher Cox (Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Family Guy), David Boat (Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Family Guy), Michael Leon-Wooley (The Princess and the Frog), and Kari Wahlgren (Bolt, Tangled).
Saturday July 20, 2013 1:00pm – 2:30pm
Room 6BCF

The Tick 25th Anniversary
Ben Edlund (the creator of The Tick), Chris McCulloch (Tick Karma Tornado artist/writer and Venture Bros. creator), and Bob Polio (art director of The Tick comic series) discuss the 25-year history of The Tick.
Saturday July 20, 2013 1:00pm – 2:00pm
Room 23ABC

Family Guy
The Griffins are back at Comic-Con for another raucous panel and a sneak peek at season 12, featuring Seth Green (Robot Chicken), Alex Borstein (MADtv, Shameless), and executive producer Rich Appel (The Simpsons, The Cleveland Show) plus other surprise guests.
Saturday July 20, 2013 1:45pm – 2:30pm
Ballroom 20

The Awesomes: A Hulu Original Series
The Awesomes is a new animated show for adults that combines the thrills of comic book storytelling with the irreverent and inspired comedy that is the hallmark of co-creators Seth Meyers (Saturday Night Live) and Mike Shoemaker (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon). It is the story of the greatest superhero team in history, The Awesomes, and what happens after all the most powerful members leave. Join co-creator/executive producer/ series star Meyers, co-creator/executive producer Shoemaker, writer/producer and comic book author Judd Winick (Batman: Under The Red Hood), and cast members Kenan Thompson (Saturday Night Live), Taran Killam (Saturday Night Live), Josh Meyers (That ’70s Show), Bobby Moynihan (Saturday Night Live), and moderator Chris Hardwick (Talking Dead) for a special Comic-Con screening and audience Q&A. The Awesomes is the first animated Hulu Original Series and premieres August 1 on Hulu and Hulu Plus. It is a Hulu co-production with Broadway Video (Saturday Night Live) and Bento Box Entertainment (Bob’s Burgers). Watch The Awesomes first exclusively on Xbox 360 July 25-31.
Saturday July 20, 2013 2:00pm – 3:00pm
Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront

Abrams: An Adventure Time Encyclopedia Panel with The Lord of Evil and Marceline The Vampire Queen
A conversation moderated by Kent Osborne (head of story, Adventure Time) with Martin Olson (voice actor, The Lord of Evil), and Olivia Olson (voice actor, Marceline The Vampire Queen) about their new book from Abrams, The Adventure Time Encyclopedia, including a slide show and a dramatic reading from the book. Surprises may include a terrifying appearance by Hunson Abadeer himself, a music video from the Nightosphere, and Olivia singing with special surprise guests. Audience participation is encouraged for maximum chance of survival!
Saturday July 20, 2013 2:30pm – 3:30pm
Room 8

American Dad
Be on hand for an exclusive look at the new season, the world premiere of a song from the never-before-seen Christmas episode featuring the return of Krampus, and a Q&A featuring Wendy Schaal, Rachael MacFarlane, Scott Grimes (ER, Band of Brothers), Dee Bradley Baker (Phineas and Ferb, Star Wars: The Clone Wars), and more.
Saturday July 20, 2013 2:30pm – 3:15pm
Ballroom 20

Cartoon Network New Comedies: Uncle Grandpa, Steven Universe, and Clarence
Be the first to see an exclusive sneak peek of Cartoon Network Studio’s all new line up of chuckle-inducing comedies! The panel features Uncle Grandpa creator Pete Browngardt, creative director Audie Harrison, and Adam Devine (Workaholics) as the voice of Pizza Steve, Steven Universe creator Rebecca Sugar and creative director Ian Jones-Quartey, and Clarence creator Skyler Page. All your questions are sure to be answered and your anticipation is sure to be electrified!
Saturday July 20, 2013 3:00pm – 4:00pm
Room 6A

Pinky and the Brain 20th Anniversary Voice Reunion
Are you pondering what we’re pondering? How could two decades have passed since Pinky and the Brain first tried to take over the world? Celebrate one of the all-time funniest animated series when the original voices of the silly simpleton Pinky and his uber-genius pal Brain, Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche, join eight-time Emmy Award-winning dialogue director Andrea Romano for an hour of hilarious reminiscing. Narf!
Saturday July 20, 2013 3:00pm – 4:00pm

Spotlight on Paul Dini
As a writer, producer, and creator, Comic-Con special guest Paul Dini enjoys a flourishing career in all aspects of popular culture. Join Paul and moderator Bill Morrison (Futurama, Bongo Comics) as they look back at fan-favorite career highlights (Batman: The Animated Series, Arkham City, Lost, Tower Prep), some current projects (Hulk and the Agents of Smash, Black Canary and Zatanna), and a few surprises for the future.
Saturday July 20, 2013 3:30pm – 4:30pm
Room 24ABC

Spotlight on Vera Brosgol
Eisner Award winner and Comic-Con special guest Vera Brosgol (Anya’s Ghost) talks about her background and influences in writing, art, and animation with YA rock star Holly Black (The Coldest Girl in Cold Town).
Saturday July 20, 2013 4:00pm – 5:00pm
Room 4

Spotlight on Sam Kieth
Sam Kieth is one of the quirkiest and most eccentric artists in comics. His unique art style and incredible drawing ability have won him legions of fans worldwide. Now, in an extremely rare appearance at Comic-Con, you can join Sam, with his long-time friend and editor Scott Dunbier, in an informal gabfest covering the wild spectrum that is Sam’s career (Sandman, Wolverine, The Maxx, and much more).
Saturday July 20, 2013 5:00pm – 6:00pm
Room 9

[adult swim]: Rick and Morty
Premiering this winter, Rick and Morty is a show about a sociopathic scientist who drags his unintelligent grandson on insanely dangerous adventures across the universe. Executive producers Dan Harmon (Community, Channel 101) and Justin Roiland (Channel 101) will preview the new animated series and will be joined by writer Ryan Ridley and cast members Spencer Grammer (Greek) and Kari Wahlgren.
Saturday July 20, 2013 5:00pm – 5:45pm
Room 25ABC

Batman: The Animated Series Turns 21
Pop the champagne! The landmark television production Batman: The Animated Series turns 21 this year. Spend an hour with the creative core of this groundbreaking series — Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, Alan Burnett, and Eric Radomski — as they recollect the dynamics of crafting a series that would have a resounding influence on Dark Knight properties — and the entire animated television landscape — for two decades and counting.
Saturday July 20, 2013 5:45pm – 6:45pm
Room 6DE

[adult swim]: Aqua TV Show Show, Squidbillies, Superjail, King Star King, and Mr. Pickles
Dave Willis (Squidbillies, Aqua TV Show Show), Matt Maiellaro (Aqua TV Show Show), and Jim Fortier (Squidbillies) discuss the return of long-running animated series Aqua TV Show Show and Squidbillies. Christy Karacas (Robotomy) previews season 4 of Superjail. J. J. Villard (Monsters vs. Aliens), and Tommy Blacha (Metalocalypse) discuss King Star King. And get an exclusive look at Mr. Pickles from creators Will Carsola and Dave Stewart (Funny or Die Presents Nick Swardson’s Pretend Time).
Saturday July 20, 2013 5:45pm – 7:00pm
Room 25ABC

Animation Events: Sunday, July 21

DuckTales: Remastered
How do you take a beloved 24-year-old NES game and update it for today’s gamers while doing your best not to ruin anyone’s childhood? Go behind the scenes with Austin Ivansmith (director/designer), Matt Bozon (creative director), and Rey Jimenez (Capcom producer) for an in-depth look at how a great video game is made — from design, to art, to music, and more. Followed by a Q&A session, plus maybe a surprise or two.
Sunday July 21, 2013 10:00am – 11:00am
Room 25ABC

Emily the Strange Panel Experience
Join Emily the Strange creator Rob Reger and special guests to see the premiere of the Emily and the Strangers FIRST animated music video and single. See and hear private, behind-the-scenes footage in the recording studio and “making of” the animation. Take a sneak peek at the new comic book Emily and the Strangers #3 by Dark Horse Comics and hear more about the making of this new series and how it comes to life with Emily’s new band. There will be time for Q&A, including updates on the development of the motion picture with Universal Pictures and Dark Horse Entertainment. Reger will be encouraging “audience participation” to get giveaways, so bring on your strange and show him what you’ve got!
Sunday July 21, 2013 10:00am – 11:00am
Room 23ABC

LEGO Legends of Chima
The creators of LEGO Legends of Chima team up to discuss the development of the newest blockbuster LEGO property. Hear how the TV series is developed and see how LEGO model designers bring the characters and vehicles to life in LEGO form.
Sunday July 21, 2013 10:00am – 11:00am
Room 24ABC

San Diego International Children’s Film Festival
The San Diego International Children’s Film Festival presents creative, exciting, and imaginative short films from around the world — animation, live action, and documentary — good for all ages, throughout the day. Enjoy films from the U.S., Canada, Italy, Hungary, Croatia, Japan, Australia, Singapore, Spain, and beyond. Animators and filmmakers will talk about their work, ways kids can make their own films, and careers in animation and filmmaking.
Sunday July 21, 2013 10:00am – 5:00pm
Room 9

World Premiere of Scooby-Doo! Adventures: The Mystery Map
Everyone’s favorite Great Dane splashes onto the screen with a new, groundbreaking look that combines state-of-the-art puppetry with a cartoon sensibility. Witness the world premiere of this entertaining film along with panelists like Tony Award winner Stephanie D’Abruzzo (Avenue Q), puppetmaster supreme Peter Linz (The Muppets) and the voice of Shaggy, Matthew Lillard (Trouble with the Curve), as well as filmmakers David Rudman (The Muppets) and Adam Rudman (Sesame Street) and Warner Bros. Animation’s Jay Bastian as they reveal their magical visual techniques during a fun postscreening panel. Scooby-Doo! Adventures: The Mystery Map will be distributed by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment as a digital download and a Walmart DVD exclusive on July 23.
Sunday July 21, 2013 10:00am – 11:15am
Room 6A

Cartoon Voices #2
Yesterday’s Cartoon Voices Panel will have been such a hit that we’ll have to do another one with different but equally talented actors from the world of animation voicing. Once again, moderator Mark Evanier has assembled an all-star dais that includes Bob Bergen (Porky Pig), Alicyn Packard (The Mr. Men Show, Poppy Cat), Maurice LaMarche (Futurama, Pinky and the Brain), Candi Milo (Dexter’s Laboratory, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends), Neil Ross (G.I. Joe, The Transformers), and maybe someone else.
Sunday July 21, 2013 11:30am – 12:45pm
Room 6A

Teen Titans Go! Screening and Q&A
This is a must-Go! panel for all Teen Titans fans, as Robin, Starfire, Beast Boy, Cyborg, and Raven make their triumphant return to Comic-Con! Fans will be treated to a brand-new episode, as well as exclusive footage that will be screened only at Comic-Con! Following the screening, join producer Aaron Horvath (MAD) and members of the voice cast for a Q&A as they give fans a peek behind the cape at all the upcoming comedic mayhem that will be going on inside Titans Tower. From Warner Bros. Animation, Teen Titans Go! airs Tuesdays at 7:30/6:30c on Cartoon Network.
Sunday July 21, 2013 11:45am – 12:45pm
Room 6BCF

Mattel: Max Steel: Rise of Elementor World Premiere Screening!
Be the FIRST to see Max and Steel team up to take on their biggest threat yet in Rise of Elementor. You will get to watch this exciting two-part broadcast event before it airs on Disney XD this fall! Will our heroes be able to defend Copper Canyon and rescue Ferrus from the evil Dredd? Come by to find out, and receive a free toy giveaway!
Sunday July 21, 2013 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Room 7AB

Spotlight on Charlotte Fullerton
Join Ben 10 himself, Yuri Lowenthal as he interviews Comic-Con special guest Charlotte Fullerton, the co-head writer of Ben 10: Omniverse, about her extensive career in children’s TV, writing for a wide variety of shows such as My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and Green Lantern: The Animated Series, as well as her involvement in making the now-legendary Star Wars comedy fanfilm Troops. On a personal note, Charlotte is the widow of renowned writer/producer Dwayne McDuffie, co-founder of Milestone Comics. Q&A session.
Sunday July 21, 2013 12:30pm – 1:30pm
Room 8

Beware the Batman Screening and Q&A
The Dark Knight makes his return to television in this new action-packed CG animated series. A cool new take on the classic franchise, Beware the Batman incorporates Batman’s core characters with a rogues’ gallery of new villains not previously seen in animated form. With backup from ex-secret agent Alfred and lethal swordstress Katana, the Dark Knight faces the twisted machinations of Gotham City’s criminal underworld, led by the likes of Anarky, Professor Pyg, Mister Toad, and Magpie. After screening a new episode, producers Glen Murakami (Teen Titans) and Mitch Watson (Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated) and others will take attendees into the shadows of Gotham City for a lively discussion on the adventures that await Batman this season. From Warner Bros. Animation, Beware the Batman airs Saturday mornings at 10:00 ET/PT on Cartoon Network.
Sunday July 21, 2013 1:00pm – 2:00pm
Room 6BCF

SpongeCon 2013: The Year of the Fan
Tom Kenny (voice of SpongeBob) hosts an interactive live SpongeBob event! Croon along with some of your favorite tunes from Bikini Bottom. Screen finalists from the SpongeBob SquareShorts fan film competition. Enjoy an exclusive sneak peek of the new half-hour special SpongeBob, You’re Fired! Plus a whole lot more. So get your goggles and dive on down. We want to have the Best Day Ever with you!
Sunday July 21, 2013 1:00pm – 2:00pm
Room 6A

Cartoon Network: Ben 10 Omniverse
It’s Hero Time! Set your Omnitrix for “Awesome” with the Ben 10 Omniverse panel, highlighting the Cartoon Network hero of a million alien faces! Voice talent Yuri Lowenthal (Ben 10), Steve Blum (Vilgax), Paul Eiding (Grandpa Max), and Eric Bauza (Dr. Psychobos), Matt Youngberg (supervising producer), and Derrick Wyatt (art director) talk about the show, premiere an unseen episode, and much more.
Sunday July 21, 2013 1:45pm – 2:45pm
Room 6DE

25 Years of the Disney Afternoon: The Continuing Legacy
Life is like a hurricane! Spin it! When there’s trouble, you call D.W.! It’s been more than 25 years since Disney Afternoon debuted on television screens, and the impact of “the golden age of Disney TV Animation” is still felt today. Let’s get dangerous with Tad Stones (creator, Darkwing Duck, Chip n’ Dale Rescue Rangers), Jymn Magon (DuckTales, creator of Talespin), Bob Schooley (co-creator, Kim Possible, co-ex producer Penguins of Madagascar), Rob Paulsen (voice actor, Darkwing Duck, Animaniacs), and Aaron Sparrow (Darkwing Duck: The Duck Knight Returns) for raucous recollections and never-before-heard stories!
Sunday July 21, 2013 2:00pm – 3:00pm
Room 7AB

World Premiere of Tom and Jerry’s Giant Adventure
Wind down Comic-Con with everyone’s favorite cat-and-mouse combo in an all-new original movie, Tom and Jerry’s Giant Adventure. Tom and Jerry are the animal assistants to Jack, the young owner of a fairy tale-inspired theme park “where dreams come true, if you believe.” Unfortunately, the theme park has fallen on hard times — until some magic beans provide the means for Jack, Tom, and Jerry to get their hands on a golden goose. Along the way, they’ll meet fabled fellows like Droopy, Spike and a massively mean and hungry giant. The voice cast includes Tom Wilson, Garrison Keillor, Paul Reubens, and Grey DeLisle. Producers/directors Spike Brandt (The Looney Tunes Show) and Tony Cervone (The Looney Tunes Show), and seven-time Eisner Award-winning screenwriter Paul Dini (Batman: The Animated Series) will be on hand to present the film, which will be released by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment as a Blu-ray Combo Pack and a digital download on August 6.
Sunday July 21, 2013 2:15pm – 3:15pm
Room 6A

Business of Cartoon Voices
Interested in a career doing voices for animation and videogames? There are plenty of people around who’ll take your money and tell you how to go about it…but here’s 90 minutes of absolutely free advice from folks who work in the field. Get the scoop from cartoon voice actors Gregg Berger and Candi Milo, agents Pat Brady (C.E.S.D.) and Heather Vergo (Atlas Talent) and your moderator, voice director Mark Evanier (The Garfield Show).
Sunday July 21, 2013 3:00pm – 4:00pm
Room 25ABC

How to Run An Indie Animation Studio: The Aaron Augenblick Interview

(This episode contains strong language.)

Over the last fourteen years, Aaron Augenblick has built up Augenblick Studios into one of New York City’s most respected production studios. The studio has produced animation—in Brooklyn!—for series such as Wonder Showzen (MTV2), Ugly Americans (Comedy Central), Superjail! (first season, Adult Swim), as well as the festival circuit hit Golden Age. The studio’s current major project is an animated feature based on the Ben Stiller live-action pic Zoolander.

In the latest episode of Frenzer Foreman Animation Forum, Augenblick talks about creating a studio from the ashes of bad advice, how a young studio finds work, the challenges of being a studio owner and artist at the same time, tips for building an artistic community and fostering studio pride, why he refuses to expand his studio beyond a set number of employees, and the importance of submitting animated shorts to festivals even if you’re producing commercial work.

Augenblick Studios: WEBSITE and FACEBOOK PAGE
Golden Age series
Ramblin’ Man:

Disney Veterans Aaron Blaise and Chuck Williams Launch “Art Story” Kickstarter

For the first time ever, the director of a Disney feature film is using crowdfunding to launch an animated feature project. Art Story, which debuted yesterday on Kickstarter, is a new project from Aaron Blaise and Chuck Williams.

Blaise, who is one of the only artists who can claim to have worked at Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida on the studio’s opening day in 1989 and its closing day in 2004, animated on many of the modern-day Disney classics including Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King, before he co-directed Brother Bear. Chuck Williams was the producer of the latter film, which went on to be nominated for a Best Animated Feature Oscar.

More recently, Blaise and Williams were set to be the directors of The Legend of Tembo, which was to have been the first feature from Digital Domain’s Tradition Studios. The very public meltdown of that studio last year left them out in the cold, but they’ve bounced back from that experience with this project of their own, an unconventional and creative CGI family film about a boy and his grandfather who become trapped in the world of fine art. Here is their pitch for the project:

The Art Story Kickstarter is asking for $350,000 over 47 days. The campaign has raised nearly $17,000 in less than 24 hours, which puts it on a solid pace to achieve its goal. Blaise and Williams point out that the production of the film will need additional funding—in the tens of millions—and that the money they are raising will allow them to create a children’s storybook, script, development art and storyreel. The majority of the Kickstarter rewards, such as the children’s book, film pitch book and physical rewards will be honored even if the film doesn’t make it to production.

The Kickstarter rewards include all the usuals—development blog access, digital download of children’s storybook, T-shirts, posters—but also some unique items, such as a PDF of their film pitch book, the chance to sit in on a story meeting, and even a three-month apprenticeship to participate in the development of the film. They’ve set up the Kickstarter in a unique way that allows every backer to experience and participate in the development of an animated feature; even the $1 donation level lets backers make their voice heard in the development process by suggesting paintings they want to see in the film.

This Wednesday in LA: MOCA Debuts “CRIME: The Animated Series”

On Wednesday, July 10th, the Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown Los Angeles will launch a new webseries called CRIME: The Animated Series through its new contemporary art video initiative The series was created by Sam Chou of Toronto’s Style5 and author/filmmaker Alix Lambert, whose book CRIME inspired the series.

Each of CRIME’s six parts are produced by a different animator/designer in their own personal style, albeit using the same spare red-white-black color palette, and feature interviews with law enforcement, criminals and the victims of crime. The episodes shine a light on the “dark, compelling, heartbreaking, and yes — sometimes funny” subject of crime and how it affects society.

The screening, which is FREE, starts at 8pm (doors open at 7) at MOCA (250 South Grand Avenue, LA, CA 90012), and will be followed by a panel discussion with Sam Chou, Alix Lambert, bank robber-turned-author Joe Loya, sociologist Althea Wasow and true crime writer Jimmy Wu. See the Facebook invite or RSVP at [email protected]

“Despicable Me 2″ Dominates the Global Box Office

For the third week in a row, an animated film has taken the crown at the U.S. box office. This week, the winner is Illumination Entertainment and Universal’s Despicable Me 2. The Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud-directed film scored $83.5 million over the weekend, and since its debut last Wednesday has earned a massive $143.1 million. The film’s three-day opening was nearly identical to the opening of Disney/Pixar’s Monsters University, however, Despicable Me cost a reported $76 million to produce, whereas the Pixar film cost closer to $200 million. Overseas weekend gross on Despicable Me 2 was $88.8 million. Box Office Mojo reports that the film has already made over $150 million overseas, and Deadline Hollywood says the film opened in first place in 35 of its 38 new markets and set the following records:

Territory highlights/records: biggest opening ever for an animated film in Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, Trinidad and Vietnam; highest opening day ever for all films in South Africa; Universal’s biggest opening day ever in Brazil, Hungary, Mexico and South Africa; third biggest opening day ever in Mexico just behind Iron Man 3 and The Avengers.

The biggest story here is that Despicable Me 2 is performing as well as any Pixar/DreamWorks CG tentpole on a fraction of the budget. The other studios throw money at their films, but the producers of Despicable Me 2 focused on delivering the best entertainment bang for the buck.

With the new competition in the kiddie film market, Monsters University took an expected hit in its third weekend, dropping 56.8% for a take of $19.7M. The film, which landed in fourth place, has grossed a solid $216.3 in the United States. Combine that with $184.4M overseas, and it has now crossed the $400M mark worldwide.