barley-icon barley-icon

“The Barley Way” by Amir Avni

“If it looks like a Cartoon, moves like a Cartoon and sounds like a Cartoon …It must be too John K!”

So says a quote on the blog of Sheridan student Amir Avni, who spent two years creating The Barley Way (which might be better titled “The Spumco Way” …if you ask me):

  • Looks pretty good in a lot of places, looks misguided in a few, mainly composition, but this is I believe is an admirable effort

  • diego

    I agree with you Jerry. I understand what Kricfalusi means when he says that there’s not an Spumco style (the Spumco style being a mix of different influences and personal styles) and I get when he gets cranky about people copying his work in an ignorant way.

    And this is far from being ignorant, and its surely very well done. But it is made by a (talented) Spumco fan who worships John K and suffers from it. The character designs and voices resemble John Kricfalusi’s characters. The “specific acting” thing its done mimicking Spumco gestures and pacing. If there’s another influence other than John K and his team its filtered trough an Spumco filter.

    I don’t think there’s too much sense on being so hard with an animation student. I just hope the guy puts some of his own personal stuff on his next project. I guess the years will distance himself from his master. Or maybe he’ll end up working for him. I don’t know.

    • Pez

      Well the guys knows what he likes and is trying to get the attention of Spumco and Spumco type productions.

      I think job weel done. Some animators want to animate in a certain style and then they become known for that . it that so bad?

      • diego

        No, I kind of regret making that comment now. But Amir is a talented guy obviously, I know he’ll make original stuff that’s even better than this short, which is a good one, despite its acceptable flaws.

  • Why would you post this just to mock-it..?

    • I posted it because I like it and shows talent – and thought our readers would appreciate it. I’m not mocking it, but pointing out (if it even needs to be pointed out) the derivative traits and trademark attitudes clearly originating from John K’s Spumco studio.

      Avni is an acknowledged student of John K’s work:

    • Mike Luzzi

      Because these guys love to mock people and their work and they are avid defenders of John K

      • Ryoku

        Which is why brew readers has a tendency to praise indie animation.

  • TStevens

    Well… It is definitely a fan film. I was actually expecting something a little more crazy like the kid going in to space to find Planet Beer. A film about a kid trying to gain his dad’s acceptance by playing soccer seems a little heavy for a short, though they do say that comedy is based in tragedy. I actually had to watch it twice to get the storyline.

    I’m also kind of wondering if the soccer gag will play with Americans. Usually the beer guzzling dads in the US are looking for the star quaterback and not the goalie.

    Overall, it was well done.

  • Steven M.

    Nice work! Would do nice as a series (if the executives weren’t so anti-creative).

    • DNAndy

      Not really. What would the show be about?

      • Steven M.

        Good question.

      • a show about a cat and a dog…

  • David Breneman

    An homage to John K? Now, that makes me feel old.

  • Sim

    You know, I love Ren & Stimpy and admire John K like a lot of us do, but it’s incredible the amount of mindless blatant imitation he has inspired in the past 20 years.

    Unfortunately the Spumco look has become a template that people strive to mimic. And that’s a shame. I hate seeing stuff that is well animated but completely unoriginal.

    • david

      “I hate seeing stuff that is well animated but completely unoriginal. ”

      Sounds like you’re talking about every disney film that reuses milt kahl acting and designs.

      But no one gets their panties in a knot over that. There is tons of “mindless blatant imitation” going on in all subgenres of animation. Look at anime, look at action series ala bruce timm. Now look at all the hipster cartoons with the ironic Highschool drawing style. Oh, those are okay i guess? MY BAD

  • I admire the way he fit so much story in two-and-a-half minutes…a lesser cartoonist could easily drag it out to four or five minutes. I’m really impressed by the way he’s mixed full-animation with very economic held-cell moments. It’s pretty snappy!

  • I think it’s interesting to note that no one’s mentioned that during that emotional scene between scientist son and jock dad (AKA “the moment of shit”, as we called it as kids), both characters’ (especially Dad’s) eyes suddenly turn all Chuck Jones-y to denote sickening sweetness. Now THAT’S funny! (As a lifelong detractor of Chuck Jones, this warms me crotchety ol’ place-where-my-heart-used-to-be.)

  • Law

    It’s a lot of fun

  • @Jerry: Thank you for featuring my work!

    @Sherm: It really means a lot coming from such an inspiring guy!

    @Scott Shaw! Thank you so much for mentioning the Chuck Jones influence! I very much appreciate that you think it’s deliberate placement is funny! Big fan of your cartoon art BTW!

    Right now Scott’s comment is the last I can see but I will check back :)

  • Darkblader

    Very too much like John K, but great none of the less. Would have been funnier if the kid just pulled a gun out of nowhere and blown his dad’s brains out.

    • Keegan

      …how would that be funnier?

  • I’m so tired when I hear this looks like John k. or Spumco, just because it is a cartoony and entertaining cartoon!
    And on one side people complain that there aren’t enough good cartoons today but when someone does make a good cartoon it will be bashed too!
    Either some people here are ignorant and stupid for not knowing any of the cartoons in the past BEFORE John k., or they are hypocrites and people that are just not happy with life and get their only joy by being cranky and angry, or/and people that are just jealous because they fail in doing something constructive!

    Instead of being mean and cranky, please come up with something better! Or how about creating a brandnew style that is cartoony and doesn’t look like “Spumco”!
    And if you don’t have time and talent, please sit back and enjoy the cartoon as it is! Aren’t cartoons made for entertainment?

    I like Amir’s work! Artists like him are rare these days, they put a lot of passion, time and heart in their work and hobby, I enjoy watching the cartoon(I really love the Beergirls!) and I like his artwork! It looks very fresh and lively, looking forward to see more!!!=)

    • tonma

      So you don’t seem to find much difference between a John K’s style and the general influence from cartoons before him, and just because of that you call others here ignorant, stupid and hypocrites. You need to take a little break and then go watch some cartoons yourself.

  • Fun cartoon, Amir!!!

  • This IS every technique and plot trope i saw on “Ren and Stimpy”.

    John K’s O-K, but I don’t want to go overboard with his style.

    And besides, I’d learn from John Mchelhean or Tom Ruegger.

  • Ha! Love it! Jossefat’s over-the-top-ness was great.
    Amir, I’m a fellow Israeli and R&S was my favorite cartoon growing up as well and still is (we probably both watched it on the 6+ channel), and I see this as just a wonderful homage, maybe just missing one really gross close-up shot. Heh, anyway, it really hits the spot for me. Even the soccer reference.
    I’ll be beginning my animation degree next year so it’s really inspiring to see that you’re out there doing your thing.
    Best of luck!

  • Bud

    “The Spumco Way.”

    Is that a COMPLIMENT?

  • Tom Minton

    Amir studied the work of some who inspired John K, not just the Spumco stuff, perhaps because he wanted to know where it came from. There is no end to what one can assimilate from stop-framing Rod Scribner, to cite just one example.

  • R.A. MacNeil

    Great short, Amir. Can’t wait to see more animation.

  • That’s got about 10 times as much animation as a “Ren & Stimpy”

    Doing something in the “JohnK style” probably seems very fan-boyish but really is no more or less valid than doing something in the Pixar style or the Disney style or the Hanna-Barbera style or the Miyasaki style or any of the other trend setters who have achieved great heights.

  • I don’t care if it’s John K influenced. I just care if it entertains me, and this short doesn’t do that by any means.

  • Keegan

    Nice animation, but the emotion didn’t come across strongly enough.

    Still liked it though, don’t get me wrong.

  • Congratulations, Amir! Turned out really slick. It’s cool to see your long term fandom and association with John K’s work come full circle. I particularly like the transition from the rockets taking off to the credits.

  • Obvious Spumco influence, but you know what? I’ll watch this any day over 99% of everything else online. Solid drawings and actual animation! Great stuff, Amir!

  • You know, for all of us who are animators, I’ll just say that animation IS hard to do, takes more work over a longer time than almost anyone will admit, and most of the time it is worth it. Whether this short is truly derivative of John K or not, the kid sweated and grunted his way to completing a highly competent, attractive, exaggerated comic effort which works. Congratulations on all the work! It is an accomplishment!!
    I think it is also commendable what he did. Many would not be able to duplicate that style even if they tried! I’ll bet that as time goes by, he’ll develop his own style. John K himself is a disciple of Bob Clampett, so we all stand on the shoulders of giants. We all need to learn from someone. We need to start somewhere….
    In my dreams, I am sitting right next to Ward Kimball, it’s 1940, & I have years & years ahead of learning from a true god of animation, the only animator that Walt himself called a genius. What a wonderful dream; sigh…

    • Right on Tony. I think it looks good too, I can’t mimic his style either, even if I tried.

      That’s a lot of work for someone to do (ink and paint as well) I would hire him if I were John K. I would watch more of his cartoons…

    • Ryoku

      Animations not that hard, just tedious.

      • Putuporshutup

        Where is your short then? or do you find it to hard to push through the tedium?

      • Ryoku

        I’ve made several shorts and had them on my youtube account (now closed by youtube), unfortunately the shorts themselves were wiped clean with my hardrive.

        You’re not missing out though, they weren’t anything special.

  • Geneva

    Looks great, moves great! Love those backgrounds, too. Congrats, Amir!

  • Great job Amir! I love the headless corpse animation after he gets hit by the soccer ball.

    The linework is super tight and the animation is really fun!

  • Justin

    Of course the John K style is there and anyone can see it. I do feel like the story line is not something John would do. So I’m glad about that.

    Overall, I really enjoyed this. I even laughed a few times!

  • Paramount Cartoons: “Learn from Jon McClenahan”? Sure! “Learn from Tom Ruegger”? Huh?!?

  • Scarabim

    I’d take Chuck Jones over John K. any day of the week.

    And over Tex Avery, Robert McKimson, I. Freleng…

  • Magnusson

    It really does borrow a lot from John K’s bag of tricks, and unfortunately it borrows a lot of the labored timing of his older work.

    The animation is fluid, but the story and characterization are underdeveloped. We get mere glimpses into these broad stereotypes and are invited to care, but because they are so two-dimensional the pathos falls flat.

  • I’m delighted to see such wonderful comments that provide greater context

    Steven M. , Law, Larry, Ryan, Stav, Trevour–I’m really glad you like it!

    @Steffi: Thanks for expressing your very fair point of view and accurate observations!

    @Tom Minton: It is so wonderful to hear such support from one of my true heros! Yes, from about age 17 I started looking into John’s influences and studied them, from sheer curiosity, through that process I became fascinated with the lesser-known pillars of animation history. Thank you very much for mentioning Rod Scribner, he was the biggest influence for the animation style! Definitely freeze-framed him a lot! :)

    @robcat2075: Thank you so much for saying that! Aside from those who are influenced by John K or any other cartoony cartoon that *reminds* people of John K, I have never seen any young artist called-out for being influenced by his hero in a derogatory way. People who’s work appears to be strongly inspired by Disney and other prominent feature studios who have experienced a similar attitude are unknown to me, if any exist.

    @Andrew Chesworth: It means so much coming from such a wonderful animator and director! Thank you for mentioning the transition at the end! and for appreciating the full-circle in this work!

    @Tony Claar: Thank you so much for mentioning the work and dedication spent to reach this result! I firmly believe in “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants”, I truly appreciate (and share) your dreams of being taught by the great Ward Kimball, sounds like the experience of a lifetime!
    Also, thank you for mentioning that John’s work is very hard to emulate, it cannot be fully done without learning the principles of animation, studying the work of those who worked with him and studying his own influence, including the great Bob Clampett.
    If you believe my work truly resembles his, I thank you for this very high compliment!

    Personally, I don’t see style as something that is pursued, but rather something that ensues through study and work.

    @Gavin: Thank you for your endorsement! and for mentioning the ink and paint! doing it all in Flash with an intous 3 tablet was not easy! and certainly a long process.

    @Geneva: big fan of your work and fantastic studies! Thank you for mentioning the backgrounds! I’d like to thank my friend Benjamin Anders for his wonderful help and work in setting the style!

    @Justin: such a wonderful comment from such a brilliant animator! That scene was probably the most fun to animate! Also, thank you for mentioning that the story results from different influences.
    I went about it by setting up the characters, setting up the goals, setting up the conflict, then escalate the gags to reach a topper gag which reflects on the characters, goals and conflict. In a sense I was most influenced by Tex Avery.

  • kongobot

    Lovely short. Very funny. Love or hate John K you can’t fault the man’s enthusiasm or generosity: an 8 page reply to a fan’s letter filled with encouragement and advice for a novice animator must have been a dream come true. Very exciting (and inspiring) to see how the seed of encouragement grew into a fully realized cartoon and a job opportunity working on the ‘George Liquor Program’. Well done, Amir!

  • Great cartoon! I love the drawings and the cartoony animation. Also, I like the backgrounds and the tasteful colors! Reminds me of classic Looney Tunes. Pretty amazing, considering this is your very first project. Great job, Amir…Can’t wait to see what you do next!

  • Spool

    I thought John K. hated when people draw like him? He used to post drawings from his fans on his blog as examples of bad artwork.

    Sorry, just confused here. Love the short.

  • Mitch Kennedy

    Only in Animation do we call things “derivative,” whereas in every other art form we call things “movements.” This is absolutely a piece which has been influenced by that early 90’s movement, but not to be overlooked are the influences from other periods and artists.

    The musical timing haled from the 30s and 40s has been meticulously planned in this piece, and is the basis for all of the animation. The idea to use specific facial expressions is a Spumco influence, yet all of the expressions used are unique an non-derivative. The drawing style of the piece is influenced by a wide variety of sources, for which Chuck Jones is the most easily recognizable but not the most abundant. These many influences combine with Amir’s own view of the world to produce his very own unique, expressive, cartoony drawing style. It is drawn and animated very professionally.

    The story, although having its pacing and character interactions influenced mainly (but only in part) by the Spumco movement, is still entirely of Amir’s own invention. It comes from a personal place and perception, which is more than can be said about most student films, thus it offers something genuine to its viewers.

    It’s very good work, and it should be applauded!

  • @ kongobot: I’m very glad you liked it, thank you for mentioning and appreciating some of the most meaningful experiences which fueled this piece!
    @Shawn Dickinson: Fantastic comment from a good man and brilliant cartoonist!
    @Mitch Kennedy: You’re the best!
    Thank you for introducing the topic of art movements to this discussion!
    I want cartoony cartoons to come back, and so I made the kind of film I wanted to see, I hope others will join in! Thank you for mentioning that the story comes from within! That alone, is worth it.
    Thank you very much for mentioning the musical timing! yes, this film was timed to the beat throughout on bar sheets. One of the greatest delights in cartoon history is musical timing, something I am still studying.
    Yes, Spumco was innovative in re-introducing the mirror for creating facial expressions! Using this ancient system, all the expressions were mine, non were copied from Spumco cartoons. This is a good example of adapting a *principle* rather than being derivative.
    As you mentioned, the drawing style has influence from various sources, one of which was Floyd Gottfredson. When I was stuck for a pose, I turned to his Mickey comics for inspiration. That is hard to recognize, but there’s always the sideways mouth on Beanton, who’s design was inspired by a baby swan from “A Corny Concerto”

    • The Gee

      “Spumco was innovative in re-introducing the mirror for creating facial expressions!”
      I guess I haven’t lived that long and I never considered this before because I didn’t know miming and mugging in front of a mirror went away for anytime. Maybe it wasn’t entirely needed when characters based on toylines were stonefaced during the late 70s and into the 80s but surely animators still used mirrors back then.

  • JoJo

    It’s unfair to judge students and their films on the basis of style. The reality is a lot of them don’t have it, as much as some of them may beg to differ. Personal style is something you develop through experience, meaning it doesn’t come right away or in your four years studying animation in school. Many students will struggle to find a style of their own, but in the end they’ll usually end up studying and imitating a style they enjoy. Who can blame them? Students should be imitating a good variety of styles, and lots of them. It’s how some of the best artists in history learned their skills (not just in animation). As skilled and talented as some artists are, personal style doesn’t come to every artist either, some will never have it. There are rare exceptions of young artists who have strong and unique individual styles, but even more rare are original styles that are adaptable to animation.

    • John

      But one should animate in the academic for years developing a sound base of technique and mastery before even developing or finding a style that matches one of a master. Copying a master is just copy and flattery. To eclipse one’s master is to study the foundations of the art form to developed it into greatness.

  • Kyle Maloney

    I would take a hundred John K derivative cartoons if it meant most of todays crap would go away. John has said this before, but the 90s were full of successful john K influenced toons. Theres a way to “rip off” someone while still being good. Would you guys really prefer family guy and adult swim style over John k wannabe’s?

    As for this short, I enjoyed the animation and designs, but the story just didn’t click with me.

    • John

      Why copy anyone! The old guys didn’t do this they just got better and better over time, their own style and themselves came through through trial and error and grind housing through the medium. The last 30 or so years has been the times of the copy cats.

      • Ryoku

        I can’t really look at Foxy the Fox and say “He’s completely original”, alot of copying went on back then. It just wasn’t always obvious.

    • David Gerstein

      Many John K. “wannabes” didn’t really want to be John K. in the 1990s.

      It’s more like—after the success of Ren and Stimpy, suits demanded that other creators imitate John K—or only hired those that did. I still remember CN’s World Premiere Toons program, with its unofficial stylistic rules.
      It’s no different than today’s suits demanding Family Guy or Adult Swim imitations. Far more of this is forced than willful, regardless of the strengths or weaknesses of what we’re asked to imitate.

  • Amir’s cartoon is amazing!! Great specific expressions and some really funny acting with great designs, solid drawings and animation. Things I think is rarely seen now and that every cartoon should have. I’ve watched it multiple times and get floored at how well done it is. Amir has great talent and skill that I wish a lot of young artists would have. Talent and skill that should be taken into consideration! Really amazing job, Amir! Just wait and see, people will start imitating Amir when his prime comes!

  • TJR

    I am not a pro (at least not in animation). I just love cartoons.

    Great effort! Very funny! I felt sorry for our hero at the end even as I laughed at the gag of finding a planet with girls make of beer who play soccer.

    And the film had a moral: Never let the acceptance of others dictate the direction you take in life, the dreams you strive for, or your definition of success.

    Not bad for a film that is less than three minutes.

  • @JoJo: Thank you for the wonderful comment, I completely agree!
    Personal style is developed through experience, study and work. I don’t believe pursuing a personal style is the right priority for young artists, personal style ensues through the process you mentioned. Seeing such an observation come from a highly studious cartoonist as yourself, is very meaningful!
    I am delighted that there are commentators here who can see that process in my work. That process is very much like what Viktor Frankl said about happiness, in “Man’s search for meaning”:
    “Happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself”. Cartoony cartoons are one of the great causes, if you ask me!
    I’ve met one or two students who were geniuses and had an established and distinctive style complete with understanding of artistic principles from a very young age, but those as you say, are an exception to the rule.
    @John: Sounds like the most ideal road to mastery conceivable!
    @Pedro: Means a lot coming from such a wonderful cartoonist!
    I’m delighted that watching my cartoon gives you so much Joy, that is perhaps the most meaningful compliment one could receive, the purpose is to entertain!
    Thank you for mentioning skill! I completely agree with you that skill should be taken to consideration, skill is important since it allows artists to learn principles and transcend the limits of style. It delights me to see comments from sharp eyed viewers, like you, who recognize it, and are very skilled in their own right!
    BTW, I forgot to mention that inspiration for the designs also came from the multi-talented Brock Gallagher who also did the voice of Jossefat, I could never have found another actor with so much energy and cartoony spirit! His voice, as well as the great Pete Emslie’s, were integral in developing the characters.

  • Ryoku

    First off its short, thats good as I normally don’t like lengthy, drawn out, slow-paced pieces. Humorous cartoons should be short and simple.

    The pace was quick, I felt like my time was spent well watching this instead of being wasted.

    The voicework and music selection are very good, though a few more sound effects would’ve been nice.

    The Spumco visuals? Meh, I didn’t really care for them.
    They weren’t necessarily bad, just nothing interesting.

    The story? It was okay, its very pleasing to see a student animation that does actually have a story though.

    Overall I say a 3.8 out of 5.

    I hope Amir understands that reviving “Cartoony Cartoons” will take more then simply crudely mimicking Spumco. After-all, the Spumco style itself is a warped mimicking of 60’s animation.

  • For me, just the fact that he DID this is amazing and I am very much inspired by it. I have been trying to do a short for years and still can not finish it.

    This is not the style of animation I do or would choose to do but there should be room for all kinds of animation style and I love that. I think it looks as professional as any TV shows out there and he did it on his own. It is a great incentive to all of us animation artists who wants to produce our own stuff.

    Congratulations, Amir and a lot of success to you.

  • John

    If you can draw anything you’ll be on top, technique is everything, be able to drawing any design that is thrown at you. Your own style will come in time.

    When I was going through art school my instructors told me that while those that studied under Bridgeman all their works were copies of his style, they weren’t coming away with the knowledge inherent in his lessons. It’s good if your earlier work is more academic looking, it shows you are learning. Be more academic, your work will only get better and will lead to greatness. Down the road you’ll have all the mechanics and you’ll become a resource for future generations to learn from. You might be asked to draw in different styles than your own; a strong academic background will give you the upper hand in the long run, will make you more versatile to be able to draw in all styles. Future employers will love that, whatever they throw at you you’ll be able to draw it an animate it.

  • @TRJ: That’s exactly the moral I was going for! Thank you so much for your comment!
    @ Sandro Cleuzo: Wow! such a wonderful comment by one of the greatest animators of our time! I very much appreciate that you think this looks as professional as any TV show, and feel that the completion of the film is an accomplishment. I’m very touched that you see it as an incentive for more animators to make their own films! Thank you for your good wishes!
    @John: That’s very good advice, Thank you! In fact I’m collaborating on something totally different right now, for which I am studying classical animation scenes very different than those I’ve studied so far, it’s fantastic schooling! :)

  • Keegan

    Being highly influenced is not something someone should be mocked about.

    At least he’s influenced by a great artist(s). Beats the shit out of the super flat teen hipster cartoons we’re seeing nowadays.

    • The Gee

      So I can not mock those who are inclined to animate stick figures?

      I presume the artsy reason for them using stick figure designs is based upon inspiration, or, it is based upon some other simpler reason.

      I should bust out that character I don’t do much with, The Mock Turtle, and unleash him on the whole world o’ cartoons. He mocks anything. He’d even mock influences which spawned him, or should I say, I would mock them.


      • Keegan

        Wat. That is totally irrelevant, you’re making yourself look stupid.

    • Ryoku

      This stuff actually is a bit flat, not super flat though.

      • Keegan

        It’s flat? I thought it had some pretty great construction. Do you even know what you’re talking about?

      • Ryoku

        You can have good construction and flatness, yes I know what I’m talking about.

  • The Gee

    oh yeah.
    the previous comment I made, in reply, was an attempt at irony. But, I should know better. This is after all the internet and I ain’t the most articulate writer. So, it will probably come across as silly or forgetting precedent.

    • Ryoku

      The way I see it is anyone can praise\criticize whatever he\she wants.

      Do note though, theres a big difference between mimicking Spumco and drawing stick figures.

  • Inkan1969

    I liked it a lot. The short had a universal theme of a kid trying to prove himself to his dad. Amir and his crew built the drama off very simple and very passionate emotions. The dad rang very true; he may connect more with his jock son, but he meant it at the end when he said he was proud of Beanton as well. The character designs vividly portrayed the emotions in a cartoony manner.

    You could be very specific when you say, “the Spumco style”, referring to the stretched and exaggerated way Spumco designs characters, the interest in grossout humor, and the recurring themes of passionate familial relationships. A lot of Spumco cartoons are about sons trying to win over their fathers, in fact, like Amir’s short. But I like to think of Spumco and John K. in a more general and more fundamental manner: the principal that cartoons should be cartoony, making full use of the medium’s means of expression, and made by artists, the people who understand how to use the medium’s tools.

  • A few minor nitpicks aside, it’s a really well done cartoon, especially impressive when you consider that it’s a first effort. There’s plenty of skill and professionalism in evidence here (and that’s something not very often seen in the stuff that’s been polluting the tv screens in the recent years). Yes, the Spumco influence is noticeable, mostly in character acting, expressions and selection of music, but the cartoon doesn’t strike me at all as a mere John K. imitation (the story alone has nothing to do with him). A very nice effort, and I expect to see lot of good stuff from Amir in the future.

  • Andrew

    Yikes, that was just bad.

  • @Inkan1969, Thank you so much for your help and your loving comment! And for bringing an informed position by discussing the principal and fundamental manners.
    @Hammerson: very much appreciated! Thank you for mentioning skill and professionalism, and for your encouragement!
    I’ve read some very constructive and caring criticism,
    In summation, don’t worry, I do intend to make different cartoony and non-cartoony drawings and animation that are distinct from my first labor of love. Like this project, they will come from an informed position, but unlike this project they will have different goals and purposes, and inspired by different pillars of animation history. Watch out, You may be pleasantly surprised! :)
    And for those who just pick on stylistic choice for a personal project: Go do something productive.

  • “Why copy?”

    Why copy? Because we learn by imitating what has gone before us. Out of that imitation (the earth of the past) grows something new.

    This shows promise.

    Keep up the good work.

  • John

    Reg Hartt let me explain to why it’s not good for a budding artist to copy. If you copy a masters work you are not learning the steps they learned to get there. By learning the steps to victory, by the time you get to the level of the master you’ll say, “So that’s how they got there!” Copying is like the mentality that there’s a quick road to victory, there is none, it comes with hard work. There’s no real quick way, the quick way is the lazy way, in the long run you’ve missed important steps of knowledge to get to greatness. Especially in art where you are asked to be versatile in all styles and mediums and techniques. My fellow student in school copied the master teacher, he learned the basic construction of the human body, but if you look at his work it lacks versatility. To the trained eye you see his quick and easy attempts at copying.

    • There is no “quick way” to completing an animated short, especially one with drawing and animation this good.

      Regardless of whether you like the Spumco influence, Amir has clearly put a lot of effort into learning the combination of solid, structured drawing, clever exaggeration and distortion, and funny animation that give it that Spumco look. He’s not just copying the boogers and farts, or individual expressions straight out of Ren and Stimpy. THAT would be the easy way to copy a Spumco cartoon.

      He’s using many of the same tools that they did, but that still takes a lot of skill and dedication.

  • “Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.”–Salvador Dali.

    Grim Natwick went to Europe where he copied the masters. In the process of copying them their secrets revealed themselves to him. David Hockney has an excellent documentary about what he learned through the same process.

    Musicians start out by copying what they hear. In the process the best ones find an original voice.

    I just recently found out that the art school Adolph Hitler applied to accepted only one student a year. We all know, or, at least, most of us know that school turned Hitler away.

    The one student a year they did accept was Grim.

    “What does it mean for a painter to… actually imitate someone else? What’s wrong with that? On the contrary, it’s a good idea. You should constantly try to paint like someone else. But the thing is, you can’t!”–Pablo Picasso.

    The thing is that in the medium of choice on this site–animation–an artist may create something unique early in their career but if you are looking for a job with Disney, Dreamworks or any of the rest consign yourself to producing nothing that will come anywhere near that one moment you had at the dawn of your career.

    We have to start with something. That something, however, can only become exciting when we allow it to lead us.

    “The man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are ones of volition and open new doors.”–James Joyce.

    To allow the error to lead us is the one thing the industry is incapable of.

    Disney imitated Paul Terry. Just about everybody in the early ’30’s imitated Disney.

    When UPA broke through they were copied.

    Along the way the best–Avery, Freleng, Clampett, Jones, Culhane and many more–found their own voice.

    The system today, however, is not geared for that.

    Nik Ranieri once showed me the films he made at home as a kid. They were first rate. Nothing he has done since approaches them.

    Imagine if Ladislaus Starevitch gave up on his gift for the security of a Disney/Dreamworks paycheck.

    Few animators can even begin to approach real originality. A lifetime of compromise kills that.

    One of my favorite moments was when I had Shamus Culhane here as a guest. Local animators high on attitude and short on everything else looked at his TV film THE NIGHT THE ANIMALS TALKED and dissed his entire career. Then I showed them MY DADDY, THE ASTRONAUT.

    In awe they asked, “How did you do that? People have tried to do that and failed! How did you do that?”

    The system today does not allow for that kind of creativity. It really did not allow for it then, either. As Chuck Jones so often put it, the most common phrase he heard during his career was,”That’snewtakeitout” expressed as one word.

    Robert Capa, LIFE’s greatest photographer during World War Two, said, “You don’t worry about originality. You just take the picture…lots of them. Then you let them reveal themselves to you after the fact.”

    Hemingway, who spent forever on composition, was furious when he found out that was what Capa, a man he admired greatly, did.

    What Capa also did was bring a case of scotch to the lab and get the technicians working with him.

    Amir made a good little film. I look forward to seeing his next one and hope he finds a career away from mainstream animation.

    There are more than enough people who find careers in it.

  • Zoran Taylor

    “It really does borrow a lot from John K’s bag of tricks, and unfortunately it borrows a lot of the labored timing of his older work.”

    Whatever it is you’re seeing in his OLDER work versus his NEWER work, I don’t see it. For me the timing and overall pacing of his stuff has gotten steadily MORE laboured ever since the end of R&S. Poses and actions connected in a nearly endless variety of ways, and the result rarely ever looked forced or unnatural, except when this was desired as a source of humour. I would even go so far as to say -at the risk of exposing the big philosophical difference (well, one of ’em…) between me and the maker of this film, which I admire- that the first two seasons of R&S actually BENEFITTED from the modern industry-enforced need to time the overall episodes straight-ahead.
    There are, of course, some brilliant and unforgettable musically timed scenes, but there’s also something oddly satisfying in the way that the animation and music at times simultaneously let go into open atmosphere. Scenes of physical struggle and strain in particular gain a certain legitimacy -and added humour- from the fact that their terse, visually challenging use of stagger animation and unpredictable contortions look patently absurd, yet appear to happen at exactly the speed they would in real life, as if a technically outrageously impossible event were to really happen, be filmed, and be then painstakingly rotoscoped with 100% success. Maybe not everyone sees this, but to me it is one of the defining characteristics of the original R&S.

    Perhaps a repeat of this near-miracle of animated filmmaking was too much to ask for, but later Spumco cartoons such as “Stimpy’s Pregnant” strike me as suffering from either an over-abundance of this type of animation in inappropriate places, or maybe a peculiar side effect of attempting to do an old-school, musically dictated type of cartoon with only prerecorded music to work with and taking moments that need to be timed straight-ahead to dialogue to flow naturally and forcing them into a structure that works against them. Not to mention that that particular cartoon seems to be mastered at the wrong speed on the APC DVD. It’s not “super-fast” in the Clampett/Avery sense, it’s more like a record player that’s a bit off and is going at 36rpm or thereabouts, everything is a semitone up, the sound seems a little more compressed, etc. It just doesn’t seem quite right.