Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Saturday, November 26, 2011
|My latest film "Pull" is rolling along, aiming for a March 2012 release.|
I believe the fixation on story is a product of not understanding the other three elements. It's also a typical buzz-word because it's often perceived as the first step of the process. The truth is that an "image" is typically the impetus for a film. For example Ridley Scott began the story process of "Gladiator" with the famous painting by Gerome. Read my entry on this topic here.
|The famous painting of a Gladiator by Gerome. In an interview, Ridley Scott admitted that this was the inspiration for "Gladiator."|
Story is skeletal.. Character is flesh. The flesh covers the bones, not the other way around. It is vital to shroud your story with character, timing, emotion, subtleties, and an aesthetic to unite it all. There should not be a tiny bit of white bone showing. The story is there to serve the Characters, to give them a context, a situation. The Characters will and must exist without the story. This is why "Establishing the Norm" is so important in storytelling.
If we were a walking Short Film:
-Story would be our Skeleton, it's our framework.
-Character is our flesh, consistent and always working.
-Aesthetic is our health, how we present ourselves.
-Timing is our speech, our skill of communication.
Friday, November 25, 2011
It was my good buddy Rick Farmiloe who turned me on to the CTN gathering, or convention or whatever it is. The CTN stands for “Creative Talent Network” – its a broad description for a meeting of great animators, cartoonist, character designers and storyboard artists. Basically, any art-based animation creator.
It is organized by Tina Price, and in fact I've done signings in her booth at the San Diego Comic Con in the past. Well, I've recently returned from the event in Burbank, CA, and I must say it was one of the more fun experiences of my life.
It was held at the Burbank airport Marriot and I was invited to do a lot of events – an interview with the great Bill Kroyer in the Big Room kicked off the weekend. I showed Winsor McCay's “The Flying House” (my version) and the pencil test of “Cheatin'”. I also did an intimate workshop where I talked about my work process. The convention floor was packed with super artists like William Stout, Dean Nagel, and Andrea Deja. Then there were some old friends just cruising the aisles. David Siverman (Simpsons), Craig Bartlett (Hey Arnold) Matt Groening, Spike Decker, Jerry Beck, Don Bluth, Gary Goldman, Robert Valley, and the brilliant illustrator Peter DeSeve.
But the highlight for me was reconnecting with the genius Oscar Grillo – I met him a few years ago at the prestigious Annecy Animation Festival, and I've been a subscriber to his “Drawing a Day” service. He was one of the greatest animators ever, but he got tired of the biz and retired about 10 years ago. It was a very sad day, because he was such an original and entertaining illustrator/animator.
If you can track down his stuff, do it! His work is amazing, and you may see a little influence of his genius in my own work.
One of the final events was a gigantic signing of the new Sketchtravel book, people like James Jean (who worked on “Hair High”) and Robert Valley, Peter DeSeve and myself – sponsored by Stuart Ng books. It was the largest in terms of number of artists I've ever been involved with – about 12 different contributors.
I plan on attending next year if I'm invited, and you should go too if you're a fan of great animation – I give the event an A!
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
If you saw the trailer I did for Pat Smith and my show called “The Drawn Animation Show”, then you saw the trailer I originally created for the Edit festival.
I've been going to this FX festival based in Frankfurt for a number of years, and even though I'm not exactly an FX specialist, it's always fun to attend. A few years ago I was able to have a cool dinner with Farely Granger (“Stranger on a Train”), and Tippi Hedren (“The Birds”). She was very sweet and we talked about doing a film together.
Anyway, this year the special guest was James Horner (Titanic, Avatar). I was lucky enough to chat with him about music, and he seemed like a very laid back guy who just did it for the love of the music.
Before landing in Frankfurt, I stopped off in Wolverhampton, England for the Flip Animation Film Festival. It's a small but well-attended festival, and they have some great animation programs. I love the spirit of the festival – I recommend you all send your animation to their gem of a festival. I give it a B+.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Now that it's award season, I've been getting a lot of invitations to film premieres. Since I'm an Academy member, the great and powerful actors and directors are sucking up to me for my valuable Academy vote.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
The artwork was produced by a group of Dutch street artists, as part of the Saratosa Chalk Festival in Florida. Artist Leon Keer, who led the project, said he was inspired by the iconic image of the 8,000-strong Chinese terracotta army which was first uncovered in 1974 and is now one of China's biggest tourist attractions. Enjoy.
Monday, November 14, 2011
I didn't really discover the joys of Tintin until I started attending animation festivals in France. Of course, I loved the art – the cool realistic drawings of the planes, boats, and cars – but also the deceptively simple art style that Hergé employed.
So when I was forced by the entire French populace to learn French, I turned to the Tintin books as a simple and fun way to learn French. C'est magnifique!
I've just returned from the screening of the Stephen Spielberg/Peter Jackson version of the eternal boy's adventures. First, I must say I liked the film a lot – it had loads of action scenes and crazy adventures that stayed fairly close to the original books.
However, I do have a few reservations about the film:
One, Tintin didn't really look the same. His eyes were too small and too close together, he looked like a different character. Although I must say, all the other characters, even Snowy the dog, were quite successful.
Two, there was very little humor in the film, and Hergé used a lot of humor in the books. You'd think with Spielberg and Jackson, experts at humorous films, there would be a lot more gags. The full audience I saw it with hardly laughed at all.
Three, the ending was very anti-climactic. SPOILER ALERT----------- They find a hole in the wall that leads to a hatful of old coins. And that's the grand finale! What kind of adventure film ends with a wet rag finish like that?
One final nit-picky complaint – why do all the characters speak with British accents, yet live in France? Are the Brits now taking over France?
I tell you what I would have loved to see in this film, is Tintin (who seems to be eternally in puberty) watching a hot French girl and show a little sexual curiosity.
But it is a wonderful, roller coaster film full of amazing effects and fun characters. I give it a B-.