Saturday, March 31, 2012

Checking in with James Jean..

James Jean became one of my favorite artists this last year, and it's always great to stop by his site to see new stuff.. enjoy!

Friday, March 30, 2012

L.A. Animation Festival

If you've been reading my blog, you're aware of my special award at this California festival. Last year, the festival honoree was Will Vinton. This year I was selected.

The festival takes place in a charming old 30's Regent Showcase Cinema. The first night I was there was the special screening of "The Iron Giant" with Brad Bird and the crew in attendance. This is the 3rd time I've seen the film and it's still wonderful! Although I could complain about the character design, everything else was superb.

Brad told a wonderful story at his Q&A. When CalArts wanted to junk traditional 2D animation for computer animation, Ed Catmull and John Lasseter came in and forced them not to cancel old style animation. That says a lot about the guys at Pixar!

After that was a retrospective of Liquid Television. I got to say hello to my old friend Prudence Fenton, the producer of the show, and Peter Chung was there to talk about the early days of MTV.

They showed some clips from Aeon Flux -- that looked terrific as ever -- boy that guy can draw.

The next night was "Adventures in Plymptoons" and after I saw "A Monster in Paris", w wonderful French CG film full of great characters and terrific action. The next night was closing night -- I showed "The Tune" for its 20th Anniversary. It was introduced by Spongebob voice maestro Tom Kenny, and it got a good reaction. Although I see so many problems with the film now that I'd sure like to fix, there are also a lot of fun moments.

The next day I visited my old buddy Matt Groening at the Simpsons Bungalow on the Fox lot to talk about a couple of my projects, and then I hightailed it back to NYC to get back to drawing Cheatin'.

I believe that John Andrews is doing a terrific job with the L.A. Animation festival. Its an event that's sorely needed -- that the mecca of animation, L.A, hadn't had a major animation festival (except for the sporadic animation celebration) is criminal. Next year, every animator should send their animated shorts and features to the great L.A. Animation Festival.

I give the fest an A.

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Lorax

It's been my policy to try and see all the new animated feature films that come out every year, no matter how bland the film.

I loved the Blue Sky production of Dr. Seuss's "Horton Hears a Who", so I was excited about seeing "The Lorax" from the same studio that created the wonderful "Despicable Me". So, while I was in L.A. at the L.A Animation Festival, I got together with a couple of nurses from Orange County who share medical marijuana with their patients.

So I thought it would be fun to watch "The Lorax" high to really appreciate the imagination and wonderful visuals of Ted Griesel's story. So, dear readers, I probably shouldn't admit this, but I saw "The Lorax" wasted. So as for my review, I'm sorry to say I don't remember a damn thing about "The Lorax". I remember that I had a great time, but that could be because I was stoned -- so my score for "The Lorax" is "?"

So to actually make this blog meaningful I'm going to create a contest, and in order for you to qualify for this contest you have to promise me, swear on your mother's eyes that you didn't go to IMDB for the answer--!

OK here's the question: of these three famous directors, who's the shortest?

-Martin Scorsese
-Peter Jackson
-Roman Polanski

I'll announce the winners next month. Have fun!

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

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Monday, March 26, 2012

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Friday, March 23, 2012


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Le Tableau

Jean Francois Laguionie has been a top-notch French animator for a long time. I've loved his work ever since I first saw it in Annecy when I was much younger. Such films as "Gwen" 1985, "A Monkey's Tale", 1999, and "Rowing Across the Atlantic", 1978.

Anyway, he was in town to show off newest feature, "Le Tableau". Surprisingly, the School of Visual Arts decided to show it in their small projection room – it seats about 50 people, so of course it was packed.

Variety gave the film a very good review so I was excited to see the French feature. The basic plot is about the battle in an artist's studio between sketches (sketched characters) halfsies (half-finished characters and Alldunns, the finished, painted personas.

It's a nice metaphor for life and the concept has a lot of opportunities to poke fun at contemporary society. But for some reason, the characters never really come alive, and the colors were very bland and flat. Also, the animation was digital but very limited (I'm sure they had a small budget).

But, it was great to see an animated film with adult emotions and ideas. I give it a C+.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Charleston Int. Film Fest poster..

nice whimsical poster for the charleston international film festival designed by joy and noelle vaccese..

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Oscars 2012

As a member of the events committee, I was invited to the Oscar ceremonies a few weeks ago in NYC. It was a star-studded affair, Beau Bridges, Alfre Woodward, and one of my heroes, Tony Hendra.

Long ago we worked together on the National Lampoon Magazine, and more recently he worked with the great French animator Picha. His greatest claim to fame is his role in my all-time favorite film Spinal Tap. Tony plays the frustrated manager for the struggling band.

It was a wonderful night because it was also a benefit for FilmAid.
As for the awards show, I found it very entertaining. I thought Billy Crystal did a good job. A lot of the humor was great, I especially loved the test screening of "Wizard of Oz".

The animation awards went pretty much as expected -- I figured "Rango" would win the Oscar. I loved that film and it was by far the weirdest comedy of the year.

And, I'm certainly happy that "Morris Lessmore" won, not only 'cause Bill Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg are very talented and cool guys, but also because it's a great friggin' film.

I give this year's Oscars a B+.

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Friday, March 16, 2012

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As you all know, the great Moebius (M. Jean Giraud) has died... he was one of the greatest illustrators and comic artists.

I loved his sense of color desgin and imagination. He invented a world all his own that influenced many artists and animators including yours truly. I've always heard he was working on a brand new feature film fully computer animated, yet I never saw the film released, if it ever was.

I did see two films that he worked on, the infamous "Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland" (1989) out of Japan, and then of course "Heavy Metal" (1981) out of Canada, which used his designs for one of its episodes.

I never met the great French artist, but I heard he was a bit eccentric and quite private.
But I think we all know him though his brilliant artwork, and will all miss his genius.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bali and Gili Islands..

Beach at Gili Trawangan, Lombok

Been spending spring break in Bali, and now off coast of lombok indonesia in the Gili ilands.. a rad little spot.  Haven't been good about posting for obvious reasons.  Back in Singapore on monday, and we will catch up! until then enjoy some photos (from my crappy phone)
Festival in Padang Bai, Bali

rad family.. ilu, the mom, i've known since she was a kid herself, back when i first came to bali 15 years ago.

my favorite beach, biastugal, bali

balinese dude at temple

riding my bike around the island, gili's

looking out over to lombok, gili's

crappy morning sketch of some fishing boats, gili

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

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Monday, March 12, 2012

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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Epic Sketchbook: Gérard Michel...

Gérard Michel is a Belgian architect based in Liége, who also teaches courses in sketching and drawing at the school of architecture there. Aside from that, I know little about him except for the wealth of his wonderful location drawings as displayed on the Urban Sketchers blog and on Michel’s own Flickr sets.  Thanks Charlie Parker:)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Shorts International Awards

As I was traveling around the Rocky Mountains I got an urgent call from my agent that I'd just won an award at the shorts International Awards Ceremonies, and they wanted me to come out there next week to receive the prize.

Hell, I'm not one to turn down a special prize, so I said yes! As soon as I returned to New York, I turned around and hopped a plane to L.A. and the famous Oscar Week.

I've been selling my short films to Shorts International for a long time, so I was happy to accommodate their wishes. They put me up at the swank Loews Hotel on the beach at Santa Monica. The pool overlooked the beach as they were setting up the tent for the Spirit Awards on Saturday night.

The chauffeur drove me to the fancy Soho house where I got to hang out with Tom Sito, Bill and Sue Kroyer, Rick and Amanda Farmiloe, Bob Balser (of Yellow Submarine fame), the great June Foray, and Bill Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg of the Oscar winning Moonbot Studios.

Receiving the award was very cool but it was the end of the evening and by then everyone was drunk and more interested in their own conversation than mine.

As we exited the party, I nearly knocked over Owen Wilson and his entourage entering the party.

I want to thank Linda O. and Carter Pilcher of Shorts International!

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Thursday, March 8, 2012


Not sure how I have gone so long without knowing about this guy.. amazing stuff. totally inspirational.