Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Studio Showrunners and Talent jumping to Streaming Services

New gold rush? New brain drain? Streaming (a.k.a. the new cable TV) seems to be the technology we should focus on. The L.A. Times reports on how showrunners are leaving TV production for the streaming service companies. This is concerning since good animation jobs will depend on these new studios. On Star Trek, the Next Generation, commander Data mentioned that television became obsolete by 2040 as a popular form of entertainment. Looks like it will be much sooner than that.

 (By Thomas Suh Lauder and David Ng)


In the meantime, Carl Beu created this nifty chart showing how timers form the heart, or maybe the backbone of TV animation employment.


Carl used Gephi to create this cool chart.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Streaming Animation - Rights for Artists and Viewers

Credit where credit is due: I think this article by Alex Dudok de Wit on Cartoon Brew gives a thorough rundown on the situation of streaming sources and their rates. Excellent research.

 Alex's article took me back to my concerns about the rights of animation artists working in new media, and the rights of consumers. It looks like we have simply gone back to paying for a new type of cable TV, on top of paying our internet bills. And will the new media studios try to continue in nickel and diming the artists to death? My Spidey-Sense says yes.

And then there's this: After months of negotiations with ShadowMachine, animation artists finally succeeded in signing a Guild labor contract on Bojack Horseman. Now, after a six year run, Netflix is pulling the plug on the show.

(copyright Netflix)

With the financial and technology situations changing so rapidly, I can see why the studios want to hedge their bets on labor and other production costs. But I still think animation artists and technicians need representation in new media, and citizens still need a Digital Bill of Rights. Especially when it comes to our savings, and our privacy. And just our plain old satisfaction when we plunk down in front of whatever screen we choose for entertainment.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Superhero sketches summer 2019

Just some quick sketches, thinking of the good ol' days...

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Lightbox Expo photos

Some snapshots from the first Lightbox Expo held at the Pasadena Convention Center. They had a good sized crowd on Friday. It looks like ProCreate from Apple was a major sponsor. Fun time, lots space, many demos going on. The hosts went all out for a big convention. This may be a rival to the CTN Expo this year.

The burning question: who are the organizers of Lightbox?

Jim Demonakos, founder of the Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle, Washington, and Bobby Chiu, who set up Imaginism Studios in Toronto (Ontario, Canada)

I thought this was going to be a much smaller venue, but animation artists, students, schools, studios and vendors were all in attendance. Good mood, lots of energy there. And I only heard about it through Facebook. This event seemed to be arranged and promoted solely through social media. I was just used to the buzz generated around CTN.

Procreate from Apple had the largest display, promoting their artistic app for the iPad.

 Alan Bodner had his table there with his original art, and art from his time as art director at Warner Classic Animation.

Almost continuous demos going on in the hallways...

 Wacom, with their latest Cintiq tablets...

 Sony pictures, with their Oscar winning
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse!

 Warner Brothers Animation Group, and their beloved heroes of old...

 ASIFA-Hollywood had a good position with their table...

Netflix, looking for talent, and/or pitches...

 And an amazing amount of crowds in the other hall, waiting for demos and lectures!

Again, to me, this convention seemed to come out of the blue.
And yet, it got some decent media coverage:

Some more fun stuff:

 From left to right, artwork above by Tuna Bora and Pernille ├śrum.

 And from left to right, artwork above by Robert Kondo and Stephen Silver.

Why the giant pug means death, maybe because Hasbro has aquired Death Row Records. 
Whatever you do, don't stare into its eyes too long!

Good mood, and a great creative vibe!
I applaud Jim Demonakos' and Bobby Chiu's success, 
and looking forward to next year.

Friday, September 06, 2019

The first LIGHTBOX EXPO Pasadena 2019

I may check it out...

(copyright LIGHTBOX EXPO)

(from their website)


SEPTEMBER 6-8, 2019 

"Over 250 of the best artists from the ANIMATION, LIVE-ACTION, ILLUSTRATION and GAMING industries coming together for the ultimate celebration of art."


Raya and the Last Dragon

I'm a couple weeks late on this, but I learned about Disney's upcoming animated feature, Raya and the Last Dragon from a friend on Facebook. And at first I thought "okay, ha ha, cute". Another Disney princess animated feature, it ought to do well.

But then, with the success of anime', and films like Mulan and Kung Fu Panda, it made me realize the size of the business prospects of the southeast Asia movie audience.

(copyright Disney, taken from polygon.com, taken from Twitter during D23 in Anaheim.)

Long ago, TV and movies have made me a fan of Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Speed Racer, not to mention Osamu Tezuka and Hayao Miyazaki. Anime and Kung Fu action movies already have a foothold in the U.S. with a healthy fan base, and animated features like Kubo and the Two Strings, and The Princess Mononoke have shown positive and empowering examples of female characters.

While older anime' films and TV shows may have brought a distorted, and cliched view of Asian culture to me and the west, I hope that it has made Americans more aware of current events happening overseas. Not to mention giving Hollywood more cash flow. 'Nuff said!

Another factor seems to be the news of protests in cities like Hong Kong show a demand for democracy, although the authoritarian governments there are clamping down hard on free speech and human rights. In a backhanded way, Hollywood may be helping to bring democratic values and human rights to our tattered world.

And then, cliches and stereotypes may be scrapped, and new life may be brought to beloved Asian characters:

Monday, September 02, 2019

Visual Effects Artists Rough Timeline

Here's a rough chart of the visual effects artists and animators I put together during my years at Woodbury University. From what I learned, these are some of the key the people who built the foundations of the computer and traditional animation we have now, and their connections with each other as the film business progressed.

And give a big thanks to organized labor this Labor Day, especially in a business like animation!

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Richard Williams - March 19, 1933 – August 16, 2019

The second to last time I saw Richard Williams in person Friday was evening October 4th, 2013 at thethe Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles. It was part of the Marc Davis Celebration of Animation.

"Who Framed Roger Rabbit" was the film that finally got me to move to California, and get into animation. I think this was the last time I felt the magic. I kind of envied how Richard made his own way in the business, and definitely how he developed his own style.

I did manage to get his autograph years ago, but I forgot when and where this was *UPDATE* at the LA film school near the Cinerama dome in Hollywood. I'm guessing it was in the mid 1990's. Charles Fleischer signed my VHS tape cover as well. I thought I saw Richard at the Animation Guild a few years ago, for an ASIFA or Women in Animation event. I think he noticed this VHS cover sitting in the window above the computer lab door. He was gone in a flash, and I don't remember the date.

He will be missed, but he won't be forgotten!

(copyright Amblin Entertainment, Touchstone Home Video)

(copyright Motion Picture Academy)