Feb 27, 2010
Feb 25, 2010
Feb 24, 2010
I was struck by the fact that Walt Disney testified and named people in front on the House Commitee on Un-American Activities , during the McCarthy era. I found a transcript of the hearing online. (It is definitely worth reading, just to see how many times Disney can refer to the artists working at his studio as "my boys".)
The following bit is Disney's response to whether he has allowed any propaganda in his movies besides the ones produced during WWII that were anti-Hitler and antifascist:
"We watch so that nothing gets into the films that wouldAhahahah! Try harder...
be harmful in any way to any group or any country. We have large
audiences of children and different groups, and we try to keep them as
free from anything that would offend anybody as possible. We work hard
to see that nothing of that sort creeps in."
Any racist imagery comes to mind? (The jungle book?) In later movies: Native Americans (Pocahontas)? Chinese people and traditions (Mulan)? Women, while we are at it? The gay community? Etc.
While I understand that all the Disney movies (as all art) are products of their times, I found Disney's claim to be rather ironic.
Posted by Eszter
This movie is more about the 80's and 90's but it seems relevant, since it starts at the tail-end of Disney's worst years. Tim Burton has a cameo and some other people too.
The Official release date is listed as March 26th.
While we all understand animation to be a wonderful means of expression with endless possibilities to explore, it is also at times quite frustrating since it can be labor intensive, time consuming, and slow in turning out results. In reading a book titled "Experimental Animation, an illustrated anthology," I found the words of some animators featured there to be helpful and encouraging, from the standpoint of people who have managed pursue animatiation as a career. (The interviews are definitely dated, but they provide an interesting retrospective view on what it means to be in school for animation today)
Adam Beckett, Animator: (On the efficiency of schools in the development of the creative potential of student animators)
"Besides those impalpable qualities of talent and drive, otherwise known as inspiration and perspiration, there is one thing that every artist must have and that is a great deal of free and uninterrupted working time. Schools can help the student-artist in this regard by providing 24 hour access to facilities, flexible mandatory requirements, adequate living arrangements and other similar kinds of conveniences. Teaching is probably best done by people who are professional artists themselves and who are so wrapped in their own work that they don't have time to interfere too much in the activities of students. They should be there primarily as examples of what it is to be a working artist in the field of animation. In a medium like animation, which is so dependent on technology, the best possible equipment and facilities are, of course extremely helpful. As far as I can see it is a matter of the most extraordinary circumstances and luck, when an individual manages to emerge from the educational system with the autonomy of spirit and knowledge needed for him to be an artist. Too much direction is probably more harmful than too little. Ideally the school should be a place where one can develop the INDEPENDENCE and SELF-CONFIDENCE to make some headway against the incredible inertia that exists in the commercial arena. I think we are at the beginning of a wonderful golden age of animation, now that the last nails are in the coffin of the big (animation) studios. Schools, I believe, can in the future be very important as production centers for animated films. " (From an interview conducted by Robert Russett, November 1974)
Caroline Leaf, Animator: " I believe every person's work is personal and therefore new. There are as many forms of expression as there are people. No one will do a thing in the same way as someone else. Therefore something new does not mean a world shattering breakthrough of technique or idea. I find that when I am searching for new techniques, new materials to animate, I am usually barren of content ideas, whereas a content idea will take the shapes of the techniques I have at hand..." (From an interview conducted by Robert Russett, November 1974)
Frank Mouris, Animator: (On the future of animation)
" [The future of animation] lies everywhere and anywhere. I really have something against strict definitions. I've had a lot of flack because a lot of people don't think of animation as an art form. Animation is generally considered to be a very specific area of filmmaking and I've run up against people with this kind of attitude and I turn it around all the time and say I consider filmmaking a very special part of animation. Just technically, animation, I mean filmmaking , really is frame by frame.
There is so much unexplored territory that's very exciting like computers, xerography, video, and all things that we can't even dream about yet. I think it's all over the map, it's not just any one area of film. Some people say the future is definitely in computer animation. I can find that when someone makes up the definition, I take that as a welcome challenge to prove the definition wrong. When they say THAT is animation, or when the Bolex booklet comes out with the instructions which tell you THIS is how you film well, do not do THESE things, I find that I check out first with a dealer whether if I do those things, it will hurt the camera. Then, if it wont, I go ahead and do them, and see what kind of effect it gives." (From The American Film Institute Report, Vol. 5, No. 2, Summer 1974)
Eliot Noyes, Jr. , Animator:
"I view myself as an artist who uses animation the way a painter would use paint and a canvas. The reason I am in animation is that it is a form of self-expression; what I want to get across is mostly a very personal view of the world. Animation for me right now isn't a collaborative kind of process, and it isn't the kind of thing like the studio set-up in the thirties and forties where a lot of people got together and wrote a story, a lot of people animated it and a lot of people contributed to the music. It's a way that I have found to make films where I can control everything.
The purpose of animation back then was to entertain, and I'm not sure that the purpose of my films is entirely entertainment. I don't design them as entertainment. I do them as much to satisfy myself as anything else. I have faith that if you do something that satisfies yourself it will be interesting to other people (...) Somebody asked Freud, 'What ae the most important things in a healthy person,' and Freud said, 'To be able to love and to be able to make work,' and I am working on both of those things. Animation is my work and if I can work through animation and find out whe I am through animation, that would be the best thing that I could want. That is really what I am trying to do. I am really trying to get in touch with who I am and what I have to say, and I really want to have fun, and I am beginning to much more than I ever used to."
(From The American Film Institute Report, Vol. 5, No. 2, Summer 1974)
The above interviews were later colected in tRobert Russett and Cecile Starr's Experimental Animation, published in 1976. It's available at the SMFA library.
Feb 22, 2010
Pretty much everyone has seen Fantasia (and if you haven't you need to), and is familiar with the scene with the centaurs set to Beethoven's Pastoral symphony. A lot of people don't know that there was a character named Sunflower introduced in the earlier versions of Fantasia.
She was edited out in the later versions because she was deemed too offensive. In an article on Cracked.com entitled "The 9 Most Racist Disney Characters", the author says "It was insulting enough for Disney to include the smiling servant stereotype to begin with, but, to make matters worse, they started categorically denying Sunflower's existence with the Fantasia re-release in 1960. How does that possibly make things better? "No, you misunderstand. In our perfect, Fantasia world, Africans aren't servants. They don't fucking exist."
Feb 17, 2010
Wow! The multiplane has Hans Perk paying homage to it on his studio's website, A. Film L.A.. He's posted all kinds of images and pages documenting the original patents that were filed (here and here ). The second Hans, Animation production designer Hans Bachar, has written the book Dream Worlds, Production Design for Animation, and has posted some of the historical Disney hi-quality images of their giant multiplane unit in action.
via Michael Sporn's Animation Splog. (check out his "Splog" for amazing animation information.
Kenya's Homeboyz Entertainment has developed and is producing a sweet and beautiful children's series called Tinga Tinga Tales. This is a trailer for the series, which has been picked up by Disney and the BBC Children's broadcasting agency, CBeebies. The Homeboyz Animation studio, a sub-company of HB Entertainment, seems remarkable in it's ability to succeed, given the sad state of Kenya's economy, where basic daily needs are hard to come by.
Watch a BBC news clip that takes a look at Homeboyz Animation and their Tinga Tinga Tales.
Feb 14, 2010
But even better, please visit our full page of DIY animation camera stands HERE. (the link is also at the top of our page.)
This wood and c-clamp version, the simplest of all, could be a way to go for those that don't want to get too involved or spend a lot of money.
This stand is a bit more complex, but still easy to make. Think of using plastic PVC tubing as well, like Joel's plastic PVC multiplane stand!
J. E. Nystrom at ANIMATO has a long history of building his own animaiton stands, and they become very complex later on. However, here's an early version that doesn't look too hard at all, but would possibly involve a bit of welding. This one is different from the first two because it allows the camera height to be adjusted, which is a pretty valuable asset.
Here's a flexible web-cam stand, but limited in the weight it can carry, which is 8oz.
Daniel Caylor, an animation student, posted info from an animation book from the 1970's showing a hand-made super full-sized animation stand, like a mini-oxberry without the bells and whistles. He includes all the pages with detailed instructions. (shouting out a big thanks for posting the info!)
And then here's a video from someone that actually built it! There's the wood and plumbing pipe rostrum style animation system without the actual camera in place. This one looks like it would be a fun project!
And here's a heavy duty version, better suited to a 35mm camera, possibly. But, if you made the legs this short, you'd have to be working on your knees, or always bent over in some way, which isn't much fun at all.
So, if after all of these options, you still would rather just buy one, here are a couple of inexpensive alternatives.
The basic camera rostrum shown below is called a "copy stand"and is traditionally used for still photography, copying books, small objects, flat artwork, etc..
This one is from B&H Photo (NY), and only costs about $30.00 (not including shipping.) The down side would be that the column is round, which allows the camera mount to spin around sideways. And the movement up or down would really be limited to happening between shots as opposed to during a shot, because there's no controlled cranking system.
You could purchase this column alone, and make your own base. This is a big step up because it has a rectangular (no mount spin) and scaled column with a mount, camera fastener, geared hand crank, and is only about $340.00
These inexpensive lights and stand arms (essential) are the cheapest available that I could find, and look like they'd do the trick. A big plus is that they can use basic bulbs that you can get at a local store. Downside is that you would need some diffusion gels or tuff-spun to help break up the hot spots, since they don't have lenses and spot/flood controls. The image below shows how those arms and lights are attached to the base.
WARNING! The regular old clamp light may look like a real bargain... and it almost is, but these are notorious for the lamp shades falling off and the clamp being loose and slippery. But if this is all you can afford, then go for it because it's better than nothing! You can find these for $4-8.00 each at a local hardware store.
The next stage up would be this "Bencher" version, seen below, which has the square, scaled column, as well as built in lights. This clocks in at about $1,960.00.
Compare this heavy-duty, motorized table, registered scale column, motorized system at $4,640.00
Feb 11, 2010
"So what did the Hays Code find objectionable? Firstly, Porky Pig was not allowed to kiss his sweetheart, Petunia. They were only allowed to hold hands. Monsters were watched to see if they were too frightening for children (trivia: staff at Radio City Music Hall had to regularly change the seat cushions after performances of Snow White because frightened children would wet themselves during the movie). Cruelty to animals was a no-no, because censors thought kids would imite the movies. Spitting and "the razzberry" was also verboten (both the visual and the sound), as was depictions of "men who appear too effeminate.""A few banned animated films:
Feb 10, 2010
Breathdeath By Stan VanDerBeek 1963
The whole thing consists of a sturdy board, a lot of pins, a lot of tools, and a lot of patience. Light shines from the side of this platform causing each and every single pin to cast its own shadow. The white screen becomes darker the farther the pins are pushed out. The more the pins are pushed in, the lighter the screen becomes, giving a grayish tone and eventually an all white screen again.
The process is really time consuming, because frames are created one at a time (although that isn't really a hard concept to grasp for those who have done animation of any kind). The movies that Alexeieff and Parker created were very short, but they got a lot of praise for them.
I stumbled across this REALLY cool video by a bloke named Jacques Drouin that was made in 1976, and you should check it out.
Here are a few results from our first go around, as people are responding to early optical toys, and the idea of animation as something that we can engage with using our physical bodies. The "flipbook" was the base for many of these experiments.
Amelia's "Cat Ghost" experiment uses ideas of successively linked images, light, projection, and animation as object (the poster board,) body interaction and the paper strip coming from early optical toys, obviously leading to the film strip vertical orientation.
Andrew's sculptural penis-like flipbook flipper puppet uses body interaction, sculptural form and the flipbook as it's foundations.
Gaia's performance took on the idea of "flip" as she flips her sequential t-shirt drawings up and over. The reflexive imagery is doubled by her own body performing the action.
Rachel created a "private pocket flipbook," using the flipbook more literally, but challenging the context of how we use flipbooks in relation to our own body, as individual users and its relation to viewing animation socially / privately.
Ivette created a group interactive action using the flipbook as people. We all had one of a series of animation drawings paced onto our hands, layered our hands and then pulled them away, progressively revealing the litle creature falling away into space.
Christina experimented with the idea of the looping function found in toys such as the zoetrope and phenakistoscope.
Ryan explored possibility of engaging multiple flipbooks at once, having them combine to create a common image in randomized orders.
Feb 8, 2010
Lotte Reiniger caught my attention initially with her elegant use of silhouettes and her amazing craftsmanship. Though it was not odd for an upper class woman to do such things as silhouette cut-outs, ascribed to women because of it's femininity and elegance, no other artist had quite the same intrinsic talent as Lotte. The intricacy in each of her cut-out characters is extremely admirable, especially once you are aware how much precision and effort was put into each piece.
Reiniger was extremely courageous and quite independent when it came to her work. This attitude could be considered Avant-Garde in the sense that most artists didn't become quite so independent as Lotte with their work at that time, especially women. Though slightly avant-garde, she also worked rather traditionally in terms of her subject matter. Her whimsical, romantic fairy-tale like stories were very feminine and less radical. Her subject matter spoke to an early, innocent age. Reiniger was extremely prolific and created about 70 films by the time of her death, though she only made one feature-length animation film.
Call for Talent! Annecy Festival Competition on YouTube
An event not to be missed!
50 years of creativity, innovation and technology – that's worth celebrating!
For its anniversary, the Festival is teaming up with YouTube to organise an original competition...
Open to all, it gives budding creators, students or industry professionals the opportunity to be a part of a world-renowned Festival.
Feel like being creative, making an animated film or adpating an existing production?
Taking part could not be easier: simply upload your film to YouTube between 1st February and midnight on 1st May 2010.
The film must be of a maximum running time of 5 minutes, be centerd on the theme of celebrations and anniversary and integrate the keywords: "50", "Festival" and "Annecy".
This is your chance to really get involved in the Festival!
The competition will run on the YouTube channel of the Annecy Festival where entrants can get all the latest news as of today: www.youtube.com/annecyfestival
From 2nd May, users will vote for the 10 best shorts (voting ends at midnight on 23rd May). A jury of professionals will then choose the winner from the 10 finalists (making their decision between 24th and 27th May).
The prizewinner will be treated to a week at Annecy 2010, taking place between 7th and 12th June, and the winning film will be screened during the event.
Happy Birthday Mister Festival!
Laurence Ythier, Head of Communications
Cindy Bazaugour, Communications Assistant
For further info: CITIA +33 (0)4 50 10 09 00 Official website www.annecy.org