Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Joe Riley died yesterday. For those of us lucky enough, blessed enough to have known him, worked with him, talked to him about all things nerdy, stupid and fun...Joe was a great person. Joe was one of those people you're always happy to see, always make time to talk to. One of the most talented artists I've ever known.
We miss you Joe.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Siggraph 2007 once again had the thrill of competative animation with the "FJORG!!!"...I added the caps and exclamation points because it was pretty damn cool. From the Siggraph site...
"SIGGRAPH 2007 officials, along with DreamWorks Animation, HP, and AMD, announced the winners of the world's first international FJORG! Competition - an "iron animator" event in which 16 competing teams from around the world had 32 hours to create the most impressive character-driven animation of at least 15 seconds in length adhering to at least one of two themes and using at least one of 16 sound bites. Based on storytelling, animation talent, use of resources, creativity, and technical skills, the judges selected Team Mocap from Bowling Green State University for their animation "Switch" as the first place winners. The team consists of Jim Levasseur, Tomas Jech, and W. Jacob Gardner. Picture This, a team from Miami International University of Art & Design came in second place and Impulse, from The Illinois Institute of Art-Schaumburg, won third place."
...take a sec and look through these...there's some really fun stuff and some, er, really interesting stuff. But even the "interesting" stuff is cool considering all the constraints involved.
Can't wait till next year.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Not to long ago I finished reading Stephen King's book "Cell". That would have been the end of that except that's it's been a while since I've finished a book that wasn't either about animation/writing/film making or some kind of non-fiction ( I loves me some Sarah Vowel).
Most of my reading takes place in the brief time I'm either in the bathroom or before I fall asleep.
...end T.M.I. Alert
Anyway, so finding a book that held my attention long enough to set time aside to finish it was nice. Then I realized that none of my other blogging pals have posted book reviews...most just give their oppinions in the form of a single "witty" image (yeah, I'm calling you out Burkey Pants)...the closest other friends have gotten is to actually write and publish a book (so, yeah...a little envious of the talents of one Deanna Molinaro)...and others have had their artwork and stories published on some high falutin' compilation ( thanks for adding to my inferiority complex Sarah)...But I digress, despite all of these wonderful things that they have done I've yet to see a single book review (and if someone points me to a link of one that I've missed I will immediately close my eyes, stick my fingers in my ears and scream over and over "I'm not listening, I'm not listening.)
That being said, I've taken it upon myself to post my feedback on "Cell"by Stephen King....
I liked it and the ending didn't suck.
Why?....why, why, why???? Why do you do this to us Mr Zemeckis? Do you not like animators?...actors?...the general viewing public? Huh? You almost had me thinking their might be hope for "performance crapture" with the damn near brilliant Monster House...so why go back to the land of Polar Depress. Seems that's just what Mr Zemechis has done with his latest offering, Beowulf. Personally I think Zack Snyder's approach with 300 would have been perfect for this. Don't give me the corpse of Anthony Hopkins spouting stiff dialog...give me the real thing spouting stiff dialog. Take all that time, money and effort and surround your world class actors with a believable world to tell a compelling story in. Ultimately it feels like the failings of a flawed and untrusting director. Not secure enough to commit to anything but wanting control over everything. Yeah, this technique gives him control over everything in the scene...to find that "sweet spot" we're told...I've yet to see that "sweet spot" in either Polar Express or any of this footage for Beowulf. And this isn't me knocking the process as a whole...like I said before, I LOVE Monster House. It's a shame that more exploration into stylizing his world and characters wasn't put into this project because this could have had tons of potential...tons. And on a side note...why the hell would I want to see a dead eyed Angelina Jolie when i can rent a handfull of films that show the real her.....naked.
Sunday, July 01, 2007
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Like I said in the prior post, the first images I saw for The Incredibles had me excited from the start. There was something different and unique. It was as close as Pixar had ever really come to something dark.....except for the opening 5 minutes of Nemo. Sweet Moses Malone, that opening made Bambi's mom taking a bullet look like something from a Precious Moments catalog. Anyway, The Incredibles was filled with aspects of that darkness, that "bad things can happen to good people and even good kids." There was real conflict between Helen and Bob. To me, it felt like Pixar was shooting for something different. Not all moody and brooding, but honest and accessible.
That potential looks like it might be there again with Wall-E. I have no idea if it is going to be dark or brooding or have marital arguments over the kids but from some of the rumors flying around it definitely sounds like Pixar is going for different and potentially ballsy. I hope this works out. I really want to be excited over the release of an animated film again. Between Wall-E and Horton Hears a Who, 2008 might be a very exciting year.
*see trailer HERE
I'm intentionally avoiding everything I can about Ratataouille. The trailers look pretty unimpressive....but I thought the same about Monsters, Nemo and The Incre....ok, bull, I loved the Incredibles from the first moment I laid eyes on Bob Parr's round, spandex covered belly. But Nemo and Monsters were way iffy starting out. With both of those films I was soooo happy to go in not expecting perfection but getting it (or a close damn approximation of it) up on the screen anyway (I still love you Luxo.) I'm hoping that happens again with Rat.
Sunday, June 03, 2007
So the dogs were outside freaking out and I'm all like "what the...?" and the dogs are all like "bark, bark, bark"...and I'm all ticked because they know I don't speak dog that well, especially when they're talking all fast 'en stuff. Right about then the rest of the family bum rushes me to explain that the dogs were getting gang signs flashed at them by a passing deer...which is strange since deer don't really have the appendages for proper gang signage. Anyway, we have deer in them there hills. I love it here.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
So I have a friend (surprise!) named Wade who (with another friend named Andrew...not that Andrew, a different one) made a book. It's an awesome book of sketches, drawings and all around mayhem.
Wade and Andrew's book is available for purchase HERE!
I love this book like mean people love kicking puppies...so, a lot.
You will like this book...I garauntee it. I'm so sure you will like this book that if you buy it and don't like it I will personally call you a dumbass for having bad taste.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
...me with my dumbass manchu and strange straw hat....your kung fu is good, but my kung fu has a dorky hat.
Friday, April 06, 2007
I love this industry because you can't throw a stick without hitting an incredible artist...and believe me, I throw sticks all the time....big ones, with nails in them. So after my last round of stick wielding mayhem I came across a friend's website just chock-full-of arty beautifulness.
Andrea is one of the artists at Valve, and like all of them I hate them a little every day for being so damned talented and making the rest of us want to see them get hit in the head with a stick or something...deja vu?...I think not ( love ya Andrea.) Anyway, take a trip on over to Andrea's site and bask in her artistic brothy goodness. It'll make you a better person and earn you brownie points with god.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Todays phrase: "That's the duck's nuts"
That just leaves a mental image that is both distrubing and freakin' hysterical all at the same time.
Remember, use it three times and an angle gets it's wings, then kills a kitten.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Over at Ain't it Cool News they have a small write up on Shane Acker's dark and wonderfull short film "9". Seems like Tim Burton has taken a liking to it and is setting Shane up to direct a feature version full of big name star voice talent. I hope they keep the feel of the short. Will be interesting to see though since so much of the great vibe of the short comes from the fact that it's all in the body performances. Not a word needed to be spoken.
Anyway, here's the short...sorry for the quality. Youtube probably isn't the best venue to present this fine piece of work.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Here's a nice over seas trailer for Pixar and Brad Bird's next flick. Kinda slow but still beautiful. I'm looking forward to Ratatouille. I wasn't a huge fan of Cars and I'm hoping this is a return to form for the house that Luxo built. Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate it by any means. It's beautiful...BEAUTIFUL if every respect except story, which is why it was a disappointment. I know "they" say there are no original ideas left (which, for the most part is true according to the never ending flood of mediocrity spewing onto the movie screens) but Pixar's strength was taking that idea and making it their own and making it "their own" made it feel fresh and new...well to me at least. Cars didn't feel like that, it didn't feel like it was a story unique to the talents of the great story department in Emeryville. I'm not saying that every other Pixar film is perfect, but man, they're all damn entertaining and all in my top 20 animated films. Cars story felt, well, plain and predictable. I guess it's kinda hard to follow something like The Incredibles and maybe that has biased my opinion of Cars...wow, have I gone off on a tangent. Anyway, I'm really looking forward to Rata-ta-tat-tat-tatouille.
I loved TMNT when they came out in the original black and white comics. I loved TMNT when they came out with the animated series. Dear lord, I loved TMNT when the video game hit and sucked up countless quarters and I even loved all of the live action movies....yeah, even the one with Vanilla Ice in it. I was a little leery about the idea of a new Turtle movie. It just felt like all the other 80's merchandise that's making a comeback...but man, after seeing this last trailer/featurette I have to say that I am seriously excited about this. This is fun, different...it's not talking, fuzzy, smart ass animals trying to out smart the humans and live happily ever after...it's talking, smart ass, genetically altered reptiles who eat pizza and kick ass....the only thing that would make this better would be if they fought hordes of the undead. They could be our only hope (since Zombies obviously don't eat turtles....d'uh!)...ok, I digress. This movie will own the monkey's heinie.
Monday, March 12, 2007
A few years ago I loaded up the truck and headed down to Austin with some friends to catch this at the Alamo Draft house. Mike Judge and Don Hertzfeldt were there along with a million adoring fans...ok, closer to a couple hundred drunk animation geeks. It was tons of fun and ended with a 2am run to the I-Hop down the street from our hotel...all of us enjoyed the goodness of pankcakes, except for Gas. He was too busy being unconscious.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Saturday, February 10, 2007
I don't get to see Keith Lango get all soft inside about a lot of stuff so it was really fun reading his post about Ardman's "Purple and Brown " shorts. Stop by and read his post then hop on over to YouTube for all the fun. If you don't laugh at these then you're dead inside
Caught this over at Cartoon brew. Remember when they did a shot for shot remake of Psycho?...it took me a while to like a Vince Vaughn film again and, well, Gus Van Sant is dead to me. But this take on Geri's game feels like an homage to me and a definite labor of geek filled love.
Got this, from of all places, Aint it cool news....
In addition to confirming for the first time that a third "Toy Story" is in the works, most likely for 2009 release, Lasseter said Lee Unkrich will helm it. Unkrich co-directed "Toy Story 2," "Monsters, Inc." and "Finding Nemo" but has never before been sole helmer on a Pixar pic…
Michael Arndt, Oscar-nominated scribe of "Little Miss Sunshine," is penning the script.
Lasseter also revealed a behind-the-scenes shift at Walt Disney Feature Animation -- which is separate from Pixar but also under the control of Lasseter and Catmull -- by announcing that Chris Williams, a vet story artist at the Mouse, is now directing 2008 release "American Dog." Pic was developed and previously under the control of "Lilo & Stitch" helmer Chris Sanders, who recently left Disney.
Catmull denied speculation that Walt Disney Feature Animation may become a 2-D-only studio, with Pixar handling CGI, though he did confirm the Mouse will bring back hand-drawn pics.
"We're really excited about that and have brought back some great directors to work on that," he said, presumably referring to "The Frog Princess," a 2-D pic being developed by "Aladdin" and "Treasure Planet" helmers Ron Clements and John Musker, whom Lasseter brought back to Disney last year. That pic is believed to be on the fast track and may be the division's next release after "American Dog."
...I am excited about 2D coming back to the house of mouse (but most of us have known that for a bit) and I'm interested in seeing Lee Unkrich on his own but I'm not sure about "An American Dog" without Chris Sanders. And, honestly, TS2's ending...well, I wasn't a huge fan of the ending but it felt like a pretty good period at the end of that story. No one wanted to see it done by Disney sans Pixar and I'm really not sure I want to see it done by Pixar at this point. Wasn't it just a couple years ago that Jobs said they had more than enough original content, what's the point of doing sequels?....well Mr Lasseter, what's the point?
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Monday, February 05, 2007
Saturday, February 03, 2007
Thursday, February 01, 2007
My buddy Mike Walling has a new version of his sight up and running. Pop on over and take a looksy wontcha? If you know Mike then you know he'll be good at keeping fresh stuff posted in his blog section as well as having some fun work of his own up. And be careful or you just might learn a thing or two...stay in school, don't do drugs.
Monday, January 29, 2007
Not sure how long this will be up. Fun little bit of test animation. I'm looking forward to Pixar characters with arms and legs again. Enjoy.
UPDATE: Yup, it got yanked. Didn't think it would last long but it was more than enough to wet my appetite to see it when it hits theaters. So, in it's stead the Ratatouille Trailer.....in German!
UPDATED UPDATE: yeah, it's back....enjoy.
Monday, January 22, 2007
Friday, January 19, 2007
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
It sucks when you have to leave a studio you've been at for a while. And not because of the studio itself, but the people. We all know that the people you work with can make or break a job. So when you get the opportunity to work with some of those folks again at another place...well, it's just freakin' awesome!!! My pal Hamish McKenzie started at Valve yesterday! For those of you who don't know of the mighty McKenzie, he is the tool master of macaronikazoo fame. He's also on my cool people list even though he got me to eat vegemite....I don't know how many cat owners there are out there but, there' a product for cats called "petromalt". You give it to your cat to prevent hairball issues.......in Australia they package it and sell it as a cracker spread and call it vegemite. Anyway, he and his wonderful family are here...now if I can only get him to try mountain oysters.
Friday, January 05, 2007
Surprisingly, there are blogs not devoted to animation-n-such. Dooce.com is one of them. If you have kids (or just hear the voices in your head...it's pretty much the same either way) then give her stuff a read. Sarcastic, irreverent and my new addiction (hey, Burke watches "America's Next Top Model...I've got Dooce.com, so back off.)
I had the good fortune of watching "The Very First Noel". Some friends from the DNA days worked on it. All I can say is Wow! I won't ramble like I did with Monster House. Plain and simple, this thing is ten kinds of awesome. Unlike "Teletubbies Hanukka Sleepover" "The Very First Noel" really is an instant classic.
I've tried a few times to get through Polar Express. Beyond the creepiness of the zombie eyed, children of the damned expressions on all the kids, which was freaky enough on it's own ( as has been stated by a ba-jillion folks by now) I just couldn't get into the story. Bored me to tears. Anyway, that "burn me once, shame on you" mentality is why I've avoided "Monster House" since it opened last summer.
After some positive words from some of the folks at work ( I don't trust critics by nature, not because they suck or anything...they just creep me out is all, getting paid to sit in the dark, all alone doin' god knows what...just gives me the heebie-jeebies, the same way that I'm creeped out by clowns and mullets)....I digress. So I finally get up the nerve to put my eyes through what I was sure was going to be a visual beating of "Turkish Starwars" proportions and instead I'm greated by a damn good movie.
I would say that Monster House is better than it should be but that would just be a knee jerk reaction to the fact that I loath "performance crapture". I've heard folks compare it to films like Ghoonies (from back in my day....god, I feel old) and they're right. This wasn't a promotional tie in heavy, pop culture reference laden, furry forest critters taking on global warming/hunters/extinction/chlamydia extravaganza with bugs and a side of fries (no offense to anyone, I love fries.) It was three kids, the crazy old man across the street and a house that eats people....a freakin' house that eats people. I shouldn't have to say anything after that...it's like saying "it's snakes....on a plane", that should be all you need.
It's a house....THAT EATS PEOPLE!!!
Thursday, January 04, 2007