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FEBRUARY 2004

02.27.04
* It is FRICKEN SLOW out here with regards to Stop Motion or something related. I have nothing. I could spend some hours seaching but I have to make a living doing something else. So.... nobody has the guts to send me some Gossip? Anybody working on CORPSE BRIDE? Why are they so quiet? If the apathy continues at this rate .... everyone so secretive .... Stop Motion will certainly be buried soon.
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02.20.04
* Please welcome Clay Animator website! A new ally-partner in our battle against the ever encroaching CGI Forces. I do not know who is behind this new website but whoever it is, they have done the research. The home page has a jazzy-inspiring opening. The site is available in different languages (you don't need translation site)! Designed to be fun and interactive via Flash. For modem users it might be slightly slow to initially download each of the pages. Flash is not too bad if it is not overused (most of the world still has dial-up). They have lots of interesting links. No one website can cover it all .... but each one of us can "contribute to whole" to help spread the Stop Motion Gospel across the Globe and keep it alive! When you visit their website, please email Clay Animator and say Hello & Welcome and that Stop Motion Works referred you.
NOTE: Just a suggestion to webmasters .... When "you borrow" pictures or material from other websites, it is GOOD PRACTICE , to "ask" and/or give "credit" to the source. We should be UNITED in our struggle for Stop Motion's survival!

* Perhaps some of you may not know the God Father of Stop Motion .... Ray Harryhausen. Before Computer Animation was supposedly Cool ..... Uncle Ray was doing Creature Character Animation using Stop Motion ....a pioneer in commercial stop motion for mass public entertainment. His book is available at Amazon and listen to some MP3 audio of him Here
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Special Weekend Edition .... 02.15.04
* Well ...this is not about Stop Motion but about our Traditional 2D Animation Brothers. Even though they may have not had any interest in Stop Motion Animation (which usually gets shafted in the biz), I feel at this time, in this climate of CGI World Take Over, we should UNITE with 2D. Here is a plug for Triplets of Bellville ....I found this, and reprinting here:
" TRIPLETS Goes Wide. After nearly three full months of playing the art house circuit, Sylvain Chomet's 'Triplets of Bellville' is expanding into 470 theaters around North America this weekend (February 13). In Los Angeles, TRIPLETS will now be playing in nearly 40 theaters compared to just 4 last weekend. An art house film making the leap into the mainstream megaplexes after three months of release is a fairly rare occurence and almost unheard of for an animated film. Sony Pictures Classics should be commended for having the confidence in this film to push it into wider release. TRIPLETS has a half-page color ad in today's edition of the LA TIMES "
LIO Note: Doing web search, there are only a few minor negative reviews but most seem to be
positive .... here is well known film critic, Roger Ebert's review. At Yahoo Movies, see if you can find it playing near you.

Special Weekend Edition .... 02.14.04
* King Kong re-make in Black & White? Director, Peter Jackson might consider it? I think that is awesome, however, I am guessing that the studio suits might crap in their pants because it goes against their supposed statistical formulas that all current films have to be "in color"? Recently, I was kind of bummed-out about the King Kong remake .... see my comments below (scroll down to 02.06.04). Peter Jackson is going to do Kong as a 1930's period piece. Again, I think a Black & White new King Kong sounds pretty exciting to me. Black & White is now usually used by photographers & filmmakers as an artistic/creative tool to add surealism or a dream-like quality. Another option might be to mute/flatten the colors .... or kind of a sepia tone? I think Peter Jackson should go for it! Also, throw in some hi-tech Stop Motion for a few of the background creatures? Do it for Grandpa Obie and Uncle Ray !

* The documentary Monster Road, about the Life of Underground Stop Motion-Clay-Organic Animator, Bruce Bickford, won the "Best Documentary" jury prize at the Slamdance Film Festival, last month. I was informed that it was a good time had by all. Bruce Bickford was there to talk to people and hand out his unique business cards, each of which contained a tiny clay figure! There will be some screenings in the San Francisco area .... April 2nd at The Sonoma Valley Film Festival and April 3rd at the Other Cinema. For other screenings you can check the producer's/filmmaker's website (they did the documentary) at Bright Eye Pictures. Mark your calendars or enter in your PDA's!
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02.09.04
* I have commented in the past about the irony, how supposedly, old fashioned and out-dated Stop Motion is being kept alive and in the public eye via the "high-tech" internet communications medium. Many arcane or esoteric things have a "new life", thanks to the internet! From the Macworld website there is an article briefly describing how to do Stop Motion. More publicity and exposure for our art/craft!

* What do you think? Those attempting to imitate Stop Motion look and feel with Cgi? That is what EyeBall NYC thought with their promo spots for Cartoon Network.
Here is quote:
"Inspired by the style of Rankin/Bass television classics such as 'Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer' (1964) and 'Frosty the Snowman' (1969), EyeballNYC designers chose a low-tech, homemade, Stop-Motion feel"
Some still images here and you can read more here. Why don't they just use the frikken REAL Stop Motion? IMO, it does not look like Stop Motion. Today's digital-pixel studios & the "suits" just DON'T GET IT! I can only guess, that they think, they can fake the Stop Motion look and supposedly get away with it, doing it more cheaply with computers. Well ...in my opinion ....NOT!
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02.06.04
* It appears that the Handwriting is on the Wall with regards to Peter Jackson's King Kong remake. Alias, a Silicon Graphics company (makers of Maya animation software) confirming strategic business alliance with Weta Digital. Just my observation here: King Kong remake may possibly be heavily digitally-pixel created, and perhaps Traditional Effects being restricted to miniatures, maybe prosthetics makeup, props, etc. Lord of the Rings was the showcase of Weta's abilities, and now, Peter Jackson seems to be heading towards predominately high-tech pixel route, like George Lucas. Also, not too long ago, I heard that actor Andy Serkis who was motion captured and did Gollum's voice, might be working on Kong remake. So .... Kong might also be heavily motion captured? I really feel like a jerk ..... pleading & begging on the SMA.com board, 1--2--3, to perhaps include quick scenes of state-of-the-art Stop Motion in the Kong remake. Perhaps the background Stop Motion creatures? It would be a homage to Willis O'brien and Ray Harryhausen. They were the pioneers of pre-cgi creature character special effects. What a stupid dream I had and obviously, Stop Motion will NOT even be considered by Peter Jackson.

* Included with other celebrities, Uncle Ray receives the UK's Empire Award

* 'Kong' remains groundbreaking chapter in American Cinema .... by Terry Price

* LATE BREAKING NEWS .... "An Hour with Peter Jackson" , TONIGHT / FRIDAY
The Charlie Rose Show ..... check your local TV schedule.
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02.03.04
* Cuppa Coffee signs second season deal for JoJo's Circus the new hit pre-school show for Disney. Cuppa Coffee now in production for A Very Barry Christmas .... a one hour Stop Motion Christmas special, directed by an Aussie, Andrew Horne (Leunig). A new pre-school show called Bruno to be unveiled at MiP-TV. Stop Motion TV series The Wrong Coast nears completion for Cuppa Coffee & Blueprint Ent./Curious Pictures. Here is an older article about it. Debuts in April in Canada. Seems like debut date in USA is still not determined yet from AMC. It looks like Cuppa Coffee is always in the process of expanding their studio operations. As I said in previous news & comments, Stop Motion and just general animation, seems to be Hot in Canada! Here is rumor but cannot confirm yet: With Disney's loss of Pixar association, buzz is .... Cuppa Coffee to be the Pixar replacement Studio? Stop Motion/CG Feature being touted by the studio. If anyone has heard any more information about this, please let me know. As always ...anonymously & confidential!

* Die hard Stop Motion aficianados, I am sure have heard of Mackinnon & Saunders. They don't do actual production of Stop Motion animation but are behind the scenes puppet fabrication studio extrodinaire! Well .... the above website was almost non-existant .... it was previously only one page ..... and perpetually "under construction" for about two frikken years! It looks like they finally decided to work on their site. What took you so long M & S? Come on .... get with it and start marketing yourself! Lets keep Stop Motion in the public eye and you certainly should advertise yourself! Hey .... I say this with a good spirit and I'm only putting a little flame under people's butts!

* Our own Marc Spess of AnimateClay.com is starting to promote himself now with his planned project Zombie Pirate (pending funding/project backers). He is featured at Short Filmmaker's Alliance . He wrote an article for them about his project and included some cool behind the scenes photos. His article and photos reminds me of the articles from the ol' Cinemagic Magazines! Hey Marc ..... one of these days you're going to have to reveal photos of yourself to the public, in order to promote your project. You cannot hide in the closet forever! Marc did post a photo of himself a long time ago and I kind of know how he looks.
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