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APRIL 2004

04.30.04
* In my opinion, this article Imperfection Animation is one of the best observations why real tactile animation techniques such as Stop Motion, Puppet/Clay, Cut-out animation has a uniqueness all its own and computers cannot match (they have their own look) or CGI attempts to fake it. I have done my past rants covering some of what article says but this is the most concise & cogent analysis. Most Hollywoodized producers & studio corporate suits will never understand the subtlety of this. To them, they myopically think it has to be computers only because that is the supposed flavor right now (until the flavor may eventually sour because of market glut or overexposure. Article was written by Tom Gasek, a long timer in the biz. Our paths crossed way back.... he was one of the animation directors of the Gumby TV series.

* As we all know, there are certain principles of animation and they may not always be hard and true rules and can be broken. On my site at Library > Workshop and also Library > Books there are some resources/info links about this. Here is another one I found Brian Lemay's Animation Tips They are good for many of the standard stylized, very theatrical-like or cartoon type characters but for creature photo-real or surreal there are other unwritten principles. Sorry..... there are not documented anywhere that I know of and no specific formulas. You will have to study & research on your own ..... look at Stop Motion as done by the great Harryhausen, Phill Tippett's and Jim Danforth's past work, unsung animator Pete Kleinow, Randy "LOTR" Cook's Stop Motion (before CGI switch) and some others I may have missed here. Just study them and get inspired and you may eventually discover the tricks and develop your own style. Practice, practice, test, test..... Do not just Talk .....or as someone just said on the message boards ..... AVOID "Analysis Paralysis "... just do it.
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04.22.04
* An interesting name for a studio The People's Republic of Animation A group, short on cash but looks like having much energy & creativity. The are in the Land of Oz aka Australia. Looks like they do some Stop Motion / Clay Animation. You can read about them Drawing up a new republic Unfortunately, their site is not ready with only some downloadable movies & a few pics. Don't you hate it?..... coming soon, underconstruction, etc. I do it too but keep it at a minimum. Hopefully, they will hurry-up and put some content at their site....maybe email them for encouragement!
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04.18.04 / Special Weekend Edition
* Sheeeeeeeesh ..... no rest from this news page. I generally do it only few times during the weekdays because it is difficult to find specific Stop Motion news, buzz, rumors, etc.. Marc Spess of AnimateClay.com must have plenty of free time to endlesslly search the internet and I am not going to compete with him. He just posted some verrrrrrry interesting news about Vinton Studios, in Portland, Oregon USA. They are attempting to spark some new energy & life into the Studio and I think it is a very creative and unique concept. Vinton Studios is calling it Summer Project: Backpocket. They are looking for talent, project ideas and will pay for you to stay in Portland. Sounds too good?? Well sort-of .....you will not be paid wages/salary but you will be able to work and use their production studios. They own rights to whatever you create, as per their contract, but you can use your works in your portfolio-resume. I am pretty sure they are looking for the Best, so if you have no experience it may be very, very competitive.

* Okay ..... this news item, I found and did not steal from Marc's news page. Vinton Studios has just completed an animated short called Joe Blow. It has CGI and Stop Motion. Looking at the credits .... the CGI crew is bigger and just a couple of Stop Motion animators, however, some familiar talented fabrication artists-talents that I know, when I worked at Vinton's. The character designs for Joe Blow were done by Colin Batty, who designed the main characters for The PJ's Stop Motion TV series. Joe Blow is making the rounds in a very select few theaters Joe Blow Theater Run
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04.16.04
* This is follow-up to our news item below about the Drew Carey Green Screen project (possibly for airing this summer) The E! Online article said animation would be produced by Acme Filmworks, in Hollywood. At their website, no mention of this. Also, Acme does not look like a full operating studio with equipment & production facilities, but more like a list of available Directors to call upon for projects on an, as needed basis. Acme's address is a Suite #. I am guessing, they rent studio space, equipment, and hire crew, as needed. Unfortunately, that is the way projects are done these days with little or no overhead. Much leaner way of doing business today and seems like the nature of arts-entertainment employment with the diehard nomadic talents, wandering the globe looking for work. If I am wrong about Acme, feel free to contact me
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04.14.04
* Drew Carey & company will be developing a TV project for WB network maybe similar to his live action improvisation TV show in the USA , Who's Line Is It Anyway? Comedy actors will do real non-rehearsed improv games / skits in front of a green screen ....then in post production, animated characters & backgrounds will be composited with the live action. They will use a variety of animation techniques ....stop-motion, claymation, 2-D, 3-D, and CG animation. Read Carey Going "Green"

* Last month in March news, we posted some Gumby news about movie and documentary, but I missed this one.... "Along with our movie script, we now have an exciting new pilot developed for the New Adventures of Gumby. It has the roots of the 50's, 60's, and 80's series, but shows off a new level of animation and sepecial fx never dreamed of before. Our writing team works closely with Art to keep Gumby genuine, while putting him in the new century"
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04.10.04
Special Weekend Edition
* Uncle Ray Designs Bronze Sculpture tribute to David Livingstone (1813-1873), a Scottish missionary, doctor and explorer who helped open the heart of Africa to missions. The Stop Motion Legend's wife, Diana, is a great grand daughter of Livingstone. You can see a not too clear image of the six ton bronze tribute, Livingstone & the Lion .... click on the thumbnail image to get a peek it.

* The Wrong Coast, Cuppa Coffee's TV Stop Motion series has been mentioned a few times in our news page. Here is an article talking a little about the the stop motion aspects, Smaller than Life I am not sure if this Stop Mo TV series is going to be broadcast on AMC or if it already was aired. I cannot find it on their website. If someone knows, contact me I do see that Wrong Coast is just starting to be shown on Canada's The Movie Network Has anybody watched the shows?
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04-07-04
* I am no "degreed" educator, therapist or psychologist but I bet I got more commonsense than many of them. This over reliance on the computer as the supposed magic silver bullet panacea for Mankind's problems? You know what they say ...knowledge is power, the information age ... yada, yada, yada. Sometimes I think it's, Information GLUT. Computer maybe good as an additional tool, used selectively but maybe, do not put all your eggs in one basket. IMO, technology advancing way faster than the human brain's evolutionary rate. Staring endlessly at a computer monitor, I think can deaden our senses or something. I get headaches sometimes when I am at the computer too much. We are basically, still very tactile sensory creatures which is required to grow and develop and especially kids and young people still yearn for that. Here is a brief article, Clay Movie Project Has Raised Literacy how Stop Motion has indirectly helped at risk kids. I believe ..... using your tactile senses and hands to build and create, is the root core that humans still need and stimulates the brains cells. Here is another example, Clay Animation Made Easy of a "smart" educator using Stop Motion in an elementary school curriculum
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04-02-04
* Am I good or what!? In my brief commentary last month 03-24-04 (scroll down page), I made my quick observation about a possible contributory reason to the decline of Stop Motion. Well, an online article that came out afterwards, had similar reasons about Up/Down popularity on TV....
"What's different now is that technological advances in animation make shows both cheaper and quicker to produce. Using desktop computers cuts costs dramatically. And because traditional series are often conceived and written in the U.S., then shipped to the Far East for animation, newer methods also means a much shorter production schedule -- six weeks instead of nine months, Lazzo says"
So you see .... it has reached the point where computers are significantly making it cheaper to output animation in a mass production manner, and now, outsourcing to cheap overseas labor. Even USA, CGI-Digital special effects practioners / studios might be affected by this cheap labor, even higher profit return mindset (i.e. the $bean-counters$). What an obstacle Stop Motion must overcome. Unfortunately, the mainstream film suits do not give a rat's pink butt about the subtler and unique qualities of Stop Motion. To them .... it's only an "animation product" and they seem blind to any artistic or quality aspects.Today, it would be Stop Motion SUICIDE to charge $1.5 million for a half hour stop motion show as was done in the past on the
The PJ's. Hollywood will reject it and just choose CGI or 2D methods. So, if you are an artist or studio trying to sell Stop Motion animation .... you seriously have to think about your costs. You will get the door slammed in your face if your bids are higher than current rates. It is unfortunate, but that is the brutal market and you have to suck it up and forget about making a profit killing ... underbid and your Stop Motion ideas, projects, might have a chance. If you are passionate about Stop Motion, think about the "bigger picture" to keep it ALIVE in these brutally competitive times. Extensive use of Computer Technology to assist Stop Motion is a MAJOR way to reduce expenses. Also ....cut-slash your front office staff ! How many paper pushers, middlemen, or producers do you really need? Save the money for the REAL artists and craftspeople that actually produce the animation. These are my words of wisdom for you to ponder this weekend. Here is the entire article.... Adult Cartoons Animating Networks
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