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April 2008

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04.26.08
* Clay Animation FX for 'Brave New World' Movie? ... So, about a 1-1/2 weeks ago, a random lurker dropped out of the cyber virtual darkness and did a few hit & run posts at Stopmotionanimation.com. It was about a project in the works, and the mysterious poster, looking for people. Only a few sentences, "I am looking for clay-animators, so to speak, for a brave new world movie. They would need to handle about a fifth of the FX for the film.". Person posting calls himself Bolling Chad. His messageboard profile is zero, nada, zilch. Who is he? Searching the Net, only showed a 'Chad Bolling' but not 'Bolling Chad'. Then some forum members politely asked 'Chad' for more details. Again, some more micro-brief responses,"I'm in Los Angeles. Its a paying gig ..... I can tell you that Universal is the big studio behind it ....". So, what's up with Bolling Chad? Does he have carpal tunnel syndrome or rheumatoid arthritis in his fingers that makes him unable to keyboard/write more details? Artists should be treated more professionally and shown some respect! Examples of good, seeking Stop Mo talent/applicants, messageboard 'inquiries': 1 - 2 - 3

What about you out here, lurking? Specifically, YOU down there in Tinsel Town, California; the Stop Motion Underground . No one can provide me with any kind of info, rumors, or buzz, about this project that's going to include some Clay Animation special effects? Stop Motion Works' policy, has always been, that we do not reveal sources. You are guaranteed anonymity. Geeez, thanks for not helping me. Always have to do it myself ; cannot count-on/rely on others. Okay, I better stop, as I am starting to get worked-up . Here is the entire very short topic at messageboard from Mr. Chad, "Clayanimation".

So, I dug this up: Huxley’s Brave New World coming to Big Screen and it appears that Universal Studios, Director Ridley Scott and Actor Leonardo DiCaprio are some of the players on this project. I do not recall all the details of the 'Brave New World' story. So, perhaps, the Clay Animation special effects for dream or people hallucinating under drugs scenes?? If that is so, if anyone can get in touch with Ridley Scott, tell him about Bruce Bickford (look at BrightEye Pictures). Bruce known for some mind blowing, free form, all natural (no CGI), wild, psychedelic-like, & maybe, disturbing Clay Animation. If you think about it, how rare this is; a big mainstream feature with mega-bucks behind it, and they are going with some traditional special effects instead of all CGI?? EDIT: 04.27.08

* Stop Motion Animator 'PES' reveals himself ... Well, sort of. I always thought, he seemed kind of secretive and as far as I know, I have not seen any photos of him. For whatever reason some people want to remain aloof or be enigmatic and also, do not want their faces shown publicly. Perhaps, intentional or maybe, some are just paranoid or phobic? I have been trying to be mysterious, but if I did that, then the Art of Stop Motion might go under , IF I am not active out here lobbying, promoting, talking it up, etc.. You take me for granted. Not right you letting only the few (not just me) bear all the burden . Back to PES .... he specializes in animating objects from everyday objects, toys, candy, and any consumer goods you can get off the shelf then assembles them together to resemble familiar but highly stylized imagery. He does not use any stop motion armatures/puppets in his animations. Looks like he has had some degree of success doing some commercial ad work. Read this short blurb/article where PES somewhat exposes himself , PES Breathing new life into animation According to Wikipedia (they are not always right with info), his real name is Adam Pesapane. The EatPES website. EDIT: 04.27.08
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04.19.08
* More Dinosaurs coming at you! B-Movie popularity emerging? .... Independent producer/director/special effects dude, Larry Arpin has been working on Galactic Raiders for a few years now. Occasionally, I would get random updates from Larry. In the past, I had suggested to him, to put up a website and apparently he has, just this year (link at end of my ramble). Very ambitious, especially because Galactic Raiders is independent and I am guessing, mostly personally financed by Larry. Where are all you Tinsel Town Suits? You throw away gazillions of dollars on mega mainstream same looking homogenized Hollywood-ized works, but you are so tight & cheap to invest in independent features. Is there not $Bread & Butter$ in direct to DVD movies? Think Out-of-the-Box. You spend waaaay less on the product and use aComing Soon to your local DRIVE-IN!lternative distribution means.

Larry decided to go with ol' school traditional special effects ambiance and specifically, using Stop Motion with very Harryhausen-esque style.Yes, Real Stop Motion Dinosaur puppets and blending/compositing looking similar to Uncle Ray'swork. Shot using 35mm movie camera. According to Larry's bio, he has lots of experience in the movie biz, behind the scenes in the area of special effects, especially ol' school optical effects work. When you see the brief teaser clips from Galactic Raiders, you will note that the cinematic style is more conservative. No dizzying excess camera, computer gaming-style frenetic camera motion, which bores me many times and a distraction when overdone. A stylistic gimmick which we see in current movies to look 'Cool & Happening'.

So, what is Larry going to do with with Galactic Raiders? Direct to DVD or what? When can we expect some news of release? Larry, if you read this: If this is going to DVD, you GOT TO HAVE behind the scenes featurettes! Not just interview with the actors, but also good coverage of how you did this, interview with Stop Mo people, puppet fabricator, other's on the crew. Also, how you did the compositing and other special effects nuggets. In my view, these extras will greatly enhance Galactic Raiders, not only as a pulp fun kind of movie but collectors item.

Okay here are the links, this smaller MB size preview clip was posted at someone's site/blog, Stop Motion Dinosaurs on Another Planet. Then Larry's 'Official', Galactic Raiders website. It is a slightly 'Flash' website. At the site, there is larger screen version of the teaser clip. A little difficult to navigate/find. You have to click through to page 12 and look at right of browser window/screen to see the navigation menu.

* Jason and the Argonauts: Remake Trailer .... One of the plethoric mega thousands of YouTube-o-ites, did, kind of an animatic, imaginary preview of a new Jason film remake. He grabbed existing clips from current CGI digital effects mythological type movies, and cleverly edited together to produce a fake, coming soon trailer. It is not exactly seamless but IMO, very creative. It gives you a sense of potential/possibilities. You will see that he used some shots from the originalStop Motion Jason & Argonauts. Using quick edits/cuts, fast pacing, matched to the tempo beats of a good soundtrack/music, then intercutting with the current movies. The overall effect, is that, even Ray Harryhausen's over 40 year old classic scenes, looks pretty damn good & slickified, in this repackaged, made-up preview.

Now, can you just imagine what we could do with the latest State of the Art Stop Motion for creature effects: Use the same dizzying cinematic style & techniques (in moderation) that are used in current movies, then digitally composite and enhanced post special effects digi-tweaking??
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04.12.08
* When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth ..... A 1971 film Oscar nominated for best visual special effects which included very clean, detailed & fluid Stop Motion Animation work. Stiff competition from the big Corporate Disney boys, with their Bedknobs and Broomsticks, which took the Academy Award. The special effects for When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth was custom crafted via ol' school tradtional special effects using similar techniquies as the Great Ray Harryhausen, however, it was his Stop Motion predecessor, Jim Danforth who helmed the special FX which was masterfully, skillfully, & most creatively, excuted with NO use of digital computer tools (did not exist at time). Also, using a very small special effects crew, compared to the excess Army of special effects ultra-specialists of today. One of film posters.

A bit of trivia: The 'Studio Suits' of that time, insisted to Jim Danforth, that NO Dinosaurs be used that walked on two legs (bipedal) because the Suits thought the Dinos would look as though they were walking in High Heel Shoes?? Stupid, stupid, stupid SUITS! That is the reason why you see in WDRE, a 4 legged Mother & Baby Dinos, which does not represent any paleontological accurate Dinosaur (such as T-Rex, Bronto, etc) but an imaginary creation by Jim to meet the idiotic demand of the Suits. My critique of WDRE, is primarily the story. Verrrry slow & ponderous. The special visual effects for the film was the saving grace & high point. Just my observational gut feeling: Perhaps, WDRE story was somewhat underwhelming, which may have contributed & influenced the Oscar people in giving the award to Disney. From the world of YouTube, here are clips of some of the scenes. It would be better experience on a TV set screen in your home, but for now, enjoy some highlights: When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth

Addendum: To the best to my knowledge, Jim Danforth was the overall key designer & creator who was responsible for WDRE Special Effects, including most all of the Stop Motion sequences. Of course, Jim had assistance from highly skilled crew which included, Roger Dicken & others. In addition, animator David Allen & 1 who contributed to the Chasmosaurus dinosaur Stop Motion scenes. EDIT: 04.13.08
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04.05.08
* Cardboard Stop Motion TRON from France ..... So, another Geeky'ish-Internety word I just discovered, Sweded, which the geeks say, applies to this Stop Mo piece. Geez, being an Ol' Fart , I am just getting use to the word Blogging. This Tron recreation is of the Light Cycle race scene, done in very low tech fashion using cardboard and other very simple props. Then, all given LIFE via Stop Motion Animation. Very creative & resourceful. Also, please note that no 'armatures' of any kind, used. The key person behind it was Freres Hueron & his original video post of this is at Daily Motion site. Just about an exact match to the original with soundtrack taken from the Tron film by writer/director Steven Lisberger. So I suppose, I am doing my share & contributing to its Viral spread. EDIT: 04.06.08
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* Frames Per Second Magazine's, Emru Townsend ..... He is the founder of FPS mag. So, I click on FPS mag link and find out that Emru is going through some tough personal times. About 3 months ago, he was diagnosed with Leukemia. Actually, I do not know him personally, but in the past, every once in awhile I would get some ocassional news or bulletins from his his sister, Tamu Townsend. So much that you absorb from the Internet but maybe forget that there are living flesh & blood people behind this cyber virtual internet medium. Emru has done some past Podcasts related to animation and you can hear him, to confirm that he is very much real. Emru knowledgeable, articulate, talented & prolific, as he has several sites or blogs with special interest in the Animation scene via FPS Mag (since 1991). He has hosted and/or sponsered animation events in Canada (his home base), that has included Stop Motion. Read Help Save Emru's Life. Some links there and most importantly, information about the Bone Marrow Registry.
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