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JULY 2003

07.28.03
* Here's kind of a soft news article about the metaphorical CGI T-Rex stomping on the traditional 2D Bambi Hollywood Draws the Line Between 2D, 3D Mostly about 2D animators abandoning their traditional work and crossing-over into computer pixel-digital world. The 2D animators mentioned do not appear to be independent artists but seem to have primarily done drawn type animation for mainstream industry. Us Stop Motionist can only sit on the fence and observe this CGI saturation phenomenon and see what happens as the masses even get more flooded with visual eye-candy calories. Unfortunately we do not even have a so-called Stop Motion Industry (there never really was one) to whine and complain about things because we are mostly disregarded by Hollywood. We have always been kind of an underground, outsider, renegade type of group.
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07.25.03
* IMO, this is a very good article and another spin about CGI overkill The Problem with FX . At the SMA boards we talk about this but it is great that some in the media are starting to see it too. I already have posted a number of past news/articles which indicates more public awareness.

* We all know that Stop Motion in the past & present has usually been screwed and never really given a chance in mainstream. This article No-more-pencils animation reveals Disney's desperation and are abandoning much of their roots, "hand drawn animation". Welcome to the club all you traditional 2-D people. Now you know how us micro-scopic group of stop motion aficianados feel like. I say this with a little sarcasm. Article mostly talks about mainstream animation, which is kind of homogenized and they all tend to copy each other. I would think other animation styles should hopefully continue in the independent or other markets.

* This USA article, IBM makes play for 'next-generation Pixar' discloses that IBM is also jumping on the CGI bandwagon. More synthetic visual eye candy being dumped onto the masses. I wonder how much more saturation will continue? Not everything that is CGI will necesarily be a hit. I know that is what the studio suits might myopically think. IBM in association with Threshold , will be producing an all CGI feature called Food Fight. Here's their PR hype, "one of the most complex digitally animated feature films ever produced," with 138 main characters, 6,254 secondary characters and 174 sets". Front office "suits" thinks CGI complexity is the answer? I say .... very stupid rationalization. Maybe they are forgetting about good story & characters?
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07.18.03
* For about a week there has been a problem with my Contact Email Form. It is fixed now. As always, you can remain anonymous if you wish to send me news, buzz or announcements and you do not need to put your return email. Even if you did include your email, it is my policy never to reveal my sources; however, if you have comments, feedback or questions, you should include your email.
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07.16.03
* Cuppa Coffee Studios in Toronto, Canada is animating a new primetime Stop Motion show for AMC called, The Wrong Coast. Production is underway and slated to start airing, December 3rd '03 (13 x half hour shows). Executive producers, Blueprint Entertainment in association with Curious Pictures. Here are a couple of press releases from C21 Media News and TV Barn Ticker. Cuppa Coffee, reportedly now the biggest stop motion studio world wide. Animation and production crews now number over 300 people. Currently in production: Jo Jo's Circus (Disney) and The Wrong Coast (AMC). In Pre-production: Ted's Bedin Development: A Very Barry Christmas.

Well, this is a breath of good news! In the past, Will Vinton Studios use to be big in Stop Motion but unfortunately that is no longer. Stop Motion production in USA for now, seems to be in hibernation. In some of my previous comments here and on the SMA message boards, I always had a feeling Stop Motion resurgence or comeback might possibly originate now, from outside the USA . Studios here too addicted to CGI and I do not think it is necessarily because the audience supposedly "only wants" computer generated products, but maybe because the public is not being given any other choice or options. Thankfully, our neighbors in Canada are carrying-on the Stop Motion Torch and perhaps they will inspire the mainstream "Studio Suits" here.
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07.11.03
* As I have said in my past mini-rants or free flow thought streams ..... Stop Motion has usually been shafted by mainstream or never given a chance with better production budgets. So "we stop motionists" are accustomed to the rough treatment. Now the people doing Traditional Cel/Drawn Animation (for mainstream work) are perhaps starting to feel the wrath and pain of the CGI New World Order / Juggernaut , where homogenization will one day rule! This very brief article from USA Today gives their generalized opinion (which I do not necessarily agree with) Old-style animation flounders As usual, the mainstream Hollywood suits in power, with their myopic & shortsighted vision, mistakenly think the CGI animation method will supposedly assure them success? That's pretty stupid rationalization from the studios. This other article which is pretty good Sequels are Fish Food, points out that the film going audiences are not dumb, and there is lacking, original stories with individuality. As I see it, mainstream Hollywood is very cowardly in taking chances on different kinds of films. I have complained before.... Why don't the studios invest in smaller budgeted films (less risk) that experiment more with originality instead of blowing their money-wad on Mega-budget movie productions or retreads/sequels? Studios seem to want almost instant profit returns from a hopeful big blockbuster (which is a huge gamble) and they do not seem have the patience anymore for a longer term $$$ recovery via the smaller films (one may become a sleeper hit/success)

* Well, I saw the Hulk movie. I liked the story because it goes into the origins/ birth of the Hulk and had a dark tone to it. I do not know how well it did at the box office and IMO, that should not necessarily be an indicator of a so-called good movie. Only the money grubbing mainstream Hollywood suits seem to be concern with opening box office ticket sales. Also, I am not sure if a Hulk sequel would be successful. Hulk would only be battling other super power villans (kind of predictable or dull maybe). I am guessing, because Hulk was directed by Ang Lee, he has a different artistic style or sensibilities than Hollywood indoctrinated directors. In Hulk, Ang Lee almost had NO funny jokes or one liners that are typical sometimes of mainstream Hollywood films. The characters in Hulk were usually played serious and with slight exaggeration. To me, it was refreshing without the corny, lame, or predictable joke one liners but maybe this is why the pimple faced teenager might not go for the Hulk movie (more adult theme). As for the CGI / Special Effects, I have mixed feelings .... the Hulk character actions and some of the special effects may have went too extreme and Hulk just defies laws of gravity & reality and not believable. Here is article about that The Funny Thing About Animation A new phrase I heard describing CGI ..... the Hard Cartoon. Some shots of Hulk do work, especially in the darker lit scenes where some emotion, feeling & drama is evoked when Hulk is with the lady character (played by Jennifer Connelly). As I said in other comments in the past, CGI to me, is not a reproduction of true photo-realism with regard to natural or organic life forms. It might be similar, but I do not really care about synthesizing reality. Stop Motion, also cannot represent true reality but more of a surreal or other-worldly look or feel. In these type of genre movies, depending on story and context, I think "photoreal" can be subjective and an "interpretation". Like Stop Motion, CGI also has it's own look of surrealness qualities. Again, do not misinterpret what I am saying .... CGI and all these digital special effects toys are amazing & useful tools and enhances the visual experience for the audience, to a new level, but maybe a little more restraint or like I have said before, Less is More might sometimes be more effective.
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07.02.03
* I just received a special request from someone close to Ray Harryhausen and I can vouch who the person is. If anyone attended the Ray Harryhausen ceremonies/events in June, Uncle Ray would very much like to have copies of photos / pictures of this Stop Motion historical event. I would need permission from you so that I can forward the images. For further details Contact me

* An article from the LA Times regarding studios/producers jumping into the all CGI animated bandwagon just because they (mistakenly) think some of the successful animated features like Finding Nemo and others in the past were because of Computer Animation? That is kind of dumb logic. It is a good article but as usual, Stop Motion is not really out there in current mainstream and it is understandable why usually it's not mentioned much (in the article) but only very, very briefly with reference to Chicken Run . Well worth reading Hunt for Computer Animated Hits

* As far as I know, only a few of announced Stop Motion content features coming out in mainstream; one not mentioned too often is The Life Aquatic with Henry Selick involved on that project. If you go to my 06.11.03 news item, I have some links about that. Then there is the obviously more well known, Tim Burton's Corpse Bride. The other one is Aardman's Tortoise vs. Hare which has been in "limbo" for awhile and instead, they will be doing Wallace & Gromit: The Great Vegetable Plot 1 - 2 which I assume is in production now. All the information is kind of vague and apparently kept somewhat secretive. Even on Aardman's website I could not find any information, updates, or any teasers about W & G movie. Not very good marketing. Stop Motion needs more publicity!


 

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