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Variety article – Age of CGI Overkill

May 7, 2015

Yes, I agree. Of course, I was ranting like a crazy man :o many years ago about this in my early blogs and sometimes would jokingly say, “CGI Worldwide Take Over”. My prediction and those of many others has come true. The movie making industry is entrenched in push button creation of visual imagery. As the author of this article comments … CGI hollow, audience growing weary. However, in my view, the major tent pole gazillion dollar mega-productions are relying on INTERNATIONAL Box Office. Corporate studios, I am speculating, thirsting to get their wannabee mega blockbusters into a country like mainland China (for example) … a HUMONGOUS audience there that will go gah-gah & loco for Westernized entertainment products.

For many years, what I do not understand about mega-blockbusters – With all these Internationally targeted mega-billion dollar box office profits that the corporate studio machines are raking in, where are the public/audiences getting their money to spend on theater tickets? Such as, if median average income is lower in other countries … are they sacrificing other essential things, so that they may indulge & buy movie tickets or what? But that is off topic and I digress :mrgreen:

This is short article, however after you read it, scroll down that page and especially READ the COMMENTS-REPLIES to the article ….

‘Avengers’ and the Age of CGI Overkill in Hollywood

Topics: Films - Shorts - Animation, Special Effects | No Comments »

Unfinished Willis O’Brien Documentary

April 27, 2015

I was surprised to see this. I thought almost everything about stop motion’s past & early history has already been out there. Ahhh … but thanks to the information (& also mis-information) excess of the internet, the good & bad secrets ‘it’ exposes! ;) There are a few documentaries about Ray Harryhausen & also George Pal, and it is rare seeing this one about Willis O’Brien/Early history stop motion.

As with most contemporary ‘docu-drama’s’, this O’Brien documentary uses re-enactments via photos and actor’s voices playing Marcel Delgado, Merriam Cooper, etc. They use montage of photo’s of the period to create sense of ‘you were there’. Also, included, very brief test of an imagined re-creation of the ‘Lost Pit Spider scene’ executed by the veteran special FX & stop motion skilled artist, Jim Danforth. Phil Tippett, Dennis Muren, Ray Harryhausen, Forrest Ackerman make appearances in this UNfinished documentary.  Running time is about 22 minutes.

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Some months ago, SMW posted ….

King Kong (1933) Missing Scenes Re-creation

Topics: Animators, Biography-Books-History, Special Effects, Stop Motion | 1 Comment »

Fish Friend (2015) – A short film

March 9, 2015

I would say, this is okay for ‘family’ viewing :) I will not reveal the actual story. Maybe watch when you have some quiet time. It is just a little over 8 minutes long.

Brief production info: This was made with some crowd-funding assistance back in 2011 and was just released recently. So it took about 3-1/2 years to complete. It is likely they worked on this in their spare time. It is mostly live action with just a small number of actors. Fish Friend does have a polished & good production look/style. The behind the scenes will give you more details ….

Fish Friend – Behind the Scenes

Topics: Behind the Scenes, Films - Shorts - Animation, Puppet Animation, Stop Motion | No Comments »

O’APOSTOLO stop motion (Spain) – Bankruptcy/Financial Problems

February 28, 2015

Someone just recently posted this at one of the facebook stop motion groups:

“The studio that created this 2012 stop motion feature is having a rough time and are finally putting it out on DVD to help bolster their livelihood. Also I believe this was the final film of horror legend Paul Naschy”

Apparently, the studio does not have the budget for theatrical release but instead,   O’ Apostolo is trying for online  download stream viewing for $1.50 Euro ($1.69 usa) or purchase of DVD, in the hopes that this might help their situation ….

Information –  Watch O’ Apostolo
(available with subtitle translations)

Here is original source article, in Spanish about ‘O’Apostolo’ difficulties which has been roughly translated into English ….

‘O Apostolo’ Damn the Last Film of Spanish Cinema (this is internet translated)

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‘O’Apostolo’ … from a few years ago … behind the scenes, part 1 & 2 (Spanish) ….

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Commentary :) ….

I recall ‘O’Apostolo’ from some years ago (about 2010-11) and we posted in past at Stop Motion Works. So ‘O’ Apostolo’, seems to have been in a ‘State of Limbo’ (or uncertainty) for about 3 to 4 years. At the time, there did not seem to be any problems. They also hired outside artists, animators, & technicians from USA & UK to work on this.

I do not know why the difficulties happened. Egos, movie biz politics, too big a project, etc?? I noticed that that the movie dialog was only made in the original language of Spanish, but available with subtitles translation. However could that be a negative in reaching audiences? You know today’s impatient short attention span audience do not want to ‘read’ subtitles in movies? Also, I am not sure of the effectiveness of ‘O’Apostolo’ promotion/advertising. I am just speculating in general.

In one of the behind the scenes videos, it was mentioned that distributors want some control of the product and they also infer, that the distributor perhaps pressured the studio to shoot O’ Apostolo in 3D Stereo. I would think, for a somewhat low budget feature film, 3D stereo would be a significant expense? Also, other contributing factors such as worldwide, the economy sucks. The name of the production studio in Spain behind ‘O’Apostolo’ is Artefacto Producciones.

It appears that ‘O Apostolo’ production budget was about $5 MILLION EURO DOLLARS. In today’s mainstream productions with their obscenely high budgets in the hundreds of millions dollars, $5 Million dollars is practically NOTHING. In my dream fantasy imagination, I would have thought a high quality production such as ‘O Apostolo would get some kind of financial support from maybe a corporate European studio. Apparently not.

Of course, it is the individual artists, technicians & the crew that suffer the consequences of a mis-managed production at the ‘upper front office’ level … not just ‘O’Apostolo’ but likely in many other productions where producers or directors have grandiose projects, are maybe indecisive (constant changing & demands) and not enough budget to carry it out to completion.

Stop Motion has always had difficulty capturing the mainstream audience. IMO, for many years, in commercial cinema history, the public have been indoctrinated by corporate studio power players to offer limited generic entertainment & visual aesthetic style choices. Audiences only bombarded now with homgenized CGI. Also, it is realized at times with the very minority few of Stop Motion animated major features, it seems to be USA centric/focused and movie audiences here USA not aware of International/worldwide Animated works.

IMDB online database info

Topics: Films - Shorts - Animation, Puppet Animation, Stop Motion | 1 Comment »

‘Hell & Back’ (2015) – A new Stop Motion feature

February 14, 2015

I recall a few years ago, hearing buzz-news about ‘Hell & Back’, then thereafter, the minor news about this project seemed to have faded away.  However, SMW’s journalist team :) revisited this and just discovered that ‘Hell & Back’ appears to be ‘in the can’ (finished shooting) and according to IMDb, scheduled to be released in 2015.

The name of the production company/studio overseeing Hell & Back, is Shadow-Machine or ShadowMachine. They are located in Los Angeles area, Southern California (USA). Well, the studio sure as HELL, have kept this production somewhat underground. You might say they kept this project ‘In the SHADOWS’? :mrgreen:

ShadowMachine does have this feature on their website as an ‘inprogress & coming soon’ project, but no updates on their website. Also as far as I know, no promotions or publicity yet for ‘Hell & Back’. If you recall, ParaNorman, Box Trolls, Frankenweenie, Corpse Bride, etc,, ALL had pre-publicity promotions & campaigns well before those stop motion features were released to theaters.

The description of of ‘Hell & Back’ as follows … “An aggressive R-rated stop-motion animated comedy about three friends and their misadventure through hell”. So if ‘Hell & Back’ does get an R-RATING, that sure would be UNIQUE for a somewhat mainstream distributed feature. Animation with more adult themes?? Could that succeed here in USA? Usually, the Tinsel Town orthodox status quo studios & producers, categorize & brand ‘Animation’ as just for KIDS.

So … Hell & Back can no longer hide … you have been ‘Outed’ ;) All YOU Animators & Studio Crew did a good job of NOT sharing this with us! For us hard-core stop motion insiders, followers, & fans … the roll call of animators is impressive such as …. Webster Colcord, Owen Klatte, Angie Glocka, Kim Blanchette, Don Waller, Justin Rasch, and others. Some animators are alumni of the iconic & classic, ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’.

Hell & Back (2015) IMDb

ShadowMachine Website

Topics: Films - Shorts - Animation, Puppet Animation, Stop Motion | No Comments »

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