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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)


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


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 »

CHIODO BROTHERS – Underground Fame?

February 11, 2015

For those not in the USA, Chiodo Brothers have been in the special effects business for many years, applying their unique brand of effects via stop motion animation, live puppetry, full size creatures, animatronics and other FX. Their more noticeable somewhat mainstream endeavors have been in such movies as the the now cult classic, ‘Killer Klowns from Outer Space‘ (1988) and another cult hit, ‘Team America: World Police‘ (2004). They have a track record of doing MUCH work but many might not be aware of. Just do an internet search for Chiodo Brothers. Also here is list of some of credits from their website … Chiodo Bros FX credits

I have heard that the Chiodo Brothers Studio recently moved & relocated to a new larger studio location. Hopefully that is a good sign and that they will continue to explore projects to apply their unique brand of creativity … Indie Film market, video on demand, commercial advertisement, internet media, etc. Chiodo Brothers do COOL stuff!

P.S. I also see the Chiodo Brothers, through Stan Winston School, is offering web-course in stop motion! It appears, focusing on the sort of Harryhausen’esque type of puppets … Stop Motion Animation web-course Part 1


Topics: Animators, Learning-Education-Tools, Miniatures - Models - Puppets, Puppet Animation, Special Effects, Stop Motion | No Comments »

Meister Ray Harryhausen – In Time Lapse

February 5, 2015

This is a video clip briefly showing Ray Harryhausen from around 1999. At that time, he was already retired for many years. For a television documentary, he provided this demonstration. The video time lapse is looped so that it repeats. When Ray animated … computer Animation Frame Grabbers did NOT exist! The only animation tools he used were, ‘Surface Guages’ (pointer tools). Ray’s mind & eyes in unison with tactile finger-hand muscles, through repetitive animation practice which developed his skills, where it became INTUITIVE and he could FEEL & SEE in his ‘Mind’s Eye’ the motion & movement of the puppet characters.

It is said by others who knew Ray, that he animated at a good Quick pace. One of the reasons why some animated scenes from his classic works may have taken some lengthy time to complete is because, as you might already know … Ray did almost EVERYTHING … story-boarding, puppet character design, camera set-up, lighting, miniature sets dressing & touch-up, rear screen projection set-up, and so on. On a stop motion feature of today like a Paranorman, Frankenweenie, etc … you have many people (a crew-team) doing all those tasks that Ray did all by HIMSELF. This was rare even back then, years ago … Ray working as a sole ‘Auteur’ on a somewhat mainstream feature-movie.

Here is a documentary about Ray Harryhausen that you might not have seen before. It was shown on UK television, about 1999. No, it is not ‘The Harryhausen Chronicles’ which most of us are familiar with. This is another, not as well known documentary. It is about 40 minutes long ….

Ray Harryhausen Documentary – UK Television 1999

Topics: Animators, Biography-Books-History, Dynamation, Special Effects, Stop Motion | No Comments »

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