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Previous News

JUNE 2005

Weekend Edition - 06.25.05
* You got it here FIRST.... before Animate Clay and the Stop Motion Message Board .....
King Kong #2 Teaser (not dial-up friendly).... includes bronto dino chase scene, giant insect attack pit-like scene, and Kong's dramatic entrance which looks like a prelude to T-Rex & Kong battle. It seems unusual to have such advance release of these teasers. I do not know if that is good or bad? Ever since I got broadband internet connection just recently, I have been visiting Kong Is King site and catching-up with their Production Diaries which is in the form of downloadable movies only, and it would be tortuously time consuming for dial-up to download. Kind of unique .... unprecedented behind the scenes while King Kong is in production. Peter Jackson's style seems to be relaxed, intimate & friendly .... sort of allowing us to visit his "home". Again ..... marketing is not a science, but an ART. I am not sure if all this advance revelation could make the Kong premiere, somewhat anti-climatic? Well ... for us die hard Stop Mo or Kong fans .... this will be special for us. Peter seems to be somewhat faithful to orignal 1933 Kong, being very similar and especially doing it as period piece. Okay, so it is CGI and no Advance State of the Art Stop Motion was even considered, but I will try to overlook that! As Kong is progressing, I may make future comments or rants about it.

* What's up with the Stop Motion message board? Silence. You relying on Mike Brent, Nick Hilligoss and a few others to carry the burden? I am attempting to discipline myself more and not dominate the forum. Also trying to get some work done here. Stop Mo board must have the highest percentage of Lurkers compared to other forums. Just a few comments once in awhile by more message board members would be a contribution. You do not have to write a speech. The message board is suppose to be a "Community" participation thing!

Wednesday / Hump Day Edition -
* There is an updated 2004 edition of the Aardman book, Creating 3D Animation. It sure did not seem to get much publicity. I only just accidentally found out. This updated version has 32 additional pages. The original one was published in 1998. You should know, it's not really a step-by-step or detail how-to, but an overview of the Aardman style of producing Stop Motion. Nevertheless, any book on Stop Motion is a rarity and this could be one for inclusion in one's library collection. Plenty of photos to inspire you give you insight about overall process. The book is hardcover and amazingly at a bargain price. Get it while it is still affordable!

* With the impending release of Spielberg's contemporary version of War of the Worlds, it looks like it will almost bury Pendragon Pictures version. Stevey's & Tommy Cruise's clout and the publicity machine saturating the media. BTW, I am sick & tired of hearing about Tom C. & Katie Holmes. I don't give a rat's pink ass about it, but I know the star struck automotan masses worldwide suck-up Hollywood's endless hype. GET A LIFE .... PEOPLE! The "other" War of The Worlds, unfortunately, will not be as $Flashy$ as Spielberg's. I just saw Pendragon's teaser trailer. The special effects looks very airbrushy and has a pasted-on composited look (doesn't blend in). Interesting though, the Martian striding machines almost look like Robotic Stop Mo Armatures! They should have just used real Stop Motion and perhaps other more classic special effects .... miniatures, forced perspective shots, but they did not. It looks like it was done with mostly CGI and you can tell. Primary thing I like about the Pendragon version; it is set in Victorian England, as H.G. Wells orignally wrote it. IMO, traditional special effects techniques assisted with post digital tweaking & compositiing, would have looked & worked much better and given this WOTW version kind-of a Harryhausenish, Bernard Hermann ambiance. Their somewhat artificial CGI does not blend in with the time period. Same mistake with Tim Burton's Mars Attacks .... they should have stayed with Stop Motion (for retro look); instead they chose CGI. Here is page I made where you can see Pendragon's WOTW movie trailer which includes some still images that I grabbed from the trailer. I will keep the page up for a short while, so get it while you can. Also, here is an informative article which mentions both WOTWs. I apologize to my dial-upper brethern but I must start posting movie clip links, as I must do some catering to the Broadband crowd. I will always fondly remember by dial-up beginnings

Weekend Edition -
* Peter Kleinow, a veteran animator seems to have dropped out? His original website link has not been online TrueEffects, but someone sent me a new link to Pete's website. So I guess, he must still be kicking around. It looks similar to his previous website. I heard that Pete has returned to his musical roots. Most likely, more work doing music, compared to the rarity of paying jobs in Stop Motion. I hope that Pete is doing reasonably okay. Our paths have crossed in the past on some projects.

* Check your monthly credit card statements! Read this Credit Card Security Breach and
40 million card numbers stolen. Of course, news media likes to create more fear by emphasizing the 40 mil but this is still a very serious & humongous theft of consumer's private information. Technology .... never-ever fully embrace it. The capitilistic powers that be, push it on us too quickly and I say it is flawed and not a pancea. I still have not given-in to Cell Phones. You have no patience? Why don't you just wait or just call your voice mail or answering machine to see if you got any messages? The Credit Card issuers do not offer any solid advice about this. They just say that you should just wait and see if your card gets illegally charged and it is your responsibility to let them know. Almost as though, it's your problem? If you are in the Amazon jungles on an expedition or you are away for some months, I guess it's tough luck for you if you don't catch the illegal theft card charges soon enough.

Wednesday / Hump Day Edition -
* Okay .... so the Cable Installer Guy ....errr .... umm .... I mean "person" .... is coming out today to hook-up my Broadband High Speed Internet. Took me about 2 weeks to decide. I never rush when I buy anything. I take my time and after a little while, an epiphany thing always happens when I know it's right. Applies to almost anything I do, even creating stuff or decisions or whatever. Armatures for example. It is designed in my mind before I draw it out or I actually start fabricating it. Back to topic .... with DSL (through phone line), many offering that, but to me, so many variables.... who to choose, reliability of true high speed bandwidth etc.. If you want to go into higher speed with DSL, it actually can cost more than Cable Broadband. Since I have a couple of cable companies in my area, the choice was a little easier. They are always offering package or temporary discounted deals in their advertisements, but they never reveal the real monthly price after the discount period expires. It's in the fine print or not even listed unless you directly ask the reps. No digital-shimgital 500 TV channels or fancy shamncy home phone services, for me. I am only getting the pure raw broadband through a big fat mutha cable. One of the cable company reps did not even know what the special pricing was. Sheeeeesh ..... I had to push to get the discount. It is always a battle in "life"! This internet broadband is essential and one of the many initial steps for me to get going in producing animation product ...... handling large files online .... uploading/downloading .... distribution, exhibiting, etc.. For all my Dial-Up bretherns .... have no fear .... I will never forget my roots and will always be a champion for you. I DO NOT like excessively Flash enabled websites or heavy graphics. They should give dial-uppers, Html site choice. IMO, just gimmicks to compensate for something missing or lousy webmastering design skills. Just give me a clean, efficient, and well layed-out/designed website that is user friendly to navigate and most important .... with solid content. Well, we will see how it goes, if cable installer people actually know what they are doing.

* I ocassionally get press releases and some I get periodically are from Cuppa Coffee. They now seem to be the Western Hemisphere Stop Motion production headquarters and has left the new Vinton Studios behind, in a cloud of dust! Here is recent Cuppa update ....
*** Cuppa Coffee is in production for THREE stop motion series:
JoJo's Circus for Disney Channel, Director - Tim Snyder
Little People for Mattel, Director - Dave Thomas
Celebrity Death Match for MTV, Director - Andrew Horne
Two other shows are in Pre production...Studios currently in operation 40 and
Staff of 250 ***
Cuppa is in Canada and perhaps a mystery to many of us. I personally have not seen any behind the scenes about Cuppa. I wish someone would write some articles about them or Cuppa should consider producing bonus segments to be included with their animated shows that are released on DVDs. Give us a tour of Cuppa .... interviews, inner workings, how it was done, the stop mo production process, etc. etc.!

Weekend Edition
* Oh man ...... I DIGS this article, The Computers that Ate Hollywood. More and more in the non-mainstream news & media are starting to see the Light about CGI & Digital effects saturation. It is so obvious and commonsensical. Nowadays, the longevity of theatrically released mainstream movies is sooo short & a quick fix .... like guzzling down Kegs of Beer, instead of, sipping & savoring Fine Aged Wine as in the films of yesteryear. Look how fast the films are released to DVDs. Of course, when mainstream filmmaking starts to bore the US market and we become more jaded or more discriminating, I know the corporate movie "suits" always will rely on the global market audience ..... they still have a fascination and eat-up USA Tinsel Town entertainment. Just like McDonalds, KFC, Burger King ..... and plethora of our pop culture trends, flavors of the moment, and our other brain emptying-numbing escapism habits, exported & infecting the entire world. I am not too sure if that is a good thing.

* Just accidentally discovered a series of books that I never heard of before ..... they title them Hack Books .... covering variety of subject matter ..... computers, software, digital media, operating systems, etc. A new one just published and could have some application to our work. Stop Motion is also "film-making" however we do not generally use live actors, but mostly use puppets. Some of live action production principles do apply to Stop Motion. Here is the press release for the book ..... Digital Video Hacks. Also, directly from O'Reilly Publisher, description of book. I have not bought too many how-to books recently. IMO, mostly what's out there, seems to be theory of making movies (which is good, I suppose) with maybe "some" hardcore how-to info. Just reading content description, I am kind-of jazzed about this one. It looks like it has some cool, practical & useful how-to tricks. Since it has just been released for this July '05, I could not find any reviews of it yet. Could be a good book for beginners and I think useful even for the more experienced. Digital Video Hacks is also a whopping 432 pages! Only $30. (USD) I just hope that it will be reasonably good for one's reference library. Sure beats the expense of a specialty college class instruction or course!

Monday Blues Edition -
* This article The Imperfection of Animation has been posted at message board some time ago, but everyone has a short memory, and so, I actually saved it and reprinted it, just in case it does not become available online, later on. It was written by Tom Gasek. Many years ago we crossed paths on the Gumby TV series. He writes cogently, the essence of what animation can also achieve. IMO, I think it can also apply to Harryhausen style .... semi-realistic, ethereal surrealistic. Tom does it in such a friendly non-rant manner. I wish, I could do that but the myopic suits may not take notice of his salient observations. I bet the Studio $bean counter's$ eye's would just glaze over if they read Tom's article. Mainstream biz don't give a rat's pink ass about this ...... the deeper aspects of animation and value it can have as artistic medium and also it's unique quality as entertainment and story telling medium.

* Rutger Hauer....awesome, powerful character actor, tremendous presence like the actors from ol' school movies. To me, he gets better as he becomes older. Give me Rutger anytime, over Tom Cruise, Bratt Pitt, Orlando Bloom, Will Smith, or any of the current, so-so pansy pretty boy actors. Rutger will make an appearance in Batman Begins! This version is suppose to be serious and dark, the way it should have always been. Not many films I have seen at theaters, since they usually are released to DVD pretty quick. But this ONE MOVIE, I may actually make an effort to get my butt to a theater and see it on the big screen.

* This 5 page publicity piece is for the upcoming Spielberg-Cruise modern day version of
War of the Worlds. It also brags about the proprietry software used and how fast they did the film. Wonderful (not) .... even more "pressure" on Special Effects people and more "expectation" from other "suits" to pump-out mainstream formulaic & homogenized overbudgeted movies. Omissions or ignorance in the article too. They conveniently did not mention the other War of the Worlds, period piece version being done by Pendragon Pictures. To me, it seems to be in limbo? I have not heard recent news about its progress. Also, the Speilberg-Cruise fluff piece says about the George Pal Wotw version, *** They wanted to do tripods in 1953, but they couldn't figure out how to make them walk .... so they switched to hovering saucers, then built models and suspended them above the soundstage on wires so they seemed to float above the ground. Now we have the technology (Cgi) to do it.**** -Well ... that is not correct.The technology was available in 1953 .... Stop Motion, large & miniature rear screen methods, & perhaps travelling matte work. Studios as always .... not having faith or understanding of Stop Mo. From what I heard/read in past.... George Pal knew Stop Motion could be used for the striding Tripod Martian machines and it seemed, he perhaps had a feeling the studio was not going to give him budget for it. They mention it here too 1953 War of the Worlds (about 4th paragraph) I shake my head ..... if it's CGI .... how the studio suits willingly turn-on the mega-million money faucet, myopically thinking that's the holy grail solution, greedily chasing after that elusive blockbuster $cash-cow$ Updated - Edit 06.02.05

* Webster Colcord posted an article at message board ..... Dreamworks Stock. It says .... quoting from it ....***There's one other problem for 'Madagascar,' says Gray, one he calls 'computer animation fatigue' With an unprecedented number of such films in the marketplace, it will be harder to make a CGI film stand out from the pack*** Duhhhhh!? I foresaw this long time ago! Audiences overloaded & getting jaded with homogenized & cloned-like products. Also another quote, how SUITS categorize you, the audience into their demographic statistics ***The kinds of movies that do well in animation are essentially comedies, or musicals, featuring anthropomorphized animals or other objects.*** What an insult (to me, at least) IMO, it's many years of studios conditioning the minds of the masses and limiting what the
audiences sees.



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