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* "Otafuku Rex" music video premiere ..... You possibly saw it? One of the more unique and attention getting Stop Motion items this week. If you have not seen it, Click here. I will wait for you. You like? Very high production qualities and superbe work by all who contributed to it, with Eric Towner & David Candelaria being the head creative minds and motivators behind it. My understanding is, that this was done with a minimal budget. If this were done in CGI .... it would NOT have the same impact & effect .... no way. This only works using the unique aesthetics-style that only Stop Motion can offer. You paying attention, all you CGI addicted "suits" out there? Here is a larger size clip of the music video. Also, check out this Otafuku Rex, "Sightings". You will see some very good & seamless motion tracking work, of the puppets composited into live action scenes. I played devil's advocate at SMA.com message board and I conjectured how they did it. Hopefully, the master minds, Eric or David will share with us, some how-it-was-done revelations about the music video, at the SMA forum and/or perhaps post later at their Otafuku Rex site (with behind the scenes). Although I am not into, excess dizzying camera moves that one sees in current movies, however, in moderation, it is one of many, creative cinematic tool options and it especially does give Stop Motion work, a more contemporary visual style. I can imagine Harryhausenesque Stop Motion characters in some moving motion tracked scenes . Edit 06.24.06

* FPS Magazine .... The founding editor of this online animation mag/news/reviews website is Emru Townsend. They also offer a more in depth monthly FPS magazine (PDF format) for only $1.50 each. Emru and staff cover all areas of Animation and not "just CGI". FPS are very much aware of the importance of Stop Motion being a viable and marketable member the animation family, and FPS gives it respect. Check out all their links. They also have some audio files online, podcasts, reviews, blog, etc. One audio file is of Ray Harryhausen being intereviewed on a Canadian radio station when he made a visit there to receive an award. Bookmark FPS and support it .... be informed about the general animation scene & trends because Stop Motion has to compete within that market and you better know what is going on. Edit 06.25.06

* Cuppa Coffee to Animate New E! Show ...The Canadian based, very prolific animation studio always seems to be working on projects and especially Stop Motion. Read here, their latest ventures and upcoming works in preproduction.

* Harryhausen Comic Book Deal ..... Laika Studio to build Campus/Studio .... Not much buzz out there this week and I am also a little occupied. Uncle Ray is all over the map and this soundbyte says that he will be providing creative input on some graphic novel stories! The biggest story this week, I announced here. As usual, the non-responsive lurkers at SMA message board just dead quiet about it. Phil Knight's Laika Studio planning on constructing a studio-campus. Here are the press releases 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6. None of them has made my keen & sharp observations. They completely overlooked it. The campus will include STOP MOTION. Very rare indeed, in the USA; a mainstream studio embracing Stop Mo. That is it. Nothing much else for SMW to say and no thumbnail pics or salacious or juicy news for this weekend. Edit 06.17.06

* Tony McVey 'de-lurked' ..... Well not forcefully by me but he voluntarily maybe coming out of closet! I have known him for some years. As you may already know, Tony is behind Menagerie Productions here in the SF Bay Area. At his studio, the other large tabletop Enco Mill & Lathe that I use is located there and I can make as much noise and no one will get their underwears in a bunch . Tony is a Brit but long time USA resident here. As a young man in England, his talents were used for Ray Harryhausen's, 'Sinbad in the Eye of the Tiger'. You can take a glance at his bio overview. Fast forward to about 1996. In case you didn't know, Peter Jackson had to scrap his initial first attempt at the Universal/Miramax 1996 King Kong version. That project was dumped by the "suits". Jackson then started work on The LOTR trilogy. After the '96 Kong fever cooled off, Tony at that time wanted to create a stylized all Stop Motion, proof of concept tests of an interpretation of the Kong Log & Pit scenes. All done for DVD release format. IMO, a formidable task indeed with minimal staff .... the Ann puppet, all the Kong Crew puppets and assortment of Stop Mo Dinos & other creatures and then all the miniature sets and post production effects & matte/compositing work. He always worked part-time on it and ocassionally enlisted my help in armaturing. Tony is also self-taught armaturist but sees the superiority of my skills . Well before the later re-incarnation of Peter Jackson's new 2005 Kong, Tony designed & sculpted his own unique version of the giant ape, not at all like a typical fat Silverback, but more slender creature with characteristics of being more human-like. Also included here, are behind the scenes photos of a full figured Ann atop an ancient statue in the misty jungle. This is a scene where Kong places Ann on the statue, just before he undertakes his battle with a ferocious Rex-like dino. This could be a long blog with me having to explain everything about Tony's project, but for now just look at the photos. Most are self explanatory and others could be explained but maybe some other time (example, he is using two IDshots & Lunchbox, not for 3D stereo, but for another reason). So, you are briefly invited to the mysterious inner sanctum of Menagerie Productions, which I already have experienced for many years, but I was sworn to secrecy. Who knows ..... perhaps Tony will consider a blog-update page or something, later on? Click on the Thumbnail pics.

* More animation variety? .... Someone sent me an interesting article and it triggered some thoughts. My past CGI related tirades is basically about other animation styles & aesthetics being mostly shut-out in mainstream move biz. I am not a CGI hater and you better not mislabel me as such. Tinsel Town for plethoric years, practicing orthodox moviemaking & marketing, mostly appealing to LCD audience demographics. The biz, does not seem to think outside the box. The obvious trend & business practice in other areas of consumer products & entertainment (especially music) is more NICHE targeting, but Hollywood flckster makers, do not see it yet? I suggest, make much smaller budgeted films for a smaller segment of the audience. Instead, "suits" put all their eggs in one basket. In the past I have rambled about all this and I repeat myself sometimes because in the internet age, it's quick-fix and you get hyper-amnesia. I am not the only one that sees a possible trend (ahead of time) but others in media might finally be noticing it too. Grab yourself some coffee and sit down and read this and ponder, Pixar productions: Same old, same old. I am only the "messenger", so do not persecute me . We LUV you John Lasseter. You are sort-of the boss at the new Disney-Pixar? Isn't it about good or interesting stories & characters? How about getting the Disney "suits" to financially fund other kinds of animation projects? Hmmmm .... maybe Stop Motion or 2D animation? It does not have to be "feature length" mega-mega million dollar productions but maybe experimental shorts for festivals, cable TV, direct to DVD. You know, niche marketing?

* Bloom Off CGI .... Scroll down the page at this link. In my past comments, I figured that may eventually happen. Saturation and just the same ol' CGI animation .... style, aesthetics .... all feeling sort-of similar. Some media/entertainment pundits seeing it too.

* The Art & Power of Editing .... I always learn from films, not only enjoying the story or subject matter but studying the techniques; cinematography, pacing, and so many ways of moviemaking to entertain, make a statement, educate, etc. .....a powerful medium. The naysayers (mainstream biz, suits) of the Creature / Realistic-Surreal Stop Motion, say that it is an antiquated technique and not as seamless as CGI, and that it is difficult with Stop Mo to do interaction with live action and that the audiences supposedly, will not buy it. Well, I say to you .... that is a bunch of BULL SHITe. You do not have to 'literally' show every anal detail as CGI special effects attempts to do. There are a plethoric-cornucopia of different cinematic ways & styles in the Art-Craft of visual storytelling. I have said in past,'Less is More'. You can let the audiences' 'mind' .... imagine it, and it can still make a strong impact. Maybe some of you missed this nice little clip. A good lesson for 'you' .... Neo vs Robocop, watch it >> QuickTime, WMV, Flash (turn up the speaker volume). The characters were composited from two completely different movies. (Spoiler: Charles Bronson, ED209, & Yoda, also make appearances) Through very creative editing & compositing, fast pacing, good sound effects & score edit/mix, and just a damn good little quickie creative story, I am sure that you would agree, that this little clip satisfies the entertaininment needs of today's audiences. My Point: You can do the same fricken thing with Hyper-Harryhausen style Stop Motion 'combined' with Live Action. Ladies & gentlemen of the jury ... I rest my case. If you want more, read my past rant Stop Motion Creature Effects Edit 06.03.06

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