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October 2006

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* My Name is Earl .... A live action show (humans, not puppets) on NBC TV ( A Flash-heavy site). I do not watch much TV episodic drama, weekly sitcoms, and especially not, those reality type competition series (like Survivor). I prefer documentaries, nature/science, some news specials/programs and such, and of course, my escapism is rental movies, especially the classics and catching independent flicks/shorts whenever I can. I only mention this Earl show because, apparently, there will be some brief Stop Mo scenes in one of the episodes (Nov 16). It looks like a few of the 'Robot Chicken' crew, freelancing on the side, worked on it. Check out this short article about it, Animating Earl Edit 10.29.06

* Fantastic Mr. Fox .... I thought I heard about this just a few years ago. This was going to be an ALL Stop Motion flick. Since then, complete dead silence until now; just released press about it. Fox Animation is the new player that's picking up Mr. Fox. What do you think; the Fox "suits" chose this project because the title of this animation project has "Fox"? Duh ...What kind of marketing strategy is that or maybe just a coincidence? I thought Fox Animation was defunct, no more. Wes Anderson is the appointed director of 'Mr. Fox'. The press release says, "a number of animation forms, including a heavy dose of stop-motion". We shall see, we shall see. Do not instantly believe everything you read on the internet. Fox Hounds Anderson's 'Mr Fox' & Link 2. The press releases do not say, who or what studio or crew will be doing the actual animation. IMDb shows Henry Selick as originally going to be associated with project, but that could be old information. FYI: Roald Dahl wrote the screenplay for "You Only Live Twice" (1967). Also, listen to Robbie Williams' "Millenium" (1999) which samples the Twice intro theme Edit 10.29.06

* Some salient points by Henry Selick ..... He is revealing a little more teaser info about Coraline. I like his observations about the element of darkness in films and why should it not apply to animation? It looks like, Henry is going against the Tinsel Town Suit's myopic mentality of generally stereotyping "animation" as, for kids entertainment only. Let's hope Henry has the creative freedom. Laika is behind him and also Focus Features (a division of Universal Pictures). Read, Coraline Test Shooting Underway

* Now for your pleasure .... some Chicken .... E.T. returns home in 'Robot Chicken' spoof

* Stop Mo-Pho: Covers ScreamFest '06 & Offering SMA Logo Products .... Some small Stop Motion happenings at the event with the Chiodo Brothers being one of the highlights. If you did not know, the brothers authored a recent childrens book and there is some percolating buzz happening with them with regards to possible Stop Motion projects. At the end of this blog, there is link to Keith Brett's (aka Stop Mo-Pho) report. Also, Keith's Bride of Wire Studio is now offering, emblem/logo products that represents Stop Motion Animation "universally". The logo does not promote any specific website or any kind of product or movie.

My own sense, since the beginning of Stop Motion history, it seems to have been "Cursed"! ; always struggling for recognition and gets no respect by the CGI addicted, mainstream Tinsel Town "Suits". I do not want to start ranting again, about the apathy of you lurkers at the Stop Motion Message board, but instead, for the moment, I want to send out Love and Positivity Vibes in this blog/news installment. If you still will not come out of your closet & speak-up, at least do something "inside your closet" to help create public awareness about Stop Motion Animation. Buy yourself some SMA shirts, coffee mugs, buttons, etc, and also get them as gifts, and spread the SMA Gospel. Bride of Wire Studio is offering them through Cafe Press. They (Cafe Press) get the lion's share of the price (to produce the items), but Keith has kept his overhead to just about zero for the sake of making this available to you all. Here is Keith's Bride of Wire News-Blog about ScreamFest '06 and this is link to Bride of Wire Products. Last week, Keith posted ScreamFest larger pictures at message board (last pic, that is Keith in middle, the taller dude with eyeglasses) but no message replies from you, acknowledging it (What's wrong with you peoples!?)

* Stop Motion Software & Tools Update .... Again, what's up with yous people? The people at AnimatorDV have Animator DVrecently announced at the message board, that they will be offering a Free Version of one of their introductory animation frame grabbing programs (PC-Windows). Geeez .... how you all take this for granted, you Internet-iPod-MySpacey generation; no appreciation. You should "thank" AnimatorDV and email them or post at the message board. Be grateful that there are a minority of software authors catering to this esoteric animation art-craft called Stop Motion. The software providers are the unsung heros. For more professional work and more "bells & whistles" features such as using Digital Still Cameras for Stop Motion, they offer more sophisticated & higher level AnimatorDV Software.

Another Stop Motion Sofware provider has recently updated their product. It was formerly called Video Blender 2 but now renamed as Frames and has more robust features. This company focuses on an overall Stop Motion package that seems to geared to the educational market, or to teach a group of kids, or just to sort-of home school Stop Motion; for beginners to start learning hands-on & tactile creativity expression. Tech4 Learning offers guidelines & much online documentation for teachers or home schoolers in setting up an animation curriculum.

I recently received an interesting FYI email. This is not a frame grabbing capture program, but for post production music work. The company is called FlexiMusic. There are 4 separate programs (PC-Windows) and each program has a specialty application. Then there is one music creation program for kids. I have not yet explored in depth, post production music work for animation, but for the budget minded, FlexiMusic looks appealing for perhaps beginning music creation for your Stop Motion Animations. The website is thorough in describing each application's features. They offer a no obligation, Free 7 day trial download of actual use (not just 7 calendar days). The programs are affordable and even more cost-effective, if you buy the whole package of programs. They seem to have much more "bells & whistles" than the other freebie music programs with only basic features. The site seems friendly and perhaps responsive (good customer service). Also, in their Support section, they have a pretty good FAQ. If you have the inclination, why don't you give the programs a try? Let me know how the programs work, and also, post it at the message board so that everyone can know. Edit 10.22.06

* This is Halloween, this is Halloween .... I am the one hiding under your Bed! Starting to get more press releases in my inbox hyping-up NMBC 3D. Opens next Friday, October 20. I will try and be all positive & cheery, but just going back in time when NMBC originally came out, a summary .... "When 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' was released in 1993, it proved to be a massive hit for the critics ... and only that. Grossing somewhere around $50 million at the box office, it was initially considered by Disney as a major flop. Not much enthusiasm for Stop Motion, by the Mouse "suits". That was the old Disney. Hopefully with the new Disney-Pixar powers that be, they will be more bold, cutting edge, in supporting different aesthetics, concepts, styles (not just CGI & homogenized storylines). I am hearing buzz that Disney will not abandon 2D animation and will return to it. Well, that is a start. How about supporting new Stop Motion projects?

Here is a quick interview with one of the head people overseeing the transformation of NMBC into Stereo 3D, New Dimension for ''Nightmare Before Christmas'. It seems that there are no plans to release 3D DVDs. I get the feeling, the "suits" for now, want the 3D bait-hook, to draw people "out" to the theaters. Unfortunately, NMBC will have a limited release for the 3D version. Here is a list where it will play in USA & Canada. I do not know if NMBC-3D will be internationally released. It will exclusively play at theaters equipped with the proprietary Real 3D Cinema System.

A new NMBC 2 disc music CD being released too, with some guest muscian/singer artists doing a few songs from NMBC. I kind of 'Dig', She Wants Revenge interpretation of "Kidnap the Sandy Claws". You can listen to some samples at Nightmare 3D MySpace Site . The NMBC teaser clip will first attempt to download. You can quickly turn off the player, then scroll down the MySpace page to hear the song streams. This is a Flash intensive website and biased towards broadband internet connections. "Sorry" to Dial-up internet users . Maybe give up your cell phones and use that saved money to get high speed internet?

* Dreamworks and Aardman No More? Am I good or what!? Why am I bragging? About 6 months ago I could feel it in my guts that the relationship between those studios was kind of shakey. DreamWorks press releases at the time, suggested that their financial woes was partly due to the Wallace & Gromit movie's poor box office; DreamWorks sort-of using Aardman as a scapegoat?? In my view, Stop Motion is a whole different culture and has its own creativity style and production methods which are very different, compared to the mouse-clicking 'Puter CGI production pipeline and mindset. CGI only specialty studios are indoctrinated in their high techy, plug'n play animation production system and IMO, they cannot understand Stop Motion; its idiocyncrasies, organic-ness and looser style. I am not dissing DreamWorks here. I just like to be direct, to the point, and you know that many times, I play Devil's Advocate. Okay, read for yourself, Splitsville for DreamWorks and Aardman? Is Th-Th-That All, Folks? also about sameness of CGI (If NY Times forces you to subscribe to read article, clear all cookies in your cache, and open new browser window / or try this, same article by author, different title) Take a look at my Gandalf, Crystal Ball-like rant/prediction earlier in year. Edit 10.08.06

* Underground Animation Art/Craft: Schools Teaching Stop Mo = Rare There seems to be frequent requests at the message board about Stop Motion specific schools. For the innocent newbies, I am saddened to give you the news, it appears, in most USA educational institutions (public, private, & trade schools), Stop Motion does not seem to have any status and generally disregarded. Schools / Universities caught-up in the world dominating CGI 'Puter animation , and following behind CGI, Traditional 2D drawn animation is given priority. Stop Motion is usually, so way last . I am not whining. I actually do not give a rat's pink butt what mainstream does. Make your own world & reality, follow your own path, try & learn on your own, and do not to listen to all the outside crap from the homogenized mainstream media.

Do not ask me to predict the future of Stop Motion, although currently, it seems to be having some sort of cStop Motion: VanArts Institute of Media Artsomeback in mainstream and other markets. Also, strong thanks to the internet; informing and exposing to the general public about our Animation Art/Craft. Stop Motion is not an "industry". It has had a volatile existence since the beginning of cinema history. Do Stop Motion because you have a passion for it (and keep your day job). Oh yes, back to schools .... my Stop Mo Bro, Ken A. Priebe, the author of the new book, The Art of Stop Motion Animation (I was the technical editor of book ), also teaches one of the rare, specialty Stop Motion focused courses at VanArts Institute of Media Arts (in Canada). For those newbies seeking in-person guidance from a mentor-instructor, Ken is the dude to give you a solid Stop Motion foundation. Edit 10.08.06

* 'Henry Selick Retrospective' Sorry you missed it (so did I) Whassup with The Oregonian? I have not gone to any advertising agency school and I know how to do better advanced marketing & promotion. They announce the Selick talk, the same day of the event. Duh? Anyway ... you can catch a brief interview online with Henry .... you da Stop Mo man, Selick Talk at NW Film

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