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November 2005

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* Kong Armature to be Cloned .... With the onslaught of media hype about upcoming Peter Jackon's 'Puterized Kong, a plethoric cornucopia of Kong related stuff & merchandising happening. Of course, you know about the new DVD's of original Stop Motion King Kong, but now apparently, Side Show Collectables will be offering limited edition replicas of the original Kong armature. It was posted at the message board and it seemed there was the implication that one of the forum members might buy one? He was guessing it might cost starting at $1000.? How naive, he is! Also, read the comments at Sideshow ... others also think the Kong armature might be within their budget. Yeah, sure. I have no idea what the replica ape armature will go for, but the insured value of original Kong armature is about $100,000.. If it were auctioned at Sotheby's it might go for more. Some already asked .... Will the Kong collectors armature replica also have the missing fingers and toes?

* Fragility of Stop Motion ....Even with the supposed moderate success (good reviews) of Corpse Bride and Wallace & Gromit, it may not be enough box office $$$ for the bean counter suits to jump on the Stop Motion bandwagon. Henry Selick (hired by Laika) in this interview, implies that the studio is maybe, not sure now if Coraline will be partially Stop Motion or all CGI. I can understand some of the hesitation. With a major Stop Motion production, it is also more involved with ramping up for a production because the Stop Mo support crew not as easy to assemble compared to CGI. Unfortunately, he pressure of hyper-rush productions. That might be a factor. Another good article kind of related In a Losing race with the Zeitgeist. IMO, very good observations & insight about the cultural and business trend and how mainstream hollywood suits seem to be ignoring the signs of where it's going. I completely agree with author. The movie biz is still adhering to the old model of making & marketing films to appeal to the masses (aka lowest common denominator), whereas the new trend seems to be towards niche markets and diversified methods of distributing the products. You can also read my mini-rant about this.

* 10 animated feature films nominated for Oscar ..... Yeah ...it includes Corpse Bride and Wallace & Gromit ..... Academy draws up list of toons. Hmmmm ..... I do not trust Tinsel Town. I would like to be positive but I just don't know. Maybe a token nod to Stop Motion. Of course, it would be much better if a Stop Mo mainstream feature would get the Oscar .... walking the talk instead of "homages & tributes" .... something a little more substantial. Mainstream media and Hollywood "Suits", still slobbering over the 'Puter synthetic stuff. Here are some example of headlines ..... Computer Animation leads Oscar list .... Computer Animation well represented on Oscar list .... also ... Industrial Revolution (primarily covering ILM's history) ....not about the Oscar nomination, but looking at CGI & technology as the "manna from heaven" panacea. After I read it, I said to myself .... "Geeez .... something missing? What about good story & characters and especially, variety of visual aesthetics and styles?" Now you see why maybe CB and W&G should not have been released at same time? Premature Wad Shot. IMO, maybe a better chance if "one" Stop Mo feature were Oscar sole contender this year and another gets a shot at the award next year ..... the spread your wad strategy. Edit 11.20

* Misha Klein is back .... aka Mish-Mash aka Twin-Turbohed. My ponderings maybe not as profound or deep and another voice from the take-life-one-frame-at-time perspective is needed. I present to you .... Notes from the Box

* Art and "Industry" .... Slow out there, it seems. Through my online sources, I am getting plethora of articles/reviews about the 1933 re-release of Kong DVD's. At this time, I don't feel like writing about them. There is going to be even more heavy media saturation when computerized Kong is released next month. Back to topic .... someone posted not too long ago asking about Stop Motion being an Industry and I responded with a dissertation/speech. It wore me out ..... writing strains my brains sometimes and not always easy for me. I rambled on, that I mostly saw Stop Motion as ART. Sure, much of art is commercialized, but Stop Motion, IMO, does not easily lend itself to mass production homogenization, and hence, why maybe mainstream and/or "suits" have an anathema towards Stop Motion for all these many years. You do Stop Motion because you have a PASSION for it. It's not just Stop Motion but that is the way it is with most all Art. It is not for the money, but for the LUV of producing your creative works, FIRST! You have to be inventive, think out of the box, in promoting yourself to sell your wares. It can be a hard lifestyle especially if you rely on it to pay your rent. So much unknown incredible talent "out there" that the McDonaldized, iPodized public are ignorant of. One example, among the thousands of artists on this earth .... look at this dude who is a hand engraver - knife maker and has other eclectic abilities .... Steve J. Lindsay. He has created a nice little niche for himself and if you browse through his site .... he seems to get paid well for commissioned work which can command $4000 - $40,000. He is not even accepting work right now! What a lucky bastard! Actually, not luck, but his passion & perserverance and it has paid off for him. Anyway .... posted this off topic thing to maybe help keep you going and inspired (and perhaps, also help me!). Edit 11.19

* Monster HD ... Uncle Ray Nov. 24 .... I never heard of Monster HD until I read this article . I am not sure if it was a struggling network or what. Anyway, Monster HD website looks retro cool with the nostalgic ambiance of a Chillers from Science Fiction or Creatures Features where B movies flourished on TV, instead of current endless & mindless infomercials. Monster HD seems to have plenty of links where you can supposedly view clips of many of the B movies. They are QT clips but most of them do not work or server not making downloads available. I even registered at site to see if clips work, and they still don't. You may want to post at their feedback link. Let me know if you can watch the clips on their site or if you even get Monster HD show on your cable or satellite. On Monster HD home page, a few of the clips do work. You can go there but I have them here if you want quick look .... make yourself some popcorn & enjoy (QT format): Monster ID Promo, Monster Artist Basil Gogos, 7th Voyage of Sinbad trailer, Jason & Argonauts trailer, Clash of Titans trailer

* Robot Chicken getting a Corpse Bride $Budget$ ? I got this word from my "sources" roaming the streets of tinsel town .... " The action figures that were used the first season have been significantly upgraded. Now they have wire armatures, tension-able ankles and tie-downs in the feet. They are cast in 'Cold Foam' (not hot foam latex) for the most part and then cast plastic arms and legs that were molded from actual action figures. These more 'sophisticated puppets' (not really action figures anymore) are used on about 50% of the shots. The rest are still just action figures and toys." .... While you are surfing & lurking, the second season is in production now and the animators & crew bust'n their juevos to give you some Stop Mo product for upcoming new RC season. Here is Robot Chicken website .... which covers the 1st season shows. I'll make it easier for you .... you can watch some RC clips (Windows Media format) here ..... Midnight Snack, Badunkadunk, Junk in the Trunk, Toys meet Girls, S&M Presents, and The Deep End

* November, slow & quiet? .... Kind of depressing out there, the general world news. So, have we shot-off our Stop Mo Wad too soon? As mainstream publicity of Corpse Bride and Were-Rabbit recedes, the next plethora of films emerge. I suppose, and unfortunately, that is the way it is in this 21st century hyper-info-media-onslaught-on-our-senses age. Nothing lasts. The masses ever shortening attention span ... not "savoring" anymore .... brainwashed to voraciously "consume". Lots of media hype now about Disney's computer animated Chicken Little. When I saw trailers of it, I thought .... boring .... trying to be very pop culture hip and cool .... so formulaic like TV sitcoms. The CG look and style ... yawn. All these computer animated products looks so similar. A couple samples of the plethora of reviews here and here. Although Chicken Little initially made $40 million, that is maybe because no other bigg'sh new film in theaters yet, to compete with it.

* Do I sound negative? Don't mean to. Maybe mood I am in. I just have tendency to be straight (at least when I write) .... "The Sword of Truth & Reality" .... how I see it. More positive? It seems there are more postings at the message board, as it should be. You should not rely on only a few of the dedicated regulars to take all the message board load. The board suppose to be a "community". Say something ... anything! Even a former board regular, Roger Evans aka MovieStuff, once in awhile comes back and says "Hi" and he also lets us know that he sometimes lurks . You could do the same .... say "Hi"! Edit 11.09

* Mike Johnson's Canada visit .... Co-director of Corpse Bride. FPS Magazine was one of the sponsors of Mike's guest appearance. Mike brought three of the CB puppets with him. Amazing .... these articulated pieces of metal, rubber, and other materials attract people, like a magnet. Proof .... as I have alluded to in past rants .... human's, root evolutionary nature is the tactile-real and hands on. CGI will not satiate that sensory need. With CGI .... no puppets or nothing exists .... it's all etheral-virtual pixels behind the screen. "Traditional special effects", especially the behind the scenes about it, just much more interesting than "mouse-clicking". Read the FPS synopsis of Mike's visit. Edit: 11.04

* Henry Selick receives “Friz” Award ..... from the International Family Film Festival. Some of Henry's work are, “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” his own “James and the Giant Peach,” and an award-winning series of MTV station IDs. Selick joins previous honorees Freleng (the first), Joseph Barbera, Chuck Jones, Charles Schulz, Robert Wise, Arthur Hiller, Roy O. Disney and the “Shrek” animation team at DreamWorks Pictures. Read full article here Henry is the supervising producer at Laika Studio.

* New Frame grabber program ... AnimAide .... For Hi-Res-holics. It is for Mac OS X 10.3 or later. It is designed for capturing frames only from digital still cameras that have their own remote capture program. Be aware: Not all Digital Still Cams have remote capture. AnimAide has no "video capture" feature, so you have to use another frame grabber program for video preview. Good to have a new animation program and especially for Macs (not much out there). Unbelievable that this introductory software is offered as free. They accept donations though. Hey ... someone devoted their time and effort to create this for you Mac people. You should be grateful. There will be a commercial AnimAide available with more features. If you have a digital still cam that meets the requirements, go to AnimAide's website and test the program and give the software developer some feedback and they even have a forum too. Edit: 11.04

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