Monday, July 25, 2016

Animation Brat

The following is a re-post of one of my favorite articles from the old format FLiP, from 2007.  Enjoy! - Steve

by Sarah May Bates

advertising art director/copywriter/voice-over/commercial actress, and former “animation brat”.

When asked to write this, I have to admit I had no idea what the term “animation brat” meant. Animation and animators are really all I’ve ever known and are still a central inspiration and influence in my life. I grew up with “cool” parents, but when you’re a kid, you don’t know that kind of thing. It was just normal to me. For context, my mom is Carolyn Bates (former BG artist at Fred Calvert, Xerox checker at H&B, moved up from Duck Soup Ink & Paint to Disney producer), and my dad is Nick Bates (Vis FX supervisor at Pepper Films in Los Angeles)*. Everything cool about me stems from my parents, which in certain social spheres, I don’t necessarily cop to. My first exposure to Miyazaki, John K, Tim Burton, classic Sam Raimi - my parents. I was always inspired to draw, be weird, create.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

An Oscar Experience by Leif Sutton-Williams

Leif Sutton-Williams at the Oscars
Going to the Oscars makes you realise that, while Americans may not be well known for fancy food or having old spectacular cathedrals that are centuries old, they sure do know how to throw a flashy party for the rich and famous (excluding me of course, I am neither unfortunately).

In fact, the only way you’re allowed through security is if you ride a limo through to the entrance gates. I’m really not kidding you, no taxis allowed, no bicycles or hover hoards, you have one way in and out, and that’s being seated in a bloody massive limo. Which is super fun, but while my parents are not impoverished, having to hire a limo (which you have to buy for the whole day) is not exactly cheap for my family. My sister and I look forward to our can of baked beans for our inheritance.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Steve Speaks!

I was honored recently to be interviewed for The Tiara Talk Show, a podcast series created by Tammy Tuckey.  The show is about all things Disney, though it is not a Disney production.  Since its premiere in August of 2013, Tammy has done 103 interviews, with the likes of Debbie Reynolds, Ed Asner, Don Hahn, Jerry Rees, Gary Trousdale, and now me.  Slow news week, I guess.



Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Nancy Beiman: "No Longer Proud" To Be An Academy Member

Photo: Gary Krueger.
Nancy Beiman, supervising animator at Disney, Professor at Sheridan, and friend of FLiP, has told the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that she is "No Longer Proud to Be a Member of This Organization". 

Nancy announced her intention to resign her membership following the new rules which have been hastily introduced following accusations of racism in the current roster of Oscar nominees. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Animator Benn Garnish Introduces Retrofit!


Retrofit from Imagescope Productions on Vimeo.

Animators are film-makers, and it's not unusual to find animators who bridge the gap between animation and live action. Been Garnish, animator and friedn of FLiP, who is responsible for much memorable character and creature animation on films like "Harry Potter", has made a short video titled Retrofit. It's a science-fiction fantasy, set in the near future, "when death is just a new beginning - for those who can afford it."

Monday, December 14, 2015

Amber's Elf


Bringing some Christmas spirit to FLiP, veteran storyboard artist Amber Tornquist Hollinger shares the adventures of Stewie the Elf, her whimsical creative spin on the Elf on the Shelf  phenomenon.
Stewie's Christmas card to Amber's kids.
Stewie, being an Elf on the Shelf, has a whole book to explain his genesis upon arrival to one's home. As it has been told to me, each Elf arrives at each home in his own manner. Last year, right before Christmastime, the family was sitting down eating what could only be described as an out-of-this-world home cooked meal by Mommy.  We heard a knock on our front door.  When answered, we discovered only a gift bag with no note attached. Inside, it turned out, was said Elf.  We sat down in surprise and read the origin-book he had with him, and discovered we needed to name him for him to become part of our family. He was to watch over us and report back to Santa each night.  The children-- stoked as shit.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Tom Sito Reviews Richard Williams' "Prologue"

A still image from "Prologue"
Animation director Richard Williams recently completed his long-anticipated short film Prologue, premiered at Annecy this past June and recently released in selected theatres in Los Angeles.  Tom Sito, Animator, Director, Historian and President Emeritus of the Animation Guild, wrote us a review of the film.  As a far as we can tell - this is the first review of "Prologue".

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Richard Williams' "Prologue" to Screen in Los Angeles

A still image from Prologue
Animation guru Richard Williams, who directed The Thief and the Cobbler, and was animation director on Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, has released a first look at his new six-minute animated short Prologue.  The short film was first screened at Annecy in June of this year, and will be playing soon in selected theatres in Los Angeles. Williams is the author of The Animator's Survival Kit, now the essential textbook for all aspiring animators, as useful for 3D artists as it is for 2D practitioners.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Short of Expectations


Chief, Your Butt's on Fire from Steve Moore on Vimeo.

Two years ago, I finished a short film called, "Chief, Your Butt's on Fire".  I wrote about it in FLiP as my wife, Donna, submitted it to umpteen film festivals.  Thousands of dollars in entry fees later,  we had what can be only described as a flop.  Only two festivals picked it up.

Was the film that bad?

When I started working on this short, Disney still did hand drawn animated features.  By the time I finished, chipping away at it in my spare time over many years, the animation world had changed completely.   Festivals were not even accepting film anymore.

So maybe my little film was too old fashioned for today's scene.  Or maybe it just sucks.  At any rate, here it is, decide for yourself.

-Steve

Friday, August 7, 2015

Nancy Beiman Reviews Shaun The Sheep

"Shaun The Sheep" is a lightweight little movie with gorgeous production design and some very nice animation; a slight plot with the main conflict based on Laurel and Hardy's A CHUMP AT OXFORD; chase scenes and crazy machines reminiscent of Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd films, and a finale that is straight out of Chaplin's THE GOLD RUSH.

This possibly explains the otherwise inexplicable omission of dialogue on the human characters (even gibbberish would have worked, but the odd grunts and squeaks somehow seemed affected.) But I applaud their use of silent comedy influences as well as The Terminator." 

 -- Nancy

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Cinematographer Ben Davis at BAFTA

One of the best things about BAFTA is its focus on regular lectures and seminars on filmmaking. 

A recent event at the Picture house Central on London’s Shaftesbury Avenue featured an interview with Cinematographer Ben Davis, whose screen credits include Kick-Ass, Before I Go to Sleep and Guardians of the Galaxy. But why should an animator need to know about cinematography? Because animators are film- makers, and anything that helps you to understand the art of visual story telling will make you better at your craft. And who better to learn from than one of the UK’s best cinematographers?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The FLiP Annecy Survival Guide

Annecy - an ancient medieval town in the French Alps
The International Festival of Animation at Annecy is the world’s biggest animation festival. It can be a slightly overwhelming experience; there are so many things going on at once that it can be hard to feel like you really get to make the most of being there. Alongside the film festival is MIFA – the world’s biggest animation marketplace, a brain-boiling congress of industry types furiously buying and selling. But Annecy is an event that every animator should go to at least once – if only to get a feeling for the sheer size and diversity of the modern animation industry.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Thief and The Cobbler At Annecy

On stage at Annecy - Le Voleur et Le Cordonnier
Friday 19 June was the last day of the MIFA marketplace at Annecy, and also a rare chance to see The Thief and The Cobbler (en Francais: “Le voleur et le cordonnier”) original director’s cut – presented by the director himself.  Dad got a standing ovation when he came on stage, and he dedicated the screening to the memory of Ken Harris, one of Chuck Jones’ top animators on the Looney Tunes series and the man responsible for much of the animation of The Thief himself.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Lovelace and Babbage in Print At Last


Sydney Padua's long awaited graphic novel, The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage, is now on sale. Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage were 19th century inventors who between them pioneered the world's first programmable computer - still in working order in London's Science Museum. To read more about Sydney's book, see our 2013 interview here at FLiP.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

All Aboard The Harry Potter Studio Tour

Harry Potter Tour
I recently took the Harry Potter Studio Tour at Leavesden, visiting the 80-hectare studio complex which was used for filming the Harry Potter series of films. The tour might sound like a three hour trivia odyssey for Potter fans, but in fact it turned out to be as good an introduction to the art, craft and science of visual effects film-making as almost any amount of classroom instruction - and far more fun.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Thursdays at Pinks with Dad

Animation veteran Rebecca Rees writes of her weekly lunch outings with her 89 year-old father, Richard Lodolo.

by Rebecca Rees

Our family moved to Hollywood in 1968.  We discovered hippies, unconventional life styles and PINKS.  We ate at PINKS all the time.  It was cheap, really good, and legal.  We would order our hot dogs and eat them in our car, which was a 1949 Ford.

About two years ago,  I was driving my dad around looking for a place to eat lunch.  We were on LaBrea in Hollywood and my dad suggested McDonald's....which sounded horrifying to me.  I just kept driving hoping we didn't pass a McDonald's, and then I saw PINKS up ahead.  Neither of us had been there in years, even though my dad only lives about 6 blocks away.  So I pulled over and parked, extremely happy that he forgot all about McDonald's.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cutting Edge Technology In 1976: The Lyon Lamb Video Animation System

Lyon Lamb Video Animation System - a Revolution
Recently Disney producer Don Hahn posted a nostalgic piece at the Disney FaceBook Group about some cutting edge technology from 1976: the then brand-new Lyon Lamb Video Animation System. It was an astonishing development - you could shoot your animation and see a pencil test immediately instead of sending it off to the rostrum camera dept to be filmed, and then having to wait for the developed film to come back the next day. Nowadays all animators take real-time playback for granted. Until the Lyon Lamb, the only real-time playback was in the imagination of the animator. So, how did the animators do it? How could they possibly know in advance how their work would come out?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Will Finn On Loving Disney - Even Back In The 1970s


To have been a Disney fan during the 1970’s was truly to believe in magic, sappy as that sounds. In high school my peers mocked me for going to things like the re-release of Dumbo and 101 Dalmations. These were old cartoons that had lost their relevance to the general audience stoked on 1970s hits like The Godfather and Blazing Saddles. During my time at art school, the instructors warned me not to bother…

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Help Sue Nichols Maciorowski SMAC Down Cancer


Once again, the call goes out to you in the animation community to help one of our own.  Sue Nichols Maciorowski, a 30 year animation veteran, is battling cancer.  The out-of-pocket costs are staggering.  To help pay for treatment, her best pal Brenda Chapman came up with Operation SMAC Down, and, with Tina Price, has created a donor page on the Give Forward website.  Over $9000 has been raised so far toward the goal of $25,000.

FLiP is asking you dear readers for two things:
1. Go to the site and donate to the SMAC down, anything you can.
2. Spread to word to friends and colleagues.

Click here to help.  And thank you.

Go Sue!

-Steve


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

We Worked At Disney Animation In the 80's and 90's

Back in the day
In this era of digital saturation it is not often that a mere Facebook Group stops you in your tracks, grabs your attention, and won't let you go.  Less than a week ago Disney producer Don Hahn started a Facebook Group titled We Worked At Disney Animation In the 80's and 90's. I won't post the URL here because the group is a closed group: open only to, well, people who worked at Disney Animation in the 80's and 90's. Already it has well over a thousand members and a ridiculous number of posts. Like many of its members, I can't stop reading it.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

DreamWorks Layoffs - What Does It All Mean?

DreamWorks - big layoffs
At the end of Januaury DreamWorks announced big layoffs in their animation division, bad enough for the Los Angeles based artists who were laid off, but a disaster for Bay Area studio PDI, which is now to be closed.  PDI, for those who don't know, created ANTZ, the first non-Pixar CG animated feature film to reach the big screen. So, what does all this mean for our industry?

Friday, January 30, 2015

Animator's Survival Kit Now Released for iBooks


Animator's Survival Kit - now on iBooks
Faber and Faber has just announced the launch of the Animator's Survival Kit for iBooks.  The new edition brings together the complete 'Expanded Edition' of The Animator's Survival Kit with over 100 animated examples from The Animator's Survival Kit Animated DVD box set. It will be available globally, priced at £19.99/$28.99.  What does this mean for students of animation? It means you can now use the ASK on your Mac laptop - you don't need an iPad.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The World's First Online MA in Animation




I teach animation at a university in the UK, and my superiors are forever nagging me about the need to get an MA in my subject area. Trouble is, I need something I can do online, so I don't have to give up my day job.  But try looking around for something suitable, and there isn't anything out there. Which got me thinking - why not create one? Why not create the world's first MA in animation, completely online?  And, best of all, we could use the content from my online school - Animation Apprentice - and make it a course that would actually teach students how to animate. Properly.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Nassos Vakalis Talks about "Dinner For Few", and Reveals the Secrets of Entering and Winning Festivals


Dinner for Few
Nassos Vakalis' film “Dinner for Few” has been entering and winning festivals all over the world. We asked Nassos, who by day is a storyboard artist at DreamWorks, to explain the secrets of entering and winning film competitions. What does it make to make a success of a short film project?