Friday, December 28, 2012

Animators with Shotguns

In 1992, I was in San Francisco doing storyboards for The Nightmare Before Christmas.  My friend and colleague James Baker called to see if I'd be into going skeet shooting.  Dave Gordon had shotguns and wanted to go to a shooting range in Oakland.  My experience with rifles was strictly of the arcade variety, but I had a car, which made me an ideal person to let tag along.

We headed over the Bay Bridge to a grassy firing range I swear I have seen on Mythbusters.  The first thing I learned about shotguns is that their recoil hurts.  On my first try, the gun kicked back so violently, it whacked me in the mouth.  I saw cartoon stars for a few seconds as I rolled my tongue along my teeth, taking inventory.  James didn't do much better, and Dave had to give us a lesson on how to hold on to the beastly thing.

After a few rounds, the range pro (or whatever he's called) came over and not only fine-tuned my rifle holding, but also adjusted my stance.  By simply pointing my toes in a certain direction, I became a clay pigeon killing machine.

Pull!   BLAM!   Pull!  BLAM!

Film Review - The Life of Pi

The Life of Pi
The Life of Pi is a remarkably good film, well written, beautifully directed, and an incredible achievement given that the subject matter feels essentially un-filmable. But what is especially notable is the visual effects work. I don't think I have ever seen a film in which, from start to finish, I simply could not tell where the real animals ended and the CG ones began.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Paul Harrison Talks about Getting a New TV Series off the Ground

Paul Harrison and Evgenia Golubeva are two very talented animation artists who are developing a new animated TV series for kids. FLIP asked them some questions about how an independent artist gets a new TV series off the ground.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

What was the best animated Feature of 2012?

First the BAFTAs, then the Oscars

Award season is almost upon us. Every year in December a swelling tide of BAFTA DVDs and screeners arrives by post, a satisfyingly large heap of swag that makes me very popular at my in-laws, and makes Santa himself look like Uncle Scrooge.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Ghosts of Christmas Cards Past

Every Fall, the annual challenge of designing my Christmas card creeps up on me.  I really like doing it, and love getting cards from animation friends who do the same.  I thought I'd share some of my better ones from the past 28 years.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Merry Christmas from the REAL Tiny Tim

Spot the Difference
Way back in 1971 my Dad's animation studio at no. 13 Soho Square in London took on their biggest project to date - a TV adaptation of Charles Dickens'  A Christmas Carol. The 22 minute TV special was produced by Chuck Jones and many scenes were animated by Ken Harris, one of Chuck's star animators from Road Runner days.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Bob Camp Visits Newtown

A shrine for the victims.  Photo couresty of Bob Camp.
Bob Camp, of Ren and Stimpy fame,  lives not far from Newtown, Connecticut; a place most people had never heard of until last Friday.  Like everyone, Bob, a father of two, was deeply disturbed by the senseless, cowardly act of violence inflicted upon helpless children and school teachers.  He posted this on his Facebook page today, and generously let me share with you:

"Last night Gwen and I went to Sandy Hook had dinner and went to see the things people left in a huge makeshift memorial for the shooting victims and the people of Newtown. 

The Snowman and the Snowdog

Christmas Eve in the UK will see the airing of The Snowman and The Snowdog - a new adaptation of Raymond Briggs' beloved children's book The Snowman. The original animated version of the Snowman was broadcast on 26th December 1982 and was nominated for the 1982 Academy Award for Animated Short Film.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Producer Claus Toksvig explains how to make an independent animated film

Claus Toksvig in an independent Producer based at The Animation Workshop in Viborg, Denmark, recently returned from the Creative Talent Network (CTN) Expo in Burbank, Los Angeles. Claus talked to FLIP about the challenges of making independent animated films outside of the studio system.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Like FLIP? "Like" FLIP!

Hey readers!  If you like FLIP and Facebook, "Like" FLIP on Facebook!  You'll hear about our new posts on your Facebook wall, as well as updates on previous posts.

Click Here!

How to Make an Animated Film

One of the biggest challenges for an animator is to tackle a short film project. Most working animators don't - they're usually too busy. But at the best animation schools, students usually tackle a group film project in their graduation year. Short films are a ton of work and they present a huge variety of film-making challenges.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Uli Meyer brings Ronald Searle's St Trinians to life.

Uli Meyer is one of the most talented 2D animators of his generation, and a huge admirer of the work of legendary British cartoonist Ronald Searle, creator of St Trinian's School and the Molesworth series.

Uli has been working for a while now on an animated adaptation of Searle's work, not an easy task given the complex, subtle drawing style and the challenge of bringing the eccentric characters to life in animation without losing their charm.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Francis Glebas and The Animator's Eye

Francis Glebas is a director, designer and story board artist with a long career in the animation industry. We asked him some questions about his work and his latest book "The Animator's Eye".

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Rocking Horse and the End of the World

As the Mayan doomsday approaches, I thought I would dust off this true story, one of my favorites from the old-format FLIP , from 2007. -Steve

by Nancy Beiman


We were living in a 1900 house that had splendid quartersawn oak floors with the planks laid in a herringbone pattern whose texture I can still feel. I loved to run my hands along the colorful shadow cast on the living room floor by the small stained glass window in the sun room.

There wasn't much of anything else to play with since my father's salary as a music teacher in the local high school was just enough to get us into an apartment in this once-elegant neighbourhood (Dad told me later that "I knew it was going downhill since I could afford to live there.") The elegance did not extend to the heat - there wasn't any. The twisted radiators produced nothing but noise, vibrations, and the rumor of monsters in the basement. We had frost inside the windows. So, at age five, I was an expert at getting dressed under the heavy blankets in the bedroom I shared with my three year old sister, Paula.

Imagine, then, the sensation when Dad brought home a rocking horse - a magnificent creature, molded in finest plastic, mounted on springs that attached to a cruciform metal frame. It had a wild eye and a beautifully sculpted head. The springs made a crinking sound when you rode it. A glorious horse, and purchased amonth before Chanukah! But my sister and I were too small to question why.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Scott Petersen talks about founding Golden Street Animation

Golden Street Productions was founded by Scott Petersen in 2009
Scott Petersen, founder of Golden Street Animation, talks to FLIP about the perils and pitfalls of setting up his own independent animation company.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Phantom Harbor's "Hurry Home for Christmas"

I have to share my favorite Christmas video, created by friend of FLIP Shannon Shea.  I have known Shannon since our days at CalArts thirty years ago, when he was a frustrated student in the Film Graphics Department. He has had a long career as a frustrated make-up effects artist, with a resume as long as Santa's gift list.  He's worked on films such as Predator, Terminator 2, Dances with Wolves, and my favorite Drag Me to Hell, just to name a few.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Ravi Shankar and the Freshman

News of the death of Ravi Shankar brought to mind a time when, as a CalArts student, I saw him perform live on campus.  It was 1981 and I was a freshman, straight out of South Jersey; meaning, I knew NOTHING.   I ran into my friend from the music school, Dave Coste.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Pinewood Studios, and the Secrets of Motion Capture Revealed

Pinewood Studios - home of 007
Yesterday FLIP visited the motion capture studio Centroid, based in Pinewood Studios, with a group of students from Buckinghamshire New University. Motion Capture, sometimes called "Performance Capture", is an animation technique which captures real-time actor's performances and turns them into digital data which can be used to create animated characters - like the character "Gollum" played by Andy Serkis in The Lord of The Rings.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Andy Serkis, Imaginarium and Animal Farm

David Davis is an animator who has just joined Andy Serkis' new motion capture studio Imaginarium, a digital animation studio based in Ealing, London, dedicated to the creation of digital characters using Performance Capture technology. On 20th October 2012 the studio acquired rights to The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon and also a new motion capture adaptation of Animal Farm, which Serkis will direct. FLIP asked David to tell us a little about his new job.
Andy Serkis will direct Orwell's classic totalitarian satire Animal Farm

Monday, December 10, 2012

Rusty's Memorial Service

As you most likely have heard, Rusty Mills passed away December 8th.  His wife, Andrea, has welcomed all to his memorial service tomorrow:

2:00 pm, Tuesday, December 11

Glen Haven and Sholom Memorial Park
Glen Haven Mortuary
13017 N. Lopez Canyon Road
Sylmar, California 91342
Phone: (818) 899-5211

And you can still donate to the relief fund.. Over $16.000 has been raised to help with medical costs.  

So long Rusty.  I'll always remember the fun times at CalArts.  
CalArts Halloween party, 1983.  Mike Show, Rusty (as Boris Badenov0, Rob Minkoff (Sammy Claus), Steve Moore (blue meanie), Leon Joosen, Mona and Brett Koth. 

The Hobbit - Some Unexpected Visual Effects

The Hobbit is in cinemas from Thursday
Film producer and friend of FLIP Bob Thompson went to a private screening of The Hobbit - an Unexpected Journey in London on Sunday, followed by a Q&A with the director. We invited Bob to share with us some of his thoughts about the film, and especially some technical notes on the highly unusual way in which it was made.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Brief Plea for Freedom of Speech

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, also known as The Bill of Rights
The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America states as follows:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Friday, December 7, 2012

Pups of Liberty now on DVD!

Hear ye!  Hear ye! A message of independence!  Friends of FLIP Bert and Jennifer Klein announce the DVD release of their independently animated film Pups of Liberty.  When I say 'independent', I don't mean 'small studio financing their own film', I mean 'animators working out of their living room for free'. Bert and Jennifer enlisted heavyweight animation talent such as Eric Goldberg, Mark Henn, Frans Vischer, Hyun Min Lee, Tony de Rosa,  Jay Jackson, and James Lopez to lend their skills to the cause.  The resulting film is  the top quality production you see here.....

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Graphic Storytelling at the Animation Workshop

Gateway to the Animation Workshop
The Animation Workshop in Denmark has announced a new Graphic Storytelling Programme starting in September 2013. This is excellent news from a school that is already in my opinion among the very best English-language schools for animation anywhere in the world. They produce world-class talent; students who are pretty much production-ready as soon as they graduate.

The new programme aims to focus on "drawing, sequential storytelling, lay-out, scripting, story boarding for films, cross media and developing original graphic universes". Students will also learn about "working as a freelancer and starting up your own company focusing on graphic storytelling".

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Thief & The Cobbler - The Recobbled Cut - Part 2

Garrett Gilchrist's Recobbled Cut

Independent film maker Garrett Gilchrist has spent many years trying to re-assemble the original director's cut of one of the great might-have-been animated feature films - The Thief and the Cobbler. In this second part of our interview (you can see the first part here), Garrett explains what inspired him to create his latest version of The Thief: The  Recobbled Cut - Mark 4.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Film Review: The Hobbit - an Unexpectedly Long Journey

The Hobbit, part 1. But why three parts?
As anticipation builds for the December 14 release date of Peter Jackson's latest journey to Middle Earth, FLIP invited Animator Andreas Wessel-Therhorn to review The Hobbit - an Unexpected Journey. Andreas caught up with the first part of the new trilogy at a special Academy screening in Hollywood on Sunday.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Taking Care of Dad

Oscar H. Moore, a.k.a. Dad.
I spent the first 19 years of my professional career living in an industry Never Never Land, a place where my life could be all about animation.  My troubles were cartoon troubles.  I knew that heavy, grown-up problems existed in the world, but I had somehow dodged them for twenty years while pursuing  animation glory in Hollywood.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Film Review - Persistence of Vision; The Untold Story of the Greatest Animated Film Never Made

FLIP invited animator and storyboard artist Michael Schlingman to review Kevin Schreck's new documentary film Persistence of Vision - The Untold Story of the Greatest Animated Film Never Made, about the making of The Thief and The Cobbler. Michael worked on The Thief, and was also interviewed for Persistence of Vision. He went to a special screening of the film in Leeds last week.