Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Director's Cut of The Thief and The Cobbler to screen at the Academy on December 10

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that it will screen a newly edited director's cut of The Thief And The Cobbler - introduced by the Director in person - on Tuesday December 10th at 7:30pm, at the Academy, in the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre. The Thief will be preceded by Williams' Oscar winning short, A Christmas Carol. You can also see an exhibition, Richard Williams: Master of Animation in the building lobby until Sunday December 22nd.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

My 20th Birthday Party - at age 46

Friday night was my 20th birthday party. Well, technically it was the 20th birthday party of my cartoon strip, Queen's Counsel, which has been running for 20 years in The (London) Times, since it was first published in October 1993. Friday was a good excuse to have a party, sell a few books, and celebrate my longest-ever job, by far.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Appreciating Diane Disney

Sad news.  Diane Disney, Walt's daughter, died today at the age of 79.  

I had the opportunity to meet Diane in 1984, as a Cal Arts student.  The school had just completed a new student apartment complex, and was having an open house for the trustees.  As a rule, if there was free wine and food to be had, we were there - we being fellow students Tim Hauser, Kevin Lima, and myself.  Tim has the greatest knowledge of all things Disney of anyone I know, and he was quick to point out the presence of the big players - Card Walker, Donn B. Tatum, Roy Disney, and his cousin Diane.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Brandy & Mr. Whiskers that Wasn't

Brandy, an upper crust pure breed, is shipwrecked in the Amazon jungle with Mr. Whiskers, a  bunny used for science experiments.  
Does anyone out there remember a show called Brandy & Mr. Whiskers?  No?  It ran from 2004 to 2006 on The Disney Channel.    Last night, I came across some forgotten design work I did for that show at this time of year in 2002.  I was freelancing then, and Disney TV Animation hired me to design characters for the show, in its early development stage.   Barry Blumberg was in charge of DTVA then, and instructed me to come up with something really far out, maybe some mixed media stuff, like the photo collage elements I used in Redux Riding Hood, which DTVA produced and everyone loved but didn't love enough to release on DVD.  

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

"Despicable Me" Writers Create the Stage Musical "Bubble Boy"

Bubble Boy - the Musical.  Photo by Christina L. Wilson 
Most of you over-40 readers remember The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, the 1976 TV movie starring young John Travolta as a boy without an immune system who must literally live inside a plastic bubble.  

In 2001, the future writers of Despicable Me, Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, rewrote the story as the Jake Gyllenhaal comedy Bubble Boy.  

Cut to 2013, and those same writers have adapted their film into a stage musical which just premiered in Rahway, New Jersey.  Yes, Rahway, home of the penitentiary from Scared Straight, another TV blast from the '70's - could a musical comedy version of that be next?  Hmm - that could work, actually.

Read more about the Bubble Boy musical in this New Jersey Star Ledger article:

Congratulations to Cinco and Ken!  I hope Bubble Boy is a bit hit.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Making of Hare and Bear

John Lewis 'The Bear & The Hare' - The Making Of from Blink on Vimeo.

Here's an excellent video which explains how Aaron Blaise and his team put together their Hare and Bear TV commercial for British retailer John Lewis, achieving a unique look combining live action footage and hand-drawn animation. You can read more about the project here.


Monday, November 11, 2013

The End of Blockbuster

As Blockbuster Video closes its last store, I am reminded of its beginnings back in the '80's.  I was working for Duck Soup, a commercial studio in Santa Monica (now called DUCK), and Bob Seeley was directing a commercial for a new chain of video stores called Blockbuster.  Bob explained that this company was opening a new store every day for a year.  

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Jamie Baker Art Auction Update

After a few misfires, the eBay auction site for Jamie Baker is up and bidding.  Among the highlights is this tree from the movie Coraline, signed by Neil Gaiman.  It was donated by Laika Studios, and as of this writing, had 19 bids toping at $3499.  And that's with seven days left.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

My Most Influential Contemporaries

I have posted before about artistic influences, artists who I did not work with personally, but had a strong influence on my own work.  This time, I write about artists of my generation. In the past 30 years, I have worked with hundreds of artists, and many have influenced me in some manner.  Here is a list of five artists who, for me, had the greatest impact, in chronological order.  

1.  Dan Jeup – Dan was my roommate during my freshman year of CalArts, in 1981.  I knew next to nothing about Disney animation, though Dan was already animating at a professional level, and was an encyclopedia of Disney animation knowledge.  His passion for the medium was contagious, and I felt lucky to be asked along when he studied Disney film prints in the school library, pointing out different animation techniques.  Dan taught me about editing and match cuts and animating a character with weight.   And I taught him how to drink a lot of beer.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Aaron Blaise's new Ad for John Lewis - Hare and Bear

It's not often that I get multiple emails on a single day just because someone has recently broadcast a new animated TV ad. In this case, the ad is for John Lewis (A British department store) who have something of a reputation for well-crafted TV ads for the Christmas season. The commercial has been widely covered in the British press, and is titled Hare and Bear. As soon as I saw it, I thought the style looked familiar. It has the whiff of Brother Bear about it,  not in a derivative-kind-of-way but in a very-well-drawn-kind-of-way. As in: "these people know what they are doing".

Monday, November 4, 2013

Art Auction Benefit for Jamie Baker

James Baker, south paw.
This Saturday, there will be a huge art auction for story artist James Baker.  Last December, Jamie suffered a serious stroke, and while he is slowly recovering and learning to adapt, he has accumulated massive medical bills not covered by his insurance.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Morph at Kickstarter - Aardman animation needs your help!

Morph, everyone's favourite plasticene man is coming back. Photo: Wikipedia
Morph, the animated plasticine stop-motion character that appeared on British TV with Tony Hart in the 1970's, is coming back to life. Aardman animation, who created the character, are asking for your help at Kickstarter to bring him back to the screen.