Monday, June 30, 2014

Flipping The Classroom

Alex Williams
Alex Williams' presentation at the Society of Animation Studies lasted only five minutes but had more content than many I heard that ran four times as long. Alex recommends 'flipping' the classroom by assigning lecture videos as homework (as he does with Animation Apprecntice, his online course) and concentrating on work in progress during studio sessions. "The beauty of an online lecture is that if you don't get it the first time, you watch it again and again". Of course...some students don't watch the videos. These are the same students who 'glance' at reading assignments in the textbooks (translation: they stared at the cover for a few seconds but didn't open the book.) And they are the same students who won't do well in class and who won't get great grades. Ultimately, you can't make people learn...they have to want to do it. But it does make sense to maximize studio time and minimize lecture time, since we are working in visual media. Alex can 'pitch' really well, too.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Nancy Beiman explains why animators ought to study Charlie Chaplin

The Little Tramp. Photo: Wikipedia
Why should animators watch Charlie Chaplin films? Nancy Beiman, former supervising animator at Disney Feature Animation and now one of the key professors at Sheridan College in Toronto (and contributor to FLiP), has the answer. It's because good animators are pantomime artists, and Chaplin was "the greatest pantomimer of them all". At the 2014 SAS (Society of Animation Studies) conference in Toronto, Nancy explained how animation and silent film comedy developed together, inspiring one another to perfect the art of physical comedy.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Pete Western reports on "A Moment in Time" at BFI - the first ever public screening of "The Thief and the Cobbler" in the UK

Animation people in the UK were in for a rare treat on the first Sunday in June. AMPAS [Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences] arranged a screening of the work print of Richard Williams’ lost masterpiece “The Thief & the Cobbler” followed by a Q & A with the man himself. This event was all the more extraordinary because until AMPAS got in touch with Mr. Williams to tell him they were digitizing and archiving the original director’s cut, he had refused to answer all questions about the film.

Friday, June 6, 2014

D-Day 70 years on - filmed by Uncle Ken

Canadian riflemen land at Juno Beach, D Day, 6 June 1944. Colour photo by Ken Bell
This article about my great-cunle Ken Bell was first posted last year, but today, the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings, seems like a good day to re-visit Uncle Ken's life and work.

Ken Bell was my great uncle. Before WW2 he was a keen amateur photographer and, soon after Canada declared war on Nazi Germany in 1939, he joined up, offering his services to the newly formed Canadian Army Film and Photo Unit, a propaganda outfit which would record Canada's involvement in the war.

On 6 June 1944, 70 years ago today, along with tens of thousands of American, British, Canadian, and other Allied forces, Ken landed at Juno Beach in Normandy with the Highland Light Infantry of Canada, on day one of Operation Overlord.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Remembering Caron Creed

Caron Creed at work on Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. Photo: Pete Western
Caron Creed, animator, designer, wife and mother, died in her sleep last night. She had fought breast cancer for over a year, but it returned with a vengeance and she was taken into hospital on Sunday. Caron was a talented artist and huge fun to be around. On Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, where I met her, she was always the first to lead a friday night expedition to the local pub, and then beyond to the Camden Palace, where "Rabbit" animators unwound after a week of toil.