Thursday, April 25, 2013

it's rare when I get to eat a meatball sandwich.

...and that's probably a good thing.

most "ogre/mermaid" posts I leave on the ogre/mermaid blog, but the addition of a revised animatic is an infrequent, larger event, so here it is, the April 25th update of the ogre/mermaid animatic.

this represents the efforts of janelle, eric, amanda, shannon, matt, and giselle. Sadly, we are losing our interns at the end of the semester, but I wish to thank them for their efforts, and hope that they gained from the experience. your work is much appreciated, and of course will appear in the credits! thanks to Eric and Janelle for soldiering on. : D

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Motion Heads WIP

a convivial time was had at Chez Nous last evening as colleagues and friends gathered to reveal their secret (or not secret) works in progress at Motion Heads' potluck lasagna fest "This is What I Am Working On or Finished Not So Long Ago."

Ellen showed a short piece with Mona Lisa trying to get a date, but having no luck amongst her male painter suitors, John gave us his gritty, organ detective story, Marie screened a short piece based on a story her father liked to tell about taking the sun to Canada, Karl offered bits and pieces of projects involving photograph-based animation of natural elements (and other things), Michael shared and demo'd examples of games he's worked on/is working on, and Motion Heads played the pencil test animatic for "The Ogre and the Mermaid."

pretty neat to see what other folks are doing, and thanks to all who got up the gumption to participate. it can sometimes be lonely or stale creating in a vacuum, and this was a breath of fresh air, and the interested feedback gives new insight into something you've been staring too closely at for weeks or months.

many appreciations to all, and I'm taking suggestions for the next gathering!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

a day well spent

15 of us hopped on the bus and headed to the Oversized Apple to tour animation studios (see below). It was a friendly experience, with familiar alum and studio folk faces at these places, and we all got to catch a glimpse of what the post-school future might look like. Studio owners/founders were welcoming, and not afraid to tell it like it was, in terms of what it's like to run your own place - the highs and lows, the rewards and the costs.

we headed back home just in time to catch the beginning of a little thunder and lightning, our heads filled with visions of Cintiqs and serious adults making cartoons of political bent, kid themes, and overgrown kid stuff.

a cheerful gang, and I hope we all took something from it that will inform our future actions.

Monday, April 15, 2013

new york studio tour

heading to new york city for a studio tour with students on friday: Curious, Augenblick, and Flickerlab - to see what we can see: animators at work!

this was a friend's recent, "scary" pass-on post in Facebook (at least scary for those with big-eyed dreams of Disney and Pixar - but that's the NBA and the Lawrence Welk Show combined, folks - you'd better be better than everyone else to begin with, and love doing it their way). Granted, the craft is extremely high, and it would be cool to be around such talented people. But looks like Disney's jettisoning vision in favor of profit again. no surprises, in my opinion.

where does animation fall in the divide between "art" and "business?"

are we here to entertain?

are we here to please ourselves?

are we here to express what we want? what someone else wants?

do you, young student, know what you want?


Friday, April 12, 2013

tiny inventions

Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata of Tiny Inventions came to speak to us at UArts yesterday. They had a receptive audience and charmed us with their work and understated presence. Like John, Paul, George, and Ringo, I think they were lucky to find each other and combine companionship and creative passion.

I asked them what they thought their work might be like had they not met one another. Max said he met Ru at a point when he was a bit burnt out working on uncreative tasks and was not sure what lay ahead for him, art-wise. Ru rekindled his interest in animation, I guess because of the prospect of working with someone also keen on creating original work. Ru said that she feels Max brings a pursuit of high production standards that she, while being a great organizer and one to get things started quickly, might not have aimed for herself. In any case, it was great to see two people able to work together on things they are passionate about, yeah?

Tim Rauch of Rauch Brothers Animation stopped by to check out his friends' Max and Ru's presentation and participated in the Q and A at the end. Tim and his brother Mike have been very successful animating Story Corps shorts, and Tim also taught a class at UArts a couple of years back.

All in all, a great visit and a great chance to meet and talk with animators who are doing it their way, carving a path through the world as independent artists.

a few other notes from Max and Ru's presentation:
• Philadelphia seems to have a lot more people walking around outside than Baltimore
• almost none of those people walking around in Baltimore are animators (the same holds true for Philadelphia, actually)
• Max and Ru get a lot of their material from observing people (an activity many animators are drawn to, quite naturally)
• Ru's blog comics are a good place to find tidbits on intercultural differences (Dutch, Japanese, and American) - I find this particularly interesting
• teaching takes up more time than one might at first think (3 days of classes per work ≠ 2 days off from work - things like lesson planning, committee meetings, advising, school events, and other have a way of filling up "empty" non-classroom hours). It's not a job one clocks into or out of. It's more a lifestyle.
• this may or may not lead to a lot of television watching as a way to decompress at the end of the day
• working with a composer can reverse the usual process of filmmaking: sounds can influence the visuals that one decides to use in a particular shot; one doesn't always find the most creative solution simply by thinking of sound as something "added later."
• the tension between tactile and digital art informs the work of contemporary artists who try to balance love of the real world, with all its objects, against the convenience and possibilities presented by the digital world.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

signe baumane

Signe Baumane is intelligent, sensitive, unpredictable, disarmingly frank, and lives as an artist; she came to UArts a few years ago as a guest presenter and charmed us all, making us laugh with stories of her adventures and misadventures, told candidly and often with bemused self-reflection. she is working on a feature film at present, called Rocks in My Pockets, definitely worth a peek.

Monday, April 8, 2013

ogre on the run

don't make your giants
so much bigger than yourself

that you feel it impossible
to look them in the eye

don't be mistaken
looking for artifacts and treasures
scattered in someone else's

while you should be
making those things
only you can make.

Friday, April 5, 2013

when magoo flew

a fascinating new book that I am in the process of reading:

"When Magoo Flew," a history of the UPA studio (United Productions of America), that has long held mythical status for me and many animators, along with later offshoots such as the Hubley studio. The notion of animators dedicated to new ideas, sophistication in content, and risk-taking approaches to graphics and art, is one that inspired me as soon as I started learning about it. Occupying a relatively short-lived but highly combustible and exciting place and time in history, UPA participated in America's post-WWII creative outpouring, alongside figures such as Charles and Ray Eames, and allied themselves to innovative trends in contemporary art and industry. Not without their human shortcomings (and perhaps even notable in these), but with energy, verve, intelligence, and great idealism - what more could you ask for...

Thanks to author Adam Abraham for this wonderful tome.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

ace and son - a new find

here's a link to a studio mentioned to me by Elliot:

ace and son

the blog observations are thoughtful, and I will enjoy peering into them more...