Thursday, December 27, 2007

Cartoon Burials

I have been in Cleveland for the last week, and have been lazy as hell. Nothing much to report on. I am taking a short break from Parasite's Delight. I should be back to animating by January 4th, at which I will be back at the Pratt studios in Brooklyn.

In the meantime, I have started watching a couple of (so-called) cartoon burials. First off is Private Snafu, a series of instructional films made by Warner Bros. during World War II. Although they were never meant for general audiences, I find them to be very impressive. And they are quite funny too (in a sick and offensive way). They are currently available as special features on the recent Looney Tunes Golden Collections (since volume 3).

The one below is entitled "Spies," and I consider it to be a perfect introduction to the series. I believe this one is directed by Chuck Jones, although I can't be too sure. I say that because I know Theodore "Dr. Seuss" Geisel wrote most of these, and worked closely with Jones. The one I really want to post is called "Rumors," but I can't find a good copy of it, and I don't like the YouTube version.

I am also struggling to watch the 1972 made-for-TV film Yogi's Ark Lark. So far, I have only seen the first 12 minutes of the 43 minute film, but I can certainly vouch for its mediocrity. But, in saying that, I can not deny that I have a soft spot these Hanna Barbera all-star shows, and watching them is something of a guilty pleasure. It's still better than the mushy Smurfs or Snorks.

I have another schizophrenic post coming up soon.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Artistic Schizophrenia

The following clip is The Cure in 1986. During the filming of a documentary, the group did an impromptu rendition of "Home On The Range."

Someone on YouTube left a comment about the Cure's musical schizophrenia. I like the idea of an artist being considered artistically schizophrenic. It's another, more interesting way of addressing one's diversity. You'd have to be quite a craftsman like Robert Smith (The Cure's leader) to be able to move in that many directions, and still maintain artistic integrity. I need to think more about this idea, but I would love to apply it to other artists.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Winter Break

Nothing new, I just want to keep my posts up. Winter Break has now begun here at Pratt Institute.

Animation wise, I am getting just a little done on Parasite's Delight. I am also trying to find some of Hanna Barbera's unfavorables. I used to be a huge fan of the all-star shows, particularly Yogi's Gang. As a little kid, it impressed me that there could be a whole community of animated characters. It's one of the things that inspires me to want to invent characters.

Unfortunately, they are not as timeless as other HB products, and so there isn't enough demand for these shows to be released on DVD, and are in rare print.

I just had to post this image. The Doggies' mouths fall off for a couple of frames.

I will be heading home to Cleveland next week, but I will still be posting.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Beatles ~ HELP (End Credits, 1965)

I am trying to find different things to post now, with better images and more things to say. I am thinking about trying to write about people and animators I know personally.

For now, I thought I'd post this video here (yes, I hope at some point to stop relying on You Tube videos). These are the end credits to the Beatles second movie, HELP, directed by Richard Lester in 1965. When I was about ten, I saw this movie on video, and thought it was amazing, and these end credits made a valuable impression on me. At times, images like this make their way into my work. There's just something I love about people showing off. Its not a good idea to show off the first time you meet someone, but when talking to people who know you well enough...well, I'm only guessing.

I hope to do something like this sequence some day, probably with animated characters. Animating characters just showing off; what an idea!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Is it alright to like Hanna Barbera?

Still working away on Parasite's Delight. I am trying to get myself used to the production schedule I have set.

My recent discovery of Top Cat has, as usual, led me to looking up other Hanna Barbera cartoons, as well as their history. I find that I gyrate more towards the TV characters from the late 1950's and early 1960's. Those characters include such charmers as Top Cat, Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Quickdraw McGraw, Wally Gator, and of course, the Flintstones. However, I have also found that Hanna Barbera is blamed for the decline in the quality of commercial animation. This is particularly true in their 1970's stuff, which I have never been enthusiastic about (the Smurfs, Scooby Doo spin-offs).

I wish I knew where this came from. I want a larger version.

I love animation that has a lot of posing and acting (or what many call classical animation). I feel like I might be criticized for liking HB cartoons. But if there's anything I go for, its characters. No matter how they are drawn or animated, I like fully formed personalities. I see no reason not to like all different forms of animation. I even like stuff that hasn't lasted very long, and even some considerably unsuccessful stuff.

I am excited about the early stuff, because I find the characters to be quite appealing. I love charming characters, possibly because they have qualities I don't have. These same characters were reused in gang of 1980's Saturday Morning cartoons. Those shows, unfortunately, are too humiliating to watch, have terrible coloring (fast food coloring) and have infantile humor. But considering the financial trouble HB was going through at the time, I guess it shouldn't be too surprising. I believe those bad cartoons could have been great with the same characters, but just with better coloring and more inventive plots. I don't mind seeing these great characters over again.

I have been working on my technique lately, although they are less a priority than my film. Here I jotted down some expressions for practice. I just thought I'd share it. I am hoping to get more of my thesis up here, although not everything is as complete as the last clip I posted.