Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Those who conquere commercial and independent worlds.

I apologize for being away. I have been sick twice, had to go to a wedding, and the rest of my time devoted to my film, which has less than four weeks before making its debut. Which means less than four weeks to finish it.

Which brings me to the top of this post. Now that I am almost finished with this project, I need to start thinking about where to go next. I would love to start thinking up another personal film, but then I thought about maybe having a long-term idea I could develop before an opportunity comes along. Someone recently mentioned the idea of doing a TV show, something that is sort at the bottom of my list. I thought that if someone actually offered me the chance to do one, I’d probably take the opportunity, as it might open more doors for me in the future. But I don’t want to stray too far away from independent work, which is a great thing to be a part of. I hold great admiration for artists who are successful in exploring both independent and commercial worlds.

These guys managed to establish their own styles through their independent work, and were able to bring them to a larger audience. (I apologize if I should have mentioned someone else, but didn't. These were the first that came to mind).

John R. Dilworth.

I have met Mr. Dilworth quite a few times. He is one of my idols; one of the best animation directors ever. Dilworth has managed to do some stunning independent films, and has also created Courage The Cowardly Dog, one of the best animated shows of the last ten years. Apparently, he refused to do Courage unless he could produce it from his own studio, Stretch Films, in New York, as opposed to moving to Los Angeles.

Dilworth’s own style is evident in both his commercial and personal work. There are elements recognizable in his work prior to Courage, which made it into the show. And Courage is also unusual compared to most animated shows today, in that it has no continuity, but rather unique situations and different characters per episode (although a few episodes made reference to the original film, The Chicken From Outer Space).

You can watch all of Mr. Dilworth's films (small screen unfortunately) in the Works section of StretchFilms.com.

Joe Murray

I have known of Joe Murray since I was 7 or 8 years old. That was when his show, Rocko’s Modern Life was still on Nickelodeon. Looking back, I realize how unique the first couple seasons of that show was (my opinion of the last season is a little sour now).

I admit I only started checking out his most recent show, Camp Lazlo, last summer. But I was intrigued by the show’s distinct character designs, and beautifully textured backgrounds. It was then that I learned that Murray is also an independent animator. Unfortunately, his personal films are hard to find (they must be available on VHS somewhere). I admit I have not seen any of these films, only read about them. I just thought he was worth mentioning.

You can read more about Mr. Murray's work at JoeMurrayStudio.com/.

Danny Antonucci

Mr. Antonucci has been a great advocate of traditional, hand-drawn animation. He has found success with his own work (Lupo the Butcher), and with his commercial ventures (Ed, Edd and Eddy on Cartoon Network). Antonucci’s work personifies what it means to be edgy in animation (actually, I use the term “edgy” to describe what he was doing in the late 1980’s and 1990’s). In 1991, Antonucci had a show on MTV that tethered between indie and mainstream, called The Brothers Grunt. Of course, this was back when MTV was good. But watching that, along with Lupo and Ed, Edd, and Eddy, presents a remarkable diversity. In an interview at last year’s Annecy Festival, Antonucci revealed he looking to return to his indie roots, which I find really exciting.

Ed, Edd, and Eddy stood out right from the beginning. The boiling line style combined with Tex Avery-style gags was something totally new for Cartoon Network's programming. The show currently holds Cartoon Network’s record for their longest-running original program. And he wants to go back to independent work; kudos to Mr. Antonucci.

I apologize in advance if it takes a while for me to post again. My film has to come first, but I am still keeping this blog up.

And I promise, if anybody wants something totally new, that I will have something on my film in my next post. Now, it’s at a good stage for me to start sharing it.



Eric Noble said...

I would have to say that my favorites out of all of those shows is "Rocko's Modern Life". I still watch it and I still laugh. I really wish they would bring it out on DVD. After Rocko, I liked the early episodes of "Ed, Edd n' Eddy". I stopped watching after a while. Anyway, great post and I can't to read more.

Robiscus said...

Where DID you get that picture of John? That thing is hilarious.

I worked for John on "Courage The Cowardly Dog" for many years. We all had one hell of a time and as kong ago as that was, I have not come across any experience as rewarding in this industry. Last I heard he was galavanting around Spain, and I must assume he has a beautiful woman on his arm because he would do that alone.

Robiscus said...

Edit: he would *not* do that alone. Its late...

Emmett said...

Hello Dan,

that picture of Mr. Dilworth is from a website where he gave an interview about his LOST IN TRANSITION piece. And yes, he is currently doing a project in Spain (with his Spanish girlfriend). But I think its temporary until the project is finished. I'm curious to see what the project is like. John Dilworth has one hell of a style.