Friday, April 27, 2012

Disney's "Paperman" and "Wreck-it Ralph"

Here is the poster for Disney's latest short film "Paperman." It will be released before "Wreck-It Ralph" which comes out November 2, 2012. Click here to see the article from Cartoon Brew.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Cartoon Round-up 7: Road Runner and Coyote


This week's Cartoon Round-up is about our favorite coyote and his elusive prey, the prize he can never seem to catch. I'm talking about those lovable characters the Coyote and Road Runner created by the great Chuck Jones.

They first appeared in the 1949 short film "Fast and Furry-ous" directed by Chuck Jones. Click here to view the short.

"Beep, Beep" (1952) directed by Chuck Jones

"Going! Going! Gosh!" (1952) directed by Chuck Jones

"Zipping Along" (1953) directed by Chuck Jones

After Chuck Jones left the Road Runner and Coyote series in 1963, it was picked up and produced by animation director Friz Freleng and David DePatie. These films did not really have the same timing and quality of Jones' work. When I was younger I really couldn't tell the difference. I still loved them all the same.

"The Solid Tin Coyote" (1966) directed by Rudy Larriva

In 2010, Dallas based animation studio Reel FX produced the first of three all new Road Runner and Coyote shorts, "Coyote Falls.". The amazing thing about this new rebirth was it was all CG AND in 3D! Reel FX picked up the gauntlet and did a fantastic job. They were able to recreate in the computer the look and the feel of the originals. The flexibility and mannerisms of the Coyote are still there in all his glory. Well done, Reel FX! Very well done!!

"Coyote Falls" (2010) directed by Matthew O'Callaghan

Looney Tunes - Coyote Falls [HD 720P] by Mister3ZE


Here is a rigging demo for this short by Reel FX rigging supervisor Josh Carey. This is the type of behind-the-scenes stuff I just love. It shows all the complexities of the rigs and how they were able to give these CG characters the rubbery look of the traditional 2D animated cartoons. Amazing work!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New Trailer: Hotel Transylvania

Here's a new trailer from Sony Pictures Animation Hotel Transylvania. The animation looks great, but I'm just not too keen about Adam Sandler's take on Dracula. Oh well.

"SubWars" by Sean Soong

This is an unexpected homage to Star Wars. An old man is just trying to get a seat on a subway. No one offers up their seat so he has to take it.

Be sure to listen to the soft piano score at the end. It's an old song with a chilling new twist.

Pixar Updates

Coming just announced yesterday the latest news from Pixar. I can tell you that I am really looking forward to the Dia de los Muertos film. The concept art for that will look amazing!!

Disney•Pixar has just provided updates on a number of projects at today's CinemaCon presentation:

• First announced last August, the upcoming Bob Peterson dinosaur film now has the title "The Good Dinosaur" and will be released on may 30, 2014. The film is described as follows:

What if the cataclysmic asteroid that forever changed life on Earth actually missed the planet completely and giant dinosaurs never became extinct? This hilarious, heartfelt and original tale is directed by Bob Peterson (co-director/writer, "Up;" writer, "Finding Nemo") and produced by John Walker ("The Incredibles," "The Iron Giant").

• Oscar-winning Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich's upcoming project with producer Darla Anderson will be about the holiday of Dia de los Muertos.

From director Lee Unkrich and producer Darla K. Anderson, the filmmaking team behind the Academy Award winning "Toy Story 3," comes a wholly original Pixar Animation Studios film that delves into the vibrant holiday of Dia de los Muertos.

• The still-untitled Pete Docter film that takes you inside the mind has been pushed from May 30, 2014, to June 19, 2015, and they're still trying to figure out a title for that one. It's describes as follows.

Pixar takes audiences on incredible journeys into extraordinary worlds: from the darkest depths of the ocean to the top of the tepui mountains in South America; from the fictional metropolis of Monstropolis to a futuristic fantasy of outer space. From director Pete Docter ("Up," "Monsters, Inc.") and producer Jonas Rivera ("Up"), the inventive new film will take you to a place that everyone knows, but no one has ever seen: the world inside the human mind.

More information is still coming in, so check back as the story develops!

Saturday, April 21, 2012


So every Thursday morning for the past few months my brother Roland and I have been going out for breakfast. We rarely get to hang out because of work and family so this has been working out great for the both of us. The other day after I dropped him off at his house out in Flour Bluff, I noticed something very interesting parked in one of his neighbor's drive way.


The EM-50 is here in Corpus Christi!!! It has been stowed here to keep it hidden from the Russians!! This is the last place they would look!! Don't believe me? Take a look at the EM-50 from the movie.


All the bullet proof shields are nicely hidden away but available at a moments notice. Oh, did I mention it has a rocket launcher?!

So go watch "Stripes" and see the EM-50 in action as it tears across the Russian countryside kicking some Soviet butt!!!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cartoon Round-up 6: Indie Shorts

I've been waiting to post these since the very beginning. These are some of my favorite animated shorts! CLASSIC!

The first one is "Rejected" by Don Hertzfeldt. My uncle first showed me this years and years ago and I never forgot it. I now own a few DVDs of Hertzfeldt's animation including "Rejected". You can get your copy through his website bitter films. It was unlike anything I had ever seen and just blew me away much like what happens to the characters at the end. The fun part is quoting some of the lines with my friends at work. Just PLEASE not while I'm making the closing announcements over the PA system. You know who you are!

"Rejected" (2000) directed by Don Hertzfeldt

I first saw "Creature Comforts" (1989) by Nick Park and Aardman Animation on a VHS tape I got from Animation Magazine years ago for being a loyal subscriber. It had several shorts that were Oscar winners and nominees. My favorite character is the lion or leopard at the end that is talking about wanting space and water "to swim in". "Name it and I go!" The other one would be the little chick bird that waves at the camera then pulls the beak off of the other bird and it snaps back like a party hat.

"Creature Comforts" (1989) directed by Nick Park

The next one here ALWAYS gave me the creeps as a little kid. I first saw "The Cat Came Back" by Cordell Barker on the Nickelodeon channel. They would show it between shows. This was when Nickelodeon first came on the air. I think it was the guy's character design and his temper that freaked me out. Also, it had to be that damn cat that KEPT COMING BACK!! AAAARRRRGGGHHHH!!!!

"The Cat Came Back" (1988) directed by Cordell Barker

Next up is the short film "Drink" by Patrick Smith. I cannot recall exactly how I came across his work but it is some amazing 2D animation. I have a copy of his DVD "Liquid Tales" that has his short films up to that time. Check it out! Amazing work! Also check out his website blend films.

"Drink" (2000) directed by Patrick Smith

Lastly is "The Big Snit" directed by Richard Condie, a sweet tale of a couple who have an argument over a Scrabble game completely unaware that a full nuclear war has just broken out. This one always cracks me up. I am always quoting this film whenever I get really frustrated. "And YOU are always shaking your eyes! You're shaking your eyes here! Shaking your there! Shake-a here! Shake-a there! Why don't you go join a shake-a-rock-a-roll band!!" I think I first saw this one on Nickelodeon, too.

"The Big Snit" (1986) directed by Richard Condie

Monday, April 16, 2012

Bill Plympton animates "The Simpsons" opening

It seems that the past couple seasons of The Simpsons have really done a lot with their couch gag during the opening sequence. They have also been adding a new gag somewhere in the opening sequence with every episode. It is no longer just Bart's writings on the chalk board that changes.. Most notably in recent time they have had opening sequences "directed" by graffiti artist Banksy and animation director John K. (videos posted below)

The latest opening sequence was animated by one of my favorite animators and director Bill Plympton. It has his signature style and look. Nothing short of spectacular. Bill Plympton will also be featured in an upcoming Cartoon Round-up post.

Here is the opening sequence animated by John K. and a great article here about the whole thing by Amid Amidi on Cartoon Brew.

The Banksy sequence ruffled a few feathers. Here is an article about this sequence from Amid Amidi that he posted on Cartoon Brew.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Post No. 300!!

The other day I saw something that really surprised me. I was coming up on my 300th post for "My so-called Animated Life"! I never realized I had so many posts. I completely flew by 100 and 200 without even realizing it.

So for this post I wanted to take a look back and see how far I've come and how much further I can go. But first I wanted to share something from way back when. Long before I even heard of Animation Mentor my life still revolved around animation. I was doing as much studying on my own. I would buy all the books and watch as many movies as I could. I remember watching the first trailer for "Toy Story" in 1995, and realizing that the field of animation was changing. I only had a pencil and some paper. There was no way I would be able to do computer animation like that. And when they announced the shut down of the Disney 2D animation studio in 2002, I knew there was no way I could become a computer animator without some serious schooling. So I switched my thinking to get into storyboarding. I was reading books by Mark Simon on how to get into the storyboarding business. I even e-mailed him about it. He gave me a few tips but told me to hang on for a few more months because his new book was coming out soon. Needless to say it is now in my library. I even went as far as applying to Pixar for a story artist position. I was so excited. I had no idea what I was doing but I was excited. I put some sketches together. I put a VHS copy of my "demo reel" which was basically the animatic for my short film idea "Bitter Sweet". I put everything in a big manila envelope and mailed it off UPS. I was really hoping to catch their eye with the storyboards I drew on the back telling the story of how I would come to work for Pixar. I did some digging around on my external hard drive and found them. Keep in mind these are the rough sketches.

Here I am drawing away in the middle of the night

Now I'm putting everything together on my iMac

I take the package to FedEx Kinkos to mail off to...

...Emeryville, California...

...straight to the Pixar studio...

And directly into the hands of John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton
(notice they are wearing nice "Hawaiian" shirts)

John loves it so much he calls me on the phone!

Now I am one of them!!!

That was the longest few weeks of my life, waiting and waiting to hear from them. I even tracked the package. I saw that it DID arrive at the studio. So I waited....and waited. I finally called the studio and asked to speak to someone in Human Resources about the storyartist position. The receptionist was very kind and asked if I had applied online first. Apparently I forgot that very important step. If I didn't apply online first, they would not be on the lookout for my submission. If they did not know it was coming then NO ONE would look at my work. So my envelope is out there somewhere. I would like to believe someone liked it and held onto it rather than it ending up in some landfill somewhere. So that was my first "rejection" from Pixar.

But I did not give up hope! I still wanted to be an animator! I started following blogs and podcasts. One podcast I really liked was AnimWatch. It was a great show that would showcase different short films and animators. Plus it would have a bunch of motivational tips. They often held an AnimWatch challenge. It was similar to what is now The 11 Second Club. He would provided a line of dialog and anyone could animate it any way they wanted. So I took the challenge and sent in my submission. The good news was that I came in fourth. The bad news there was only six entries. Looking back now I see TONS of mistakes. Plenty of room for improvement. But hey, up to this point I had NO formal training.

Then everything changed in the Fall of 2007. I started hearing more and more about this new online school called Animation Mentor. I remember hearing about it a while back but didn't really think much of it. My computer at the time was a piece of junk. But in the Summer of 2007 I got a NEW computer which was faster and tons more memory (Flash forward to the present - it is now my NEW piece of junk) AND it could run the software needed for the school. So I took a shot and applied. Much to my surprise I got in!! I was so excited that I was FINALLY going to have a fighting chance in living out my dream of becoming an animator. Nothing could have been more exciting than that first day of school.

This is when the posts started coming up on a regular basis. I was posting all my work from school: sketches, poses, blocking shots, blocking plus shots, polishing shots, video reference and finals. Those 18 months just flew by! I had so much fun and met so many people from all over the world. A few of them I got to meet at graduation in July of 2009.

Since then my posts have been of a different nature. They have mainly been re-posts of things I've seen over the internet that really caught my eye. A lot of them have been trailers and clips from upcoming films and video games. Others have been inspirational talks and videos to help get me motivated. And others have been short films and demo reels that blew me away and I wanted a quick spot to find them. But lately I've started showcasing some of my favorite cartoons from the past in my Cartoon Round-up series. I started posting them because I had been wanting to see more cartoons lately and I just can't find them in one easily available place online. Well, nothing with a huge variety. So I find them on YouTube and put them all in one place. I then post the blog on my facebook page for all my friends to enjoy. My blog traffic has increased dramatically ever since.

It has been a long while since I have posted any new work. I'm not allowed to post my work from the short film I'm working on now which is understandably so. Let me just say that it was been a true delight to work with one of my mentors from Animation Mentor on her own personal short film. I have been learning so much from her that I cannot thank her enough. I am now seeing flaws in my previous work that I was completely satisfied with before. So now when I work on a new scene of my own I know what to look for.

Over the next several posts I hope to start including some NEW work of my own. There are a few new rigs I have been wanting to try out. I want to do more body mechanics work. I want to add a new dialog scene to my demo reel. I also have a couple of short film ideas I get back into production, a couple of old one and a few new ones. The one thing I would really love to get back into production is my short film from Class 5 & 6 of Animation Mentor, "Looking for Love".

So please forgive me if I am not very social over the next few months. You can take comfort in knowing that I plan to use my time wisely here in the studio.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Passion: A Glen Keane Tribute by GloriousHysteria

"I love characters that have this burning desire inside. This sense that believing the impossible is possible."

"I'd say this is your moment on Earth to be an artist. You were born at this time. You could have been born at the Renaissance and we'd have been talking about sculpture. Today we're talking about animation. But that doesn't mean you aren't every bit the artist that those men back in the Renaissance would have been."

"The key to Disney animation in sincerity. I draw the things that I know. The things that are real to me."

"For me, drawing is the greatest joy. Animation is never as good as when I'm at that desk drawing. Even when it's up on the screen, it's never as wonderful as those moments when it was drawn, to me."

"When I was drawing Ariel, I was actually drawing somebody I already knew. I was thinking of my wife. So I understood this wasn't a job, it was a passion."

Cartoon Round-up 5: Tom & Jerry

Today's Cartoon Round-up selection is that lovable cat and mouse duo Tom & Jerry. I can say with 100% certainty that I have seen every single Tom & Jerry theatrical short. I remember rushing to my grandmother's house after school so I could watch the Tom & Jerry show! Before there were VCRs I once used a tape recorder and recorded the audio of the cartoons. I would hit record and set the recorder next to the TV speaker. It wasn't until I played it back that there was never any dialog in most of the shorts. So all I recorded was music and sound effects.

Over their career they have had several directors that have put their own signature stamp on the duo. I would say that the most notable, classic look to Tom & Jerry would have to be the ones by William Hannah and Joseph Barbera (1948 - 1958). The others have been Gene Deitch (1960 - 1962) and the great Chuck Jones (1963 - 1967). I could always tell by the opening scene which director did that short. Each had their own style. Hannah and Barbera's usually had the MGM lion roaring in the beginning with those great classic backgrounds. Chuck Jones' intros would have Tom standing in for the lion and Jerry would come sliding into frame and resting on the "Y". Gene Deitch's were VERY unique. The style of his films were unlike any of the others. Even the music and sound effects had a very distinct sound. To this day a friend of mine and I will look at each other and just say, "Dickey Moe!" and know exactly which cartoon we're talking about. I never got into the Tom and Jerry cartoon series that was resurrected for Saturday morning cartoons by Filmation from 1980 - 1982. They just didn't have that same feel to them as the originals.

So now I present for your viewing pleasure the following Tom and Jerry shorts:

"The Cat Concerto" (1946) directed by William Hannah and Joseph Barbera

"Baby Puss" (1943) directed by William Hannah and Joseph Barbera

"Pecos Pest" (1955) directed by William Hannah and Joseph Barbera

"Is There A Doctor in the Mouse" (1964) directed by Chuck Jones

"Dickey Moe" (1962) directed by Gene Deitch

Brave Stories: Merida

Sunday, April 8, 2012

SNL - Drunk Uncle

Ok, this doesn't really have anything to do with animation but I'm sure this is great video reference for.....uh.....something. It's just really damn funny!

"Easter Yeggs" (1947) clip

This pops into my head every time I hear word "Easter egg". Tell me I cannot be the only one!

The embedding option is not available so click on the link to see the clip.

"Easter Yeggs" (1947) directed by by Robert McKimson

Hunting for Easter Eggs

If there's one thing I love is hunting for easter eggs. Not the colorful ones left by the Easter Bunny but the ones in movies and DVDs. Pixar is notorious for placing Easter eggs throughout every film they make. The most famous one is the Pizza Planet truck.

The Pizza Planet truck first appeared in Toy Story (1995) and has had a cameo in every film since except for The Incredibles (2004). It may only appear for a few frames like in Finding Nemo (2003) or way off in the distance in Ratatouille (2007), but it's in there.

Another Pixar Easter Egg is the number "A113". This was the classroom number of the animation department at CalArts when John Lasseter and Brad Bird attended. Again, the first time it was used at Pixar was in Toy Story.

It pops up everywhere. You just have to know where to look.

There are TONS of Easter eggs all throughout the Pixar films. Others include the Luxo lamp and the bouncy ball from the short film "Luxo Jr." (1986). So next time you watch a Pixar film, keep your eyes peeled!

To find out more about the Pixar Easter Eggs, click here and here and here and here.

The ones I like are the ones I come across myself. If you have "The Incredibles" 2-disc special edition, there are a few on the second disc. It is the disc with all the special features and behind the scenes featurettes. I would say that I have seen this disc more times than the movie. To find the Easter eggs play the disc and let the animated menus play out. Just before the cycle repeats an Omnidroid icon appears in the top right corner of the screen. Push the direction buttons on the remote to highlight it and press Enter. It doesn't pop up in every menu but it is in most of them. They include a montage of doors opening and closing, buttons being pushed and explosions. Another is a tribute to Disney animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston. This, however, has to be my favorite!!

Now, Pixar is not the only one that does this. I would say they are the most popular, but they can be found in many films. Animated films are most known for doing this. Just look at these examples from some other Disney films.



Just found a few more here!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Movie Remixes by pogo

I don't know how they do it but these are AMAZING!!! He uses the actual dialog and sound effects from the film and mixes them with a techno beat. Like I said...A-MAH-ZING!!!

Cartoon Round-up 4: Chip & Dale

This week's subject is another one that brings back great memories with my Dad and my little sister. We would watch the classic Chip & Dale cartoons and just die laughing every single time. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

"Dragon Around" (1954) directed by Jack Hannah

The part in "Dragon Around" that would ALWAYS crack me up (and still did as I was previewing these shorts) happens around the 1:14 mark. HILARIOUS!!! And I always remember the "dragon's" grunt: "HA-CHOO! HA-CHOO! HA-CHOO!"

"Donald Applecore" (1952) directed by Jack Hannah

The part from "Donald Applecore" my Dad and I would always quote would be:
"Apple core.
Who's your friend?
We never really got the joke or the reference if it was a reference, but it was pretty dang funny! Especially when Donald does it to Dale and he points to Chip as his best friend. Poor Chip never saw it coming. SMACK!!

"Two Chips and a Miss" (1952) directed by Jack Hannah

I always loved the song they sing at the end and the reactions from the boys. It's almost like they're trying to be a bit of Tex Avery from his short "Red Hot Riding Hood" (1943). But more about Tex in a later post.

"Test Pilot Donald" (1951) directed by Jack Hannah

"Three for Breakfast" (1948) directed by Jack Hannah

One of the animators that had a hand in all these great animated shorts is the legendary Bill Justice. In 1999, I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to meet Mr. Justice at the Disney Institute Animation Celebration held at the Disney Institute near Walt Disney World in Florida. He came around and spoke to some of the guests during one of our workshop sessions. He even sat at one of the tables and started drawing away. You could tell it was something he really loved to do. He wasn't asked to draw something, he just started drawing. And you better believe those drawings were snatched up quick! I only wish I got a hold of one. I did get a picture with him and he did sign my name badge. That was good enough for me. Thanks, Bill!

I also got to meet and talk with John Culhane, nephew to author and Disney animator Shamus Culhane. He is a professor, author and the inspiration for the character design of Mr.Snoops from "The Rescuers" and Flying John in the "Rhapsody in Blue" sequence in "Fantasia 2000". He signed many things for me including a "Fantasia 2000" lithograph and a copy of his book, "Disney's Aladdin: The Making of an Animated Film." I have been meaning to write a post or two about my trips to The Disney Institute in 1999, 2000 and 2001. All in due time.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Pixar's Mark Andrew's Lecture

Pixar artist and now director (Brave) Mark Andrews gave a lecture at CalArts about storyboarding. In this lecture he is telling of one of his assignments where he has the students tell a Greek myth in 140 - 160 panels. It's all about telling a story with "a limited scope in a limited time."

The second part of the lecture is where he really goes into his method and workflow. This is the best part of the whole thing! I like what he says about thumbnailing. For storyboard artists it's a waste of time. Draw it to scale or else you'll be doing double the work. "Thumbnailing is for animators."

Ever since I saw him in the making of "The Incredibles" on the second disc of the DVD release, I have always been fascinated with his work. I have seen the making of that film MORE than I have seen the actual movie.