Monthly Archives: January 2013

Cartoon of the Day: Bosko In Dutch

Bosko In Dutch

Bosko In Dutch

An early Looney Tune, Bosko In Dutch is gen­er­ally unre­mark­able in its story telling, ani­ma­tion or direc­tion. How­ever, the short is impor­tant because this was the first car­toon that one of the great­est car­toon direc­tors ever super­vised– albeit uncredited.

Bosko and Honey get in and out of trou­ble. Just like usual, only thins time in Hol­land. You can tell because every build­ing has a windmill.

The last appear­ance of Goopy Geer (seen here in a cameo).

The first car­toon directed by Isador “Friz” Fre­leng (who was uncredited).

The song “Ach du lieber Augus­tine,” bet­ter known to school kids as “Hail to the Bus Dri­ver Man,” is on the soundtrack.

Cartoon of the Day: Herr Meets Hare

Herr Meets Hare

Herr Meets Hare

Back to World War II with Herr Meets Hare, an Isadore Fre­leng pro­pa­ganda film from 1945. And who wouldn’t want to see Adolf and Her­man face off against.… Bugs Bunny!

Her­mann Goer­ing heads to the Black For­est for rest and relax­ation; because of a wrong turn in Albu­querque, so does Bugs, who encoun­ters “Fatso” while try­ing to get to Las Vegas. Bugs taunts the Nazi, who cap­tures him and takes him to Adolf Hitler, but Bugs gets the last laugh– dis­guised as Stalin.

Great par­o­dies of Goer­ing and Hitler. Lew Lehr is also caricatured.

The first short in which Bugs takes that wrong turn at Albuquerque.

Cartoon of the Day: Batman (Opening Titles)

Batman (Opening Titles)

Bat­man (Open­ing Titles)

Not a car­toon per se, but one of the most famous ani­mated sequences ever on TV.… the 1966 Bat­man Open­ing Titles paved the way for a whole gen­er­a­tion of super hero car­toons on tele­vi­sion. As a mid-season replace­ment series, Bat­man began on ABC on this date in 1966.

Com­ing in as a mid-season replace­ment, Bat­man was the sec­ond super hero to get a tele­vi­sion show. But this one did not take it self quite as seri­ously as the ver­sion of Super­man in the 1950’s. Star­ring Adam West as Bat­man, and Burt Ward as his side-kick Robin, the pair were on two nights a week, with a cliff hanger episode between the shows.

The show spawned a movie, pro­duced as they shot the show, and appear­ing in the­aters between the first and sec­ond sea­sons. The movie had no ani­mated open­ing title. The series ran for 120 episodes and end­ing in 1968 with a series of sin­gle episode shows.

Though type-cast by the show, both its stars would return to play the caped cru­saders again in Fil­ma­tions’ The New Adven­tures of Bat­man in 1977.

So, does any­one out there know who actu­ally did the ani­ma­tion for this open­ing title sequence?

3 Animated Features up For British Academy Awards

British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA)

British Acad­emy of Film and Tele­vi­sion Arts (BAFTA)

Brave,” “Franken­wee­nie” and “Para­Nor­man” are the three nom­i­nees announced Wednes­day in the Ani­mated Film cat­e­gory of the EE British Acad­emy Film Awards, also known as the BAFTAs.

Mark Andrews and Brenda Chap­man were sin­gled out for recog­ni­tion for Brave. Direc­tor Tim Bur­ton was named in con­nec­tion with Franken­wee­nie, while Sam Fell and Chris But­ler were cited for Para­Nor­man.

In the cat­e­gory “Out­stand­ing Debut By a British Writer, Direc­tor or Pro­ducer,” direc­tor James Bobin is nom­i­nated for his role in Disney’s partly ani­mated The Mup­pets.

For Short Ani­ma­tion, the nom­i­nees are Here to Fall (Kris Kelly and Eve­lyn McGrath), I’m Fine Thanks (Eamonn O’Neill) and The Mak­ing of Long­bird (Will Ander­son and Ainslie Henderson).

The British Acad­emy Film Awards are sim­i­lar to the Oscars in the United States.

Lin­coln received 10 nom­i­na­tions, the most of any film. Lin­coln is nom­i­nated for Best Film, Adapted Screen­play, Orig­i­nal Music, Cin­e­matog­ra­phy, Pro­duc­tion Design, Cos­tume Design and Make Up & Hair. Daniel Day-Lewis is nom­i­nated for Lead­ing Actor, Tommy Lee Jones is nom­i­nated for Sup­port­ing Actor, and Sally Field is nom­i­nated for Sup­port­ing Actress.

The EE British Acad­emy Film Awards take place Sun­day, Feb­ru­ary 10 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Gar­den, Lon­don. The cer­e­mony will be hosted by Stephen Fry and will be broad­cast exclu­sively on BBC One and BBC One HD, pre­ceded by a red car­pet show on BBC Three. The cer­e­mony is also broad­cast in all major ter­ri­to­ries around the world.

The awards are pre­sented by the British Acad­emy of Film and Tele­vi­sion Arts (BAFTA), an inde­pen­dent char­ity that sup­ports, devel­ops and pro­motes the art forms of the mov­ing image by iden­ti­fy­ing and reward­ing excel­lence, inspir­ing prac­ti­tion­ers and ben­e­fit­ing the public.

Cartoon of the Day: The Sunshine Makers

The Sunshine Makers

The Sun­shine Makers

Not a whole lot to choose from today, so I decided to go for unusual. The Sun­shine Mak­ers is from Van Beuren Stu­dios Rain­bow Parade The­atri­cal Car­toon Series, and while it may not be the most obscure choice I could make, it is cer­tainly not a series many are knowl­edge­able of.

This is the story of a com­mu­nity of happy, iden­ti­cal lit­tle gnomes who have the abil­ity to dis­till sun­shine into a bot­tled elixir. Any­one con­sum­ing this liq­uid imme­di­ately begins singing and caper­ing about in per­fect hap­pi­ness (despite the obvi­ously radioac­tive nature of the stuff; it causes an x-ray effect on any­one who drinks it or bathes in it).

In a gloomy for­est nearby lives a bunch of misery-loving gob­lins who only feel good when they feel bad. See­ing the sun­shine gnomes as a threat to their way of life, they mount a lame attack on the gnome vil­lage. The gnomes fight back by bom­bard­ing the gob­lins with bot­tles of the sun­shine elixir. Soon, the gob­lins are thor­oughly assim­i­lated and every­one is happy.

Orig­i­nally released as a pro­mo­tional film for Borden’s Milk, thus the “Bor­den” script on the title card.

So if you are in the mood to see some early (1935) and unusual ani­ma­tion, pop over to BCDB today and give this one a look… and let us know what you think!

The Animation Oscar Nominees

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Oscar

Oscar Time!

It’s Oscar time! Dis­ney comes in strong and stop motion is this years darling.

This morn­ing, the Acad­emy of Motion Pic­ture Arts and Sci­ences announced the nom­i­nees for this years Oscars. There are two main areas of com­pe­ti­tion for ani­ma­tion, the Fea­ture Length and the short awards. This year, the nom­i­nees are…

In a word, Dis­ney. The peren­nial ani­ma­tion pow­er­house leads the field with three films in con­sid­er­a­tion for Best Ani­mated Fea­ture. Per­haps even more sur­pris­ing is that Dream­Works best hope– Rise Of The Guardians- was left out alto­gether. Also inter­est­ing is that there are three stop-motion fea­tures in the list this year, in a short field of only five films.

For Best Ani­mated Fea­ture, the nom­i­nees are:

Brave- Mark Andrews, Brenda Chap­man
Franken­wee­nie- Tim Bur­ton
Para­Nor­man- Sam Fell, Chris But­ler
The Pirates! Band of Mis­fits- Peter Lord
Wreck-It Ralph- Rich Moore

The field for Best Ani­mated Short Film is a diverse field, as usual. The nom­i­nees here are:

Adam And Dog- Minkyu Lee
Fresh Gua­camole- PES
Head Over Heels- Tim­o­thy Reckart, Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly
The Longest Day­care- David Sil­ver­man
Paper­man- John Kahrs

The Oscar nom­i­na­tions for the 85th Acad­emy Awards were announced this morn­ing by Seth Mac­Far­lane and Emma Stone. The announce­ments were made at the Academy’s Samuel Gold­wyn The­ater in Bev­erly Hills.

Acad­emy Awards for out­stand­ing film achieve­ments of 2012 will be pre­sented on Oscar Sun­day, Feb­ru­ary 24, 2013, at the Dolby The­ater in Hol­ly­wood Cal­i­for­nia and hosted by Seth Mac­Far­lane. This year, the Oscar show also will be tele­vised live in more than 225 coun­tries worldwide.

Blue Umbrella serves as cover for Monsters U.

The Blue Umbrella

The Blue Umbrella

To be released just before the new fea­ture film Mon­sters Uni­ver­sity on June 21, the six-minute short Blue Umbrella will be the first Pixar film to be made by one of its tech­ni­cal artists.

Cam­era and stag­ing artist Saschka Unseld is the direc­tor. Amidst the rain in a singing city, two umbrel­las -– one blue, one red -– fall eter­nally in love.

The blue umbrella notices and takes a shine to the red umbrella. Dis­tance and nat­ural forces halt their attrac­tion, but objects on the street — such as con­struc­tion signs and a mail­box — come to life to help bring them together again.

Unseld, 36, is a Ger­man native who began work­ing with Pixar in 2008. He got the idea when walk­ing in San Fran­cisco and spot­ting an umbrella lying in the gut­ter on a rainy day.

It was the sad­dest thing. I stood there and won­dered what had hap­pened to him. I think that was when I got the idea of giv­ing him a story,” he recalled.

At first, Unseld got ideas for char­ac­ters by tak­ing iPhone pic­tures on San Fran­cisco and New York streets. He asked col­leagues to do like­wise when they went to such places as Chicago and Paris. One char­ac­ter in the film was inspired by his photo of a man­hole cover just two from his San Fran­cisco home.

Mean­while, he was lis­ten­ing to singer Sarah Jaffe’s music. While shoot­ing an ani­ma­tion test on his iPhone, he timed it to her voice.

Jaffe can be heard in the final film: “She’s been there for me since the inception.”

A pho­to­re­al­is­tic look was needed, accord­ing to Unseld: “If we made it styl­ized and car­toony, the magic of those things com­ing to life would be com­pletely gone.”

This entailed tech­niques not pre­vi­ously used by Pixar: global illu­mi­na­tion, in which light is sim­u­lated as being emit­ted and reflected off sur­faces, and deep com­posit­ing, where images hold­ing three-dimensional data are lay­ered. This results in deeper plays between light and shadow, and greater depth of field.

As well, Unseld slowed film­ing to 12 frames per sec­ond — half the usual rate for movies — at some points. He also var­ied expo­sure times, thus result­ing in dif­fer­ent rhythms of rain.

Unusu­ally, Unseld was direct­ing some of his ear­lier cam­era and stag­ing co-workers. Often, he said, he felt guilty when he would send them back with many notes for revi­sions after they had show him their work.

If you give some­one all that feed­back to do all that work, I was used to doing part of that work. Here, I just had some­one go off and do all that work by him­self. That was a very new expe­ri­ence for me,” he said.

At the same time, how­ever, he con­sid­ered his back­ground advan­ta­geous for good com­mu­ni­ca­tion with them. “If you work in one of those tech­ni­cal depart­ments, it’s really nice if you have a direc­tor who really under­stands you because you can talk the same lan­guage,” he said.

A clip from The Blue Umbrella can be seen on our web­site now.

Cartoon of the Day: The Missing Mouse

The Missing Mouse

The Miss­ing Mouse

From nearly the end of the the­atri­cal series, The Miss­ing Mouse was unique in a few ways. Pop­u­lar voice actor Paul Frees– Cap­tain Hook from Disney’s Peter Pan from the same year– han­dles the voice duties for this short, and therein is one of the unique aspects of the film.

While Jerry is loot­ing the fridge, Tom comes by and ham­mers him… He pinches Jerry’s tail in a mouse­trap, and while run­ning away, the mouse spills a bot­tle of white shoe pol­ish on himself.

Sud­denly, the radio blurts out that an exper­i­men­tal “explo­sive” white mouse has escaped from the lab. Tom sees Jerry and is fright­ened to death. Jerry takes advan­tage, and keeps try­ing to fall off shelves and such… the cat catch­ing him no mat­ter what. Tom lets irons and pianos fall on him instead of Jerry.

When the mouse falls in the sink, Tom real­izes that he’s been a fool; he hits Jerry with a ham­mer and throws him out. The real white mouse then enters, and when Tom washes the fake one and then sees Jerry, he ages 50 years! The radio then announces that the explo­sive mouse is no longer dan­ger­ous… Tom strikes him and BOOM! The cat sticks his head out of the rub­ble and says, “Don’t you believe it!”

This is one of the rare car­toons in which Tom speaks; although here it sounds as though he is imi­tat­ing char­ac­ter actor Ned Sparks in the final scene.

This is the only Tom and Jerry car­toon (and pos­si­bly the only MGM car­toon) for which Scott Bradley does not receive music credit.



Warner Brothers Diving into Animation Think Tank

Warner Bros.

Warner Bros.

Warner Bros. Pic­tures has formed a fea­ture ani­ma­tion cre­ative con­sor­tium, mark­ing a new and inno­v­a­tive approach to the estab­lish­ment of a diverse and far-reaching ani­ma­tion slate, Warner Bros. Pic­tures Group pres­i­dent Jeff Robi­nov announced Monday.

The mis­sion of the new think tank is to help develop and pro­duce high-end ani­mated motion pic­tures, with the goal of releas­ing one fea­ture per year under the Warner Bros. Pic­tures ban­ner. The select team of accom­plished film­mak­ers will col­lab­o­rate with the stu­dio to frame and guide a vari­ety of projects from start to finish.

The artists who will be involved in Warner Bros.’ new fea­ture ani­ma­tion ven­ture are John Requa and Glenn Ficarra (Crazy, Stu­pid, Love, Cats & Dogs); Nicholas Stoller (The Mup­pets), Phil Lord and Chris Miller (Cloudy with a Chance of Meat­balls), and Jared Stern (Mr. Popper’s Pen­guins).

The film­mak­ers will work both indi­vid­u­ally and col­lec­tively, sup­port­ing one another artis­ti­cally in the mak­ing of the films. They will not be exclu­sive to the studio’s ani­mated film pro­duc­tions; rather, they will also con­tinue to write and direct live-action movies. “This new endeavor reflects Warner Bros.’ ongo­ing com­mit­ment to being a filmmaker-friendly stu­dio, which invites and fos­ters orig­i­nal projects, con­tin­u­ally expand­ing the enter­tain­ment scope of its slate,” WB said.

Warner Bros. has an extra­or­di­nary legacy in the world of ani­ma­tion, includ­ing some of the most endur­ing char­ac­ters in cin­ema his­tory. Look­ing to the future, we have now gath­ered some of the best and bright­est tal­ents in the indus­try to help us grow and broaden that legacy,” Robi­nov stated. “Draw­ing upon their imag­i­na­tions and inspi­ra­tion, the stu­dio will pro­duce a slate of new and orig­i­nal ani­mated films that are sure to delight audi­ences of all ages.”

The first fea­ture in the pipeline is the upcom­ing 3D ani­mated adven­ture The LEGO Movie, being directed by Lord and Miller from their own screen­play. Bring­ing the glob­ally pop­u­lar LEGO con­struc­tion toys to the big screen for the first time, the film is being pro­duced by Dan Lin and Roy Lee and stars the voices of Chris Pratt, Will Fer­rell, Eliz­a­beth Banks, Liam Nee­son, Will Arnett, Nick Offer­man, Ali­son Brie and Mor­gan Free­man. The ani­ma­tion is largely being accom­plished at Australia’s Ani­mal Logic.

A pre­sen­ta­tion of Warner Bros. Pic­tures in asso­ci­a­tion with Vil­lage Road­show Pic­tures, The LEGO Movie is slated for release on Feb­ru­ary 7, 2014.

Among the other projects being devel­oped are Storks, con­ceived and being writ­ten by Stoller, and to be directed by Oscar nom­i­nee Doug Sweet­land (PIXAR short Presto); and Small­foot, to be writ­ten by Requa and Ficarra, from an orig­i­nal idea by Ser­gio Pab­los (Despi­ca­ble Me), who is also set to direct. The films are being tar­geted for release in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

The devel­op­ment of ani­mated fea­tures will be over­seen at Warner Bros. by Courte­nay Valenti, Chris deFaria and Greg Sil­ver­man. Over­all look, char­ac­ter design and the story reel process will be housed in Bur­bank, Cal­i­for­nia; how­ever, the stu­dio will look to part­ner with estab­lished ani­ma­tion stu­dios for pro­duc­tion of the films.

Disney Considering Layoffs to Cut Costs

Walt Disney Studios

Walt Dis­ney Studios

Lay­offs at the Walt Dis­ney Company’s stu­dios and other units may take place in the wake of an inter­nal cost-cutting review begun by the Mouse House sev­eral weeks ago, accord­ing to “three peo­ple with knowl­edge of the effort.”

Due to improved tech­nol­ogy, Dis­ney is pon­der­ing cut­backs in jobs that it no longer needs, one of the three told Reuters. It’s also exam­in­ing redun­dant aspects of its empire that could be eighty-sixed after sev­eral major acqui­si­tions over the past sev­eral years, the per­son added.

Although Dis­ney has used lay­offs to smooth oper­a­tions, staff cuts are not cer­tain at this point, the source added. The com­pany is con­sid­er­ing a hir­ing freeze instead of lay­offs, a sec­ond source said.

The sources requested anonymity because Dis­ney has not acknowl­edged the review publicly.

Disney’s stu­dio divi­sion is the least prof­itable of the enter­tain­ment giant’s four major prod­uct divi­sions, hav­ing had a profit mar­gin of 12.3% last year. Cuts will most likely take place at the stu­dio divi­sion, two of the three sources said.

The com­pany has changed its busi­ness prac­tices to make fewer films and depend more on such out­side stu­dios as Steven Spielberg’s Dream­Works. The stu­dio finances its own films, and pay­ing Dis­ney a mar­ket­ing and dis­tri­b­u­tion fee.

Tony Wible, an ana­lyst with Jan­ney Mont­gomery Scott, sug­gested that Dis­ney may cut jobs at the stu­dio and inter­ac­tive divi­sions, along with its music arm. His com­pany has a neu­tral rat­ing on Dis­ney stock.

This is not nec­es­sar­ily a neg­a­tive thing,” Michael Mor­ris, an ana­lyst with Dav­en­port and Co., said of the pos­si­ble lay­offs. “It speaks to a fis­cally respon­si­ble management.”

Though Mor­ris was unaware of the review, he has a buy rec­om­men­da­tion on the stock.

Dis­ney shares dropped Mon­day by 2.3% to close at $50.97.