Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Percival Pig cartoon!

Historians Rejoice:Percival Pig Cartoon Found

In 1926, Percival Pig was the biggest star since Thelma Talridge, but unlike Talridge, his fame has faded into the mists of time.

I spoke on the phone with animation historian Bud Banks about the discovery of a Percival Pig short called "House Painting".

Me: Hi, Bud.

Bud: Hi.

Me: So, I'm sure you and your staff are excited about finding "House Painting".

Bud: We sure are. This place has been looking dingy as hell- the mailbox out front is peeling and the guy left a flier-

Me: No- I meant the discovery of a Percival Pig cartoon.

Bud: A Pig what?

Me:"House Painting". A short cartoon staring Percival Pig, from 1926.

Bud: Never heard of it.

Me: Oh. Well... there was a cartoon found.

Bud: Yeah, I heard that part. Look, Fred, I got a lot of stuff to-

Me: Frank.

Bud: What?

Me: Frank, actually. My name is Frank.

Bud: Right. Well, anyway, look. Those cartoons got lost for a reason. You ever do Sudoku?

Me: What?

Bud: Soduku- it's like a number crossword puzzle.

Me: No, but I came here to talk about Perciv-

Bud: Addictive as hell.

Me: I want to interview you about the discovery of this new Percival Pig cartoon.

Bud: Look, kid. Those cartoons were godawful. Nobody who worked on them went on to do anything worthwhile anywhere else, so they're an evolutionary dead end.

Me: I like the rubber hose bounciness, and the innocence of-

Bud: Seven.

Me: Seven?

Bud: Several. They made several of those cartoons, and none of them were any good.

Me: I heard "seven". Are you doing Sudoku?

Bud: No, I'm listening. Look, every comedy act has to have one straight man and one patsy. Percival Pig was just a straight man! They made whole cartoons about him doing his laundry for Christ's sake. Nine.

Me: I think an animation historian would have more interest in a major discovery like this.

Bud: Discovery? You want a discovery? Discover how a book can be required reading at at least 4 major animation colleges, yet the stupid pea-brain publisher allows it to go out of print. Discover that. Five.

Me: Well, I think it's important.

Bud: What's important is to have conflict with your characters. If that pig character decides to build a fence, he goes and does it! There's nothing stopping him! It makes for weak story. Now look, you seem like a nice kid, but I really gotta go. I'm sure you like those cartoons, and God bless ya. Have at 'em.

Me: Well, thank you for your time, Bud. This has been-

Bud: Four.

And that's how the Q and A went down! We hope to be able to post this cartoon on this blog soon! I'm sure you are as excited about it as we are!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

ProdCo Gears Up To Unleash Its most Outrageous Concept Ever: "School School"

Hi folks! Animazing here!
I've been the first animation scholar to find out about about a lot of developing shows thanks to the international clout that comes from typing a moderately recognized newsletter, but nothing on Earth has prepared me for the show I saw today.

"School School" is a new show about schools that go to school!

Created by PixelZoneStorm Animation, the show features the patient teacher Dunbar College teaching all the schools at School School how to become great schools. Featuring: Pinky the Beauty School. Junior High Jr., Putter the Driving School, Pierre the Cooking School, Trendy J.High School, Swinger the Golfing School, and last, but not least, the cutest one: L.M. Entry.

Created in Maya, the show features the schools in such classes as "Bell Ringing", "Door Unlocking", "Door Closing", and "Window Closing". The fact that the schools are only able to move by dragging themselves slowly across the ground does not for one instant stop this from being edge-of-your-seat entertainment!

The plots revolve around Trendy J. High School's attempts to be a 'World-Class" school, and woo the beautiful Pinky, while thwarting the condescending Pierre.

This is truly a groundbreaking show that will change the course of television, and I encourage all of you to watch it. I will be able to post more about PixelZoneStorm Animation productions in the future, because they were nice enough to give me a brand new laptop! So not only are their shows top-notch, they are interested in freedom of the press as well!

I'll be sure to keep MY 'pupils' on this 'School'!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Public Expected To Throw Themselves Into A Tizzy Over New 3D Animated Movie Project

Big things loom on the horizon for PixelHurricane Co. as it readies its debut of a can't miss animated blockbuster.

"Humanz"- is a CGI tour de force that will introduce audiences to a world where human beings rule!

Imagine a place where flesh-colored buildings topped with hairpieces dot the landscape and natural elements like mountains, trees and shrubbery take the shape and form of hands and feet! The story concerns the adventure of Joe Sapiens; a spunky, bright-eyed idealist who travels to the big city of Peopleopolis to find his fortune, only to meet a gang of rag-tag misfits who oppose the Big Boss Man, a villain who has staked his claim on the lovely Polly Trueheart! Can the gang rally together and make things right? Sure they can.

Featuring Robin Williams playing every role in the film, aided by thousands of tiny motion capture sensors, and 'cleaned up' by a team of 'motion-capture enhancers' (recently demoted from the animation department), the studio has bet everything it has on this huge money-making property.

Joe Henck, spokesperson for PixelHurricane Co. popped a champagne bottle open and lit a cigar with a 50 dollar bill while explaining:

"This CG thing is a sure thing! Every one of them makes more money than the last! We'll all be farting through silk when this thing hits!"

The company has spent $138,000 on rented security, to help keep order in the lineups, as the crowds are expected to stretch around city blocks and be camped out for days.

Joe Henck continued: "We have committed partners in the toy, garment and recording industries waiting to roll out the biggest pile of merchandise ever witnessed by human eyes. 5 sequels have started production already! If this thing doesn't make 800 million dollars by next month, I'll eat my hat with Worcestershire sauce!"

Sounds like a winner, Joe! I'll be first in line with my Kiddy Meal and T-shirt!

Friday, July 07, 2006

2d Resurgence Whets Producer's Appetites

Hi gang! Animazing here! Here's an annotated fairy tale for you:

Once apon a time the Magic Prince
(i.e.: Michael Einsner)
left the Magic Castle
(i.e. The Disney Company)
and the New Magic Prince came into the Same Magic Castle
(i.e.: Joe Lasseter came to work for Disney),
and the New Magic Prince declared that the Old Magic Prince had banished the Court Jester to the dungeon, although the people clamored for him, and this was wrong so it's time to free the Jester.
(Lasseter saw that Einsner had stopped making hand drawn cartoon films, even though people like them, and this was wrong so it's time to free the cartoon films.)
And the people rejoiced.
(people went to the movies).

And they lived happily ever after.

It's a great story, but how will it play out in real life?

I asked several studios what they think of the coming resurgence in hand-drawn feature animation.

First up, PixelStrike Animation head Joe Frankenbaum:

"Man we've been waiting for something like this. We have 2 scripts that have been collecting dust since the "Lion King" boom. One- "The Princess and the Poo". It's like "The Princess and the Pea", but with a contemporary spin. The princess meets a little alien called "The Poo", who speaks by farting! Good songs by Hamilton Baumbach- he did some Off-Broadway that was nicely reviewed. Hasn't done much since we recorded the songs back in '98, but we still own them, so they're good to go. Lots of sidekicks. I think we can get Dane Cook to play a stork, and there's a humming bird that's right for someone with a lot of energy- I'd like to say Dave Chappelle, but nobody has signed anything yet. "The Poo" is played by a four dollar fart machine.

Second, is "Sherlock!" a wacky musical take on the great public domain hero. Baumbach did some songs for that. We're looking at Ashlee Simpson as the love interest, and Tim Curry as Moriarty. Lots of sidekicks. We want Joe Rogan as Sherlock's magnifying glass, and Jim Gaffigan would kill as Sherlock's pipe- he could whisper asides to Sherlock, like "Is that really a good clue?!?"

I laugh when my wife goes "Enough with the sidekicks! Even the sidekicks have sidekicks!"- but you gotta have 'em.

We're just going to sit low and wait for the first few hand drawn features to come back, then we'll roll out the big guns and come out blazing!"

Next up: Kim Delazny from ToonMotion Pictures:

"I'm so glad the hand-drawns are coming back. I've been dying to get this one made:

"The Cowboy Princess". It's a musical about a russian princess who hides out in the old west and pretends to be a boy.
It's got everything: great musical numbers, funny sidekicks, and a climax that takes place on train tracks inside an abandoned mine.
There can't be any of that 'gun fighting' and 'whiskey drinking', and the Natives are college educated or pretty much non-existent in our version of the old west, but the musical numbers are to die for.
We have Bill Engvall and Ron White as horses.
And because it's animation, we had to get some magic in there, so we have Andrea Martin as the Water Witch of the Western Wood. She's 'spook'-tacular!
Girls like princesses, and boys like cowboys, so a princess acting like a cowboy will enchant both demographics!"

What can I say?
It looks like hand-drawn animation will pick up right where it left off!
Spook-tacular, indeed!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Focusing On Minutia Allows Crew To Forget Their Show Is A Piece Of Crap

"Tails For All Ages" may be a depressing waste of time and talent, but don't tell that to the crew responsible- they're too busy wondering how anthropomorphic mice might set their tables for lunch!

Director Borge Gunnarson shows me some drawings. "See how the pictures on the wall are actually postage stamps? It's that kind of attention to detail that will reward repeat viewings." A worried look crosses his brow, but he quickly shakes his head and smiles brightly. "It does for me, anyway."

Word around the Digistorm Entertainment Studio has it that while the show itself limps along with trite scripts, flat vocal work, and incompetent timing, director Gunnarson, along with his crew, spends most of his time and energy devising plans for mice to have bottlecaps for washbasins, kitchen sponges for doormats, and bicycles made from eyeglasses.

Producer Candace Boorman is excited.

"Gunnarson is adding a second layer of energy to an already exciting property. He's here hours before I get in, and stays many hours after I've gone home. Just this morning he showed me a drawing of Morty the Mouse using an old orange juicer as an umbrella. The rain runs down the curved section of the juicer, then runs out the spout on the back. It's the cutest thing I've ever seen. We HAVE to get the writer to write in his script that it rains in this episode, so we can use it!"

Joe Brant, the location designer, is surprised that he's busier than usual.

"Usually, I just design a location, it's approved, and that's that. But Borge gets all these ideas after the fact, so the designs keep coming back, you know- 'add in a toothbrush for a scrub brush, add in a coin as a serving tray.' You get kind of sick of seeing the same drawings come back again and again with all these revisions, but if it makes the show better, then I say 'why not'!"

Why not indeed! It's detail like this that makes television animation the sparkling wonderland that it so often can be!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Animator Dies, Glad To Have Put In That Unpaid Overtime


Animator Glen Q. McConnaghie, most notable for being responsible for the classic "peeling' sequence in "Monkeys In Banana Land", passed away at his drawing table Saturday. He was 73 years old.

Helen Woodchank, producer at WowToonz! spoke with us about McConnaghie's life and career.

"The last time I spoke with Glen, a few months ago, he expressed how happy he was to have been able to help out WowToonz! by putting in so many hours of unpaid overtime. His last wish was that I explain to the next generation that the only way to become as skilled as Glen is to animate as much as possible, for as many hours as possible. And to ease up on the coffee breaks."

McConnaghie is survived by his wife and adult children, who were informed about his passing this morning.

"It took us a while to find them." Ms. Woodchank continues. "They naturally assumed he was at the studio, cranking out another masterwork. Many times Glen would express his amazement at how quickly his children were growing up, getting jobs, careers and spouses, while he just sat at his desk working...working. Despite the fact that he felt his job was always teetering on the abyss, he was a real trouper."

"Glen did that sequence in "Freckle-face Francis and the Pea-Shooting Princess" where the Princess first hits Francis with a pea, and he falls on his butt. That was so funny! Glen missed his son's graduation for that one. But many times he told me that other animators should follow his example. He knew that we were just a small company finding our way, and that his loyalty would be rewarded some day. He was right. As soon as WowToonz! was acquired by GloboDynaTech Entertainment, he was one of the animators we didn't fire!"

"His last words to me were so sweet. He said, 'Helen- tell the other animators that it's worth it. We need to put in long hours so children can have the chance to watch fine animation like "Freckle-face Francis and the Flatulent Android", available on DVD this September, from WowToonz!"

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

New Show Based On Children's Book Just Like Old Shows Based On Children's Books

BlamZone Animation has announced another 26 episode animated show based on Fred Crimpen's somewhat popular children's book "Rabbits Ahoy!"

After a number of shows produced by Blamzone in the mid nineties failed to catch on with audiences, the company, on the verge of bankruptcy, decided to entertain original pitches.
Blamzone producer Sheryl Tooker elaborates: "There was a scary period where we were bombarded by crazy creatives offering up shows like a child who gets his wishes granted by fairy godparents, and a talking kitchen sponge that lives in a pineapple, of all things! We at BlamZone were relieved when the CEO finally decided to stop experimenting, and retreat into the warm safety of adapting another children's book."

"Rabbits Ahoy" has been a brisk seller amongst gift-giving grandparents, school librarians, and is a regular selection in the "Pediatrician and Dentist Periodical Purchasing Society" catalogue. The series will feature characters who appeared in other Crimpen adaptations. Said Tooker: "With a children's book, we can put it on a table in the boardroom and look at it, and understand it, without having to make a 'leap of faith' with some artsy lunatic."

Ms. Tooker continues: "The past 5 attempts at adapting a children's book ended in failure for our company, and for our shareholders, but the one we did before that made a boatload of money, so there's no reason to think that doing more of the same won't pay off in a big way. If the show is a hit, we can expect to make at least $2,000.00 per episode, with merchandising making up the shortfall. Everyone will want one of our stuffed rabbits. Right now we are in the process of negotiating a deal with "Joe Panklin's Midway Shows" to have the bunnies featured at Ring Tosses and Rubber Duck Fishing games at County Fairs across the midwest."

"Rabbits Ahoy" is the third Crimpen book adapted by BlamZone, after "Puppies Ahoy!" and "Ducks Ahoy!" Rumors have it that Crimpen has negotiated a deal that allows his company and the network to take 95% of any profit. Said Sheryl Tooker: "Mr. Crimpen has been a treasure to work with, even though he demands that every picture of his characters in the show always be his 3/4 front model, making inbetweens impossible- but the impossible is what makes our animators thrive!"

Miss Tooker looks thoughtful. "It turns out that the sponge show we passed on was, yes, Spongebob Squarepants, and yes, it has been very lucrative, but you have to look at the big picture realistically. Risks are "risky" for a reason, and in the long run, it's better to have 5% of a sure thing than 100% of something that may or may not pay off. Right?"