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Punch Pants

A Ghostbot blog.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Good Readin'

I've run across a number of online articles recently that have been poignant, insightful, and worth the temporary break from work. First up, an interview with Brad Bird (Iron Giant, Incredibles) at Ready Made (link courtesy of Luxo). There's been an overflow of interviews with this director-extraordinaire, obviously because of the success of the Incredibles. But this one is short and sweet and has some nice anecdotes, straight from the Bird's mouth:

RM: Were you a troublemaker?

BB: I got fired for quote rocking the boat unquote. They were basically saying that if I'd stop complaining about quality, I could hold onto my job. I said, "I'm complaining about stuff your master animators taught me to complain about. So either I'm getting fired or I'm selling out everything you guys supposedly stand for.

This next article was a link shared by Jerry Beck from Cartoon Brew. It's a long one (an 11-part article) but it's short compared to the 14-year rollercoaster ride that its author, Phil Vischer, has journeyed. Phil was the man behind one of the most succesful Christian animated properties, VeggieTales produced at Big Idea. What Killed Big Idea! is a difficult read in a sense that you can feel the pain and the stress that Phil endured (laying off 30 employees in one day, almost having to sell his house for a desperate loan, sitting in a room with a bunch of lawyers as his company was being auctioned off). Painful stuff. But I appreciate his candor.

For the record, I'm sorry. A lot of wonderful people brought their dreams to Big Idea. And almost all of them were deeply affected both by the persistent organizational chaos and by the trauma of the slow, painful collapse. The ultimate responsibility for both lie with me. And I'm really, really sorry. Just as Big Idea really wasn't ready to tackle the production challenge of Jonah, I really wasn't ready to tackle the management challenge of Big Idea.

There. Now I've said it.

Two very different articles. Two experiences to learn from.

Can you feel the hype yet?

Yoda was right. The force is everywhere. Here is a image of some hardcore fans out of the Tsingtao entertainment newspaper. Can't wait! Posted by Hello

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Sometimes geek dreams do come true

I'm a big fan of all things done by Joss Whedon. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel were some fantastic shows and I'm currently enjoying his Astonishing X-Men comic book.

My favorite work Whedon did was this short lived sci fi show called "Firefly". It's mixture of great characters, old west, and space adventure. It was just what the doctor ordered after years and years of stale sci-fi tv (Mansquito anyone?) . It only lasted half a season, so it never really caught on. Luckily the folks at Universal saw a diamond in the rough and decided to make Firefly into a full fledged movie.

Check out the trailer for Serenity. Posted by Hello

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Animation and Integrity

There are many animation forums out there that have flourished in recent years giving artists and anyone else a chance to voice their likes/dislikes, concerns, praises, and questions about the industry. One of the forums that I frequent is Shane Glines' Cartoon Retro. There you'll find an incredible mixture of professionals and fans sharing their daily opinions (and secretly hoping to see the next mind-blowing Shane piece).

Today I just ran across this posting on Animation and Integrity. "MR AMID" is none other than the eloquent Amid Amidi from Cartoon Brew. His viewpoint is always insightful, bold, and uncensored - more of what is needed in our predominantly executive-run business. Here's a snippet from his latest post:
"...Artists should instead focus on being creative for themselves to their fullest potential rather than conforming their creativity to the increasingly narrow spectrum of TV animation. There are many artists who are carving their own creative path including Shane, Michel Gagne, Enrico Casarosa and Ronnie del Carmen at Pixar, Tim Biskup, Chris Harding and the guys at Ghostbot, to name an immediate few. We should be using these folks as a model for how to move forward."
Blew me away that we were even mentioned, let alone with such stellar company. Thank you, Mr. Amid. We'll do our best.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Snika Bah!

Edward Artinian is a cool animator dude that's worked on a wide range of shows from Foster's Imaginary Friends to Megas XLR to even the legendary Foo. Check out some of his furtastic diversions here. Posted by Hello

Sunday, April 10, 2005

The Kenn Kommandments

Our comrade in arms Kenn Navarro gets a nifty interview from Cold Hard Flash. Kenn gave me a 2 hour crash course in macromedia flash 3 way back in 1999. I owe a lot of my career to those 2 hours! He was one of the main innovators of the use of flash as an animation tool and has been busy ever since working on the hit show Happy Tree Friends.

On his free time he enjoys cappin zombie zealots in Resident Evil 4, or shooting me in the back in Halo 2. Bastard.

Peep the interview here.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

It's only a matter of time...

Today was a day of meetings. The good kind.

First I had the privilege of meeting the talented Chris Harding who was in town giving a talk at the annual Flash Forward Conference. I was first exposed to Chris's work several months ago when I saw his latest short film, "Learn Self Defense". It's a brilliant piece with great timing, beautiful designs, and a solid story to boot. I was amazed to find out he did the whole thing in 3 months...single-handedly. Already the animation community is starting to buzz about this guy since his film is being shown at high-profile festivals like SXSW and Annecy. We had a nice time lunching at Japantown and scouring Kinokuniya Bookstore for inspiration. I'm sure the animation world will be seeing more from Chris. You can check out a great interview with Chris from Cold, Hard Flash here.

Then tonight I had a reunion with a former classmate of mine, Paul Curreri. Paul is, and always has been, an artist through-and-through. We were in the same freshman section and even shared the same major going through the Film department. However after graduation, Paul embraced his first love and pursued music. On campus, he would always be a favorite performer so I'm not surprised at his success now. When he takes the stage, he has a captive audience. His performance was mesmerizing, masterful, and incredibly entertaining. I can't help but think that everything Paul learned in art school is being applied to his craft now. His sense of timing, ebb/flow, contrast, texture, and dynamics were all impeccable. And he's a darn good guitar player. My pal Arvin described his hands as "liquid" over the strings. Do yourself a favor and check out his music (he's available on iTunes for pete's sake). It'll make you smile.

What a day.
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