Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Literary Review 3: The Illusion Of Life

This incredible book written by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, two of the 9 old men, documents the history behind the Disney Studios, and the people who over years created the most memorable animated films of all time. This book explains how animators learned through experience what no one could of taught them but themselves. The book is full of references to the films, how they were made and how animators tackled and solved problems, and the techniques that were developed over the years as they aimed for a better picture. The amazing stories in the book, personality as an animation student are very inspiring, and I would recommend it to anyone who is intrested in the art form. The book has a small section on comedy and explains how Disney animators used the visual gags in their Silly Symphonies", "Walt soon learned that it was better to keep building on a gag, rather than having a small one after the other"


Understanding Animation by Paul Wells is a book that covers a very wide range of topics within animation. It includes a variety of case studies and thorough analysis and theories about animation. The book starts with Film Studies theories and a bit of its history , followed by Animated Films which talks about the Disney studios, Animation theory which compares orthodox and experimental animation, Narrative Strategies, 25 Ways to Start Laughing and Issues with Representation. The topic that I'm most intrested for my essay is 25 Ways to Start Laughing where the author goes in-depth talking about comedy. It includes the beginning of comedy and the different types, as well as theories of why we find certain things funny and how it has been used by animators in animation.

This book proves to be quite helpful since it covers comedy in a broad-way.

Literary Review 1: Prime Time Animation

Prime Time Animation: Televison animation and American culture by Carol A. Stabile and Mark Harrison is a book that talks about subjects such as the debates and issues that have arisen about the development of animation for television, and focuses mostly on the american television shows such as "The Simpsons", The Flinstones", "Ren and Stimpy", " South Park" and others. The book also refers to older cartoons and studios such as Hanna Barbera and analyses how the industry has adapted and changed through the decades, including the animation explosion of the 60s. The writers on this book try the explain the "prime times" of the cartoons series, using theories such as "double-coding" which explains why animation appeals to mixed age groups.

I chose this book because it mentioned one of the shows that I'm going to talk about in my essay and also touches on comedy. However it doesn't go much in-depth on the subjects so it won't be very helpful. Nevertheless it still a quite good book for people who maybe interested in the "prime times" of the certain cartoon series and the reasons for it.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Film/Series Review 4: South Park

South Park is an American sitcom created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The series is about 4 boys-Kyle, Stan, Cartman and Kenny, who live in a small town called South Park. The show usually satires topics that a lot of people would consider "Taboo" such as religion, politics, sexuality, drugs among many others. The show also parodies a lot of celebreties.

The characters themselves have a lot of personality, and I think that's what makes this show so appealing . Cartman is the most manipulative, selfish, greedy character ever created. He's always making fun of Kyle because he's Jewish and of Kenny because he's poor, and did I mention he hates hippies and "midgets". But what I like most about the show, apart from the excellent combination of personalities is the fact that the characters are children and no matter what they say, and no matter how bad it is, its only a child who is saying it, and I think that's how Parker and Stone get away with most of things they put on the show, and also it makes it a lot funnier.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Film Review 3: Night Of The Vampire

"Night of the Vampire" is a short film by Ale Camargo, based on the book "The Evening of the Vampire" by Wilhem Von Gottenblargh. This film is an interpretation of German Expressionism, and like German Expressionism films, it has got a great use of mise en scene to add mood and meaning. I especially like the establishing shot of the city, with the big moon. Everything is design with darkness and evil in mind, with lots shadows too. The narrative of the film has got a funny aspect to it, which is the idea of a bloodsucking creature, the mosquito, sucking the blood of another bloodsucking creature the vampire. The vampire is a generic vampire, he doesn't have any specific personality, and he reminds me of the vampire in the old classic movie "Nosferatu". The narrative of the movie is fairly simple, when the vampire goes to sleep; the mosquito comes in and starts sucking the vampire's blood. The vampire then wakes up and tries to kill the mosquito with insecticide, destroying his house in the process. As the vampire tries to kill the mosquito he breaks the window, and then when he thinks he's got the mosquito the sun comes up, the light comes though the window and the vampire is burned to ashes. The moral of story is, don't under estimate your enemies however big you are.

youtube link


Wednesday, 11 February 2009

10 Interesting Links

Some interesting website that I found:


The John Kricfalusi blog is an excellent blog for people who are into cartoons and love the art of animation. John has a great knowledge about cartoons and explains how the art of animation has degenerated over the decades. He posts new stuff almost every day, explaining things about cartoons such as character construction, layout, storyboards, different animation styles and other interesting facts about animation.
This blog is a gold mine of knowledge, and what's most incredible is that its free.


Animationpodcast is a site where you can find podcasts of Clay Kaytis interviewing top animators in the industry. Personally these are very inspirational to me, listening to all the great life stories of how did they get into the industry and how it was for them working as animators at top studios it's just incredible.
Animation Archive is the site where you can find great animation art work.
This organisation is fully dedicated to preserving the great work done by the finest animators, illustrators, story artists and other amazing people who worked in animation.
Imagineanimation is great site where you can find the la tests independent animations, University profiles, jobs, news, and where you can find one of biggest animation community on their forum. You can also sign up for their monthly newsletter, its free, so your always up to date with the latest news.
On this website you can find another very enthusiastic animation community on their forum, but more important than that, is the monthly animation competition. That's right every month they provide you with a soundtrack that you have to animate to, it can be any animation style whether 2D traditional, CGI, puppet animation or any other. You can also find reviews done by professionals reviewing animation shots that other people did. It's a great learning resource.
This website as you might have guessed the name, is the online official animation magazine with all the latest news about animation.
Here I also found that Frederick "Tex" Avery was born on the same day as I was.

This is Shawn Kelly's blog one of the three AnimationMentor founders, here you can ask Shawn animation related questions, you can also find a link for his free ebook where he put together all the interesting questions that people asked him and the answers that he wrote, you can sign up for his newsletter.
Cartoonbrew is where you can find out lots of interesting links for animation sites and blogs, so it works more like a door for other sites, however it also has its own articles about cartoons and animation news.
This blog is one of those that you have to take a look. Here you can find the most beautiful animation backgrounds. It's got backgrounds from the Disney movies, amazing pieces of art I have to say. the simple but very stylized Warner Brothers backgrounds and others. You can learn a lot about composition by copying these backgroups.
Here is an amazing tutorial to helping you learn how to draw from life, understanding what's beneath the skin, which the structure, the anatomy of living creatures and using that to help you draw more realistically.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Film Review 2: Ratatouile

Ratatoulie is a story of a rat called Remy who loves food, and constantly puts his life in danger because of it. One day as he enters the kitchen of an old woman to get an ingredient, but the old woman sees him and starts shooting at him with a shotgun, destroying the roof where Remy's colony was living, so they end up fleeing into the sewers. Even though nobody got hurt, Remy is separated from his colony. Nevertheless this unexpected event in our little friend's destiny comes with a big surprise, as Remy discovers he's been living in Paris the whole time. Somehow he manages to find a restaurant, where a young fellow called Linguini has just start working as a garbage boy. Accidentally Linguini spoils a soup, and Remy puts his life in danger once again in attempt of saving it. It happens that Remy puts in some special ingredients and the soup becomes a great success. While everybody thinks that Linguini was the one to cook that special soup, Remy convinces Linguini that if they work together Linguini can keep his job and Remy can finally become a chef as he always dreamed. In the end Remy gets to be chef himself while running one of the finest restaurants in Paris.
The most interesting thing about about this movie is the journey of Remy on his quest to becoming a chef in Paris. The idea of something as small as a rat becoming an honorable chef its incredible, especially when rats are stereotype as being disgusting creatures.