Wednesday, September 24, 2008

News - 09/24/08...

Adapt Conference - Andreas Deja and more 2D and 3D Masters

ADAPT 2008 started Monday in Montreal. The conference for digital artists has proved a success right from the start and drawn talent from the media and gaming industry. This year's keynote speaker is Andrea Deja.

Here's an interview with Andrea Deja by Emru from last year's visit to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts for the Once Upon A Time Walt Disney exhibit. So you can guess when he discusses the film he can't name it's The Princess and the Frog.

ADAPT continues until Friday, with special presentations from Walt Disney Studios, Animation Mentor, Syd Mead and more.

(Thanks fps magazine)

Holy leverage! 'Watchmen' lawsuit is really about 'Batman'?

Biff! Bam! Pow!

Over in his "Lying in the Gutters" column at Comic Book Resources, Rich Johnston says that the Fox lawsuit against Warner Bros. about 'Watchmen' is really just about getting leverage over 'Batman'.

See, apparently 20th Century Fox owns the footage of all the episodes of the original 'Batman' TV series, starring Adam West and Burt Ward. Releasing the series on DVD would be a huge cash-cow for Fox. The problem? They can't do it because Warner Bros. holds the trademarks on the characters themselves and refuses to play ball on the home video set.

So, the theory is, that Fox is using the lawsuit and threat of injunction on 'Watchmen' to pressure Warner Bros into making an equitable settlement that includes rights to release 'Batman' to the home video market.

Emmy-winning producer-director Bill Perez dies, 81

Bill Perez, a producer, director, title designer, layout and storyboard artist at Hanna-Barbera and DePatie-Freleng Enterprises for 28 years, died August 29, The Animation Guild (Local 839 of IATSE) announced. He was 81.

In 1982, Perez won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement - Animated Programming for directing the television special The Grinch Grinches The Cat In The Hat. Produced by Marvel and distributed by DFE, the half-hour ABC show also won an Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program.

President of the Screen Cartoonists Guild in 1959, Perez served in the Marines during the Second World War and worked for Disney in the late 1940s. Also credited as William Perez, he worked for UPA as well. He retired in 1990.

Perez was a layout artist on such H-B series as The Jetsons, The Hillbilly Bears, Jonny Quest, The Secret Squirrel Show, The New Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Banana Splits Adventure Hour and Emergency +4.

He was a title designer for an exhaustive array of series:
Wacky Races, The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines, Scooby Doo, Where Are You!, The All-New Super Friends Hour, Scooby's All Star Laff-A-Lympics, C B Bears, Fangface, Challenge of the SuperFriends, Yogi's Space Race, Galaxy Goof-Ups, The Godzilla Power Hour, The All-New Popeye Hour, Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo, The World's Greatest SuperFriends, The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show, Buford and the Galloping Ghost, The Flintstone Comedy Show, The Ri¢hie Ri¢h/Scooby-Doo Show, Drak Pack, Heathcliff, The Kwicky Koala Show, Smurfs, The Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Puppy Hour, The Gary Coleman Show, Saturday Supercade, The All-New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show, Pac-Man, The Dukes, The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries, Dragon's Lair, It's Punky Brewster, Paw Paws, Mister T, Turbo Teen, Yogi's Treasure Hunt, Galtar and the Golden Lance, Snorks, Foofur, Wildfire, The Flintstone Kids, Pound Puppies, Jonny Quest and The New Yogi Bear Show.

As well, he did titles for the TV-movies
Scooby-Doo Goes Hollywood (1979), as well as the 1988 TV-movies and specials Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf, The Flintstone Kids' Just Say No Special and Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School.

He was a storyboard artist for the series
Space Ghost, The Oddball Couple, Baggy Pants & the Nitwits, Challenge of the GoBots, What's New, Mr. Magoo?, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, The New Yogi Bear Show and Tom and Jerry Kids Show.

Occasionally, Perez was a story director; he was involved in the series
Cattanooga Cats, The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan and The Flintstones Comedy Hour, as well as the specials A Flintstone Christmas (1977) and Yogi Bear and the Magical Flight of the Spruce Goose (1987). He was a writer for the series The Herculoids.

He was a sequence director for the 1979 TV special
Bugs Bunny's Looney Christmas Tales and Bugs Bunny's 3rd Movie: 1001 Rabbit Tales (1982).

Perez was an art director for the H-B theatrical films
Hey There, It's Yogi Bear (1964) and The Man Called Flintstone (1966), in addition to the 1966 TV-movie Alice in Wonderland or What's a Nice Kid Like You Doing in a Place Like This? He was an animation stylist for the song sequences in the 1973 H-B movie Charlotte's Web.

A director of the 1978 TV special Pink Panther in
"A Pink Christmas", he was the associate producer of H-B's Jack and the Beanstalk (1967), the first combined live-action and animated TV special. Jack and the Beanstalk
was nominated that year for an Emmy for Outstanding Children's Program.

'The Spirit' posters in high resolution

We've got updated versions of those new posters for 'The Spirit' that hit the web last week, now in higher resolution! Frank Miller's adaptation of Will Eisner's comic book is due out this Christmas from Lionsgate.

Gabriel Macht is 'The Spirit'

Samuel L. Jackson is The Octopus in 'The Spirit'

More "Goode Family" Coming

From Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood Daily column, comes news that "ABC has ordered 8 extra scripts to add to its original order of 13 episodes of Mike Judge's midseason animated series Goode Family. (Network bigwigs liked the animatics that much...)"

The "Science" of Story Making

This is a type of article that makes me crazy:

With an unbroken string of hits stretching from 1995's "Toy Story" to this summer's "Wall-E," you'd think Pixar had story development down to a science.

Not even close ...

What is Variety talking about?

Story has never been a stroll in the park. Story has always been difficult, like trying to bottle lightning ... or thread fifty needles at a dead run. And sure, writer David Cohen is setting up a rhetorical straw man here, but that doesn't make the straw man any less silly.

There are six different plots; all else is embroidery.

It's the quality of the needlework that matters, and in animated films, the sewing and stitching mostly goes on until three weeks prior to release. But this isn't anything exclusive to Pixar, or anything new. It goes on at every studio, all the time, all the way back to Snow White, The Three Little Pigs and Steamboat Willie.

Even the films that turn out bad are tough to concoct.

If there was some kind of science to it, movies would be made in germ-free laboratories by guys with microscopes and Bunsen burners.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

Pegasus News Interviews Voice Actor Bob Bergen

The Pegasus News has posted two podcast interviews with voice actor Bob Bergen, best known as the voice of Porky Pig in modern-day Looney Tunes cartoons. The interviews cover his career as a voice actor, the state of the industry at the moment, his views on voice acting and the need for voice actors to understand the business, and his voice acting workshop, which will be coming to the Dallas area on October 11-12, 2008, and to other major cities in the United States afterwards.

Briefly: Rall's First Editorial Animation; TV Sitcoms Face Fewer Societal Taboos

* "President Obama's First Day," Ted Rall's first animated editorial cartoon, has just been posted on YouTube. [David Essman]

* The New York Times television critic Alessandra Stanley has taken a look at the problems created for sitcom writers in an era with fewer and fewer taboos, citing the upcoming animated comedy The Life & Times of Tim on HBO.

Roberto Orci Answers Transformers Sequel Questions

Slowly turning into one of the best sources for all things Transformers, Transformers World 2005 (no, we have no idea why they're three years behind the rest of us) has had a very special member of the Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen creative team, co-writer Roberto Orci, join their message boards where he's been (somewhat vaguely) answering questions about the upcoming sequel.

While Orci has been doing the interview rounds as the co-producer of the new action-thriller Eagle Eye, which opens everywhere on Friday September 26, plus he has a new Fox show "Fringe" (both co-produced with his partner Alex Kurtzman), none of these interviews get as in depth into what we may or may not see in the sequel than this message board Q 'n' A thread. (General spoiler warnings if you want to be surprised, of course.)

There's way too much information here to mention just one thing or another but there's a lot of diehard Transformers fans on their forums, so you'll probably want to read it all for yourself here.

Transformers World also confirms that Jetfire will be an Autobot in the movie, rather than a Decepticon, because he'll be combining with Optimus Prime in the new movie. You can read more about that here.

Bekmambetov to Reimagine Melville's Moby Dick

Variety reports that Universal Pictures has decided to produce a big budget reimagiging of Herman Melville's classic literary tale Moby Dick with Russian director Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) to work from a screenplay being written by Adam Cooper and Bill Collage for "a high six figures."

The Variety story details some of the changes that are being planned for the new version of Melville's tale:

The writers revere Melville’s original text, but their graphic novel-style version will change the structure. Gone is the first-person narration by the young seaman Ishmael, who observes how Ahab’s obsession with killing the great white whale overwhelms his good judgment as captain.

This change will allow them to depict the whale’s decimation of other ships prior to its encounter with Ahab’s Pequod, and Ahab will be depicted more as a charismatic leader than a brooding obsessive.

"Our vision isn’t your grandfather’s ‘Moby Dick,’ " Cooper said. "This is an opportunity to take a timeless classic and capitalize on the advances in visual effects to tell what at its core is an action-adventure revenge story."

In the meantime, Bekmambetov is already developing a sequel to the summer sleeper hit starring James McAvoy and Angelina Jolie.

Ape, Pie, Robber, Dr. W Dished Up at Cartoon Forum

Last week, the 19th of Cartoon Forum which took place in Ludwigsburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany attracted over 765 broadcasters, investors, producers and distributors to a three-day presentation of the latest European animation projects for TV and new media platforms. A total of 63 projects were presented from 14 countries, summing up about 370 hours of content and a budget of around 200 million euros. According to the press office, one-third of the projects at the event confirmed to have secured short-term financing following. Here are several of the Forum's presentations which caught our attention:

The talented Folimage team, headed up by Pascal Le Nòtre, brought a new series titled Claude to the well-attended Cartoon Forum last week. The show targets six- to eight-year olds, but audiences of all ages will get a kick out of the show's offbeat humor. The toon centers on a unique, four-eyed furry character whose appealing quirkiness puts him in stark contrast with his fairly normal parents and friends. Claude, who eats shoes and birds, is doted upon by his adoring parents, who don’t seem to notice his odd tendencies or looks. For more info, visit

The Daily Ape is an animated comedy which mirrors topical events happening in our world, but it's set in the world of apes. The actual behavior and intelligence level of the world stays the same; it just gets a whole lot hairier. Producer Petteri Pasanen of Anima Vitae studios in Finland says this show will be up to date and locally customized as part of “a new wave of animation!” He would like to hear immediately from the best comedy writers around the world at

Picnic With Pie is a new project from Submarine's producer Bruno Felix and Walking the Dog’s Eric Goossens. The preschool project is developed from the traditionally illustrated children’s book Picnic with Pie, which as been ttranslated into contemporary 3D animation with a lot of potential for online and game development. Submarine is best known for itsKika and Bob series, which has sold to more than 18 countries worldwide. The studio will follow a similar plan with this new project, ilaunching an interactive website combining old-fashioned storytelling with gameplay for preschool kids. For more information about the new property, go to

Animation X’s managing director Stephan Schesch and Les Armateurs' Didier Bruner introduced a TV series based on the beautiful characters from their hit Euro movie The Three Robbers. Kids will certainly appreciate the warmth and appeal of these characters, which were originally created by children's author Tomi Ungerer, and follow their new adventures in the robbers' forest. This modern-day Robin Hood tale, along with the things that the young heroine of the show (Tiffany) can teach the sheltered, uneducated robbers, give children the rare opportunity to feel empowered in an otherwise intimidating adult world.

Finally, during the last presentation of the final day, I was lucky enough to catch the unusual toon called Dr. W. The 26 X 4-minute show revolves around a delirious doctor who is always searching for the truth about natural facts of life. Peter Keydel and Muyi Neira from Magoproduction S.L. in Barcelona developed this character from their award-winning short. I loved the odd look of their 3D series which uses different animation methods while presenting medical and health facts in a funny, ironic style.

For more info about the event, visit

Scooby Pic, Peanuts Specials on Disc

Scooby and his Mystery Inc. pals take on a powerful goblin in an all-new, direct-to-video animated feature while the Peanuts gang get in the holiday spirit with a new deluxe collection of Charlie Brown Holiday specials. Other animated DVD hitting retail today include Schoolhouse Rock: The Election Collection and sets of episodes from such TV favorites as Alvin and the Chipmunks, Dinosaur King, Caillou and Mama Mirabelle's Home Movies.

Scooby-Doo & The Goblin King
from Warner Home Video boasts a star-studded voice cast that includes Heroes star Hayden Panettiere, Tonight Show host Jay Leno, screen icon Lauren Bacall, cartoon vet Tim Curry and Seinfeld favorite Wayne Knight. The new movie has Shaggy and Scooby embarking on a magic quest to save the Mystery Inc. gang from the spell of a wicked warlock. A second-rate carnival magician named the Amazing Krudsky (Knight) hatches a plot to turn everyone into horrible Halloween monsters after he steals the light magic from Princess Fairy Willow (Panettiere). Scooby and Shaggy board the Grim Reaper Railroad, bound for the fantastic world of Halloween land, to retrieve the powerful Goblin scepter from the Goblin King (Curry) before Krudsky can bring his diabolical plan to fruition. Along the way, the meddling kids encounter such enchanting creatures as the infamous Headless Horseman, the helpful Jack O’Lantern and a frisky flying broomstick.

DVD bonus features include
Scooby-Doo You Believe in Magic? a featurette that offers some cool magic tricks viewers can perform for family and friends. Scooby-Doo & The Goblin King has also been scheduled for national broadcast this fall on the Cartoon Network. See the trailer for the movie on AniMagTV.

Peanuts Deluxe Holiday Collection
is a three-disc set with re-mastered editions of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and A Charlie Brown Christmas. Retailing at $44.76, the pack also comes with a CD of Peanuts holiday songs, bonus episodes, behind-the-scenes featurettes and digital downloads of songs. Each individual special can also be had for $19.98 or less.

Another timely release,
Schoolhouse Rock: The Election Collection offers a set of election-themed animated educational tunes including “I'm Just a Bill,” “Shot Heard 'Round the World” and “I'm Gonna Send Your Vote to College.” Also included is the new-to-DVD song “Presidential Minute” with two surprise endings and an exclusive election tracking kit with stickers to help viewers keep track of the actual voting results in all 50 states. The Disney release carries a suggested retail price of $19.99.

Paramount is opening the chipmunk cage for the holidays with two releases.
Alvin and the Chipmunks Classic Holiday Gift Set is a three-disc box set that lists for $37.99 and features the specials Trick or Treason, Alvin's Thanksgiving Celebration and A Chipmunk Christmas. Fans can also pick up Alvin and the Chipmunks: Alvin's Thanksgiving Celebration, which offers three episodes for $14.99.

Dinosaur King: The Adventure Begins packages together the first five episodes of the Fox 4KidsTV adventure series. Based on the internationally successful arcade and collectable card game from Sega, the show employs a mix of 2D and 3D animation to chronicle the adventures of Max, Rex and Zoe (a.k.a. the “D Team”) as they race around the world to uncover secrets that bring dinosaurs back to life. The Shout! Factory release lists at $14.99.

Caillou's Winter Wonders offers four new-to-DVD animated episodes that include 14 winter-themed adventures of the PBS Kids series. Retailing for $14.99, the paramount disc features interactive games, character bios, parents' information and coloring pages.

Mama Mirabelle's Home Movies: It's Movie Time
is a collection of episodes of the PBS Kids series that blends animation with actual National Geographic and BBC wildlife documentary footage to teach youngsters about the animal kingdom. Featuring the voice of Vanessa Williams as the voice of Mama Mirabelle, the Warner Home Video debut carries a suggested retail price of $14.98.

Lucky Kids Get Clone Wars Premiere Parties

Cartoon Network has teamed with a company called House Party to offer 2,000 kids across the country their very own Star Wars: The Clone Wars sneak preview parties on Saturday, Sept. 27. On that same day, one lucky youngster is getting his own world television premiere event in his hometown of Chicago, Ill. The first weekly television series from Lucasfilm Animation premieres on Cartoon Network on Friday, Oct. 3 at 9 p.m. (ET/PT).

In addition to being among the first to see the initial two episodes of the CG-animated series, each child hosting a premiere will receive a party kit that includes a lightsaber, character masks, glow sticks, tattoos, stickers, posters and balloons for all guests.

Cartoon Network will go the extra mile for nine-year-old Calvin Rodgers of Chicago, rolling out the red carpet for him, his family, friends and hundreds of other special guests at the Park West Theater in Lincoln Park. The kid was recently surprised when a group of clone troopers came to his school, Edgar Allen Poe Classical, and delivered
Star Wars books donated by Penguin Books to help celebrate the debut of the series. Along with a screening of the first two episodes, guests at his premiere will also enjoy an afternoon of Star Wars-related activities and games. Several other kids hosting parties on that day will also receive surprise visits at their homes from clone troopers.

House Party provides parents and their kids with all the supplies needed to host special parties based on various brands. The company also asks its hosts to share stories, photos and videos from their parties through House Party microsites. Hosts can share their
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
party at

Second Season of Bakugan in Production

Nelvana Enterprises and partners, Spin Master Ltd., Sega Toys Ltd. and TMS Ent. have announced that they are producing an additional 26 episodes of the anime-style television series Bakugan, which airs on Cartoon Network in the U.S. and TELETOON in Canada. Dubbed Bakugan: New Vestroia, the new season will be ready for air in the spring of 2009.

Featuring animation by TMS Ent.,
Bakugan: New Vestroia will follow Dan, Marucho and Drago as they join forces with the Bakugan Resistance in order to restore peace and freedom to their enslaved planet. The newly formed group of friends must battle the evil Vestal to free the captured Bakugan and destroy the Vestal’s plans for domination.

“Bakugan is quickly becoming the No.1 ‘gotta-have’ boys’ action property for both broadcasters and retailers,” says Doug Murphy, president of Nelvana and general manager of Corus Kids. “This is truly an international success story, highlighting an outstanding working partnership of companies from Canada, the U.S. and Japan.”

According to Nelvana, toy demand in North America has made
one of the biggest retail successes of the summer. Bakugan toys and accessories by partner Spin Master are topping the charts at retail, beating out well-established movie-based properties. Already in the U.S., Canada, Australia and much of Asia, Bakugan
toys will debut in France and the U.K. this holiday sason, with the rest of Europe coming on board through 2009.

Cartoon Network Enterprises, the exclusive licensing agent in the U.S., has also signed several new partners in soft lines categories including apparel, sleepwear, footwear, swimwear and accessories. DVDs of episodes from the first season of the show were released in August by Cartoon Network and Warner Home Video in the U.S., and by Vivendi Home Entertainment in Canada.

LEGO Batman: The Videogame Ships

Who knew the plastic building blocks most of us played with as kids would remain so relevant in the age of high-tech computer entertainment? Having launched the successful LEGO Star Wars and LEGO Indiana Jones franchises, Warner Bros. Interactive is today flooding retail outlets with the eagerly awaited LEGO Batman: The Videogame. Developed by TT Games, the game is available nationwide today for Xbox 360, PlayStation3, PlayStation2, PSP, Wii, Nintendo DS and Windows PC.

Gotham City’s most notorious criminals have broken out of Arkham Asylum and it’s up to Batman and Robin to save the day. Featuring a number of characters from the DC Comics Universe, LEGO Batman: The Videogame allows gamers to be either heroes or villains as the battle for Gotham rages from the rooftops to the sewers. The game offers fifteen hero levels and fifteen villain levels for a total of thirty unique levels. Playable characters include Batman, Robin, Alfred Pennyworth, Batgirl, The Joker, Harley Quinn, Mr. Freeze and Two-Face, among others.

Gamers will also be ble to get behind the wheel of various vehicles including the famed Batmobile and Batwing as they take part in co-op multiplayer action and unlock new Batman and Robin suits to tap into enhanced powers.

The title is rated E10+. The Xbox 360, PlayStation3 and Wii retails for $49.99, while the PlayStation 2,PSP, Nintendo DS and PC versions list for $29.99.

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