Tuesday, February 10, 2009

News - 02/10/09...

WALL-E a winner at Grammy Awards

Despite not even being nominated for music at animation’s premier awards show, WALL-E has won two Grammy Awards. Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman picked up trophies for Best Song Written For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media (Down To Earth) and Best Instrumental Arrangement (Define Dancing). WALL-E lost the Best Score Soundtrack Album to The Dark Knight.

NYCC: SCIFI Wire delves into the secrets behind the animated Wonder Woman

SCI FI Wire hit the interview circuit at New York Comic Con and got a chance to speak exclusively to the creators of the new animated Wonder Woman film, screenwriter Michael Jelenic, director Lauren Montgomery and a special guest of the Con, producer Bruce Timm. We got some information on the story, why they chose not to have her fly, Nathan Fillion as Steve Trevor and some rather strange trivia about Wonder Woman herself.

Screened to rave reviews on Friday night, the film is Wonder Woman's origin story. Montgomery explains: "It starts with the history with her mother and how the Amazons came to inherit Themyscira. We spend a little time in Themyscira on Diana's birth or creation and her development into a woman. And, of course, she ventures out into Man's World on her mission, which is to recapture Ares. And she develops into the Wonder Woman that we know and love."

Jelenic wasn't incredibly familiar with the character before writing the screenplay. "Coming into the project, I didn't know a lot about Wonder Woman," he said. "Just some basic stuff about her. So I learned a lot in a short amount of time. I work with a lot of comic-book nerds who know so much about every single character. I asked, 'What do you consider canon or iconic Wonder Woman?' They pointed me in the direction. Sometimes they were different directions, because everybody has different ideas about who Wonder Woman is. So I tried to take a consensus and base it all around that."

A big decision had to be made about whether to have Wonder Woman fly. "Coming into it, I didn't realize how much controversy there was surrounding the Wonder Woman powers," Jelenic said. "She doesn't really fly in this. I soon found out that this is a major, major point among fans. And if I could just explain the thinking behind that, I guess people were saying that if you don't let her fly, you're taking away her power, and she becomes weaker. But just from a storytelling point of view she has her iconic invisible jet. So I think it has to be one or the other. She either flies or she has the invisible jet. ... I know a lot of people hate the invisible jet. I think it's pretty cool, and I know it's sort of random and weird, but that's part of the coolness of it."

Timm added: "I knew it was going to be an issue. ... We knew we had to do the invisible jet. It's like Batman; you have to have the Batmobile. The consensus was that she shouldn't fly. We're [Timm and Jelenic] both super amused that there is a full thread about her flying on the forums. People who are outraged, literally outraged that she was not flying in the movie. They are boycotting the movie because she doesn't fly."

The famous lasso of truth could not be left out, of course. Jelenic used it for comic relief. "The lasso of truth plays a very big role in the movie," he said. "You see it multiple times. I use it for comedy quite a bit, because Steve Trevor is such a sort of blah male, still very likable. You know, every time he gets the lasso of truth on him he ends up saying something very stupid."

And speaking of Col. Trevor, the creators talked about the casting of Nathan Fillion, a man who just played a villain in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. "He just makes the character, who could essentially come off as a jerk," Jelenic told us. "He kind of says a lot of things that are questionable. But he makes it charming, and he can get away with it."

Montgomery added, "He was the first choice out of the gate. ... As soon as Bruce read the character and saw the design, he said, 'I don't know what you were thinking, but this guy is Nathan Fillion.' And I was down with that. And he did an awesome job."

We asked about the strangest piece of Wonder Woman trivia everyone learned while making the film. "The thing that I learned on this film that I didn't know was the bondage aspect," Montgomery said. "That's the craziest fun fact I know. Luckily it's one that we didn't have to deal with in this movie. We kind of skipped over it. ... I had never ever heard that if she gets bound by a man, she loses her powers. ... As a woman, you sit back and think, that was a man's idea. No woman made that up," she added with a laugh.

"I think it's interesting that the man who created Wonder Woman also created the lie detector," Timm added. "The truth lasso and the lie detector, ... and he was also into bondage and S&M. That's a weird sideline."

We pointed out that he also lived with two women. "Yes, I think he was," Timm said. "He was a very interesting man, Mr. Marston." Wonder Woman will be released direct to DVD on March 3.

“Welcome to the Third World” by Webster Colcord

If Fritz the Cat had been done as an artsy independent animated film, it might look something like “Welcome to the Third World,” an offbeat video directed by Webster Colcord for The Dandy Warhols. It was produced through the now-defunct Orphanage. Artists who worked on the piece inlcude Jan Van Buyten and Eric Kilkenny, as well as a crew of students from DeAnza College and Ex’pression College of Digital Art.

(Thanks, Karl Cohen)

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

Silva Takes a Trip to Bedrock

In this new intro for sports radio Dialogo Deportivo, Andres Silva (Makinita) delivers a humourous animation style in his comedic parody of The Flintstones. What is most interesting is his choice of software tools; Corel Painter with Adobe After Effects. This Ecuadorian (now Toronto based) artist is inspired by the likes of Tex Avery and, of course, John K.You can find more of his 2D artwork on his deviantArt gallery.

2D Just Doesn’t “Stop” in France

A few weeks back, I stumbled across the trailer for Éléa Gobbé-Mévellec’s 5 minute short film Escale. The Google translation is a little confusing, but according to the site, this hand drawn film is a story about a crew of sailors who arrive at a small port to seek some relief from the local prostitutes. And if I’m correct, it seems as though one of the sailors ends up falling in love. Regardless, the film has a great feel to it stylistically, and seems to have been in production from January ‘06 until November ‘08, and should soon make it’s way through the festival circuit, if it hasn’t already. Raphael Wisson, is credited with the music, while the sound design and mix were handled by Nicolas Langlois.

(watch the trailer here)

Brett Ratner To Direct ‘Youngblood’ Adaptation Based On Rob Liefeld Comic Book Series

Looks like yet another comic book property may be heading for the multiplex soon, as Variety breaks the news today that Rob Liefeld’s signature series, “Youngblood,” has been acquired by a partnership consisting of Reliance Big Entertainment, Brett Ratner’s Rat Entertainment, and Julia Roberts’ Red Om Films for the feature film treatment.

In the Variety piece, Ratner — who has signed on to direct the flick — said, “Most of the great graphic novels are gone, and ‘Youngblood’ is one of the few comic books left with tentpole potential. It was a real personal passion project for me, and a lot of people wanted ['Youngblood'], but the amazing thing about the guys at Reliance is the speed with which they’re able to move.”

Variety reports that the six-figure deal for the rights to “Youngblood” were finalized at the Berlin Film Festival, the “Berlinale.” The comic follows the adventures of a high-profile team of superheroes sanctioned and overseen by the U.S. government, led by Shaft — a former FBI agent also happens to be an expert archer.

Bashir Takes WGA’s Doc Honor

Ari Folman’s screenplay to the animated film Waltz with Bashir won the WGA Award for best documentary screenplay, adding to the film’s awards season honor roll.

The film, distributed by Sony Pictures Classics, has won a DGA honor for Folman and is nominated in the best foreign language category at the Oscars.

Other animated winners at the event included The Simpsons episode “Apocalypse Cow,” which won the TV animation category with a script from Jeff Westbrook. Joey Mazzarino won the award for children’s episodic and specials for Elmo’s Christmas Countdown.

And winning the guild’s first honor for videogame writing was Haden Blackman, Shawn Pitman, John Stafford and Cameron Suey for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.

BAFTAs Honor WALL•E and Wallace

The British Academy of Film and Television honored the Disney-Pixar film WALL•E as the best animated feature at its awards ceremony Sunday.

The awards were dominated by Slumdog Millionaire, which took home seven awards overall.

The BAFTAs gave the award for best short animated film to Wallace & Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death, the latest episode featuring the popular duo from director Nick Park and Aardman Animations.

Animator and film director Terry Gilliam was honored with an academy fellowship at the event.

Oscar Trio Leads Toon Noms for Kids Choice Awards

The nominees for Nickelodeon’s 22nd annual Kids Choice Awards give young voters a chance to decide which of their favorite animated projects and actors will take home a coveted Blimp trophy.

Nominated for favorite animated movie are Oscar picks Bolt, Kung Fu Panda and WALL•E, as well as the DreamWorks sequel Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.

Nominated for favorite voice actor are Jack Black for
Kung Fu Panda, Jim Carrey for Horton Hears A Who!, Miley Cyrus for Bolt and Ben Stiller for Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

On the television side, The Fairly Odd Parents, Phineas and Ferb, The Simpsons and SpongeBob SquarePants were nominated for best cartoon.

The winners in categories ranging from movies and TV to music, games and books, will be announced March 28 in a ceremony broadcast live from the Pauley Pavillion at UCLA. Kids can vote for their favorites online at www.nick.com/kca.

NYCC2009: The "Wonder Woman" DTV Panel Report

Immediately after the world premiere of the Wonder Woman direct-to-video animated movie, the New York Comic Con hosted a panel discussion with director Lauren Montgomery, producer Bruce Timm, and writer Michael Jelenic, led by DC Sr. VP of Creative Affairs Gregory Noveck. Noveck reminded the audience that Wonder Woman would be released on March 3, 2009, in one-disc, two-disc, and Blu-ray editions . Nathan Fillion (who voices Steve Trevor in the movie) appared via video before the screening to apologize that he couldn't make it to NY Comic Con, joking that he was "too busy shooting Serenity 2...just kidding." He really is. It's not happening. Sorry, Firefly fans.

Sound files of the panel are interspersed throughout the writeup. My sound-editor-fu is weak, so apologies in advance for the clicks, pops, and background noise (which are also why the generally soft-spoken Montgomery doesn't get any sound files, unfortunately).

Timm began by noting that Batman and Superman are so well-defined by what's gone on before, while Wonder Woman doesn't have that same advantage despite being in print for just as long. Bruce Timm made a vain stab at modesty ("It's not that we were trying to make the definitive Wonder Woman movie") before the truth came out ("...well, OK, we were" -- click here to listen), saying that he wanted to incorporate elements from the comics and the TV show, but that it made for a hard balancing act. "You don't want to make her too tough, because then she's Xena, and you don't want to make her too soft, because then she's not Wonder Woman." Jelenic added that Wonder Woman was hard because she has so many inherent contradictions, but said that writing Amazons as man-haters was absolutely the last thing he wanted to do. Once he discovered that Wonder Woman's journey was to bring Man's World and the Amazons together, then he felt that the rest of the movie came together.

Noveck wanted to remind the audience at this point that Wonder Woman would be released on March 3, 2009, in multiple editions, and encouraged everyone in the audience to buy it multiple times.

Montgomery said that the hardest part of the design process was to walk the fine line of making Wonder Woman a powerful superhero without losing her femininity. However, she relished the challenge of working on Wonder Woman "after working on all the boy shows." Timm interjected that Montgomery was "a phenomenally talented artist" and told the audience to check out her weblog (but open it in another tab and look at it later -- there's enough cool stuff on there that we're afraid you'll just stay there and forget about us).

Steve Trevor has been one of the longest lasting members of Wonder Woman's supporting cast, but often gets thoroughly overshadowed by his leading lady, which presents different writing challenges. Timm said that "once we had Nathan [Fillion] playing him, he went on to take over the movie." After joking that there was a lot of Michael Jelenic in the role, Jelenic said that Trevor had to really earn the right to be dating Wonder Woman by the end of the movie, so it was important that he got a compelling arc to his story as well.

When asked "Where does Wonder Woman go from here?" Timm admitted that they have so many projects in the works at this point that they had never really considered the idea of doing a sequel to any of the DTV movies. However, the question came up repeatedly during the roundtable interviews earlier in the day, so Timm said, "If you really, really like the movie, and you buy lots and lots and lots of copies of it and tell all your friends to buy lots and lots of copies of it, if we get the chance, we'll do another one." (click to listen)

This was the first time the crew had ever seen Wonder Woman with a large audience of people, and Montgomery said that biggest surprise was how often people laughed. During production, they've seen it so many times that the jokes aren't fresh to them any more, but hearing the audience laugh at the jokes was a nice surprise and reinforcement of the work they've done.

Noveck also gave a shout-out again to voice director Andrea Romano, commenting that "if you buy the Blu-ray disc (March 3, 2009, along with the one-disc and two-disc DVDs, in case you didn't know), you can slo-mo through the credits" to see Alfred Molina as Ares and Oliver Platt as Hades.

The panel then opened up for Q&A from the audience, with Timm interjecting that they can't talk about any of the upcoming DTV projects, so don't ask.

* - Noveck said that the casting of the DTV movies was at least partially driven by a desire to get the best, generally recognizable talent that is available. He also added that the goal of these movies is to do what the fans want to see, so if people want more of DC's female superheroes headlining DTV's, then let them know. (For the record: I'd like either a Black Canary movie directed by Montgomery or Joaquim Dos Santos or movies for Birds of Prey or Catwoman that show the live-action people how to do those properties right.)

* - The decision to set the movie in New York City other real-world cities rather than Gotham City or Metropolis wasn't something that the crew gave much conscious thought to. Timm said, "If you're going to go to Man's World, what's the best place to go? New York," which drew big applause from the hometown crowd.

* - The biggest challenge Montgomery faced from moving from directing a third of Superman Doomsday to all of Wonder Woman was the added responsibility and workload. However, she did enjoy the challenge and felt that it allowed for a more consistent vision for the entirety of the movie.

* - Regarding the impact this film will have on a live-action Wonder Woman movie, Timm said that he had an answer, but he didn't think it was one the audience really wanted to hear. He said that no matter how well the DTV sells, it probably will have little or no impact on getting a live-action movie made any faster.

* - The idea of a Wonder Woman animated series for TV has been bandied around, but Timm said that a really nasty part of the business is that much of the decisions are made based on merchandising and ancillary sales, and boys aren't going to buy Wonder Woman toys. While it's true that "girls can buy Wonder Woman toys" (and Jelenic joked that "older boys can buy Wonder Woman toys" to which Timm added "40-year old men can buy Wonder Woman toys"), Timm brought up the "ultra-girly" Wonder Woman series that was in production at one point, saying, "I don't think it would have made anybody happy."

* - Did we mention that the DVD and Blu-rays are being released in March 3, 2009? Gregory Noveck is a little worried that people might not know that.

* - One audience member thanked the panelists for not shying away from the S&M aspects of Wonder Woman. I'm not quite sure what movie he was watching, but whatever.

* - There won't be deleted scenes on the DVD, since none of the cut stuff was worth seeing. Timm said that the crew had talked about explaining the Invisible Jet, but they all ultimately said, "Ah, forget it. Who cares? It's the Invisible Jet. Deal with it." (click to listen)

* - The movie is much more adult than earlier animated projects, with the questioner saying, "I don't think I saw as many decapitations in the entire series run of Justice League," and adding that the humor had a decidedly more adult cast. Timm jokingly asked, "So what's your point?" before Noveck added that all the movies are PG-13, so they can go further than they can on TV. Montgomery expanded on the point, saying that she was frustrated at storyboarding many swordfights in earlier shows where she couldn't cut anyone, so Wonder Woman was rather liberating in that regard.

* - Jelenic also said that this was a very pro-decapitation production.

* - Expanding on that point, Timm noted that the first cut of the movie was so bloody and gory that it got an R-rating, and "there's maybe a slim posibility that they'll release an unrated version some time in the future," but the first cut was "crazy bloody." (Click to listen to Timm describing why one particularly violent scene was cut.) Timm does like the PG-13 cut better, although the audience still wanted the big blood-and-guts version.

* - A woman in a Wonder Woman costume (left) asked about getting Lynda Carter involved in Wonder Woman movies, live-action and animated. Timm revealed that they did try to get Lynda Carter to play Hera in their movie, because, "it would be cool that every time Wonder Woman swore by Hera, she was actually swearing by Lynda Carter," but the scheduling just didn't work out (click to listen). Jelenic also wanted to end the movie with "a heavy metal version of the TV Wonder Woman theme," but the composer Christopher Drake couldnItalic't wrap his brain around that one because all the other music for the movie was so operatic.

* - The panelists all agreed that it was a lot of fun to watch the movie with a large audience, but Timm said that he thinks that the movie works best on TV screens, saying that all the movies weren't quite theatrical enough to work in movie theaters. He added that even when he saw Batman: Mask of the Phantasm in movie theaters, he said, "It looks like a TV show on a movie screen." However, Noveck said, "It's a testament to how good this movie is that Bruce produced it and doesn't hate it." (click to listen)

* - Responding to a question about the 70-75 minute run times of the DTVs, Timm said that this was the first movie they've done where he felt that it was the right length.

* - Timm doesn't think that he'll be doing any comic book work in the near future, and gave a "maybe" to doing comic book work in the farther future.

* - Noveck said that the movies are aimed at the core fanbase, but they are hoping that it will reach beyond that audience, especially since he thinks the movie delves into the male-female relationships intelligently, concluding with, "If we screw up the marketing, feel free to help." (click to listen)

* - When an audience member asked about the hand-made quality of optically processed animation (as opposed to all modern animation, which is composited on computers instead of on film), Timm stated that nobody shoots animation on film any more, if only for the cost reasons, and that nobody can do it now even if they wanted to. He also added that there were so many things that can be done for so much less money using digital effects that it gives the movies so much more production value for the budget.

* - The obvious choice for doing a Marvel superheroes project would be "Squadron Supreme," but Timm said that he'd probably pick "something weird, like Luke Cage: Hero for Hire," with Noveck suggesting Dazzler.

* - It is definitely tempting to reuse the more familiar character designs than constantly re-inventing the same characters differently in each DTV, especially because each movie would be a lot of work even without trying to avoid repeating themselves stylistically. The same problem occurs in casting, with Timm joking, "Who hasn't played Batman at this point?" However, Timm said that they do like the challenge of finding new things to do with the characters, and that they always try to avoid repeating themselves from the writing and storytelling, which is getting harder because of the number of hours they've racked up at this point.

* - Timm said, "We try not to do conscious homages to themselves," and if you see a scene in Wonder Woman that's similar to something that was done in Justice League, it was not intentional.

* - The DVD is coming out on March 3, 2009, and as a super special bonus, the Blu-ray disc is coming out on the same day.

* - Jelenic gratefully acknowledged the contributions of comic book scribe Gail Simone in creating the many well-defined supporting characters in her story work for the Wonder Woman movie, saying "she really set the voice for quite a few characters," naming Hippolyta and Artemis specfically, so he didn't find he had to add or embellish much in his final version.

* - Jelenic said that Gail Simone probably got a lot of the story cues from the George Perez relaunch of the Wonder Woman comic book in the 1980's, but Timm credited the visual style to Montgomery. The movie doesn't look much like Perez's artwork because she said that, "When I try to draw like someone else, it doesn't look as good, so I just try to draw the best way I can," and "that's ultimately where the style came from." However, she said that if they get an opportunity to do another Wonder Woman movie, there are lots of artistic styles they could explore.

* - The element of the Wonder Woman mythos that Jelenic was happy Timm talked him into including was the Contest scene, since Jelenic originally felt that the time would have been spent better doing something else. Timm added that "I already got raked over the coals once for not doing the Contest in Justice League, so I knew damn well I was going to do it in this movie." Jelenic did miss a throwaway scene in a strip joint in the middle of a big fight scene, which is in the novelization but which was cut from the movie.

* - Timm did say that when he said in an interview with Comic Book Resources (probably this one) that he'd like to do projects with characters like the Question, it was just an answer off the top of his head and that he didn't think anybody would pay to see a Question movie.

The following answers from the Q&A section contain some spoilers for the movie, so if you don't want to know, then bookmark us and come back after March 3, 2009 (when the DVD and Blu-ray discs come out, donchaknow?) after you and all your friends buy the movie.

Spoilers below:

* - The final scenes were set in Washington, DC (left), because of the Greco-Roman inspired architecture of the many buildings in the area, not out of any stronger sense of patriotism or symbolism. The panelists also joked about the blatant geographic impossibilities in the climactic scenes.

* - When asked about the phallic symbolism of the Washington Monument and the "breast-like" symbolism of the Capitol dome, Jelenic revealed the screenplay did say, "the Washington Monument in all its phallic glory," but that there really wasn't any other symbolism meant in the scene. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

* - Jelenic claimed that the cameo appearance of the Cheetah at the end of the movie was mostly an accident, which Timm didn't believe.

* - The reason why Wonder Woman is fighting Deimos barefooted, as seen in the screenshot to the left, was that she was dressed in civilian clothing earlier in the movie, and the first thing she did in the fight was kick off her high heels. Montgomery said she didn't want Wonder Woman to fight in heels. There was even a scene in the script that was cut for time where Wonder Woman comments on the impracticality of heels, but Montgomery knew right up front that as soon as she went into battle, "those heels were going to come off."

* - Hades' huge, bloated character design came about because Montgomery wanted all the gods to look different. Hades is so corpulent because he's the polar opposite of Ares, since all he has to do was sit in the underworld and rule over the dead, making his slaves bring him all his food. Timm added that they wanted to get farther away from the Disney Hades or the Hades in Justice League, with Montgomery adding that they really tried to avoid all other depictions of Hades to make one of their own.

(Thanks Toon Zone)

Cartoon Network picks up Star Wars: The Clone Wars for year two

Cartoon Network announced today that it has picked up a second season of its hit computer-animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars from creator George Lucas and Lucasfilm Animation.

The second season is slated to premiere in the fall. The season-one finale of Star Wars: The Clone Wars airs on Cartoon Network on Friday, March 20, at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

The Oct. 3, 2008, premiere of Clone Wars scored as the most-watched series debut in Cartoon Network history, according to Nielsen Media Research. Since its premiere, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which airs Fridays at 9 p.m., has ranked number one in its time period on all television—broadcast and ad-supported cable, with boys 2-11, boys 6-11 and tween boys 9-14 through January.

The coolest $2,000 human-to-jet transforming toy that isn't a Transformer

Don't call this a Transformer!

A sculptor with the handle "Reaver" is selling a metal artwork/"artistic toy" that turns from a humanoid into a jet on the Etsy site for $2,000.

Here's how he describes it: "This is a toy that I have created inspired from the many cartoons and movies that I watched when I was a child. It transforms from a humanoid to a jet. In the robot humanoid form, it stands approximately 17 inches tall. It is fully posable and stands up on its own." (Another image below).

The pictures are of the original piece, which is currently on display in the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock, Ark. Reaver will take orders for the sculpture, which will then be built to order and consecutively numbered and delivered to you in a few weeks. You can even name it if you like: something like, say, Mega-Tom or Artemus Prime or something.

Another Afternoon of Remembrance

Over a hundred people showed up for our annual Afternoon of Remembrance at the Lasky-DeMille Barn on Saturday.

Tom Sito (left), our President Emeritus, hosted the festivities, as he has for the last fourteen years.

Memorial committee member Martha Sigall (left) honored the late Gus Arriola (below), who worked as a story sketch artist for Mintz and MGM but is best remembered for the Gordo comic strip.

The latest Afternoon of Remembrance had a large turnout ... but then we were eulogizing fifty-four individuals from all parts of the cartoon industry ... and the rain was kind enough to stop during the time we honored them.

(I've been attending these Remembrances since the beginning, and what always impresses me is the humanity that shines through as friends get up to tell stories about those who've departed. Added to which, a lot of great industry history gets shared ... -- Steve Hulett)

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

Nickelodeon Writing Fellowship 2009 Call for Applications

Writing Fellowship for Nickelodeon

Want to work for Nickelodeon? Here's your chance.

For a submission period ending February 28th, 2009, Nickelodeon Animation Studios is accepting applications for its annual Writing Fellowship. Offering budding writers, animations, producers, and fans in-the-know the opportunity to work full-time with executive producers in charge of on-air production, the Nickelodeon Writing Fellowship is designed to pull in and develop staff writers for current and future television productions (live-action and animated). Having officially kicked off at the beginning of the calendar year, submissions are surely well underway.

The Fellowship itself promises to operate on a three-phase structure, integrating the selected applicants into any and all stages of development and production for a particular program. This means that if an application is accepted for the Fellowship, an individual will actively participate in script writing, storyboard itches, table readings, show tapings, and much more. More than just a "fan experience," the Writing Fellowship hopes to cultivate future contributors to the world of children's entertainment.

According to Nickelodeon, the Fellowship is a salaried position that may stretch up to one year. Fellows will have the opportunity to "nurture relationships with creators, network executives, line producers, head writers, showrunners and story editors" during their short tenure. In other words, successful applicants will be doing more than scrapping together random projects and they will be doing more than standing by and watching production from the sidelines: fellows will have the opportunity to work with program creators and production crews, planning and pitching as a professional.

With no application fee and the only components necessary for submission being a spec script, program plan of offering (Schedule A), and the typical resume/biography, prospective writers and animators from across the United States are encouraged to throw their talent into the mix. The complete list of submission guidelines and program requirements are available at www.NickWriting.com. Applicants must be 18 years of age. Spec scripts only apply to current, in-production series' that are on-air for a primetime or cable network (the length for a half-hour comedy averages 35 pages), samples will not be provided. Additionally,

The Nickelodeon Writing Fellowship concludes its application submission process at the end of the month, winners will be selected in August 2009, with the official move-in date scheduled for October 2009. Fellows will relocate to the L.A.-area, as the Fellowship is based out of Nickelodeon Animation Studio in Burbank, California. The application is available online, for browser convenience. Professional writing experience is not mandatory, but certainly preferred; drawing experience is not particularly essential; as this is not an animation fellowship per se, but a writing fellowship.


For those seeking more Final Fantasy goodness, your in luck because a trailer for the complete edition of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children has been posted at the official site in glorious Hi-Def. The complete edition will contain 30 minutes of additional footage which you can get a preview in the trailer and it looks like the animators from Square Enix has incorporated some new scenes including a flashback from Last Order: Final Fantasy VII (OVA prequel to Advent Children) for more backstory and to flesh out the characters.

No word yet on a US distribution but if your a hardcore Final Fantasy fan, you can import the Blu-ray from Japan when it ships on April 16th. Check out the trailer below.

(Thanks Twitch)

First Trailer For Square Enix’s FINAL FANTASY XIII!

Now, I’m not going to lie to you. I’m not much of a gamer. I used to play a fair bit but haven’t had the time to keep up with things since my college days and even at my peak ... well, let’s just say that I was the kid with an Intellivision deck when everybody else was going Atari. And, honestly, I’ve not played a single one of the Square Enix Final Fantasy titles so I’m not going to try and bluff my way through storyline or game interface or anything like that. But what I will say is this: the work Square Enix has put into their games has put conventional animation houses to shames for years now and that trend doesn’t look to be ending any time soon.

The thirteenth entry in the hugely popular Final Fantasy series is coming and the first trailer has just arrived. In a word, stunning. And it looks rather like they’ve held on to some of the designs from the Animatrix short they did. Pretty, pretty, pretty. Check it out below.

(Thanks Twitch)

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