Tuesday, April 14, 2009

News - 04/14/09...

Tiger Woods Get Animated For Gatorade

Gatorade’s agency TBWA\Chiat\Day recently dragged Tiger into the animated woods. In this animated spot below, titled The Woods of Wisdom, golf god Tiger Woods is animated Disney-style to promote the Tiger brand of Gatorade. The series of spots (there’s 3) was directed by Rune Bennicke and Jean Perramon at Pepper Films. You may recognize Samuel L. Jackson’s voice - he plays the bear.

Toon Site MyToons Logs Off

The animation website MyToons.com has closed down.

According to reports on a number of web sties, sent out emails to its store sellers informing them of the shut down, and the main page of the site includes a simple message that states: “MyToons has closed. Thank you for all your support.”

The company reportedly had laid off between 20 and 27 staffers in January.

The site was founded by Paul Ford, Stacey Ford and Dan Kraus and went live just over two years ago.

Creative Talent Network to hold first-ever Animation Expo this November

Jim Hill profiles Tina Price, the 30-year animation industry vet who founded CTN back in 2003 as well as talking up their 2½ day event. Which will be held this Fall in Burbank

Hey all you “Little Mermaid” fans out there. Be sure and keep Thursday, May 21st open.

Why For? Because ASIFA-Hollywood will be staging a “Little Mermaid” 20th reunion event at Woodbury College that evening. And among the animation luminaries who are expected to be on hand that evening will be Ruben Aquino, Andreas Deja, Mark Henn,Gary Trousdale and Tina Price.

What’s that you say? “Who’s Tina Price?” You’re kidding, right?

I mean, how can you not know Tina Price? She’s that 30-year vet of the animation industry who actually began her career out in Don Bluth’s garage, inbetweening and painting cels for “Banjo the Woodpile Cat.”Tina’s also one of the co-founders of the computer animation department of Disney Feature Animation. And did I mention that Ms. Price did visual development on every Disney animated feature from “Hercules” to “Treasure Planet” ?

But all of that pales in comparison to what Tina did after she left the Mouse House back in 2006. This was back when Disney had decided to get out of the hand-drawn animation business. Ms. Price -– through her sharp business acumen and drive -- created, designed and launched the Creative Talent Network. Which is the online community for experienced animators, illustrators, designers, production artists and other creatives to "stay connected" and market their talents.

Starting with just 4 members, CTN has quickly grown over the past 4 years to the point that it is now home to over 330 artists and animators. Each of which now has an online portfolio and storefront that possible clients and fans can review. More importantly, these animation professionals now have an online resource that allows them to stay connected.

(First row, l to r) Steve Gordon, Doug Krohn, Reuben Aquino, Barry Cook, Tony DeRosa
and (second row, l to r) Dan Hansen, Jay Jackson, Mark Henn, Tina Price and
Phil Nibblelink at a 1986 computer graphics workshop for WDFA employees

Mind you, not everyone can join the Creative Talent Network. Truth be told, CTN is an exclusive network of top animation industry talent. To meet its admission criteria, you must first have three feature film credits OR your work published 3 times in book form OR be a full-time teacher in the animation or art related field and it is an honor to be accepted.

But – that said – Tina is also determined to be inclusive. To make industry outreach a crucial part of Creative Talent Network’s mission. Which is why CTN will be staging its first-ever CTN Animation Expo (CTN-X) November 20th – 22nd.

This 3 day-long event – which will be held at Burbank’s Marriott Hotel & Convention Center – during which Burbank will declare to be officially "animation week," CTN-X will be something that both animation students & professionals just can not miss out on. A weekend of inspiration and opportunities with round table discussions, business symposiums, guest speakers as well as major studios right on site recruiting talent for upcoming projects. Not to mention hundreds of networking opportunities with some of the best talent in the business.

Trust me, folks. Tina’s a legend in this industry. She’s got some great stories to tell (which is one of the main reasons that you should definitely attend next month’s “Little Mermaid” reunion events at Woodbury College). More to the point, Ms. Price is the powerhouse behind CTN. An organization that’s really made a difference in a lot of artists’ lives over the past five years.

So if you’re an industry vet or someone who’s just getting started in animation, you’re really going to want to be in Burbank this coming November. When top professionals from both the traditional and digital animation world will come together for the first-ever CTN Animation Expo.

Going Hollywood

The Japanese images for the live action Blood: the Last Vampire


Five Films That Prove Anime & Manga Shouldn’t Be Adapted

The Anime Business

The Anime Blog collects the s_ storm of bad news here

Japanese Prime Minister, and reputed manga fan Taro Aso recently commented than a plan for economic growth includes 500,000 coming from the country's so-called "soft power" in anime, manga, and "cool Japan" culture exports. As noted that there is a potential for 20 to 30 trillion yen (US$200-300 billion) in exports.

The Guardian quotes Aso

"Japanese content, such as anime and video games, and fashion draw attention from consumers around the world," the prime minister, Taro Aso - a self-confessed manga addict - told reporters this week as he waved copies of magazines from China and Taiwan featuring Japanese pop stars on their covers.

"Unfortunately, this soft power is not being linked to business overseas. By linking the popularity of Japan's soft power to business, I want to create a 20-30 trillion-yen market by 2020 and create 500,000 new jobs.

The Agency for Cultural Affairs is organizing an over 11 billion yen project to build a "shrine" to anime and manga. The government plans to collaborate with regional museums, galleries and institutions such as the Kyoto International Manga Museum and the NTT InterCommunication Centre in Tokyo in the establishment of the new centre. The project is included as part of a new economic package/ Specific locations and time frames have not been announced.


Anime News Network notes a Shuho Sata (Say Hello to Black Jack) blog post in which the creator outlined his production expenses and income.

By producing 450 pages a year, he receives about 16 million yen a year (about US$160,000) for the magazine publication of his current work, Say Hello to Black Jack. However, it costs 18 million yen (US$180,000) a year to run his current staff of six.

Sato makes up the difference in the compiled volumes, for which he is paid 10% of the retail price (580 yen/US$5.80). The fifth and latest volume of New
Say Hello to Black Jack sold 98,579 copies in its first two weeks. Sato reports that there are manga artists working in shojo magazines who earn only 8% or 9% royalty on their compiled volumes.

During his earlier Umizaru run, Sato estimates that he lost 200,000 yen (US$2,000) a month before he received royalties:

Manuscript payment rate: 10,000 yen (US$100) per page
Monthly output: 80 pages for 800,000 yen (US$8,000)
(20 pages for each weekly installment)
Monthly income tax: 80,000 yen (US$800)
Monthly personnel expenses for 3-person staff: 470,000 yen (US$4,700)
Monthly food expenses for staff: 100,000 yen (US$1,000)
Monthly paint and material expenses: 100,000 yen (US$1,000)
Monthly studio rent: 70,000 yen (US$700)
Monthly fuel and other expenses: 50,000 yen (US$500)
Monthly loss after additional living expenses: -200,000 yen (-$2,000)

Sato earned 25,000 yen (US$250) per page on The Isle of TOKKOU, while he now earns 35,000 yen (US$350) per page on
Say Hello to Black Jack. Thus, he earns 150,000 yen (US$1,500) before taxes to produce each monthly magazine installment of Say Hello to Black Jack. Each of his assistants earns 3,000,000 yen (US$30,000) a year, which he acknowledges is lower than the average salary of a salaryman (company employee) in his or her 20s.

Apparently, Wizard CEO Gareb Shamus has acquired Big Apple Con. ICV2 was told that Shamus will own Big Apple, and that Wizard Entertainment will run it.

On the other hand, Wizard has had more layoffs, including site news editor Brett White. CFO Ed DuPré is said to not longer been with the company.

Worth Checking Out...

Noah Berlatsky compares imagery from All Star Superman to Dokebi Bride
Also, some thoughts on how Superman may fit into the question of whether anime design looks Caucasian

Deb Aoki on Astro Boy's the World's Strong Robot and the mature retelling Pluto

If you haven't followed it, the reaction to the subtitles presented on the DVD of Let the Right One In, might be of interest to anime fans.


Conversations on Ghibli has had tons of great stuff lately, including
Ponyo - French Trailer

Miyazaki Meets Moebius

Portable Airport

Photos of Tezuka Osamu World Kyoto

Astro Boy has activated on April 7th, 2003, here's some cake

The Ghibli Museum, Mitaka

Also, DC superheroes from various animated incarnations employed in new Warner Bros. mural

Other bad stuff...
A woman has been arrested for sending threatening e-mails to One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda

New Terminator Salvation concept art is live


The Sarah Connor Society Web site has posted several new concept art drawings of machines from McG's upcoming Terminator Salvation. See more after the jump.


Terminator Salvation opens May 21.

BAAAD Influences

Here's the kind of report that always makes me tingle.

Classic Disney cartoon films are giving children the wrong message about how to deal with "stranger danger", psychologists have warned.

... [Psychologists] studied 47 animated feature length Disney films, released between 1937 and 2006. In ten of them, they found examples of
"unwanted personal contact" or scenes which show child characters in "risky situations".

In their analysis, six films –
Robin Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, The Sword in the Stone, and A Goofy Movie – depict children and adolescent characters experiencing unwanted personal contact.

A further four films –
Snow White, Pinocchio, Alice in Wonderland and The Jungle Book – were found to show childlike characters in "risky situations" where strangers approach them with "hidden malevolence" and promise rewards in exchange for their compliance.

The films were reviewed several times, often using the pause and slow motion features to fully capture the content. Child characters could be human, fantastic or an anthropomorphised animal ...

Dr Wendy Hovdestad, the lead author, said: "
The depictions of child and adolescent characters being grabbed and kissed against their will by adult characters is particularly problematic for the boy characters Wart (The Sword in the Stone), Flounder (The Little Mermaid), and Skippy (Robin Hood), because the context in the film is humorous.

"The treatment would probably be upsetting if it happened to a real child, and treating it as humorous is directly contradicting sexual safety education that teaches children that they get to decide who touches their bodies."

I'm not one of the folks who pooh-poohs the influence of films, television shows, and video games on impressionable young minds.

But I am one of the people who believes that most under-age homo sapiens survive and live to tell the tale. Many even go on to prosper.

A bit of history: There were like, no animation story departments, zero, that had psychiatrists on call when those departments were cobbling screen stories together before and long after World War II. 'Toon story departments were mostly filled with male artists who smoked and drank too much, and beat their heads against storyboards trying to come up with The Funny any damn way they freaking could.

Nobody had heard about psychological correctness, political correctness or any of the other correctnesses. It just didn't cross their minds.

And I've got horrific news: Pinocchio has a poop-load of inappropriate story points happen to him in the course of his feature film. So do a lot of other fictional cartoon characters in other films. (So do a lot of fictional live-action characters. Look at the controversy surrounding Observe and Report.)

Face it. There are plenty of features, both old and new, that send negative messages and make you cringe. (Birth of a Nation and chunks of Gone with the Wind make me climb walls to this day.) But let's get our heads screwed on tight. No parent can protect her or his kids from every bad influence. Little Dora and Johnny will be hearing multiple f-bombs explode on the school playground; they will use cell phones too much and risk brain cancer; they will eat fatty foods and not wear sufficient sunscreen. They will cross Main Street without looking ... and a chosen few, sadly, will get greased by a fast-moving car.

And some will view old, unenlightened animated cartoons and be psychologically warped with the wrong message for hours, weeks, and months ... sometimes years.

But the good news is, even with all the hazards, all the nasty media influences, most parents will raise and mold their kids well enough so that most will reach the same functional adulthood as billions of kids before them.

Some will even become cartoonists dreaming up inappropriate gags and character interactions. Despite all those horrid Disney movies.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

The Silicon Monster Hits Town for boolab

Which one of these doesn’t exist? a) A fake trailer festival, b) a Barcelona-based animation studio and c) a giant, gooey monster hell-bent on giving women boob jobs. The answer is C - but it actually does exist, so long as you can click the “play” button below. This fake trailer, titled The Silicon Monster Hits Town, was created by Nico Casavecchia at Barcelona’s boolab for Teaserland:

The Silicone Monster Hits Town
by Killstain


Stephanie Yuhas of Project Twenty1 brings her open screening night to New York City!! She would absolutely love to have more animators screen their shorts!

“Animations and music videos seem to play particularly well to this type of crowd since it’s more like a “stand up, admire, and talk about what’s on the screen” event than “sit and passively watch”. It gets loud and crazy, just like most of the animators I know” - Stephanie

Sponsored by FirstGlance Film Festivals & Project Twenty1
Hosted by Village Pourhouse & Scene PR

Show off your short film (and short pants!) at this FREE open mic-style screening event, followed by a networking mixer filled with filmmakers, animators, musicians, talent & industry professionals.

Bring your films, animations, music videos, and trailers (under 10 minutes) on DVD to receive a potential screening. Audience members will randomly select films from the pile throughout the evening. Top short film of the night will win over $200 worth of prizes! The most hilarious short pants of the night will also win something special!

Thursday, May 14th
The Village Pour House
64 Third Ave (corner of 11th St)
New York, NY 10003
6 pm - 10 pm


RSVP: www.tinyurl.com/suysnyc


NOTE: Please check to make sure your disk works before you come! We are not responsible for glitchy disks, but we’ll do the best we can to give you an awesome screening! Viewer discretion advised for potential R-Rated content.

Eat, Drink & Be INDIE!

(Thanks asifaeast)

Hasbro Licenses Transformers, Joe DVDs to Shout! Factory

Toymaker Hasbro is bringing the classic animated versions of such popular properties as The Transformers, G.I. Joe and My Little Pony to DVD through a new deal with Shout! Factory.

Under the agreement, Shout! Factory will be the exclusive North American home entertainment distributor for the shows.

The company plans an aggressive rollout later this year of these animated favorites, two of which — Transformers and G.I. Joe — have live-action feature films due out this summer.

The first release under the deal is set to be The Transformers: The Complete First Season – 25th Anniversary Edition, set for release on June 16. The set will include all 16 episodes from the first season, fully re-mastered on three DVDs for a retail price of $29.99.

Watchmen scribe taking on Battling Boy

Watchmen co-writer Alex Tse will take on as his next project another graphic novel adaptation — the forthcoming Battling Boy by Eisner Award winner Paul Pope.

The rights to the book, due out this spring from First Second Books, were picked up by Brad Pitt’s Plan B production company, which is based at Paramount, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Battling Boy is not the only graphic novel in the works at Plan B. Also in development are Charles Burns’ Black Hole and the Euro thriller The Killer.

Streaming Sites Pick Up Uncut, Dubbed Naruto

Naruto is coming to Joost.com and Hulu.com.

VIZ Media has announced that uncut, English-dubbed episodes of the popular series will be available for free streaming starting April 15.

The initiative will debut with the first five episodes of the series, with a new episode being made available each Wednesday thereafter. Each episode will be available on the site for about five weeks before rotating off to make room for new episodes.

The deal is the latest in VIZ’s efforts to get the popular anime series, created by Masashi Kishimoto, on the web where fans can legally watch, share and embed full episodes or clips of Naruto.

Castro to Screen Fleischer’s Gulliver April 21

You can’t keep those Lilliputians down.

Just released on DVD and Blu-ray, fans of the classic Max Fleischer animated film Gulliver’s Travels will have a chance to see it on the big screen on April 21 at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco.

The film, originally released in 1939, will be presented in its original three-strip Technicolor Print. The film will be shown with a trio of cartoon shorts from the same era:
Betty Boop In Blunderland (1933), Superman's Mechanical Monsters (1941), and Popeye Meets Ali Baba & His Forty Thieves

The film will have three showings on April 21, at 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets cost $5. The Castro Theatre is at 429 Castro St. in San Francisco. For more information, visit www.thecastrotheatre.com.

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