Posted on | November 16, 2011 | Comments Off
I’ve just picked up a freelance job doing animation and illustration for Global Health Media, an organization founded with the specific mandate of providing effective instructions on how to provide practical medical care for emergency and preventative issues. This is targeting areas of the world where professional medical care is not practically available or almost non-existent. The founder, Deborah van Dyke, is coming from Doctors Without Borders, and her experience has led her to understand that there is a deep lack of standardized and visual educating material to assist midwives, nurses, and even doctors.
My role at this time is to work on a series that will be supporting the care of newborns, particularly in emergency situations.
As far as “something good,” I do believe it is so. And that makes me happy to participate. This is one way that freelance work actually appeals to me, and that is when it has a way to improve the daily existence of other creatures on this planet.
Posted on | September 21, 2011 | Comments Off
My friend Karen Aqua, an animation filmmaker, contributed a tremendous amount of passion to the world, reaching far outward from her little home in Cambridgeport, MA. Sadly, Karen passed away this year from a long battle with cancer. The ICA in Boston is holding a tribute to this beautiful woman’s life of work, curated by friend Branka Bogdanov of the ICA Boston, and Karen’s husband, musician Ken Fields. Ken, and local animation filmmakers and great friends of Karen’s, Amy Kravitz and Frank Mouris will be hosting the event.
Screening info: ICA Boston, Sunday, September 25 at 3 pm
Karen was heartfelt in her pursuit of how to configure the visions in her head to pastel, cut-outs, paper and paint. Karen’s primary work arose through animation filmmaking. She was an important participant in the independent animation filmmaker community, demonstrating what what could be accomplished if your heart and soul were full of zeal for your own path as an artist. Her visions were laden with abstractions of bodies, akin to petroglyphs calling to the gods. Images of Nature anchored the dancing and playful, as well as the call for action to humans ignorant of their effects upon the Nature that supports them.
Over the years, when she would come to animation events, as she always did, her shock of curly red hair would be in various stages, replete with colorful scarves, and sometimes her eyes would look a bit tired. But she was often out there because she herself had been pushing hard on completing a new film, and was screening it. Twist of Fate was one of the last major works she accomplished, and it’s process was a testament to her pushing her comfort zone. With it, she chose to try and break out of her usual, comfortable approaches. She was also working close to express her experiences with her disease. I’ll miss Karen very much, as I looked up to her as a role model for what it means to live your life as an artist, and her leaving was much too soon for all of us.
I hope that I’ll see you there at the screening.
Posted on | September 19, 2011 | Comments Off
The “Happy & Gay” animation production has been given a wonderful chance to move ahead and pay for some help to get this done!
A truly lovely benefactor has granted H&G with a donation. This is spectacular, as it just kind of came out of the blue… After the news arrived, my head was spinning, pondering the significance. It has moved me deeply, I am so very thankful. I was truly out of funds a while ago, and it’s sooooo very hard to do this project “solo.” Thank you, friend.
This project has definitely taken much, much longer than I ever thought possible. But, I’m still plugging away. I’ve definitely had breaks where I just had to step away from it, but I’ve been committed to getting it done. I think that most festivals/other filmmakers have somewhat written me off and all that, but it’ll arrive and be a surprise. That is the day I look forward to, and the day everyone will hear a sonic cheer.
Posted on | September 19, 2011 | Comments Off
Well, at the end of the summer it was time for everyone to go their separate ways and take a breather before school started up again. I invited my wonderful gang of animation interns to come and share a meal together at my house as a way to celebrate. (The weird legs beneath me are NOT mine, but our “we must be in the middle of everything” dogs, Django and Savannah.)
It was great to have the company during the summer, as well as help getting some work done! Everyone learned enough about the process to be able to help the production effectively. The interns each had some experience with animation, clean-up and ink & paint. All the glorious things that we must do to get a film done during production time.
Thank you to all, Sarah, Ana, Stephanie and Nivedita!
And GREAT NEWS! Sarah and Niv are going to be staying on through the Fall semester, helping out with ink & paint. Hooray!
Posted on | July 26, 2011 | No Comments
The RISD Library has a small exhibition on classical Asian Puppetry. There are some lovely pieces. Full stage performance in the Bunraku tradition (multiple handlers wearing all black are visible, manipulating large puppets) is so enticing to my animator’s and performer’s instincts. It’s a fully transformate fantasy world where magical things happen. My whole entire Inner-Child goes nuts. I often think about starting a puppetry group…
Posted on | July 25, 2011 | No Comments
One of my most favorite animation sequences ever in a Mickey Mouse cartoon is the cakewalk strut that Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow perform in “The Birthday,” from 1931. The cartoon as a whole is not particularly memorable, but this dance sequence is so fantastic! The cartoon was directed by Bert Gillette, and animator Norm Ferguson (Fergy) brought this particular sequence to realization. I love the personality and joyfulness that just exudes from these characters as they strut their stuff. The attitudes and gestures are just so perfect! Supposedly Ferguson was an avid vaudeville fan, and this regularly fueled his approach to acting and gags in animation. I’ve watched it over and over. It takes place near the end, at about 04:20 minutes in to the short. You can find it in DVD form on “Mickey Mouse in Black and White: Volume 1″ or watch it here!
An historical note is that the music is known as the “Darktown Strutter’s Ball,” which was a very popular song performed in the vaudeville circuit. Composer Shelton Brooks was of African America and Native American parents, and his music was popular in the dance halls. Because “Darktown” is so catchy, it even made it into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2006. One explanation for the song’s inspiration is that in the 20′s – 30′s, there was a grand dress ball held for the outcasts of society, particularly for all the ladies that were “of the evening.”
The title of Darktown is pretty direct slang for where the Blacks and “lowlife” lived in the cities. Being that Blacks were anything but appreciated or accepted by the majority White population, White performers would take these songs and perform them in the notorious “black-face” as a way to enjoy the “musicality” of Blacks, without getting to scarily close to them. This was considered much more palatable than having any actual Black person on stage. The cover for the original sheet music says it all, picturing the dandified, caricatured Blacks dancing away.
Oddly enough, my very first listening of this song came from the old tv series, Mary Tyler Moore! I recall that she, Lou and Murray were maybe a bit tipsy, and were linked arm in arm singing this song. It had probably long been disassociated with it’s history due to collective forgetfulness, so I don’t believe that they were thinking of it’s origins when they chose to include it. At any rate, it’s a really catchy tune and I have an old ukulele song sheet of it, which I was trying to learn a bit ago…
Posted on | July 22, 2011 | No Comments
It’s sooooo hot today, but the humidity is worse. Inside, it’s nice and cool! Hooray! This is an example of what my animation process looks like as it begins in Flash. I fade the background (photoshop tiff file) so I can see the line drawings better. Then I animate the keyframes, which are the main poses that define the timing, acting and composition of the shot.
In this particular shot, the main characters are dodging things being thrown at them by the angry congregation. Those objects aren’t animated in this shot yet. Ther will be more characters behind them, like the Bishop and the altar boys.
H&G shot, keyframes animation
Posted on | July 21, 2011 | No Comments
Verrrrry lucky to be in an air-conditioned studio, as today’s heat is rising to 100 F. No lunch outside today.
Posted on | July 20, 2011 | No Comments
Today we’re a gang of 4, with Nivedita, Ana, Stephanie and me. They’re doing “repair work” on some of the shots that were done quite a while ago, improving some of the technique so it matches the quality of the more recent animation. I’m doing some fun key poses of the two main couples dodging the trash that the angry congregation is throwing at them. You don’t see the trash yet except for one stand in piece. The key poses are just to figure out acting, composition, and timing. Later, in-betweens are added in, things are put “on model,” and then cleaned and painted.
Posted on | July 19, 2011 | No Comments
I do use my digital drawing tablet quite a bit. But does anyone know how “Wacom” is pronounced? Is it (WAY-com) or is it (WAH-kum)?? I hope it’s the first…« go back — keep looking »