Thursday, June 30, 2011

Random Thoughts On Art And Commerce #1

As long as animation is treated purely as a manufactured product, the art of animation will never develop past what it has been in the past.

However, I recognize the need to make money with the sale of an animated project. Budgets are always a problem, but for the most part, the money is usually spent in the wrong areas. To me, the most important areas are story, design, and the planning of key animation scenes.

There is never a reason to pay outlandish salaries for "famous" voices. The voices of famous actors don't carry an animated film, which should be unfolding its story pictorially. Actors with solid deliveries will do perfectly well.

I'm not against voices with unique qualities...I'm against paying 30% of the film's budget to hire that voice.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011


As an animator trying to create a character, the crucial thing for me to understand isn’t just WHAT a character physically does. The crucial thing for me is WHY that character acts the way it does.

This encompasses all aspects of the character’s psychological and physical makeup. For me to convincingly draw a character, I have to animate that character from the inside…not manipulate him/her from the outside.

As a writer, I approach a story the same way. Before I can begin telling my story, I have to know what events in the characters’ lives led up to that very moment at which I choose to start my tale. What are they looking for? Why are they looking to accomplish their particular goal? How are these characters’ goals at crossed purposes to each other? That is the conflict that I want to understand before I go down the story road, following the characters as they battle each other.

(Note: I am not satisfied with simplistic “good guys” against “bad guys” plots. Protagonists are not all good, and antagonists are not all bad. They all have shades of gray in their personalities that if developed properly will make them richer characters that will be more relatable and entertaining to the audience.)

Once I understand those things, then I can start experimenting as to how the characters’ physical appearances can represent who they emotionally are. How can the design of one character play against the other to create tension on the screen?

Conflict/tension and resolution are the essence of a good story. And a good story can be shown in the characters’ actions with a minimum of dialog. Showing, not telling, is the best way to entertain an audience.

As a decorative element for this posting, here is a rough of Boba Fett from the Star Wars Holiday Special (1978).

                                                                                                                                 Rough Drawing: John Celestri

Monday, June 27, 2011

My Early Years at Nelvana Studios in Toronto (1977 to 1983)

Above is a Rock & Rule clip on Youtube that contains both my Quadhole (at 1:20) and Cindy (at 6:20) sequences.

It scares me that this stuff was done 30 years ago!
Also posted above is a second Rock & Rule clip that includes Cindy at the infamous Club 666/Earth, Wind, and Fire sequence. It starts at 4:30.
(Please excuse my editing of posts...I'm just learning how to work this Blog.)
Here's a Quadhole cel that I found posted on the internet. Amazingly enough, I had autographed it 30 years ago for one of the film's painters, who had painted this cel.

My First Blog

I don't know how often I will post a new item or how long I will maintain this blog, but here I go.

This will be short entry:
I really enjoy animating...I enjoy the feeling of a good pencil gliding across the surface of a quality piece of paper. I enjoy the ability to become anyone or anything I can imagine, through the power of a solid line flowing out of my pencil.