Friday, July 27, 2007

Finland Podcast

Recently an animator from Finland, Juha Niemi, interviewed me for his filmmaking podcast.

You can find the KinoSilmä podcast from iTunes store or from the

Here is also a direct link for the file:

Starts with an introduction in Finnish, then moves on to the interview. Sorry I'm so frickin' long-winded.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Another Mystery to Solve...

I'm all YouTube-happy these days, trying to find obscure puppet animation goodies and compile research. Here's another commercial with some great animation, but not sure who created it. This is all like detective work!

The original poster of this clip says the puppets are from 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' which is very strange. They look nothing like those characters...I mean, I know Rudolph drank lots of beer, what with the red nose and all, but I see no basis for comparison otherwise.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Work as a Gift

This morning I saw my friend Walt on the bus going to work and had a great little chat. For anyone reading this who doesn't know Walt, a diving accident at age 17 left him paralyzed from the neck down, so he gets around in a state-of-the-art tube-powered wheelchair, and he and his wife Wendy have two adopted children from China. They are a wonderful family with great strength and faith, and they're very inspiring people.

Today Walt said something which didn't really resonate with me until I got off the bus at the end of the day coming home...just sort of hit me. I had asked him how work was going (which is something guys always ask each other for some reason), and he admitted there were some awkward changes going on with social workers and the government, etc....but he topped it off with "that job's been a gift for 20 years." Now I've had moments when my job at the school seems unfulfilling and thought to myself how I wish I could do something full-time that would help me grow more as an artist and use my talents more, like working in animation or as a full-time writer, or something. But wise sages like my wife and pastor have often helped me to remember to appreciate the opportunities that my job does give me, and rightly so. But this time, just the way Walt worded it, about a job as a "gift" just resonated with me in a different key. Before too long it will be 10 years of my life I've spent at VanArts, and by staying there, I've been able to travel, meet famous animators & historians who I admire, get married and start a family, and still make films, write books, and animate by freelance on occasion! So it's a pretty good trade-off for some of the stress I've had to deal with at work at times. Like any gift worth having, you take the good with the bad, and things always change and grow into different opportunities worth waiting for. I may not always feel that way, because feelings change depending on how you roll out of bed. But these feelings of gratitude always tend to blossom after those periods of's the way of the world.

So I leave you with that little morsel of soul munchies, in whatever you do as your daily grind, try thinking of it as a gift and see how it changes your perspective.

Spring Fever!

In the animation history book Animation Art edited by Jerry Beck, there's a Jam Handy short mentioned called 'A Case of Spring Fever' which always intrigued me. From the stills in the book I thought it might be a live-action/stop-motion short, but I found out it's actually 2D animation.

Recently found it, but it's more entertaining with the MST3k guys watching along.

My Past Pseudo-Self in the Future which is Now Past

Jay found this video on YouTube and was telling me I had to see it, because it reminded her of the videos I used to make in my younger days. She's right...this kid is very much like I was at that age. Maybe he's an animator now? This was made by someone who was 12-years-old in 1991. It's a bit long but funny, and with Weird Al and Michael Meyers together, you can't go wrong can you? It's exactly the kind of demented music-video stuff I used to do with my brothers & friends back in the late 80s/early 90s.

Sit back and enjoy if you dare...and if you're checking in on my brain let me know.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Killer Tomatoes Preston Blair Swipe

A "Preston Blair Swipe" is when somebody rips off a drawing from the Animator's Old Testament, the 'Cartoon Animation' book, and usually uses it for an advertisement or window display, or something. In this case, we have an entire sequence of drawings used as uncanny "reference" for whoever animated the 'Attack of the Killer Tomatoes' TV cartoon. Jay had this on a VHS tape from her youth, and I spotted it a few years's taken me awhile to get around to posting it, but I was inspired by the ultimate PB Swipe that Steve found in Michigan.

Ripping off these poses almost injects a little bit of decent animation into this, but not quite. It's pretty painful regardless.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Cute 1950s Stop-Motion Short

While browsing YouTube on my lunchbreak I found this delightful stop-motion short from the 1950s, which apparently was an annual TV favorite in Chicago! If anyone knows who animated this, please let me know!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Last Friday...the 13th

By the way, last friday was the 13th so as tradition would have it, I hosted a random screening of rare strange animation for the students. Here's what I showed:

-Don Hertzfeldt's Animation Show opening
-Mighty Mr. Titan (from Jerry Beck's Worst Cartoons Ever)
-Film!Film!Film! (Russian short by Fyodor Khitruk I found on DVD at a dollar store)
-Now You Tell One by Charley Bowers
-Don Hertzfeldt's Intermission in the Third Dimension
-Flebus by Ernie Pintoff
-The Peanut Vendor
-The scary Jolly Green Giant Commercial
-Fumi & the Bad Luck Foot
-Don Hertzfeldt's Animation Show Closing

A good time was had by all.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Awesome Film!!!

One of the 2D animation students (Thanks Marcus!) at the school just showed me this film today during my stop-motion class. It's one of the most beautiful films I've ever seen...the posing, the clay! And a wonderful message...appears to be that the world of diversity in color invades the 'set-in-their-ways' Pharisse-like "whiteys" in order to create a beautiful cake! Hmmm...rather spiritual?

Looks like they might have done some replacement animation using 2D reference and sculpted 'Puppetoon'-ish puppets for each frame. It's very much along the lines of a film idea I have kickin' around in my head for a future film project.

I don't hesitate to say that this film might have just changed my life.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Face of Evil

I'm very disturbed to say that the Peanut Vendor has just been demoted from the title of 'Creepiest Puppet Film Ever Made.'

I didn't think it was possible. This is far worse.

Don't watch this.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Hollywood Jesus Ratatouille Review

At long last, I've contributed my latest review for Hollywood Jesus with my reflections on the spiritual lessons of Ratatouille.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Happy Canada Day Weekend!

Yes it was, so why not take a picture? It'll last longer...