Thursday, December 30, 2010

Interview with Don Hahn

From The Pixar Podcast:

The new film Waking Sleeping Beauty is an incredible look at the animation dept at Disney from 1984 to 1994. It easily became one of the best films I saw all year, and I strongly recommend it to anyone interested in animation. My guest directed the film, and shared so much in coming on the podcast. Enjoy!


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Interview Tim Walker

TAG continues with their series of interviews with veteran animators and next up is Tim Walker, currently a supervisor and director at Warner Bros.

From the TAG website:
In the course of a career spanning four decades, Tim Walker has worked on more animated features and television shows than anybody in the history of the medium.


Friday, December 24, 2010

A Muppet Family Christmas

I wish all the readers of my blog a Wonderful Christmas Holiday and a Happy New Year!

Enjoy the Muppets :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Interview Dan Haskett

Another TAG interview with an animation veteran - Dan Haskett.

From the TAG Blog:
... My first attempt at animation was on 8x10 sheets of paper folded into 16 squares with 16 little pictures—one was a Christmas story with mice, another was a Looney Tunes-type dog chasing rabbits. The dog was named Spotty and the rabbits were Pierre and Horace Hare ....


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

Interview with Robert Alvarez

Another interview from the TAG Blog - Robert Alvarez.

From the TAG blog:
When it comes to animation, Robert Alvarez has done almost everything. "I've boarded, I've directed, I've designed, I've done backgrounds and I've animated. Everything but loading film." ...


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Jason Schleifer Podcast

From the Speaking of Animation website:
I hope you’re excited, because we are super excited to bring you our Jason Schleifer interview!! 

Jason was very kind to sit down with us and talk about his amazing, and sometimes unbelievable, journey into animation.

From his very beginnings at Wavefront, all the way through The Lord of the Rings, and straight on to being the Head of Animation on DreamWorks Animation’s Megamind; we covered it all. 

Jason was really great to talk to and we had so much fun. Way more fun then should be had in an interview. So thanks again Jason! Enjoy!


Friday, December 10, 2010

Interview Ed Combert

The TAG blog has posted another animation industry interview, this time with Ed Combert, a long time animation story development artist.

From the TAG blog:
Mr. Ed Gombert (seen above) has been one of the power-houses in feature animation story development for a long time ...

With a career start at Disney in the middle 1970s, Ed has worked as an animator, animation supervisor and board artist extraordinaire. 

He served as Aladdin's story director in the early nineties, and fills the same capacity today on DreamWorks Animation's The Croods.


Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Irvin Kershner Passed Away Saturday at Age 87

The director of "Empire Strikes Back", Irvin Kershner sadly passed away at age 87 on Saturday.

From the NY Daily News:
"The world has lost a great director and one of the most genuine people I've had the pleasure of knowing," George Lucas said in a statement. "Irvin Kershner was a true gentleman in every sense of the word.


Here's a tribute to Irvin Kershner from The Nature of Existence:

From the documentary Empire of Dreams:

Here's a couple of interviews with Kershner:

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Interview Steven Spielberg

It's a few years old, but I'm such a huuuge Steven Spielberg fan, so I still think it's coool. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Bruce Smith Interview

The second interview in TAG's series of animation veteran interviews - Bruce Smith.

From the TAG website:
Trained at Cal Arts, director-animator-writer Bruce Smith got his start animating for Bill Melendez Productions on a Garfield television special ...

"I was lucky," Bruce says. "I never spent time doing the in-betweener thing. I went straight to being an animator."

Mr. Smith came into the cartoon business between semesters at Cal Arts, doing what he thought would be a "summer job." He's still working steadily more than a quarter-century later.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Santa's Christmas Parade

Yesterday they closed off the whole central Auckland for the annual Farmers Santa's Christmas Parada.

Since we're living in the middle of the city, the parade literally happened right outside our apartment and already at 8am we woke up when they started playing music and test sound equipment for the parade.

Micha, Kari and I found a really nice spot a couple of hours before the actual parade was going to start - it was a beautiful sunny Sunday, so we didn't mind the wait.

The parade itself felt more like something you would see in Disneyland than Christmas (coming from Europe, we're not used to this kind of Xmas), except all the Christmas tunes they were playing and singing. Still, it was really cool and I actually got a kind of Christmas feeling despite it's the height of the summer. I don't like snow anyway :)

The day was ended by watching Harry Potter at the IMAX.

Can't help falling in love with New Zealand :)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Megamind 3D Featurette

Opens in a couple of weeks here in New Zealand - Can't wait to see it :)

Kung Fu Panda Holiday Special

Top Animation Blogs Award

Online Computer Science Degree has recognized my blog as one of the Top Animation Blog award winners which is an incredible honor.

I really appreciate this and recommend that you check out all the other amazing blogs that has received the same honor!

Update Sept 08 2012: Links removed upon request

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Kind of a Sad Story

I usually stick to posting stuff that inspires me on my blog, but this time I have to share a sad story.

I remember I was surprised by the first lecture at Animation Mentor when they said "Don't Steal Other People Shots and Put them on Your Own Showreel". I was, isn't that obvious? Is it really necessary to even tell us that? Who would be THAT stupid?

Well, recently I found out that a guy I used to work with, and whom I thought was a friend, has stolen a couple of my shots and used them on his own animation showreel. After talking to several of my colleagues, it turns out that there's not only my shots on his reel, but others as well.

I don't get it! He may get a job as an animator by putting other peoples work on his reel, but if he could animate himself, he would obviously have used his own shots - so whats the point?

The real problem with this though, is that if any of us apply at the same places he has applied and they see the same shots on our reels, we may be accused of stealing his shots. Luckily the industry is very small. Everybody knows everybody and news like this is all over the place in no time - which is good.

It just makes me sad that somebody is capable of doing these kind of things. Thank God it's very rare!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Micha Sky Jumped!

My good friend, classmate and colleague Michael Herold, joined the fantastic team of animators at Oktobor Animation Studio last week and one of the first thing he did in New Zealand was to book a jump from Sky Tower.

Sky Tower is the tallest structure on the southern hemisphere at 328 meters and the actual Sky Jump is done from 192 meters above the ground.

This awesome German put all my doubts aside and actually went through with it yesterday.

Despite a lot of strange words not suited for this blog, he got down in one piece and described it as one of the most amazing experiences ever!

Way to go Micha! You Rock!

 (The whole thing was filmed so stay tuned for a YouTube link soon)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Glen Keane Interview on ABC Brisbane Radio

From the ABC Brisbane website:
Glen Keane is a Disney animator whose work includes the Beast from Beauty and the Beast and Ariel from the Little Mermaid.

Some of his works are currently on display at ACMI as part of the Dreams Come True: The Art of Disney's Classic Fairy Tales exhibition. 

(The Glen Keane interview starts at 22:50 on the countdown)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

An Interview with Ruben Aquino

From the TAG website:
We here present our first TAG interview with a leading light of the animation industry, kicking off this new feature via a conversation with one of the pillars of the Walt Disney Animation Studios, supervising director Ruben Aquino ...


Ed Catmull on Teamwork

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

More Oktobor Animation in the News

Here's another news clip from the launch of Oktobor Animation on Friday - from the daily show Campbell Live.

From the 3 News website:
New Zealand's reputation as a major player in the international film and television industry took another leap forward today with the opening of Oktobor Animation. 

The Auckland-based company will make programmes for Nickelodeon, the American-owned kids' television network, who’s Spongebob and Dora the Explorer creations are worth billions of dollars.

The Penguins of Madagascar is another smash hit, and it's this programme that artists at Oktobor Animation are churning out. 


Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Official Opening of Oktobor Animation

Oktobor Animation was officially opened for business yesterday.

We had several visitors coming over from Nickelodeon, the Mayor of Auckland, Len Brown and the Minister of Research, Science and Technology, Wayne Mapp.

It was quite an exciting day, lots of stuff going on all day and in the evening we had an awesome party with some really inspiring speeches, entertaining karaoke and a lot to drink :)

The studio is growing at lightning speed and I have a really good and proud feeling of being a part of something that's gonna be huge. Lovin' every second of it!

News Clip of the Opening of Oktobor Animation - TVNZ
News Article of the opening of Oktobor Animation - TVNZ
Press Release - Oktobor Animation

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Is this Crazy or Supercool?

When we got up this morning, we noticed that some bright sparks had the idea of attaching a car to the side of Sky Tower - the tallest building on the southern hemisphere, as a part of a huge Christmas tree they're painting there.

Four guys and the car was hanging on the side of the tower in a huge crane, trying to attach the car which I assume is meant to be the foot of the tree.
I tried to find something about it online, but couldn't find anything. Maybe it's just a common thing down here to attach cars to tall buildings ;)

Sky Tower is getting ready for Christmas

Anyway....I think it's superduper cool - the crazier, the better :)

Back to Snells Beach

Yesterday my lovely wife Kari and I rented a car, got together with Joe and Gary (good friends and colleagues at Oktobor) and went for a trip up north to Snells Beach.

Kari and me at Orewa Beach

We made a short stop at Orewa before we headed for Snells Beach, where I finally got my hands on the most AWESOME Almond Croissants ever...they don't make them like that anywhere else - trust me, I've been searching. We also went down to the beach where I showed my wife and the guys the place I was living the last time I was working in New Zealand.

Joe, Gary and me at the beach in Snells Beach

Next stop was Matakana where they had a really nice farmers marked and then we headed out to Omaha Beach, but it was a little bit too chilly and windy for us to stay.

On the way back we stopped at Takapuna - a nice small city just outside Auckland - a really idyllic place. No doubt we're going back there once the summer really sets in.

It was great to go back and see the place I used to live two years ago - there wasn't that much changed though :)

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Be Thankful for Your Uniqueness

Great article from Pamela Kleibrink Thompson at Animation World Network.

From the article:
During the filming of Some Like it Hot, Tony Curtis (who just recently passed away) pointed out to director Billy Wilder that he was doing an impression of Cary Grant. Billy Wilder replied, "If I wanted Cary Grant, I would have hired Cary Grant."

"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." -- Bill Cosby


Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Carlos Baena Interviews

Check out these two short interviews with Pixar animator (and Animation Mentor co-founder) Carlos Baena.



Monday, November 01, 2010

Excerpt of Interview With Bill Tytla

This excerpt of an interview with the legendary Disney animator Bill Tytla has been out there for a couple of years now, but it's new to me :)

Click here for more info


Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Hobbit Stays in New Zealand!

After a couple of months of uncertainty, it's now clear that the Hobbit movies will be made in New Zealand, which is totally awesome :)

More about the development on The Hobbit:

Hollywood Reporter
New Zealand Herald

Thursday, October 21, 2010

DreamWorks Adapt Short Film ALMA into Feature

In what sounds like something out of a Cold War spy novel, DreamWorks Animation has made a deal with Pixar animator Rodrigo Blaas to adapt his award-winning short film Alma into a full length feature.


This is awesomes cool. I love this short and can't wait to see it developed into a feature.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Interview Lee Unkrich and Michael Arndt

Director Lee Unkrich and screenwriter Michael Arndt discuss the final film in the Toy Story trilogy.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Disneyland Stories



Peter Jackson directs The Hobbit

Awesome news! Peter Jackson will direct the two Hobbit films back-to-back.

From TVNZ:
The shooting of The Hobbit will begin in February with Sir Peter Jackson in the director's chair after co-financers gave the film the greenlight.


Interview AM Dreamworks Animators

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Tangled Crew

Podcast: John Hill

From Speaking of Animation:
In this interview we sat down with an amazing animator and supervisor, John Hill. John was really fun to talk with and had so much to share. 

We discuss how he got his start, working at Don Bluth, animating Bartok in Anastasia, and most recently Rumpelstiltskin in Shrek Forever After. 

We also dive in deep about his thoughts and experiences as an animation supervisor and his process as an animator. 

This interview is packed full of great advice. While prepping for the interview we noticed that John’s IMDB page wasn’t entirely accurate so to start we decided to clear up his history. Have fun and enjoy the interview!


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Morpheus - Free Maya Rig

Josh Burton are currently developing Morpheus - a free rig for Maya users that you can customize into a bunch of different characters.

The first Release Candidate of the rig has recently been released.

Check it out here!

More Tangled Videos

The Relevance of Mime in Animation

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Glen Keane Interview

Sean Ferguson has posted an extensive interview with Disney legend Glen Keane on the Why so Blu website in relation to the release of The Beauty and The Beast on Blu-Ray.

Read the interview here!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Pixar on Pixar

National Museums Scotland in association with 55degrees presents "Meet the pros" as part of the Pixar - 20 Years of Animation Exhibition. This is from March 2007, but still pretty interesting if you, like me :), haven't seen it before. Enjoy!

The Making of Cinderella

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Doug Sweetland Joins Sony Picture Animation

From PR Newswire: 
Doug Sweetland, the Academy Award®-nominated director of the 2008 Pixar short "Presto," is set to direct THE FAMILIARS for Sony Pictures Animation. Sam Raimi & Josh Donen are executive producers. Adam J. Epstein and Andrew Jacobson are writing the screenplay for THE FAMILIARS, based on their just published novel.

Read the whole press release here.