Wednesday, August 08, 2012
1st post in 2 years
Real life gets in the way sometimes. I want to thank the three or four of you who still come by from time to time, and my apologies for every time there was no new content when you came. I'm on a new adventure since my last post, trying to get projects financed and the like, but it is an uphill battle and so, because of that, you won't be seeing too much material from me in the meanwhile. But I will post more frequently than I have.
There's something to be said for longevity, though. It's been seven years since my first post. And, with this post, I prove that I still write.
Thanks for coming, I mean that. Let's see where this next adventure takes us.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Reports of Both My Personal and Financial Demise Are Greatly Exaggerated
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Saturday, January 23, 2010
AVATAR and Other Stuff
Thursday, November 05, 2009
For Jeff: Geph #214 & #215
Monday, November 02, 2009
Monday, October 05, 2009
Scenes from DIXIE DYNAMITE on YouTube!
Saturday, October 03, 2009
Music to Bring Down Your Stress Levels
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Blenka, FUNSHINE FM
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Pop Cultural Literacy 102 AT Woodbury
Friday, September 04, 2009
This is my 301st Post!
Friday, August 21, 2009
Sommore Image Testing!
Test Post of Images From Past VFX Projects!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Thursday, August 06, 2009
John Hughes is Gone
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Michael Jackson and Farrah die on same day
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
10 Best Picture Nominations
Monday, June 22, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
I Have Watched WONDER WOMAN. . .
Monday, May 04, 2009
Thursday, April 30, 2009
End of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Pixar's UP Will Be PG
Monday, April 20, 2009
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Variety Blogger Lowry Writes About CN's Upcoming Lineup
Friday, March 27, 2009
CN's upcoming slate
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
More on Zeebo Console
Monday, March 23, 2009
Beware of Zeebo's new console!
Monday, March 16, 2009
Monday, February 23, 2009
Needless Animated Sequels Not Limited to Disney
Sunday, February 08, 2009
The Latest Bump
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
I think I just might make these postings an annual thing for my blog. I like publicly reflecting on how far I’ve come (in 2008’s case, not that far) and where I think I’ll be going next.
If you guys recall (all two or three of you), around this time last year I had pledged to post more in 2008. This was the year that I should have made good on that promise, especially when you take into consideration that I purchased my new laptop in late May, and can update this from just about anywhere. It didn’t happen, not even the way that I had expected it to happen. In fact, I haven’t counted, but I don’t believe that, even including this post, I made it to 30 for the year. Yes, audience, I don’t think I even made it to writing thirty posts, though I did make my first long post since FLUTEMASTER, and that was, like, three friggin’ years ago.
Visual effects work is certainly down; being a freelance artist, I can vouch for this. And, if you’re a regular listener to the podcasts featured on both fxphd.com and fxguide.com, the state of the VFX industry has seldom looked grimmer. Many artists working at major houses have or are being laid off—extremely tragic news. There is light at the end of the tunnel, however—video game work is on the rise, and the console gaming industry is actually reporting profits. In this recession. And seeing as I can work in both worlds (effects for media and effects for gaming), it looks like I’ll be okay and doing even better as our economy regains its standing in the world again.
I’m still concerned for the fates of my colleagues, and will do whatever I can to make sure they get the work they needed to get through these temporarily tough situations. When we help each other make it, we all make it.
Back to my blog. I’ll go out on a limb here and predict that 2009 will be a banner year for postings here, especially when you consider that I’m not yet done trashing The Brave and the Bold and there are still animated series currently airing that I need to write about on here, as well as animated series that have yet to air on U.S. televisions (Wolverine and the X-Men, Iron Man: Armored Adventures) and even live-action films I’m keen on seeing and analyzing to death. So, yeah, there’s still much more to come here.
I just can’t promise that I’ll get to them in a timely manner; one promise, however, I feel entirely comfortable in making. You will be seeing a lengthy article soon on more Brave and the Bold episodes, which should serve to put the final nail in the coffin regarding my viewership of this series. How could one expect any differently?
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Jennifer Contino's Interview with James Tucker
James Tucker: "In my case, it means the buck stops here. I approve just about every faced (sic) of creating the show from scripts to designs. I also do a lot of the designs myself. Plus I approve the color styling on the characters, the background color, the takes at the recordings; basically I supervise the entire production at every point. If you don't like anything on Batman: Brave and Bold, it's my fault."
Okay, James. If you say so. I think a replacement should be in order. . .
Saturday, November 29, 2008
SPECIAL EDITORIAL: BRAVE AND THE BOLD Pilot Recap
Okay, so let’s get this thing started.
I endured the experience of seeing the kiddie-fied design of one of my most favorite Bat-villains—
No, what I got here was Dee Bradley Baker’s grating performance as the clock fetishist who bids our imperiled heroes by saying “Auf Wiedersehen” then flies away standing straight up on a giant clock-copter along with his thuggish-looking goons. Didn’t have a problem with James Arnold Taylor’s performance as the Green Arrow—really liked the following exchange:
“Like you never made mistakes before, Bats!”
“The only mistake I made was thinking you could help me!”
I’m not claiming verbatim accuracy with those above written lines, so, word-for-word to get the proper character-to-character exchange, I suggest downloading the pilot from any number of the file-sharing websites or peer-to-peer channels in operation. Plus, if any of you saw the pilot, you’ll know what I’m talking about here.
To get back to
I wasn’t as angry as I thought I might be. Bader did an okay job, considering the tone of the show, the lines he got saddled with and the time with which he had to prep himself for this performance. He did okay. Not great. Not good. But, you know, alright.
When I first learned that Brave and the Bold would exist in some fashion and would serve to soften the Dark Knight character, I felt simultaneously a wan bemusement and, well, disgust. I kept going over and over to myself, “How fucking dare they!” Watching the first five minutes of the pilot, I’m still going “How the hell dare they!” But this time, with less fervor and vitriol. No, my virulent protests wouldn’t get gassed up until the primary plot of the show kicked in, which it did after the theme—the theme, which reminded me somewhat of the intro Cowboy Bebop theme—certainly not its end theme, The Real Folk Blues from the fantastic Seatbelts. Oddly enough, when you consider that in the minutes before the pilot was to air, I immersed myself in a certain amount of meditation, with focus on hating this show as much as a work produced by an artistic team can be hated on by an audience—when you consider that, none of my urge to throw the remote at my TV materialized—as I had predicted to myself—would happen when the very vibrant theme sequence exploded (I felt it seemed like an explosion, because after all, there was no buildup, no “smoke” before the “fire” if you will—there were just loud big band brass music accompanied by 60’s Batman fonts imposed against different colored backgrounds, or superimposed against character action) onto my and millions of other TV sets and computers. And I went to myself, “Interesting!” Never, really, great—similar, again, to Bader’s performance. On its own, I found that it worked. On me, it got me ready for the show.
Then, the show went insanely downhill for me after its title card “Rise of the Blue Beetle” flashed on the screen. This is where I will start my rip of Brave and the Bold.
So, okay, Michael Jelenic is credited as the writer primarily responsible for the upchuck-worthy dialogue our well-liked actors Bader, James Arnold Taylor and Will Friedle are saddled with. Let me once again indulge myself with a brief aside here.
I’m ecstatic to hear Friedle voicing animated characters again. To me, Friedle will always be the excellently written Terry McGinnis. Even if I have to sit through episode after episode of his stomach-churning, Y7-FV dialogue courtesy of Mr. Jelenic, it will be Friedle’s voice delivering them. That’s the way I hope it will always be, that he’ll never lose what is clearly a passion for voice acting. He’s good at it.
Okay, back to the lousy story. We’re introduced to Jaime, this post-puberty fan of Batman, the type who savors every news clipping of the Dark Detective’s exploits through Gotham, and who especially loves analyzing miraculously captured extended news footage of Batman laying the smack down (with a partner, no less—ugh) on some campy villain who’d be totally raped repeatedly in jail by criminals half their size. Guys, it’s to the point where he and his chubby friend, the name of which I don’t care to remember despite the fact that I sat through this hoe-down of a pilot three times, are making cheesy play-by-play calls of Green Arrow’s activities regarding the Clock King’s henchman, then watching Batman tear the Clock King a new asshole before finally throwing him over to hang on the long hand (or the short hand? Ah well . . .) of a life-sized outdoor clock. Oh, and we have to sit through, at the beginning I think, some predictable one-liners about getting the Clock King’s time right or fixing his clock or somesuch nonsense.
After the news, Jaime’s friend teases Jaime about his “geek level”. Here on out, it should become a fucking mandate that all character exchanges featuring teenagers should be constructed to mirror, even within the suffocating constraints of episodic animated television for Saturday mornings (this was a prime-time premiere, but its still a Saturday morning cartoon that just happens to be airing in a weeknight primetime slot), real-world dialogue shared amongst human adolescents. Hell, Batman Beyond and Invasion: America were relatively successful at doing this, so BatBold doesn’t even have that hook to be let off of. Come to think of it, even The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest was more successful at ingraining its teen characters with believable dialogue. You know what, I’m having fun here—I’ll take this one-step further. I have heard more believable dialogue from the direct-to-video Scooby-Doo features, featuring teens, than the few on Brave and the Bold. Between those two teen characters, there were two funny lines. Both effective lines belonging to Jaime with an assist from the inflexion Friedle’s voice provided them—and an another assist from voice director Andrea Romano.
In one of the least credible story arcs ever animated (in my opinion), Batman shows up to Jaime’s window and recruits Jaime for what will soon become a galactic space adventure (?). Jaime wears his Blue Beetle costume, his transformation sequences taking up an entire human era, during which I yelled out, “This is not fucking Power Rangers, you dicktards!”, before joining Batman on his journey into deep space.
They soon find themselves in the middle of yet another galactic struggle for power. One race finds themselves teetering on the edge of extinction because their bodies are harvesting crazy amounts of naturally-occurring energy—and the other race wanting to kill them by extracting that energy using the most brutal methods conceivable. Kanjar Ro, another bipedal extraterrestrial villain archetype we have come to know if not love, reminds me, a bit, of Khan from the second Star Trek film. That’s higher praise than his one-note characterization deserves, I am aware, but Jelenic did well enough by him to not make Kanjar a complete ass-clown.
Anyhoo, after Jaime-as-Blue-Beetle gives a less-than-rousing speech to the blob-like race (during which, he cuts together a hilarious statement about this not being a football film) known, I think, as the Gibbles (yeah, Gibbles) they proceed to attack the enemy floating ship fortress. He takes Kanjar Ro down faster than Tyson took out Lou Saverese, though this is due largely to plot constraints. Blue Beetle then gloats, rather predictably when you take into account Jaime’s maturity level, about his quick victory over Kanjar, prompting some groans and headshakes from Batman. What Batman was doing is what I was doing from the very minute the crime fighters left Earth’s atmosphere.
Then Kanjar Ro gets up to prove that Blue Beetle isn’t the badass that he wants those little extra-terrestrial blobs to believe, and proceeds to lay the smack on BB as the Team Kanjar henchmen dispatch a couple Gibbles. Kanjar gets the magikal scarab (through one of the most ridiculous plot contrivances I’ve seen anywhere, and for my money a rip-off of Spidey 3’s device for defeating Venom) and uses it on himself, as he wished he had done the first time he took down the Blue Beetle (when apparently another guy was wearing the suit, and was killed off by Kanjar). Batman gets beat up, tied up (again!), then saved by one of those alien blobs who says something like “I’ve discovered the power within” or something to that effect—I’m writing this for the people who did put themselves through the pain of watching this tripe, so y’all know what I'm talking about here. If not, go illegally download this off some bit-torrent. If you care that much.
Jaime uses the same lame plot device that caused him to lose his power to defeat Kanjar, and learns a couple lessons about Teamwork and Humility, and off they go to the Gibble-Alien-Blob territory to be formally recognized and honored with larger-than-life statues which look composed of Earth-like material but is obviously primarily made up of foreign substances. At first, I was arching back my hand to hurl the remote at my TV in anticipation of another nonsensical speech by Jaime the Blue Retard Beetle; I was spared of that wretchedness, thankfully. It also happened to be one of the things I was thankful for at Thanksgiving dinner, as well.
One final thing about this first episode (I’m of two minds as to whether I should even insult the concept of a series pilot by bestowing such a distinction upon this first Brave and the Bold episode) was the freeze frame at the end. Yeah, they went there, didn’t end the ep right as far as I was concerned (would’ve liked to see what they were able to do with that asteroid), but it wouldn’t be quite like polishing a turd if they gave us a minute more of Jaime on Earth, thinking this whole superhero thing over—and at least making some effort to demonstrate how Jaime’s character was affected (while still making the tone of the show) by his experiences fighting for this alien race, against what could have been his killer. That he narrowly avoided the fate of the last hero to wear the Blue Beetle get-up doesn’t faze him in the least, and that my friends compromises his entire character arc—to the extent Jaime was allowed to have one. And then, the freeze frame, seemingly just to spite us. I’m thinking at this point, there hasn’t been an episode of episodic television that has closed out with anything other than a fade straight or jump cut to black in at least a decade! And this crapper, to be followed nearly immediately by the equally-wretched Star Wars: The Clone Wars, thinks that it can get away with a fuckin’ freeze frame and not get called out. Well, maybe if this were World’s Finest, but James Harvey or Zach Demeter I am not. I’m emphasizing that shit—Rise of the Blue Beetle ended with a motherfucking freeze frame!
In conclusion, Batman: The Brave and the Bold is colorful, energetic, relentlessly eager to please but ultimately empty even by the low standards of budget children’s entertainment. I’m not criticizing this show (as I hope is clear by now) because it contains elements of camp and flights of fancy—there are some shows (Fringe and the animated Secret Saturdays come to mind) that do that kind of thing well. But that Warner Bros. Animation tried to pull that kind of thing off with Brave and the Bold, with Batman at the helm, a show that should’ve stayed on the comics page, a character that had no fucking business going into outer space (and, no, I don’t mean to the Watchtower or a neighboring planet—I’m talking the other damn solar system-kind of adventure) and he had no fucking business fighting a guy with an actual functioning clock for a mask and being stuck (with the exception of Green Arrow) with partners who for the most part aren’t worth a shit—hell, we just saw Mumbai’s human antiterrorism squad embarrass the hell out of these overly super-powered hero wannabes. Just goes to show you, special powers don’t mean a damn thing if you’re not using them the right way.
I’ve decided that I’m going to take Brave and the Bold on an episode-by-episode basis. The only reason why I’m putting myself through further pain is that there were reports, on Newsarama and Toonzone and a couple other reputable sites and forum boards, that claim there were some Brave and the Bold episodes that were going to take a serious turn or two. That the tone of each ep would vary—largely based on the plot. Now, personally, I should probably surf World’s Finest and wait until some of these eps air and judge from the review whether I should give time I will never get back to these episodes. But, masochist that I am, that choice seems to me like a cop-out. If I decide to write another editorial, it will contain my reactions to about five or six Brave and the Bold episodes up until the no-bullshit “serious” episodes, after the airing of which I’ll likely stop watching. Let it be written here. It is not a matter of if I will stop watching, but when. And after I stop watching, I will go back and view some of the WB’s more sophisticated animated masterworks (season-packs of Justice League and Justice League Unlimited), using them as a soothing tonic antidote to the afflictions I contracted as a direct result from exposure to Brave and the Bold stories.
And I’ll go on pretending that the only Batmans that exist (or deserve to exist) in our universe and parallel universe are the ones that Burton, Nolan, Kevin Conroy, Jeremy Sisto, Paul Dini, Bruce Timm, Randy Rogel, Alan Burnett and Boyd Kirkland and above all, Bob Kane, gave us.
Monday, November 24, 2008
The PG-rated NEXT AVENGERS
From the first paragraph of James Harvey’s Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow review:
“It also happens to be the first PG-rated movie in the line, a line consisting to date of PG-13 lines, so naturally, that must mean this is a very tame kid flick? Not so! I was absolutely surprised at the amount of action, coupled with an enjoyable story and some pretty cool characters. For those fans that plan to dismiss this title as nothing but a kiddie release, well, you may want to rethink that. Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow manages to deliver both a fun all-ages tale coupled with some very intense action sequences that stays true to the Marvel style.”
From the looks of this clip, it seems as if James Harvey was paid to endorse this film. I’ve seen the trailer twice, and groaned both times. I just saw the Ultron clip as of this writing, and it is absolutely nothing to write home about. Something you could put on a SatAm show. On Toon Disney.
I will buy this film, and this film better kick the proper amount of ass I’m expecting it to kick, or I will refrain from purchasing any future Marvel Video Premieres, distributed by Lionsgate and featuring kid protagonists “getting ready for action!” This goes for that other glorified pilot Iron Man: Armored Adventures (set for 2009 release on Nicktoons and in stores shortly thereafter). I think James Harvey will like that one as well, because a show can get away with depicting feigned murders and feigned sex and still earn the distinction from James Harvey as being “edgy”.
Not from me.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Very late with article.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Editorial to be longer than expected. . .
I can qualify the above as being a promise since I'm around eight sentences away from completing the editorial!
Still Not Done
Brave and the Bold editorial to be published any hour now.
UPDATE: Special BRAVE AND THE BOLD commentary upload postponed
Here's my first take on the show, and perhaps you might read into this as a preface for how I feel about this new Batman show. It sucked, but not completely. It wasn't quite FLUTEMASTER awful, so I suppose I'm damning the show with faint praise. That's about as far as I'll go with my compliments of this disappointment.
The complete editorial forthcoming.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Okay, maybe not in an hour. . .
My Delayed Excoriation of THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD
As Jeff Harris would say, Watch This Space.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
I must be Brave, Bold or Stupid to tune in to this.
To all connected to the show—my apologies, but I can’t wait to skewer what I expect to be a travesty of previously unforeseen and unpredictable proportions, in a way that not even The Batman could aspire to be.
Watch This Space closely.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Had a rash of freelance projects to work on as of recently, but will get back to posting more content to this sadly neglected blog over the next couple of days.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Aw, man, this is some of the saddest news I’ve heard in a very long time. In a row, at that.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
All Pictures (c) 2007, 2008 Studio Ghibli.
It seems that Miyazaki’s latest film is aimed at very, very little kids. It’s Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, and it’s premiering at the Venice Film Festival in competition apparently. I emphasize “in competition" because usually Miyazaki-san’s work is beyond the reach that his contemporaries need to have to even be considered rivals.
And this stunning work is no exception.
Still, I can’t help but have this George Lucas feeling, that aesthetically Miyazaki’s (Studio Ghibli) product is beyond reproach--but substantively, story-wise, something’s feels lacking in a way that a movie like Spirited Away, by comparison (or even Howl’s Moving Castle) seems made all the brighter.
What I’m trying to illustrate is way Miyazaki-san and Co.’s present efforts suffer in comparison to their earlier ones, and while none of their efforts will suffer when being compared to the efforts of their American animator countrymen, the level of quality in the storytelling and characterizations we’ve come to expect may be falling by the wayside.
I hope, and sincerely that is, that this is not becoming a thing of the past, that maybe the young generation will pick up where the older ones left off.
Thanks to Ghibli World for these tips.
The Post Below THE BATMAN ONE Premieres the ALLENPOV Widget!
I find Widgets to be fun and cute. More websites and bloggers should have widgets, because with all the new social networking websites popping up all the time, who has the time to keep up with it all?
Monday, August 04, 2008
Batman: The ________ and the _________
All photos copyright (c) 2008 Warner Bros.
Ok. Ok. I’m willing to forget about launching a castration endeavor against WB animation for Teen Titans, but what the Frak is this monstrosity?
One: don’t like the design. It looks like they cut one too many corners with their overseas animation house firm. I know the economy’s bad guys, but. . .Two: Diedrich Bader as the voice of Batman? Huuuuuuuh?
Three. The villains. The theme music. I’ll be damned to hell--it sounds retarded! I don’t recall having these feelings since I put myself through Flutemaster nearly six years ago. While the animation is a step above, the trailer for Batman: The Brave and the Bold just indicates that all involved had this “It’s a kiddie Batman for the kids, let’s not try too hard with this” attitude. Sad, just sad--and if the pilot for this crapulence is anywhere near like the retch-a-thon I think it’s going to be, I’m gonna rip into this show the same way that most mainstream critics are ripping The Mummy 3 right now.
Come to think of it, I’ll probably rip this show worse than I ripped MarVista’s Flutemaster, simply because it’s a Batman property and they (Warner Bros. Animation) couldn’t be bothered to give it the same TLC they gave the other Bruce Timm/Paul Dini produced animated shows.
Saturday, August 02, 2008
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Batman: Gotham Knight
Monday, June 23, 2008
For Those of You Keeping Score at Home. . .
Oy. Not good.
Sunday, June 08, 2008
Burn After Reading
I can't friggin' wait to see this. I need to go on Moviefone right now and get them tickets. I wonder how far in advance they're gonna sell these. . .
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Screenshot of my new laptop
This is a screenshot of the desktop on my HP Pavilion dv9730us laptop. Updates to come fast and furiously from now forward.
Sunday, June 01, 2008
Slight but New Post.
Yeah, almost no difference. But, here's why. I'm replacing my current laptop with a super-fast HP Pavilion dv9730us notebook. This one has wireless capabilities, leaving me with the least number of excuses to not write since I learned how to.
Next time I log in here, I'll be using that from more wi-fi enabled remote locations to connect to Blogger and type longer posts that will hopefully contain more richer content.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Buckle up, guys.
Jeff, it’s been time for a revolution. Waaaaaaayyyyyy past fucking time. But how many true Toonami lovers are out there?
The answer frightens me, and I hope it’s just my jittery nerves which are deceiving me. It seems that there are TWENTY. Maybe less. And why is that? A possible reason is mentioned in your audience—Toonami’s growing irrelevance. This generation has lowered its threshold of quality for entertainment, letting mediocre singers like Hannah Montana and cartoons like Naruto steal their time away from programming more deserving of it. Justice League would still be on air with its original cast if DCAU fans had mobilized, instead of having faded away to nothingness, its series finale little hyped. Nickelodeon is the channel Toonami was, and that’s depressing. Because while CN had the Saturday evening action block, Nickelodeon was left sucking its fumes—actually, to tell you the truth, I believe Nick was sucking Toonami fumes for years and before Toonami, The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest and S.W.A.T. Kats and Exosquad. Hell, they arguably were choking on Aladdin the animated series and even sub-standard Disney afternooner shows like Bonkers and Goof Troop. They couldn’t hold a damn rolled-up Rand McNally plastic one-sheet map of the world to Gargoyles.
But then that stopped and now Nick has Jimmy Neutron, Avatar and, fucking, The Fairly Odd-Parents. CN has the promising Ben 10: Alien Force, Storm Riders, and not much else in terms of watchable action programming. Even their George of the Jungle is an import which looks to have been made with a budget that would embarrass even Jay Ward. If all of CN’s watchable animated content were integrated into the Toonami block, it would truthfully consist of Storm Riders and Ben 10. Pathetic.
I’m joining the call to arms, Jeff. I’m just not sure how many more people will follow and reciprocate. This feels a bit like the King of Sparta, when neighboring regions needed military assistance, only one man would be sent. Here, there are two; our odds do not improve, however.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Other than that, I have more to say about the current state my life is in, but will have to wait longer to write about it since I now do not have enough time to even eat. (JK!!!!! ROLFAO.)
Thursday, January 24, 2008
WTS #164 and my elaborate take
The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, I felt, was one of the greatest animated programs of my youth. I was 11 when the first episode premiered in the summer of 1996. I watched it over, and over, and over, and still over again. I recorded it and watched it again. All in all, after 20 viewings of the kick-ass pilot I lost count.
I didn't really care that the 2nd season was animated by a different animation house. Sure, I liked the first season a little more, but to me complaining about the style of either season was just like hating an apple eater if you're an oranges fan. I didn't care--I was just glad that there was going to be more Jonny Quest.
I also liked how the animated series had more violent content per episode (in the first season, Race Bannon kicking a woman across the face--what a SHOCKER) than your average animated program, staying true to the original and not pulling punches. I always felt you could get away with more on Cartoon Network than any other network that aired animated shows.
God, Jeff, you're like some good wine. Your writings just resonate even more with me now than they likely ever have.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
By the end of this article, Jeff vows to keep fighting. For some reason (taking into account Mr. Harris's recent experiences as of late), these closing words brought tears to my eyes, and made it several times difficult than it normally would have been for me to finish this post for Blogger. Instantly, I thought these words to myself (having, myself, a mini-epiphany): "This is what the animation industry needs--a few brave souls to endure, to suffer, to fight for the absolutely uncontestable and fundamental right to produce quality animation for fair wages and without interference from the higher powers." Jeff has been fighting for this by elegantly bitching and astutely, literately writing. And then writing some more. He expresses himself tirelessly through elegiac forum posts, each time demonstrating the reason why he has arrested my attention since I was in early grade school, logging on by 56.6kbps modem (telephone line) to see his latest article.
I remember then, as I know now, why people like Jeff Harris are all that stands between today's generation of budding animation cineastes and the greedy studios which are all too happy to pay low cents on the dollar for a cheaply animated, poorly localized Asian acquisition--and slam it on air in the hope that a satisfactory ROI materializes as quickly and as painlessly as possible.
You keep fighting Jeff. And, I shall soon fight as fervently with you.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
It is painful to realize that I've made fewer than 30 posts for this entire year. I'll chalk it up to some seismic changes which have occurred in both my personal and professional life--the relocation of my business, moving, expanding--and I have no full time employees (other than myself), only part-time ones.
So that meant little time for projects like writing either Gather posts or Blogger ones. That meant next to no time for watching animated programming, though thanks to the 'Net I was able to stay a little bit more on top of the current programming trends than I previously believed I would. And regular postings from Jeff Harris and Melon vastly improved my understanding of the goings-on in animation.
Not much else to say, other than--well, I'll just have to try harder to post more often, more substantively. In 2008.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Stuff I should have said already
We post when we can. I need to post more. Forget that--I need to write more. I'll work on that in the coming weeks.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Lying to Kids
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Watch This Space #158
Remember, Jeff, when you picked on USA, Fox Kids, syndication (UPN) and ABC? I think CBS was in there somewhere as well. . .
I do. In fact, I still have many of those ‘toons on tape! Gosh, a decade plus gone away so fast. It was a whole generation, back when I used to rely on local listings for TV Guide instead of TV.com, back when Mom used to remind me to stock up on “blanks” (blank VHS tapes) for the weekend. When I anticipated each new episode of Superman, or even earlier, Batman before he joined Supes on Kids’ WB. I taped the classic (and I can’t believe those shows are, today, so old they contain a degree of film grain and are labeled as “classics”) X-Men, Spiderman, Super Dave, Eek!, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego and a few others I can’t readily call to mind.
Keep on complaining, Jeff. The industry needs it.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
This will be a very short post. I just want to start by saying that it's great to come back and post this little bitty post--and to read something new by Jeff Harris again.
This time, it's scratchbuilding #2 and it is a work of genius. One question, Jeff.
Disney jumping in bed with Warner Brothers again? Wouldn't they, like, want too much in terms of licensing? Mickey licenses are through the roof these days! I mean, Square was lucky to get to use Disney characters in their Kingdom Hearts series of games. . .
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Saturday, June 30, 2007
I know the last post lied in the closer by saying that this post was imminent. Now it's July and I'm just now posting this.
All I can say is, I blame everything on my endeavors!!!!!!!!
Monday, May 07, 2007
Updating. FINALLY. (And, how many times have you read this? Hee hee.)
I had planned this update as an explanation of why I’m here in Santa Barbara County, CA (details on my exact location forthcoming). But, I am on an extremely, comically, cartoonishly limited schedule, so I’ll keep this focused more on the condition of my endeavor, which I’m excited to say—
IS NO LONGER ON LIFE SUPPORT.
Those words, I have yearned to say with candor for the past nine months. It’s rough to do business in a region where competition is thick, concentrated, and unforgiving. It’s rough to do business in a region where support is not as plentiful as one might surmise—Houston’s VFX industry, despite massive reports to the contrary, is not as robust as the professionals already based in the region would have you believe. There’s one big VFX studio there—VT2—and they do mostly commercials.
Southern California needs no introduction, when it comes to places to be when doing VFX work. The only other comparable place (I use “comparable” loosely here) where support for VFX artists and franchises are plentiful is Vancouver. Vancouver comes to mind here; it has strong ties to the worldwide animation industry, not to mention it’s just an awesome place to live if you’re working in the arts.
But Vancouver still can’t touch SoCal.
And that’s why I’m here, back almost to where it all started for me, nearly five full years after I began writing about animation for Suite 101 (the remainder of the articles, I still have to post), more than five years after I received my acceptance letter from Brooks, five years after I left my massive children’s (and young-adult) library behind with my mom, of 1100 books, to become independent for the first time in my life 3000 or more miles away from home. A unique challenge, aspects of which ultimately proved too great for my inexperienced brain to properly process and execute.
I’m talking of course, not of the challenges of running a business, but of attending and ultimately graduating from college. I did not graduate. But, I am working professionally, which has at least made me more successful than some of my peers (don’t read this the wrong way—I’m not bragging in the least and I hope to someday see them on the up-and-up, which I know I will if their work in the classes I took with them is any indication). On the other hand, some of my peers are much more successful than I am, which is a testament to their networking aptitude and savvy.
Nevertheless, I feel great that my team and I were able to overcome the logistic challenges of transplanting an entire operation from an area we initially bet the farm on in terms of its favorable market conditions to an area where its supportive qualities are beyond dispute—this initiative, by virtue of its execution without the occurrence of any major negative incidents, can be labeled a success.
We still have a very long way to go, but what a long way we’ve been and what accomplishments were wrought along the way. As Jeff Harris once wrote, “This path was always connected to the bridge I've been crossing all this time.”
Until the next post, which is coming very shortly.
Monday, April 09, 2007
My First Post since leaving Texas. . .
In WTS #149, he wasn't as visceral as I expected him to be. I expected Jeff to rant more about the live-action programming. I expected him to rail on more about the Miguzi-type pablum taking timeslots away from the more serious, violent animated fare. I kinda, sorta expected him to complain about Ben 10, for some reason.
None of this came to pass, of course.
And I will be eagerly, rabidly anticipating WTS #150.
(P.S.--I promise to start talking more about the relocation of my venture to Southern California, when time permits. But, you see, that's the problem. WHEN TIME PERMITS. I want to buy a timewarp temporal disruptor, so that I can use it to milk 25 hours out of each day instead of settling for the 24 we all get.)
Sunday, December 31, 2006
We’ve just upgraded our creative tools and software, so I look forward to working with these new tools, and new artists. I look forward to seeing the new TMNT. I look forward to seeing Delgo, which we may have to wait ‘till ’08 for. Looking forward to seeing Ratatouille. Ditto for Bee Movie.
I eagerly anticipate the onslaught of the next San Diego Comic-Con, which promises to showcase new technologies and film methods alongside entertainment properties. I hope webcomics gain more prominence in the American landscape—they are overdue for recognition. I look forward to the next version of Adobe (formerly Macromedia) Flash.
Last but not least, I’m excited about the BXT, the next incarnation of the TXB. Jeff’s got some stuff brewing that we should all keep our eyes peeled for.
I’d make this post longer, but it would seem pointless to do so. So I’ll end it here.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Cinematical nails it.
Monday, December 25, 2006
James Brown dies.
Today we learn of his death.
You know, it seems like more people in the entertainment business have died during the month of December than the soldiers in Iraq. And no, I did not mean that as a joke.
I'll be going now to Mark Evanier's blog, newsfromme.com, to see what he has on this latest celebrity death.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Mr. Stafford, and more
I don’t usually write about the lives of senators and politicians, but I take exception in the case of Sen. Robert Stafford, R-Vermont, because millions of college students today are benefiting from his dedication to making it easier for the underprivileged to pursue higher education. He died today, according to the AP and other major news outlets at 93.
He was also an environmentalist of sorts, but his championing of clean air didn’t necessarily make college more accessible to lower income students. I believe he will be remembered most for the federal student loan named in his honor.
Some of you already know that my business venture here in Houston is centered around VFX. (If you don’t, well, now I guess you do.) I am proud to announce that I have mastered one of the most vital components in Combustion, key to fine-tuning and in some cases creating visually-stunning sequences of animation from white flatspace. The Timeline.
There are times like these when I remind myself that purchasing a second monitor could speed up the entire arduous process of conjuring 3D from scratch and compositing it with 2D elements. Many design programs (Adobe After Effects, Premiere, Maya 8, Max 9) have options which allow you to make thorough use of a second monitor—whether it’s placing File Bins or Timeline windows on your viewer helper or raw data, if ever our work can be made simpler it would probably start with the purchase of the second monitor. So, I’lll mull that over for the next couple months.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
I will try to update my static Wordpress enochallen.com blog, followed by the Webcomic Directory and revamp the index page somewhat, but I in all honesty can’t tell you exactly when those changes will come about. I’ve been juggling quite a bit lately, and my workload will only grow in volume, not decrease, so some activities of lesser importance will have to be indefinitely sidelined. Wrangling with enochallen.com is that activity I have just classified as being of lesser importance.
This blog will continue to be updated VERY sporadically, but it will be maintained—this is stark contrast to what I had originally thought months back (and posted on here), but times change and so do human goals, and I have just altered mine to make room for this Blogger account I’ve had since June 2005. (Can’t believe it’s been a year and a half. . .)
I want to thank all you guys (especially YOU, Melon) for taking time out your tight schedules and busy days to check out my comparatively insignificant ramblings. Without your indulgence, I would not have the will to write (it is not that strong as it is—I have to make myself press each key. That guy who said “writing is agony” was onto something. . .)
Until the next post.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Shirley Walker, 1945-2006
She was every bit Danny Elfman’s equal. For the first episodes of Batman: The Animated Series, I believed I was hearing the music of Elfman but proved myself wrong when I became old enough to desire reading the end credits of animated shows. Her name popped up numerous times in the end credits of numerous animated programs. You can always feel an artist’s sensibility through their music, and Shirley’s was one of sophistication. Yoko Kanno, Joe Hisashi and Hajime Mizoguchi are the only other composers for animated works (that I can think of as of this writing) who possess this quality characteristic.
She took writing music for animation as seriously as she did for her live-action projects. To her there was no distinction. It was all about what the story required. Artists today composing music for animated entertainment would do well to internalize Shirley’s concept of writing music for story and not animation. The end product not only elevates the story’s sophistication and resonance with its audience but animation in its entirety, which the genre really needs these days. Which brings me to my next point. The loss of Shirley Walker represents a big loss not only to the music community but to the animation community, and indeed animation as a whole, being that her work cemented in our memories the gloriousness of the storytelling in Batman: TAS and all of its incarnations, the film based upon the animated series, Mask of the Phantasm, representing the need for artists to take creating music for animation more seriously as this is what is necessary to increase the genre’s potential and our respect for it, as Shirley has done.
It will be a very long time, possibly not even within our lifetimes, before we will see an American composer in possession of the particular brand of talent Shirley had. Meanwhile, we still have Yoko Kanno, Joe Hisashi and Hajime Mizoguchi. . .
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Watch This Space #148
I think Jeff should get some kind of award for this. Seriously.