I work in animation. I am in hell. I am back.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


The upward trend of animation students solely pursuing 3D animation was upsetting to me at first.

Next, the introduction of motion capture made me red in the face because it killed numerous jobs in the 3D field and because it then made it possible to call a live action sequence filmed in front of motion capture cameras "animation", which people have undoubtedly been swallowing.
At least then, the person performing the actions was forced to feel like a complete asshole by wearing a spandex suit full of reflective markers.

But now we're looking at a new era where anyone can jump in front of a camera in street clothes, capture the motion, apply it, and PRESTO you're an animator? WAIT WHAT?!

What's next? Give it time and we won't even need a 3D scanner, all that these studio executives will need is a brainchild locked in a cage pumping ideas directly from his cranium into a machine...

Watch it and weep... HERE


If 3d movies weren’t bad enough, DreamWorks animation has announced that in 2009 all of their CGI animated films will be presented in a new format, Stereoscopic 3D. Apparently they have seen the downward trend in people rushing out to see the next new CGI animated feature and need a new gimmick to draw in the masses.

I have to admit it surprised me at first, I had once thought for sure Disney would be the first to make this leap. Seeing that hey have been using this type of technology in their theme park for years... Maybe they foresaw the damage this format could do to the animation art form or maybe I'm giving them a little too much credit, only time will tell us that.

DreamWorks still hasn’t figured out that it is not the flashy 3D models that make a good movie, but it’s the story. Now not only do we have to sit through a shitty movie I have to dodge dumb props and garbage 3D character devices.

Other than people grabbing randomly in the air like wild monkeys, what will this new format bring?
Let’s make a list of 3D movie clichés that you know will not only be included in the DreamWorks movies, but ones that all the other studios animated features that will undoubtedly follow suit.


-Random flying characters that fly around the audience. (GREAT! NOW not only will I want to throw up while going to see SharkTale, but now I get to be molested by fish!)
-Scary objects flopping into the audience...(This could come in handy if I want a hummer from the Monster House.)
-Anything that pokes, prods, swings or gets thrown, makes its way to the audience. I'm guessing watching Pinnochio's nose grow isn't good enough these days.
- Bubbles, fluff, sparkles, building debris, snot, some more of that air grabbing
- Characters looking, pointing, talking directly at you! So it gives it that more personal feel! (Let's get these kids prepared for what acid does to you years in advance!)

This new format might seem “amazing” or “cool” at first. It might seem to open new doors on how a studio can tell a story, but it won’t. In fact it will close more doors then it will open. Studios will have to write or remake movies that have explosions, flying characters, pixy dust and oblong objects. The story will take a 3rd seat behind the CGI models and the Stereoscopic 3d format. They will have to write in the big scare scene and the funny finger pointing and all the other bullshit that goes into making 3d movies. Now I guess John K. is really going to be pissed off when the giant index finger finds itself at DreamWorks infiltrating the stereoscopic anus of the average theatergoer.

Now that we have this new amazing air grabbingly awesome 3d format that will make million at the box offices, how will it make millions in the home? Do you have a Stereoscopic 3D compliant TV? Or is HD going out the door and is S-3D in? Will the same cheap laughs, jumps and air grabbing have the same feel on your home television screen? HELL NO, it will look like shit and force people to watch the movie in the standard format. It will expose the movie for what it is, A SHITTY MOVIE!

There is a reason this type of movie only exist in theme parks, and that is no matter what theme park you see them in or the story they have, it’s all the same formula. It gets boring and the overly used clichés are never original and hardly funny the first time. Sure you could speculate that a studio could take advantage and create a mind blowing experience, but that’s doubtful, studios will stick to what they know. They will have the same shitty characters voiced by the same shitty actors and the shallow story that seems to go nowhere, but this time you’re trying to grab it.

Brace yourselves and check it out HERE

This new format will undoubtedly open a new can of worms for feature animation; the problem is that for each can it opens, all the worms look the same.

Which brings us to the next thing to discuss... Computers consuming our jobs, and with sensor-less motion capture now available that era is rapidly closing in...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Cartoonbrew.com covered the Geena Davis speech at the National Conference for Media Reform. Now that the steam has run out on the subject I would like to put a number of things into perspective without taking sides on the matter and really talk about what her new crusade might mean for television cartoons.

Let me list a few thoughts that popped into my head while watching the video clip of her speech.

-1st of all, what gives Geena Davis and the SeeJane foundation the authority to condemn an art form? It is an atrocity that a group of non-animators, non-artists, and non-writers are trying to tell our community how to operate and create content that we love creating. When viewing her speech all I could see was an angry feminist using her clout as an actress to try and influence a medium that she needs to keep her nose out of. And for that reason I feel that anything she has to say about animation should be taken as a grain of salt.

2ndly ,Where did she get her information, does she not know how to use Google? It is apparent to me that based on her lack of knowledge, that all of this "research" was all done by her assistants. I would like to just add here, if you wish to be taken seriously, REALLY get to know what you are talking about. The fact that we are dealing with an organization with a feminist agenda, any information which would conflict with their interests is going to be pushed aside like anything that might slow the process of attaining their goals.

3rd , The Animation industry is an industry in where most viewers are male, likely due to the high number of male and androgynous characters. However a study conducted in 1981 by the Society for Research in Child Development found that boys developed a lack of interest for characters of the opposite sex. Therefore, to say we need more female leads in cartoons is a bad marketing strategy. For decades males have been the subjected targets to these marketing strategies when the female population outnumbered that of males. NOW though is a different ball game, the male population is beginning to outnumber that of females, so to suddenly switch strategies and almost force animators, artists and writers to focus on creating solely female roles is just asking to decimate an industry which is already in a state of distress. The radical change that Davis chooses to pursue is a form artistic genocide which should be prevented.


5th Are you joking!?, of all the things in this depraved world she calls for cartoons to “CHANGE”? For the 4 years her daughter will watch animation, male cartoon characters fighting monsters are somehow going to directly impact her daughters’ well-being because the lead character isn’t female? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? I guess "The Powerpuff Girls" being a televised show is simply myth and it's existence hearsay...

Her actions, if you agree with her or not will most definitely have a NEGATIVE effect on cartoons. Now that the clueless animation executives have a celebrity to hold their hand and show them the light of how cartoons should be, it’s all over.

I’m not going to bother to name the countless female leads in animation. You can find them for yourself, and we all know that beefing up the number or female leads will not do anything other than oppress artists to feel as though it is necessary to censor themselves further because only female roles are on demand.

It’s obvious that male characters are a lot easier to create; a male character can be thrown into a fight and be brutalized, then brought back with no problems at all. If this were done with a female character, feminists groups would have a field day and say the show advocates domestic abuse against women. So to say female's need equal leads in animation, it's a double standard because to put female characters through the same scenarios as male characters would only cause more controversy.

When you create a female character there is unspoken check list you have to go through, a check list that end ups making your female character FLAT and boring. A check list that has to be followed in order to appease organizations like See Jane and every other woman’s lib group from condemning your character and cartoon. Let’s list some dos and don’ts when creating a female character.

Witty (not too much)
Strong willed
Not to drastic of a character design

Inadvertently funny
Dependent on any other characters
Too skinny

Keep in mind when creating a female character you are required to use all the said ‘DO’s” not just some of them. If you don’t believe me turn on Cartoon network or Nickelodeon every female character is almost identical in their look and character.

So it seems to me that what Geena and the See Jane crew are calling for is a stacked deck. It's no longer OK to create a series with a male lead, let alone a female lead that might fit the bill as a "goof" or attractive. Because I am sure the only kinds of women that were born into this world since 1970 are all seeds of Einstein who are destined to rule the world. No longer is alright to create a female character and accentuate the characteristics that innately read to any viewer as being female. We are on the verge from drawing an occasional large breast or two to having our arms twisted and forced to drawing androgynous women with an occasional beer gut. Maybe it would benefit all men working in the industry to have sex change operations now...What do you think?

Sunday, March 4, 2007

What good did it do?


One of the main reasons I started the blog was to inspire lots of other people to start similar no-holds-barred blogs wherein people could rant and debate.

Power of numbers and all that.
But it became very clear that as long as I was doing it, no one else was going to bother. A few splinter sites have popped up here and there, but they all moderate their comments

I had always maintained that I would take the site down as soon as I felt like it without notice, and that’s exactly what I did.

I read on countless comments on animation blogs how "great" the Anibation Fantasy blog was, and then it ends at that. Start your own!

Obviously this is the sort of blog the industry needs, if so many artist are clamoring about it.

Of coarse this is ANIBATION FANTASY II (and we all know how good sequels can be). It's up to all of you to carry this blog and start new blogs with the similar intent.

So if you commented on the 1st Anibation Fantasy, re-comment here, like the 1st blog you will not be censored or condemned for your comments if you agree or disagree.

Remember I will take this down at any moment so take your 2nd dose of anibation fantasy, but don't expect a 3rd.


Somebody (or several people) please start a new blog with a name and 'mission' like this one... I'm far too old for this.

Someone out there must be younger and angrier than me who will do a better job.

To qualify, you must be willing to be a "ghost" that represents many people and many different points of view - some of which you may disagree with.

Just start it up and put the link here.

See the union rep about your benefits package

Thank you.


P.S. You will be tempted many times to reveal yourself or censor people who tear into you... DON'T do it.


I know you've both been here...

Who will be the first (if either) to report on the goings-on here? Who will be the first to recognize the amount of sheer frustration let loose by so many in the animation community? Who will be the first to analyze it with a journalistic objective?

Probably neither. But it was worth a shot.

By the way... for the record:


Steal it and pretend you made it all up. I don't care.

THE OSCARS: An Insult to our Craft

Animation as a form of filmmaking died an ugly death the day they created the 'Best Animated Feature' catagory for the Oscars.

Suddenly, we were all sat at the kiddie table, and 'Shrek' became an Oscar-winning film.

The category implies that animation can't possibly compete with 'real' movies (like 'Pirates of the Carribean'????????) and so, out of sheer contempt, they created a category to acknowledge us while shutting us up at the same time

This category will never go away, and consequently, animation will never (in this country) be looked upon as a serious medium.



Read... and cry.


So I'm reading all of these rage-filled but well-thought-out and entirely legitimate posts and it occurs to me: What has the animation union done to help with all of these problems?

The answer, of course, is: not a goddamned thing.

Now, I realize lots of you probably work at nonunion studios, but in NY, LA, Toronto and other animation meccas, we're supposed to be protected by our precious unions.

But, alas, it is Friday and as I speak every single animation artist I know will either be working very late tonight, all through the weekend or BOTH - with no additional pay.

Isn't the union supposed to safeguard against stuff like this?

Oh - right... it's up to the artists to raise a stink.

Of course, the reason we're all staying anonymous here is because we all know that blackballing is not only a real threat, but it's extremely common in this industry.

See, the way producers get around it is they make it seem as though it's the artist's fault... "Our deadlines are perfectly reasonable"... sure... but your scripts aren't.

I would love it if someone from the union found this site and got a glimpse at what a miserable job they're doing.

This is what we've all resorted to, union reps... ranting anonymously on a blog because we know that we are in a hopeless situation and our union is too impotent to do anything about it.

Enjoy our dues.


This is probably where I will lose all of the positive support I've been getting since I started this blog, but what I'm about to say desperately needs to be said...

Artists in the animation industry love to bitch about how poorly they're treated by executives, line producers and whatnot... and much of their grievences are legitimate (thus, the purpose of this blog).

But if we are to explore ALL of the problems that infect the industry, we need to turn that deep, dark truthful mirror on ourselves as well.

I realize that as artists, we are prone to certain eccentricities... we are creative for a living, and that takes a special type of individual... we're different from the average American worker.
Nonetheless, the animation industry IS an INDUSTRY. And it is a COMMERCIAL industry at that. We work, oftentimes, for big corporations or affilliates of big corporations.

We are animation PROFESSIONALS

But ask yourself this: Do I act professionally?

I have, in the course of my career, been in the position of taking pitches and interviewing young artists for jobs, and it never fails to amaze me what a bunch of disrespectful, filthy little wretches many of you are.

Back in New York, I was working for a major studio there and had a very attractive position available for an art director. The pay was great, the benefits were great, the work environment was great, the project itself was great... this was the kind of job animation students dream of.

I was determined to give the position to some undiscovered young talent... someone with motivation and drive.

So we put out the call through all the trades and schools and I took what seemed like thousands of applications and conducted hundreds of interviews, and out of all of the people I met with, 99% of them:

1) Showed up to their interviews LATE and oftentimes VERY LATE.
2) Showed up looking like they hadn't showered or changed clothes in a month.
3) Brought in portfolios that looked like they had been run over by a stampede of wild buffallo.
4) Showed virtually no enthusiasm and, more often than not, copped a snotty attitude.
5) Mumbled or spoke incoherently.


Now, as an artist myself, I tried to look past a lot of these traits, but as I see these trends among artists getting worse and worse, I simply have to say: If you want to be TREATED professionally and TAKEN seriously, you have to ACT professionally and BEHAVE appropriately if you want to command any degree of respect - ESPECIALLY when dealing with producers, executives, etc.

I understand that cartoon studios should try to cultivate a fun, casual environment, but if you've got a staff meeting to attend or a pitch to conduct, maybe you should consier combing your hair and putting on actual pants (sweatpants don't count).

It's one thing to wear your stained "INCREDIBLE HULK" t-shirt and dirty, torn shorts and flip-flops on a day when you're just sitting in your cube drawing, it's another thing entirely to wear it to a pitch where you're trying to convince someone to allocate money from their development budget in your direction.

How can you hope to create a bond of trust with anyone you work with - whether it's your line-producer, director, or whatever - when you come in late and turn in your work late?

I believe that one of the major keys in artists taking the industry back for themselves lays in artists proving that they are better animation professionals than all of these glorified secretaries and hack stand-up-comics who have wrestled it away from us by sheer virtue of their ability to dress professionally and speak with clarity.

It's a matter of respect.
Generally speaking, when you give it, you get it.


Where do I even begin...

Okay, I see animation writers the same way I see animation executives... if they are GOOD, I not only don't have a problem with them, I am grateful for them.

The trouble is, "good" animation writers are extremely rare... in two-and-a-half decades of experience, I think I've worked with four good writers at the most. And they, naturally, were either drummed out of the industry by producers who don't know a good storyteller from a hole in their ass or they got smart and moved into other mediums.

Please note that when I use the term "good", I don't mean that subjectively... I don't merely refer to writers who create scripts that I personally find entertaining... I just mean "good" in the sense that they can create a script with an actual beginning, middle and end that makes sense, works within the boundaries of the animation medium and fits the timeframe of the project.

Generally speaking, an eleven-minute cartoon script should be around 11 pages long (give or take a page or two). The rule of thumb among anyone who actually understands animation is that you plan around a minute per page.

To this day, I have yet to see a script for an 11 minute cartoon that was less than 25 pages long.

Do these verbose hacks think that somehow within the animation process that time and space can be magically bent to fit our agenda?

And CONFUSING... christ almighty... how hard is it to tell a simple story? Who are these idiots who try to fit sub-plots into an 11 minute cartoon about a talking duck? How hard is it to just write something that makes SOME logistical sense?

Now, unlike some animation cult members, I see the value in writers... particularly for television wherein the deadlines are tighter and there isn't nearly as much time for 'development'. But animation writers need to realize that they are WRITING FOR ANIMATION! ADJUST YOUR TECHNIQUE TO FIT THE FUCKING MEDIUM YOU LAZY HACKS!

Most animation writers are sad, sorry, failed stand-up-comedians who couldn't break into sit-coms, so they're angry as hell that they must debase themselves by writing for these awful cartoons. They give animation their 'C' material (and their 'A' material usually sucks to begin with) and just keep their fingers crossed that one day they can get a lunch meeting with Sarah Silverman.

What's even more infuriating is that most of these illiterate clowns go on to become producers. Whenever you see 'Produced by' credits at the beginning of FAMILY GUY or SIMPSONS, rest-assured, that person is no 'producer'... they're just a writer who added one lame joke to an already lame script.

You see, executives don't REALLY know what makes a good cartoon, so they rely heavily on the written word. They don't know how to 'watch' a cartoon ("How could the Coyote survive a fall like that?") but they (technically) know how to "read" so they count on these Harvard-Lampoon-Wannabes to put ideas into a form they can understand... ultimately, though, it's like having someone who doesn't speak Japanese translating for you at a Tokyo business meeting.

Of course, most scripts become irrelevant the minute the storyboards are pasted up and everyone sees how senselessly written the story was (the storyboard artist, of course, takes the heat for this and has to cancel his weekend plans to take his kids to the park so that he can do 400 pages of revisions that make even less sense than the original script).

But here's the REAL sign you're dealing with a hack writer: SONGS.

Ever notice how the last seasons of THE SIMPSONS and FAMLIY GUY they seem to have a musical number in every other episode? SURELY you don't think it's merely because these writers actually like musicals do you? Lord no.

Y'see, writers jam musical numbers (which, as we all know, are a pain to animate and usually REALLY gay and awful) into shows and films because the RESIDUALS on a songwriting credit are HUGE.
All you need is writing credit on ONE song and you've got a steady check for LIFE... every single time the song is re-run on television, the writer gets another check. Can you imagine if you wrote just ONE song for ONE episode of The Simpsons (which reruns about a million times a day all over the world) what the cash flow would be? It boggles the mind.

Another surefire sign of a hack writer is CROWD SCENES. It's always easy to make a shitty script seem 'eventful' by having big, huge crowd scenes (riots, amusement parks, concerts, etc.) which, again, are the hardest to animate and most boring to watch.

What's particularly obnoxious about writers is hwo smug they seem to be about their so-called 'talent'... they're convinced that they have some sort of special gift given by the gods.
I'll accept that kind of attitude from Kurt Vonnegut, but not from some dude who shit out a script for 'The Mighty Ducks'.

And, of course, most writers hate artists and will not associate with them. And with good reason. Artists are the only ones who realize just what a scam the writers have going. If more artists managed to become writers (good luck), it'd be over for them.

Once again, however, I should point out that there are one or two good ones out there... we should be kind to them and nurture them. But they are the VAST minority.

But enough of my blabbing... tell your writer horror-stories here and, if you feel compelled, name off the ones you think are the worst of the worst.

Have at it!


It's quite simple, really...
The two biggest factors that will ultimately choke the last few feeble breaths out of the animation industry are:

1) Studio executives who hate the medium...


2) Pretentious artists with their heads up their asses.

Allow me to explain...

Point one:
The entertainment industry in general is in a really sad state of affairs these days.

No one goes to the movies any more because they're ridiculously overpriced and usually terrible. Why bother driving all the way to a theater only to pay twelve bucks to watch something horrible (followed by an endless barrage of commercials) in a theater surrounded by a bunch of loudmouthed lowlife strangers while sitting in uncomfortable seats when you can wait two months and watch it on DVD in the comfort of your own home?

Why should television execs bother to spend ten billion dollars on a narrative tv series when they can just stick a handfull of fratboys and sorority girls on an island with a few cameramen and watch the advertsing dollars gush in? (sure, there are a few of exceptions, but when you consider just how many hundreds of channels people have to choose from, you have to put it all in perspective that for every 'Lost' there are about a hundred 'America's Next Top Model' clones)

Why should radio stations bother seeking out the next hot recording artist when 'American Idol' does the work for them?

Now, this is the sorry state of MAINSTREAM entertainment... cartoons have always been seen as the bastard child of the entertainment industry, so as talentless and visionless as the executives are for primetime tv shows, feature films and the music industry, animation executives represent the absolute bottom-feeders of the entertainment food chain.

Animation executives are the people who weren't savvy enough to be executives for real moneymakers like 'Temptation Island'. Can you imagine?

Consequently, these frustrated, semi-retarded little vermin are the most embittered little rodents on the planet. They HATE cartoons because they feel that animation is their prison... they're in the minor leagues. Why do you think they try so desperately to get 'celebrity voices' to do cartoons? It's because the execs want to be able to go to parties and brag about working with Chris Kattan or Judge Reinhold.
These people do not watch cartoons. They never will. They hate cartoons. On the weekends they spend their free time on jetskis or golf courses, and yet these are the people with the most creative control over any cartoon.

Don't believe me? Two words: 'Loonatics Unleashed'. Still need convincing? 'Class of 3,000'. More evidence? 'Brandy and Mr. Whiskers'. Must I go on?Okay... I will: Coconut Fred, My Gym Partner is a Monkey, Barnyard, Jake Long: American Dragon, Johnny Test, Over the Hedge, The Replacements, Legion of Superheroes, The Family Guy, Danny Phantom, The Wild, Cat-Dog, The X's, Ying Yang Yo, Catscratch, Shrek, and the list goes on and on... each one a sample of proof that animation executives are hateful, humorless, blind and - above all - dangerously stupid

If by some miracle you are a studio executive who has stumbled upon this post (which seems very unlikely given the fact that animation execs care so little about the medium they supposedly work for that I can't imagine one of them actually spending the time to read something like this) then let me tell you something: You should be deeply, deeply ashamed.

Now onto my second point...

You spineless yet inexplicably pretentious artist out there who pitch shows... my god... it's no wonder there are no good cartoons... most of your ideas are horrible.

They're all a variation of Ren and Stimpy or Justice League or Dexter's Lab. Can't anyone come up with something with even the slightest dash of ORIGINALITY?

And I'm not just talking about originality in the concepts themselves but in the designs and animation. Where are the innovators? Where are the geniuses who will advance the medium?
How come you all draw exactly like Katie Rice or Stephen Silver? Are there NO OTHER design styles?
How come you all animate exactly like 'Naruto', Don Bluth or John K? Surely SOMEONE out there has some new ideas? No - I guess not.

The problem with artists is that they're so easily influenced and manipulated. When you're not letting John K tell you what to do, you're letting some talentless writer or executive push you around. Yeah, I know, you've gotta make a living... we all do. But that doesn't mean you have to let yourself be bullied.
You work the constant overtime with no additional pay. You refuse to become savvy at the business of staying employed. You maintain this juvenille posture that as an artist you are neither expected nor required to behave professionally.

You don't feel compelled to learn about the past and present history of art, media, entertainment and your own field. You are an obnoxious prick who thinks that learning and evolving is for 'sellouts' because your idiotic 'style' is more important than anything in creation.


So these two types are the ones who hold the industry in their shit-stained hands.

Give up. Animation is doomed