Thursday, April 26, 2007
I could've picked a better week to do this...been in such a rush, I haven't had any chance to SEE much of these eps! Here's the last one in the set, ep. 3 of 'The 1,000,000 Derby'. Thought Ottawa's erstwhile guru of all cartoon Hipnessnessness, John K., might have some pearls of wisdom to bestow concerning our back-alley buddies, but a search on his blog is no dice. And this ol' dog hasta run off to practice (Escrima!), so I'll be cuttin' it short taday. Enjoy the ep, oh, and anybody whose thinking of doin' sumpin' for our anijam, 'Machines', send in them entries!
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Continuing Top Cat week with ep. 2 of 'the 1,000,000 Derby', courtesy of Youtube. I have a theory about great series. The truly greats always seem to die an early death. Mr. Hell and Invader Zim come to mind as contemporary examples. And here we have the elder statesman of canned series, Top Cat. Running 30 eps., it lasted less than a year, yet it still is one of the best-loved of the Hanna-Barbera series. It's also a prime example of classic HB studio style...adapting beloved personalities from radio and t.v. and coupling them with themes from existing popular shows, not as a pure ripoff, but as a kind of animated homage. Here's a cool v.o. artist photo from the Wikipedia article:
Having missed out on this series, and a lot of the HB 'animal' shows, Top Cat really is a surprise. I'm finding elements of Fred and Yogi in Top Cat, combining Fred's working man gruffness with Yogi's sly sensibility. Fortunately, Turner recently published the whole Top Cat series on DVD, complete with interviews, model sheets, all the goodies. Think I'll pick me up a copy next week...If I do, I'll make sure it winds up in the TAIS library for the members to peruse. Meanwhile, we'll continue with the final ep. of 'The 1,000,000 derby' tomorrow, mebbe get the good word from Ruth herself on her fave feline. Later!
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
O.k., as promised to Ruth, we're doin' Top Cat this week. A lil' before my time, I'm only familiar with Top Cat as being one of the Hanna-Barbera pantheon from the sixties. Ruth insists there's more to this alley cat than mere entertaining toons, so I'm gonna do me some research. Here's the skinny from Wikipedia:
"The central character, Top Cat — called T.C. by close friends — is the leader of a gang of Manhattan alley cats: Fancy Fancy, Spook, Benny the Ball, The Brain, and Choo Choo. Top Cat and his gang were inspired by characters from the popular US situation comedy The Phil Silvers Show. It has also been said that the Bowery Boys influenced the show. Maurice Gosfield, who played Private Duane Doberman on The Phil Silvers Show, also provided the voice for Benny the Ball in Top Cat (Benny's rotund appearance was based on Gosfield too). Arnold Stang's voicing of Top Cat strongly resembled Phil Silvers' voice as well.
A frequent plotline revolved around the local policeman, Officer Charlie Dibble, and his ineffective attempts to evict the gang from the city. The only reason that he wanted to be rid of them was that Top Cat and his gang were constantly attempting to earn a quick dollar—usually through an illegal scam. Dibble's appearance was modelled on Allen Jenkins who did his voice. The name Dibble has passed into the vernacular as slang for police officers.
In 1985 Top Cat appeared on Yogi's Treasure Hunt with all the other Hanna-Barbera characters and then in 1991 he became a teenage cat (but he still lived in a trash can) on NBC's Yo Yogi!. Also, in 1987, Top Cat was part of a full-length telefilm titled Top Cat and the Beverly Hills Cats (part of the Hanna-Barbera Superstars 10 film series), in which the gang helps a young girl claim her inheritance.
Top Cat appears in the Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law episode "Mindless" where Harvey takes Top Cat home with him. The main cast also makes a cameo appearance in an episode of The Powerpuff Girls. He also appeared in a non-speaking role in Duck Dodgers, where he was frozen solid aboard an alien spaceship."
Hmm...O.k., well any character that manages to earn an episode of Harvey Birdman AND Powerpuff / Duck Dodgers cameos deserves our attention, neh? One helluva swingin' intro theme, without a doubt! We're gonna do a three parter, 'The 1,000,000 Derby', for starters...here's ep. 1. Great writing and voice acting here...lookin' forward to the rest of the eps. Stay tooned.
From our comic homies at the Beguiling, greatest comic store in the known, comes word that local animation dood Howie Shia just snagged the 'Open Entries Grand Prix' at the Tokyo International Anime Fair, for his 'urban fairytale', Flutter. Not too familiar with Howie's work, but after seeing a teaser, I'm gonna get me aquainted. He's got a real flowing urban style that really reminds me of Kid Koala's CD liner comics. Go check his stuff out, at:
Monday, April 23, 2007
We're getting some nibbles about the anijam, but from some pretty far-removed spots! So, for those of you who aren't sure what's going on, here's a few points of clarification.
1) Yes, it is open to ANYONE, ANYWHERE...not just Canadians, and certainly we're not limiting it to just Toronto! Wherever you're at, your talents are welcome...show us whatcha got! Remember, any style of animation ya wanna do is groovy, just make sure it's 10 seconds, and it's on the topic of Machines.
2) If you want to fill in your info and submit the form through e-mail, that's cool, just shoot it to: email@example.com, with the subject line "submission Machines"
3) The TAIS anijam isn't a contest! No prizing or submission fee is involved, and there's no competition to get your film into the final edit. As long as your film is :
10 seconds in length
Doesn't contain any really, really, REALLY objectionable material
then it'll be added to the final edit. So animate away!
4) Lastly, if you're afraid you won't be able to get us your film on time, zip that sucker and ftp it to us! If you don't have a web host and need a free FTP solution, Madi Piller, TAIS head-honcho, recommends FileWind (http://www.filewind.com), a free online FTP service that will accomodate files up to 500 megs.
Hope that clarifies the sitch-oo-ashun. And again, feel free to e-mail us at TAIS (firstname.lastname@example.org) or leave commentary if'n you have any further questions or concerns. Later!
Friday, April 20, 2007
Ah, Xenu bless them kids. Every day they rediscover something and make it seem new to us animation codgers. In this case, Danny Antonucci's immortal Lupo has made his way onto YouTube...a great way to close out the week. Stay tuned next week, we're doin' Top Cat, as requested by Ruth. Later!
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Speaking of boosting, New York animator Lee Rubenstein is showin' off his latest n' greatest during the upcoming Pratt Institute grad film screening. 'Love & Pacemakers', a sordid tale of octogenerian internet romance (!) will be making its world premiere, along with other no doubt excellent animated offering, at the wonderfully named Two Boots Pioneer Theater. Screenings are at 7pm, May 4th and 5th. Won't be anywhere near Noo Yawk that week...but if yer in the area, go n' watch! And be sure to drop by Lee's site:
Just a quick 'Thank You' post to John Martz, he of Drawn.ca fame, for posting our flash anijam 'poster' on his blog! C'mon, doods, it's got the John Martz seal o' approval, so start sending in them submissions! (apologies to John for swiping his valentine pup for the post, but it was too damn cute to pass up.)
Meanwhile, head over to Drawn for info on Michel Gagne (awesome Quebec animator and comic artist) and martial arts lunacy from Superinfocom (must be seen! I'll do a mirror post tomorrow, promise).
Monday, April 16, 2007
I promised, and I promised and here she be. The official announcement of our big secret spring project, the TAIS Anijam! As you can see from my Flash 'Poster', the concept is simple; animate yerself 10 seconds, no more no less, on the topic of 'Machines'...any style ya want. Clay. Flash. 3d. Paper Cutouts. Drawrin. Silly Putty. Meat. Whatever. Just have it finished by May 15th and submitted to TAIS by May 23rd, and we'll toss 'em into a big clockwork salad of animated goodness! If all goes to plan, the first screening of the film will be at the TAIS summer showcase in June at the NFB here in Toronto.
All the info you need (what to submit your film on, where to send it, etc.)is in the submission form...just click on the .doc or .pdf button in the flash movie above, fill it out, send it in, and commence to animatin'!
Kudos to Madi Piller for comin' up with the idea, Craig Marshall for suggesting the theme, and Ruth Tait, for getting it all together and ready ta go on the TAIS site. Download your submission forms and get to animating, people!
Friday, April 13, 2007
Happy Friday the 13th everyone! As is usual, some twists and turns on everyone's fave non-Halloween creepy day. Ruth is still burning incense and chanting sutras in the desperate hope that we'll be able to get the server pass code and upload the final elements of the 'Secret TAIS project' I've been mouthing off about for MONTHS. Monday, people.
Thankfully, a treat with the trick. Joel Jessup, Mr. Hell writer and zombie plague survivor, has managed to beat his way back through the undead hordes, with the help of his trusty cricket bat. (yeah, bloody stereotype, but hey, I'm a 'Shawn' fan. Go see Hot Fuzz!) His first objective...firing us off a missive on the Mr. Hell writing experience. Go Joe!
"Mr Hell was actually the first animated show I worked on, when it was just a series proposal. My father had been friends with Dave Freedman (of Peafur Productions.-TDog) for years and I ended up doing bits of work for him. This was pre-university, and I remember at one point writing the proposal for a website for the show, despite having not actually been on the internet before. In the end what I designed was in fact impossible with the software of the time, and then Flash came along and lined up with my futuristic imaginings. "
"As Alan points out Serge was initially called Sammy and then, when I started work on it, Sidney. Originally he wasn’t French Canadian at all, which is funny because once he was it explained the whole psychotic gun-toting thing. (becuz his parents were murdered in front of him, not becuz he's Quebecois. I think. -Tdog) I originally didn’t have a clue about animation length and wrote roughly a half-an-hour synopsis for a 3 minute episode.
"Like everything in Mr Hell Serge worked best if we put him in different situations very vaguely connected with fashion rather than trying to do Pret A Slaughter every episode. Dave and Alan extensively rewrote my scripts and they were quite right to do so because in those days I could carve a good joke but I couldn't hit a plot if you painted one on the side of a barn."
"I did much of my Serge and sketch writing while at university so I spent long nights in Computer labs desperately writing parallel Serge scripts and essays. I got a 2:2. (?-Tdog) The weird, stupid energy in Serge is because I was weird and stupid and wrote the first drafts 30 minutes before they were due. "
"When I wasn’t trying to get educated I’d attend writer’s meetings in Peafur’s pokey London offices, where we’d basically have a round table evisceration of each other’s scripts, Simpsons style. For that reason my gags are sprinkled all throughout the series, as are other people gags in my work. "
"Because of being a poor student I never got a chance to visit the animation studios in Canada and I regret never getting a chance to. The animation has great character and although Flash is a lot more common now you can’t fault the design and the timing. There’s a great pleasure in sending a script off and then seeing it in amazing life a few months later, but I’d have liked to be a larger part of the process. Sometimes I wouldn’t even realise a particular sketch had been chosen for production until I saw it, like Booster Boy."
"Of course you probably want to hear the juicy stuff. (no, I wanna SEE the juicy stuff! - TDog) The sketches that even we blanched at ( I still think my National Anthrax Association sketch would have been funny), fights, the whole BBC situation, but because we were part funded by the government I signed the official secrets act and that stuff won’t be declassified until 2035."
"It’s weird to think it was about 10 years ago I first wrote anything for Mr Hell. I was once a child prodigy, now I’m just prodigiously childish. That’s life."
Can I get an Amen? Mr. Jessup is currently applying his 'weird, stupid energy' to the fine works of the Bros. McLeod, of Fuggy Fuggy fame. And the Mr. Hell Show is currently out on DVD. Why are you still sitting there reading this? Go! Buy! Like, NOW! Thanks to Joel for a great read. Next week, secrets abound! No, really. I freakin' mean it this time. Now go outside and play, dammit.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Now, time for some actual news! Couple of events scheduled with the excellent aboriginal Canuck animation director Dennis Jackson. Currently working on Wapos Bay, a stop-motion series on CBC, he's takin' some valuable time out for these two important workshops. Don't miss 'em! Meanwhile, someone needs to sneak an episode or two of Wapos Bay onto Youtube, don'tcha think?
Dennis Jackson - a co-presentation with Reelworld Film Festival
Children At-Risk workshop
When: Wed, Thurs & Fri: April 11, 12 & 13, 2007, 9 am, 10:30 am
Where: Rainbow Cinema, 80 Front Street
Dennis Jackson in person
For a Professional workshop series
When: Wed & Thurs April 11 & 12, 2007, 7:30pm
Where: TAIS, 60 Atlantic Ave Suite 102
General Public: $100, TAIS members $60
Maximum: 10 participants
As usual, hit up the TAIS website for more info. First link on the right. And, yes, I freakin' promise, the 'secret project' will be revealed tomorrow. Cheers!
Tried to post this yesterday on the mirror blog at tais.animationblogspot.com, but still havin' a few technical glitches. Taday, a creepy trio from Marc Craste, the master of skungy sepia and blasted black n' white. Pay particular close attention to the second film, a music video for the swedish band Mum that manages to be creepy, sorrowful, wistful and longing all at the same damn time. The first film, commissioned for a UK lottery, manages to be funny and cute while never losing that disturbing edge that is Craste's stock and trade. Finally, we have 'Hounds of Flesh', an excerpt from his 'Pica Towers' trilogy. Perfect viewing for the eve of Friday the 13th, if you ask me. Enjoy!
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
We've had our first official request here on the TAIS blog from erstwhile comedy writer Joel Jessup...y'know, wrote for Mr. Hell, left us our first official bit of commentary-type talk? He's promised to toss us a few good words about his life in Hell (the writing bits anyway) as long as I extend my Mr. Hell week to a fortnight...which I'll have to look up in Oxford's, cuz I'm dense. And Canadian. Joel should be just returned from Easter Holidays...should hear from him soon. Meanwhile, here's a few hellish pickup techniques for ya!
Quick note, we're just ironing out the final details on the submission form (yep, there's a form involved! It's all legit n' shit.) for that "secret project" I was talkin' bout. Announcement before week's end, swear ta freakin' Xenu. (do a Wikipedia search on that X word; just be prepared to laff yer ass off.)
Friday, April 6, 2007
We'll wrap up "Mr. Hell" week with a lil' Disney parody that I'm sure you'll recognize. Posting this week directly from TAIS H.Q., as we're in the process of takin' care of board business. I'll see about picking the brain of Joel Jessup, one of the Mr. Hell writer's on what the script writing process next week.
As well, Ruth has requested we do a bit of a 'Top Cat' retrospective next week, so I'll be prowling YouTube for Top-Cat goodness.
Finally, we'll be finalizing details on that top-secret TAIS project tonight at the board meeting, and making an announcement early next week, so stay posted. Cheers!
Thursday, April 5, 2007
More maniacal machinations from our miniscule militant mammal. Want someone to blame for all that there alliteration? Blame Joel Jessup, a UK screenwriter who worked on the scripts for the 'Serge' skits in the Mr. Hell Show, as well as having the distinction of being the first dood to leave me commentary! I'll see if we can't get a few words from Joel about workin' on Mr. Hell. Meanwhile, I've put a link to his blog in the Links of Doom. Cheers, mate!
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
I promised you some soft, cuddly carnage earlier this week, and here it is! The 'Canadian Content' half (he said with a smirk) of the Mr. Hell Show, Serge's parents were slain in front of his very adorable eyes (damn Newfies!) and it left him, well, a lil' bent out of sorts. Here we find him attending a Paris fashion school, trying to destroy the system from within...with the usual results.
Ironically enough, the Mr. Hell series just got released on DVD on April 2nd. Fer the love of Satan on a buttery Ritz cracker, go out and get yerself a copy, whydontcha! I'll have info on Canuck DVD shops what are gonna carry it in time for Friday's post. Cheers!
Another quick post, this time it's about Montreal's Tyler Gibb. Overachieving bastard that he is, he's decided that creating his own 95-minute animated feature ain't enough. Now he's showing people just how he done it in his YouTube series Details. Man, some dude's ain't never sassified. Any ambitious Flashimators out there with delusions of grandeur, this here's a taste, episode 1. There's four episodes so far, all of 'em available fer yer delectation at:
Oh, and head on over to his MySpace page, drop him the good word.
And yes, I promise I'll figure out how to embed links ifn' it kills me.
We pre-empt Mr. Hell week for a brief but important bit o' boosting. The Rantdog doods have a film in competition at the Gen Art fest in New York, and need yer votes. Watch the film here or at:
and toss 'em yer vote!
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
O.k., it's official...unless something staggering cool or important comes down the pike before Friday, this is officially Mr. Hell Week! I promised you Serge today, but I think we'll keep him for the hump. Seal. Hump. Hmmm...there was a Serge episode dealing with the porn industry...
Never mind that. Here is a compilation piece, Mr. Hell on Science. Enjoy. Oh, and don't forget, all TAIS board members (including web-logging slouches) have a meeting on Friday. We'll iron out the details about that 'Secret Project' and I should be able to post about it on Tuesday...no, really.
Monday, April 2, 2007
Let's begin the month by being mired in the past. It was funny, it was clever, it was Canadian...well, a Can-UK co-pro. Any way ya look at it, it was good, it was animated, so naturally it had to die. Mr. Hell did one year on the Comedy Network before it was canned...still shows up in re-runs, and thankfully on YouTube. Enjoy this slice of calimari comedy, I'll be serving up Seal next time. Homicidal French-Canadian seal, to be precise.