Thursday, October 25, 2007

Dave likes my shit!

Check out more of Dave's toons on

Anybody what's seen my Gonads Wiimix short knows I'm a fan of one David C. Lovelace. The music-composin' flash-animatin' n'er-do-well behind one of me fave online toons, Retarded Animal Babies, is a staple of hooligan culture site Newgrounds. His latest coup is animating a video for Weird Al's 'Straight Outta Lynwood' album. Currently, Dave's into web comix. His latest appears above.

Besides toons and tunes, Dave's also whipped up a few fonts in his day. One of 'em, Pentomino, is the interface font I used in 'First Time Out'. I wanted a font that looked sci-fi: angular and stylized, but not legible...the font should be cool enough to give the setting some credibility, but not legible enough to distract the viewer into reading every monitor and screen that goes by.

As you can see, Dave's font fit the bill perfectly. Good on ya, Dave! Somebody remind me to finally get off my ass and buy me a copy of his RAB DVD.

Dave emailed me to let me know he's linked the Youtube vid off Umop's home page. I mentioned that it was nice to see Puppy still workin', and Dave's enigmatic reply:

"Oh yeah, Puppy's working. He's working very... very...HARD in the next episode... "

This can't bode well for everyone's favorite oversexed hound. I'll keep you posted with all the latest developments.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

First Time Out

O.k., here it is, film fests be damned. A few production notes: started in 2002 as kind of reaction to the proliferation of cutesy toons from Japan (Hamtaro and Tokyo Pig, shtuff like that) and too many episodes of Gundam Wing. The main jist of the project was: Why not give a giant fighting robot to something that could actually use it? Like 1 1/2 foot tall day-glo bunnies?

I originally envisioned the project as being a machinima piece, fully realtime online in Shockwave 3d with code controlled cameras and all kind of fancy realtime bells n' whistles. When I couldn't get A) a coder or B) the time to learn Lingo, Shockwave's coding language, I re-examined the piece and decided that having a bunch of fancy-shmansy realtime interactivity wasn't going to add to the story or characters at all. So, I decided to just render the whole thing out. Modeling and animation was done in Plasma, a web-only version of Max discontinued before Autodesk bought out Discreet. Animated maps were created in Flash and exported as Mpegs, then mapped on in Plasma.

Bit ass backwards on this one...I designed and modeled almost all the characters and props before doing an animatic in Flash...I knew what elements and characters I wanted for the short, but the story needed to evolve visually. I created a full animatic in Flash over the course of 8 months, refining the story and dumping a whole lot of dialog in favor of action in the process.

Initial designs and model sheets were done in '02, with the modeling taking place in 03/04. Took a break, then started the animatic in July of '04, finishing in September of '05. In April of '06 I started the first scene, and finished animation in May of '07. Enter Drew Frohmann, that most excellent half of the most excellent comedy duo of Rub (Rob Collinet, Splashworks art director) and Tug (Drew), who together comprise the team known as Hot Dog Boy. Drew had a gig at a sound studio, Pirate Radio and TV, and Rob suggested he might be able to help out with sound.

We recorded the dialog at Pirate (3 1/2 hours and 63 takes for around 1 1/2 minutes), with Dan Branco designing fx, Chris Tim and Tim composing, Bill Turchinetz supervising, and Spenser Hall putting it all together in Pirate's Dolby 5.1 lab. Drew and production diva Tyna Myaerzke made it all happen after hours. All just for the kudos and a piece for the ol' demo reel...they, of course, rock the ass. Got the final mixdowns from Spense on Sept. 17th, just before heading off to Ottawa, where I managed to get a copy into the hands of my two college profs, Don Perro and Paul West, as well as Pilar Newton, Jerry Beck and Lev Polyakov.

That's that! The plan right now is to try Kalamazoo and Platform, amongst others. Haven't had much luck finding a fest that the film fits into, but I gotta keep pushin', cuz me Pirate mates worked too damn hard to allow this stuff to not get heard. Let me know whatcha welcome, people! And thanks for watchin'.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

GIRAF3: nope.

Sweet joosy jebus. Here's sumthin' every animator looks forward to seein' in his inbox on a cold, wet October mornin'...another rejection letter. Yay!

Dear Neil,
Thank you for your submission to the 3rd Annual Giant Incandescent Resonating Animation Festival (GIRAF3). We regret to inform you that your work entitled, “First Time Out” was not selected for screening at our festival.

We were impressed by the amount and quality of submissions we received, and unfortunately our programming resources only allows us to program a certain number of films. We strongly encourage you to submit again to GIRAF4, as we will be expanding our festival to accommodate even more screenings next year.

As a thank you for submitting to our festival we would like to offer you a complimentary one year associate membership with Quickdraw Animation Society. This Membership will keep you posted on upcoming events, workshops and opportunities at QAS. It will also give you free access to our library of over 3000 animations and books.

The 3rd Annual Giant Incandescent Resonating Animation Festival, takes place this November 2 + 3, 2007 at Quickdraw Animation Society. GIRAF celebrates the spirit of independent and underground animation, showcasing Canadian animators and presenting animations from around the globe. GIRAF is the only festival of its kind in western Canada; it plays an essential role in the promotion and education of animation in our community.
We look forward to reviewing your work in the future.

Keith Murray
Programming & Communications Coordinator
Quickdraw Animation Society

Hooboy. O.k., sure, it may have been a mismatch. 'First Time Out' is big robot combat action and QAS, like TAIS, tends to skew more towards the art side of animation (hey, Richard Reeves...thanks for that there DVD, dood!) Plus, apparently the ratpack over at QAS got theyselves a shitload o' cheese this year. From Keith:

Hey Neil,

Sorry we didn't get a chance to fit you in this year. We had to turn down a lot of really amazing stuff, we were really overwhelmed with submissions this year and just didn't have the budget to program them.

I'm sending out a press release today, i'll make sure you get it.



Still a kick in the balls. Whelp, there goes me dreams of premiering my film in a Canuck fest. Phuck it, I'm gonna post it to YouTube and my Frederator Raw account tomorrow, then y'all can see what I've done been fussing about. Plus, I'll give y'all the rundown on the GIRAF3 lineup...cuz I'm not really a pissy bitch. Not really. More later.

Friday, October 19, 2007

More Madi Madness! Zinebi 49

The woman just don't stop! 'Toro Bravo' is an official selection in the Zinebi 49 International Documentary and Short Film festival in Bilbao, Spain. Fest runs from Nov. 26th to Dec.'s a juried competition accepting both foreign and Spanish-language Toro is covered coming and going! I'll keep y'all posted as to where Toro shows up next. Meanwhile, an open call to anybody who visits the blog regularly. Got a film screening somewhere? Picked up a prize at a competition? Lemme know, and we'll profile y'all here on the TAIS blog. Cheers!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Madi Madness: Toro Bravo and Poetry Projections 2

O.k., one last post to fill y'all in on what's happenin' with Madi's films. Besides having a new film in the Poetry Projections 2 screening, Madi's film 'Toro Bravo' is also screening at the St. John's Women's Film Festival, and was picked up by the Cucalorus Festival in North Carolina and the Filmpool Festival in Sask-Atch-Chew-Wan (pronunciation key provided at no extra cost to you.)
Go Madi! Still no word on GIRAF3...I've sent them the e-mail, hopefully have an update for you tomorrow. Late.

Graham Annable: Last Duet on Earth

I believe I've mentioned this dude before. Graham Annable is a Youtuber of renown, posting his own animated films, replete with a twisted, dark comic sense. He's taken to posting a weekly strip on the Telltale Games site (home of perennial faves Sam and Max as well as the game adaptation of Jeff Smith's immortal Bone comics). Although he currently hangs his hat in the Bay area of them United States, he's a Sheridan alum originally from Sault St. Marie. His stuff is frequent front page material on he gives us a musical spin on zombie horror. I'll see ifn' I can't get a few words from the man hisself on what he's currently workin' on. Meanwhile, click the link above and check out his blog!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Happy Beaver is mine!!! Muhhahahaha...

Okay, after seein' this lil' dood on Jeff Pidgeon's blog yesterday (hopped over from that there Drawn article on his toy collection), I just couldn't help meself. I jumped into Firebird and got my erstwhile buddy and all-round good fella Jey to order me up one. Hey, and Jeff's even gonna sign the box! Happy, happy, joy, joy! Here's a few shots courtesy of a website called Plastic and Plush.

Few notes: It's a 5" rotocast vinyl (whatever that be meanin') figger with no movable parts (like it's gotta move...look at that toofy grin! Tail detail is beauty too...John K. would be proud). Although it's a character that Jeff designed hisself, along with the box-art, the modelin' kudos go to a fella by the name of Vin Teng. Note that there's only gonna be 500 of these lil' fellers made up, so get yers now! It'll cost ya just over fitty bones to get your very own Happy Beaver just in time for the Holidays. Or, y'know, fer whenever...whenever's good, right?

Jeff's had a perty storied career....just check out that IMDB page! Hopefully Happy is the first in a long line of figgers he'll be whippin' up for us, him and Ving. Meanwhile, I read that once all the Orange Happies sell out, we may be seein' him in other colors of the rainbow. Good on ya, Jeff! I'll post a pic of Happy on the Bloor Subway once I gets him. Late.

p.s.: Hate to be spurious here, but doin' a search for 'Happy Beaver' and 'Plastic and Plush' or any combo thereof without your Google filters on is not recommended for the faint of heart or the non-ironically inclined. Just use my handy article links, and be safe from all them yiffers out there.

Madi Piller: Poetry Projections 2

Just a quick post about an upcoming event, featuring a new film by TAIS head honcho Madi Piller!

The Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto (LIFT),
in collaboration with the International Festival of Authors (IFOA) present:

Poetry Projections II
Sunday, October 21, 2007
3:00pm – 5:00pm
York Quay Centre, Studio Theatre
Harbourfront Centre

LIFT and the IFOA present the premier of ten new collaborative works bridging film and poetry. Each project has been commissioned by LIFT as a pairing of a poet and a filmmaker, each with distinct voices in their medium. The collaborative pairs have each produced a short film to engage a visual dialogue with the poets’ work, most of whom will read live.

The program of ten new works will be preceded by a selection from the 2005 program and followed by a discussion with the poets and filmmakers on cross-disciplinary collaboration. Reception to follow.

Filmmakers and Poets:

Carl Brown and John Barlow
Dan Browne and Goran Simic
Kelly Egan and Souvankham Thammavongsa
Philip Hoffman and Gerry Shikatani
Heather Keung and Patria Rivera
Shana MacDonald and Margaret Christakos
Annette Mangaard and Ray Hsu
Vicky Moufawad-Paul and Suzanne Robertson
Madi Piller and Priscila Uppal
Gariné Torossian and Louise Bak

Admission: Free

Poetry Projections has been made possible through the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts– Media Arts Section and The League of Canadian Poets.

For further information about the program or to arrange interviews with the artists contact:
LIFT’s Director of Operations Ben Donoghue at 416.588.6444 or

Please put “Poetry Projections II + your request” in subject heading.

For further information about IFOA contact:
Print: Becky Toyne at 416.973.5836 or
Broadcast: Shane Gerard at 416.973.4518 or

It's this weekend, it's free, it's got Madi in it, plus a whole bunch of other great filmmakers, teamed up with some of Canada's great prose-slingers. So, go get all cultured n' schtuff.

Monday, October 15, 2007

NFB celebrates World Animation Day!

World Animation Day. The best damn idea what I never heard of, and the fine folks at the National Film Board of Canada are having a week-long celebration to honor the blessed Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto, Winnipeg and Moncton, no less! Workshops, special screenings, get-togethers, you name it, and TAIS is hip-deep in that action! The NFB is holdin' a swingin' shindig on the 26th, and yers truly will be there, camera in hand to grab some of the action. And a vodka martini. Check out the animation, then go to the NFB website for more of them details. Cheers!

Jeff Pidgeon: have Beaver, will travel

I hate toy packrats...y'know, the doods what will obsessively collect toys n' action figgers n' stuff just so they can have the whole series, r' whatnot. Guys with a discernin' eye, who pick up shtuff because it looks great, now, they're fairly rare.

Doods who collect and create, now they're a rare breed indeed. Meet a member of the species, or at least his work. Jeff Pidgeon, animation writer from California, is also an avid collector of the cool and cute, as well as a designer. Check out his super-groovy Happy Beaver vinyl, seen here posin' in Vancouver, all travellin' gnome styles. I've sent Mr. Pidgeon the e-mail in a brazen attempt to aquire one of these limited edition orange rodents fer my very own. I'll keep y'all posted. Meanwhile, check out Jeff's collection on Flikr. Link courtesy of the master of all things drawn, John Martz.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Crash of the Titans intro by Atomic

Aaron Simpson, dark master of the Flash, just posted this over at Cold Hard Flash. Tipped him off to this lil' slice of puppet-styled goodness after playin' the game last week. The doods at Radical, the dev. co., did their level's a great playin' game. But it's no where near as groovy as this lil' intro. Ah, well, it was a client job. Enjoy!

TF2: Meet the crew

Ya gotta wonder, seein' these, if'n the doods at Valve are thinkin' of gettin' out of the gaming biz, and getting into the features. Any studio that can give us 5 kick-ass games on one disc, the recently-released Orange Box, and still manage to pump out shorts of this calibre (pun intended), well, it just makes me smile, is all. Pay particular close attention to the Engineer, my current fave of the lot. Gotta love a guy who can custom build a passle of great hardware and still pick a guitar...'specially with them gloves on. More later.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Friday, October 5, 2007

TAIS nooze to ends the weeks...

Friday night before Turkey Day weekend, gotta train tomorrow mornin' at 8:30 a.m., and my ass is STILL in this damn chair. Phark. Enuff gripin', here's some good news for y'all...check out what's comin' up from TAIS!

1.1 Patrick Jenkins, animator and documentary filmmaker has 2 new documentaries. Catch the premieres on BRAVO TV !

- Death is in trouble Now: Explores the powerful artwork of Toronto Artist Mark Adair who creates gothic sculpture on contemporary themes like war, pollution and sexual politics - premieres
Sunday OCT 7 at 8pm on BRAVO! Television

- Of Lines and Men: The Animation of Jonathan Amitay - premieres Sunday OCT 14 at 8pm BRAVO! Television
This documentary explores Jonathan Amitay’s life and how his personal experiences growing up in Palestine/Israel during the Second World War shaped his approach to animation.
1.2 Kino Art Festival : The Best Films from Russian Animation Film Festivals!
Sunday October 7, 2007 - 11:45 am at the NFB cinema. 150 John Street, Toronto. $10 General Admission.
1.3 Toronto After Dark Film Festival and Toronto Animated Image Society presents : AACHI & SSIPAK
Jo Beom-Jin’s debut animated feature AACHI AND SSIPAK is a raucous and riotously rude piece of work, a film that delights in every bit of violence and potty humor.
Jo Beom-Jin, South Korea, 2006, 90 min, Korean with English Subtitles, 35mm
Saturday, Oct 20 2007, 4.45pm, Bloor Cinema
$8 Matinee.
1.4 The National Film Board of Canada and The Toronto Animated Image Society are proud to present:
Madame Tutli Putli : Behind the scenes with the directors Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski
October 25, 2007 - 7:00 pm at the NFB Cinema – 150 John Street, Toronto.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

New Docs by Patrick Jenkins!

Just got the word from TAIS homie Patrick Jenkins, 'bout some stuff he's been workin' on!

I have two new documentaries that are going to be shown on BRAVO! Television (Canada only). Here are the air dates:

- Death is in trouble Now: The Sculptures of Mark Adair - premieres Sunday OCT 7 at 8pm on BRAVO! television
- Of Lines and Men: The Animation of Jonathan Amitay - premieres Sunday OCT 14 at 8pm BRAVO! television

As well I'm going to be interviewed about these two documentaries on the CKLN Radio (88.1 FM) "Framelines" with Barbara Goslawski this Friday, Oct. 5, 2007 at 2 p.m.

Patrick Jenkins

(If you don't have BRAVO! (I don't), don't despair, we will be screening the two documentaries on the evening of Saturday, Dec. 8 at a Toronto Animated Image Society event at the National Film Board's John Spotton Theatre in Toronto.)

I'll have more on that Dec. 8th screening closer to the day. Cheers!

The TDog Barks at Midnight...o.k., 2:41. Fred 100

It's 2:41 a.m. on Oct. 3rd, the day after Frederator 100, and I gotta get this off me chest.Plus, I accidentally put the wrong ep of 'Ask a Ninja' on my Play-Yan, so I had to go and get it off the compooter.

It's yer 100th ep. You coulda done so damn much with it. Kept what you guys felt were the best toons you saw submitted this year and spring 'em on us en masse. Do a student show with those wacky CalArts and VanArts kids, and the other great student work we've seen on Fred. A 'Best of Fred' show covering the cream of the crop, yer faves from ALL the eps. Another 'FredEx' style anijam or a viewer's fave collection. 100th ep. Ripe with potential. So much you could do to celebrate the fact that 100 episodes later Frederator represents one of the best ways to see short-form indy animation online.

Instead, you give the whole ep to one dood. One freakin' dood. I could go off on a tear about Doug Bressler here, but I won't...cuz he makes me laugh. Hard. His 'Ask A Ninja' eps are still some of my faves...not the greatest animation mind, but when you've got his sense of comic timing and his instinct for visual gags (retarded bear in the circus), the rest don't matter for shit. Doug ain't the issue.

Neither is Weird Al. Weird Al is a geek god, a dorkling demiurge who helped me laugh my way through the eighties, which were a long dark time for me. Like the Sheppard subway line on a February morning dark. Nope, Al ain't the problem either. Ya could have given the whole ep to any animator whose ever had a short in Frederator's run, and this pooch would still be barkin'.

No, my issue is this. The whole freakin' episode goes to one guy...JUST ONE GUY?!? And to top it off, it's not his best stuff, Al's neither. This big, long 11-minute plus rambler that goes on for ever, doesn't have a punch, and arrives nowhere in particular. And to top it off, this vid has been circulatin' round online since Aaron Simpson posted it in the Cold Hard Flash blog, what, eight flippin' months ago? This is how you choose to celebrate the 100th episode of Frederator? A music vid that doesn't show off the best the animator and the musician have to offer, and one that's almost a year old, widely played online and off. That's what you've got?

Wasted, guys, totally. Next time a landmark episode is comin' up, do a poll online, or sumthin'...take some freakin' suggestions, doods. Cuz this shit was weak. Weak, weak, weak.

And, yah, I podcast put together for the love of doin' it every week. I love the idea of Frederator, still do. Anything you guys want from this pooch to boost the podcast, name it. Still, I gotta call foul. You've got better, I know, I've seen it. I've got the episodes archived, guys. It's great stuff, and I'm
lovin' it, but not this episode.

O.k., I feel better now. Don't worry Fred, still luv ya, but damn, the shit you pull sometimes. All right, let that flamin' feelin' begin.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

OIAF '07: 10 Reasons #4-Michael Dudok Du Wit

Here's "The Monk and The Fish", from perennial fest fave Michael Dudok Du Wit. You really need to see this on the big screen or a good LCD tv to appreciate the great color in this one...sorry for the semi-good YouTube imagery, but it seems like one of the only ways to watch his stuff, for he's not on any compilations that I know of...I'll do more digging. Meanwhile, check out that calligraphic line work and dead-on musical timing. Someone once described this as 'an allegory of acceptance'...personally, I just like the goofiness of a peaceful monk transposed into a Wile E. Coyote-style conflict with a fish he just can't catch. Either way, it's great stuff, and Helene's fourth fave film...if I'm to take the list on the OIAF site in order, of course. More later!

OIAF '07: 10 Reasons #1-Jacques Drouin

Helene Tanguay, the NFB's own earth mother and worldwide spokesperson for animation had herself a special screening at this year's fest. The topic: 10 reasons to love animation, a.k.a. ten of her fave films. She started the set with Jacques Drouin's masterwork 'Mindscape'. Wasn't able to track it down online, but I did find some of his other work, an excellent antiwar piece called 'Ex-Child'. That incredible flowing sandlike graphite-on-paper textured look comes courtesy of his mastery of the Alexeieff-Parker Pinscreen, a massive version of the moveable pin screens on those novelty clocks you can find at Radio Shack (sorry, The Source). The amount of work and attention to detail in a Drouin film is staggering...his flowing, rippling images have become an NFB hallmark. More of Helene's faves later!

Monday, October 1, 2007

'First Time Out' second shot: GIRAF3

O.k., new week, new post! Please forgive the mess...managed to do something in Blogger's template thang last week that completely screwed up the layout...I'll iron it out this week. Meanwhile, my second film fest submission sees my film going off to GIRAF3, a crazy two-day nutterfest put on by the fine folks at the Quickdraw Animation Society, our big sister in the prairies. Got the impression that this was more of an abstract film fest, with luminaries such as Richard Reeves having made an appearance at the previous fests. Still, gotta roll with them punches, and I really want the film to premiere at a Canuck fest. Wish me the luck.