Friday, March 28, 2008

Composers week: Kevin Manthei

One of the hardest workin' doods in both the animation and video game world is Kevin Manthei. Kevin was earning his main bread n' butter doing soundtracks for such games as Twisted Metal Black and Kill.switch when he was tapped by his ever-luvin' lord of alt-comic darkness Jhonen Vasquez to score Invader Zim. Seems Jhonen's a big gamer, and wanted that kind of sensibility throughout Zim, which is evident in the tone, the design, and the music.

The above clips contain only audio...don't know why the fan posted it this way on the YouTubes, but it works nicely. You can hear this big-ass multilayered cinematic sound, full of energy...Jhonen insisted that each episode of Zim be fully scored, virtually unheard of in television animation generally. Kevin's scores gave the series this epic feel that just wasn't evident in any other Nick show running at the time.

Zim got itself cancelled...the show was dark, sardonic and creepy, and at the time it premiered (just after Sept. 11th), kids just didn't wanna watch, although scenesters and goths considered it to be the best thing since black makeup. Kevin's gone on to score Xiaolin Showdown, Johnny Test, and a bunch of other projects, but for my dollar, the Zim scores are still his greatest stuff. I actually had Kevin in mind for the score for my GUNBunnies short, but, damn...just couldn't afford him. If I ever get me a budget for anything, this is gonna be the dude I goes to.

Tron a la suisse

The art of 'Sweding' was coined by the Jack Black/Mos Def flick "Be Kind, Rewind"...basically it's a lo-fi short form remake of a major motion picture. In this rather brilliant example, we have a stop-mo re-envisioning of the 'light cycle' sequence from the movie Tron. Created by the mysterious Freres Hueon. I'll try n' track down more about this mysterious stop-mo bros and their sweding ways later. Meanwhile, enjoy!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Composers week: Susumu Hirasawa

Bit of a mini-series starting today. I've just been tracking down some of my fave animation scores and themes, and it occurred to me that animation composers are some of the unsung heroes of the biz. Good music and sound design enhances animation, and great sound work becomes iconic.

Take for our first example the wonderfully bizarre and catchy tunes of Susumu Hirasawa. At once surreal and approachable, his work fits perfectly with the hallucinogenic art and animation of Satoshi Kon, he of 'Paranoia Agent' and 'Paprika' fame. The opening to PA, seen here, is of particular note...the music seems uplifting and triumphant while having just an edge of oddness and mania. Coupled with Kohn's imagery...his characters laughing at the audience while underwater, in midair or standing on a radio tower with a mushroom cloud in the distance. There's no visible derision here, it's like they've all just gotten that one big "meaning of life" joke.
The series itself is very Lynchian...I hesitate to use the phrase "Anime Twin Peaks", but that's the only way I can quickly describe it. Rent or buy, you won't be disappointed.

Here's the opening to Satoshi Kon's latest, "Paprika" about a straight-laced researcher who dives into dreams as a perky j-poppy red-headed alter-ego (hence the name). The whole movie is about dream, reality, perception and how we present ourselves to the waking world as opposed to our private selves...once again, Hirasawa's composition deftly blends an odd technical sensibility with a nice poppy beat. These two make a great team. Here's his official site...he's got some of his mp3's available for free legal download, so go get 'em! More music magic tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

MONSTERJAM announced in Fred #125

The guys from Channel Frederator have been kind enuff to supply us with some pimpage for the MONSTERJAM event being hosted by TAIS. You can see the trailer here in Ep. 125...that makes two toons I've gotten published by the Fred! Woot! Special thanks to Eric Homan for programming this, and for promoting the jam. Intrigued? Pop on over to the TAIS site for more info, then make us some monster-mation and send it on in!

And don't ferget, you can also submit any animated film you've made in the past 2 years to the TAIS animation showcase! All the juicy details are available on the TAIS site. Meanwhile, this ep. of Fred promises Playmobil girls gone inappropriate and more French flavored pop-topped fun from the guys at Pileated Pictures. Enjoy!

Beguiling nooze!

Lot of groovy goin's on over there at TAIS' fave comic shop The Beguling. They've got Toronto Comic Arts Fest posters now available online, announcements for the Persepolis screenings at the Bloor Cinema, and a comics launch event at the Victory Cafe tonight! Plus, their giving some pimpage to a major event being organized by the University of evening with comics legend Art Spiegelman. Get the skinny at The Beguiling's website.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Romain Segaud: Radio NOVA spot

John Martz over at Drawn just did a post about Romain Segaud's commercial work, and it brought back some warm 'n fuzzies about BipBip! and naturally I had to track down some of his newer stuff on the YouTubes. Here in this spot for Radio NOVA, Romain is employing his trademark style of animating clipped images (in this case he's going with a cool illustrated style rather than photos) to show the action on various music theme 'islands'...check out those pool toys on Rap Island. Hop on over to his personal site for more.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Back up for Emru

I don't like re-blogging, but in this case, I'll make the exception: From today's Cartoon Brew:

Animation writer and critic Emru Townsend was diagnosed last December with leukemia and a condition called monosomy 7. He is in need of finding a bone marrow donor match soon. While donors can’t specify who they want to donate too, Emru’s family has started a website that offers information on bone marrow donation and teaches adults how to sign up for their country’s bone marrow registry.

For those who aren’t familiar with Emru’s work, he founded Frames Per Second Magazine in 1991 and has continued its puulication in one form or another up through today at As a fellow publisher, I can say that nobody publishes an animation-related magazine to get rich; we do it because we love the art form, and Emru has for decades been one of animation’s best friends and most intelligent critics. Both Jerry and I wish him a speedy recovery.

Fuckin', fuckin', fuckin', fuckin' cancer, man. Hit up, and check out FPSmagazine. Let Emru know yer thinkin' of him.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Well, I've been alluding to this for a few weeks, so before I heads off to grab a copy of Condemned 2 (scary as hell) I'll make the big announcement. The Toronto Animated Image Society is proud to announce...MONSTERJAM!

Yep, we've organized a new anijam this year, and this time around the theme is monsters. Animated 10 seconds however your want of whatever story you want, but it's gotta be about monsters. Send us a 720x480 Quicktime (give me a shout if you've got conversion or upload issues) along with a couple of stills and your contact info by May 30th. We'll edit all your creepy goodness into a big-ass anijam film that'll be first screened at the National Film Board in June as part of TAIS' Animation Celebration. Afterwards, we'll post it up on MyToons and submit it to Channel Frederator, and it'll be featured on the TAIS main site.

Did I mention prizes? The guys at Monster Factory and The Beguiling were kind enough to throw some goodies our way to use as prizes for the coolest, creepiest entries. We've got hand-made monster stuffies and author-signed copies of Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi and Kean Soo's Jellaby! I'll post some pictures of them goodies next week, as well as keepin' you posted on all our entries here on the blog, as well as supplying you with the occasional sneak peak.

Special thanks go out to the folks at Channel Frederator and MyToons for the promise of pimpage for this event. Don't just sit there, there's monsters to animate...go, go, go!

Frédéric Back screening at the Bloor Cinema tomorrow!

One last reminder of the big screening tomorrow at the Bloor Cinema. We'll be screening the films of the legendary Frédéric Back. Remember, this is a free event, and Mr. Back will be there to field questions, so come on out...we want the crowd of hugeness. See you there!

MyToons Bumper Blastoff winners!

MyToons 'Bumper Blastoff' contest has wrapped up, with winners taking home big cash, major kudos, and a chance to get their portfolio a looksee by the dudes at INTERspectacular, Freestyle Collective and Nailgun. (I think I've got Nailgun on vynil somewheres...) The grand prize winner is 'Furnick', animated by David J. Suroviec. Nicely done. Kudos to all them award winners and runners-up. Great contests the dudes at MyToons come up with...gotta whip up something for their next one.

Speakin' o' contests, I'll have a big-ass related item of noozy goodness for y'all later today. Stay tooned. Meanwhile, enjoy David's short while he basks in the bucks. Later!

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Good luck gettin' this tune outta yer head. Animated by Wonchop, music by Weebl...and if you happen to frequent the home of catchy nonsense Weebl's Stuff, you'd know of what I speak. Aaron Simpson recently interviewed head egg Jonti Picking over at CHF. Drop by, read up, then hit up Weebl's for more danceable looping nuttiness. Hey, Jonti, howzabout adding embed links to the site? And howzabout not verbally kicking my ass if you don't enjoy it when large hairy Canadian knuckledraggers surreptitiously grab the code from yer site and embed it in their blogs? Seriously, nothin' but love, dood.

TAIS news

Quick news update today, big news come Monday...stay tooned!

Toronto Animated Image Society

1) Events:
1.1- Frédéric Back : Drawing Life
1.2- Open Call
2) Workshops:
2.1- Stop Motion Workshop Advanced
3) New Members

1) Events:
1.1 The Toronto Animated Image Society is proud to present:
Frédéric Back: Drawing Life
Master animator, Oscar®-winning award, environmental activist.
TAIS will be presenting a program of 80 minutes of 35mm film prints:
All Nothing
The Mighty River
The Man Who Planted Trees
Where: The Bloor Cimena ( Bloor and Bathurst )
When: Saturday March 15, 2008 at 4pm – FREE ADMISSION

Also for the first time in Toronto an exhibit of Frédéric Back drawings at the Gallerie at the Alliance Française of Toronto, The Bluff Gallery at the Scarborough arts Council and at the gallery Céline Allard at the Centre Francophone
Visit : for complete information
( download postcard and artist bio )
This unique exhibition and screenings is made possible thanks to the financial support of SAXON INVESTMENTS, the loan of works of art and films by Radio Canada and our community partners : LIFT, Cine-Byte Digital, Now Magazine, Alliance Française de Toronto, Centre Francophone, Scarborough Arts Council.

1.2 OPEN CALL to animators !
Visit : this coming week end.

2) Workshops:
2.1- Stop Motion Workshop
Advanced (Independent Stop Motion Filmmaking)
Sunday April 20, 2008
10 – 5pm

A look at the world of independent stop-motion filmmaking, covering the spectrum of how it's done and how best to apply it to your own potentialproject. We'll take a glimpse into what equipment is used, to cost effective lighting techniques to basic set building and prop-making techniques. Also, fundamental animation filmmaking principals will be covered, such as the importance of story and unique artistic style in indie filmmaking, from someone who's been through it (and survived!).

Instructor : Mike Weiss
Born and raised in Southern Ontario, Mike studied Classical Animation at Oakville's Sheridan College. In the fall of his graduating year, he performed at the Ottawa International Animation Festival in the scratch-on-film troupe, 'Scratch Track'. Since then Mike has worked on and helped initiate several short films, music videos, and television programs utilizing a variety of animation techniques, though he most enjoys working in the tangible 3 dimensions of stop-motion. In 2005 he worked on the animated short, "Ray Harryhausen Presents: The Pit and the Pendulum", for which he was tickled to receive praise from the legend himself.

Mike's own stop-motion animated short film, "Inheritance" has been screened in festivals throughout North America and Europe, including its debut at the Ottawa International Animation Festival and its inclusion in the animation industry publication Stash magazine. He is currently working on his follow-up film with the National Film Board.

Cost : $ 50 Non-Members
$ 35 Members
Enrollment is Limited to 8
More Workshops to be announced !

3) New Members
TAIS welcomes new members:
Siobhan Murphy
Kate Wilson
Veronika Belianina
Mark Dowsett
Frank Vignando

Toronto Animated Image Society
60 Atlantic Avenue, suite 102
Toronto, Ontario
M6K 1X9

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tim Farrell

Find more videos like this on Channel Frederator RAW

Tim Farrell, he of 'E-mail cartoon' fame, has joined the band of merry mental patients at the Frederator RAW site. Joy! Here, his character Mister Mistor has some advice for expecting mothers. Who probably shouldn't watch this. More later.

Friday, March 7, 2008

MyToons: Bumper Blast contest

Just a quick post before I bivouac my ass indoors for the weekend with a copy of Smash Brother Brawl. Updates and nooz from our homies over at features include buttons for small, medium and large embed sizes for those of you havin' problems sinking their 350 x 500's into your blog posts. And they've wrapped up their 'Bumper Blastoff' contest! The idea here was to animate a bumper (10-30 second promo) for the site, with seven grand and a bunch of goodies on the line. (Man I wish I had had the time to do this. Ah, nootz.) They'll be announcing the winners on March 12th. Meanwhile, enjoy some of my faves, and I'll see you all next week.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Reminder: Frédéric Back

Just a quick reminder about our upcoming week of events celebrating the works of Frédéric Back. Remember, these are all free, so come on out and show Mr. Back some love.

The Toronto Animated Image Society is proud to present:
Frederic Back : Drawing Life
Master animator, Oscar®-winning award, environmental activist.
TAIS will be presenting a program of 80 minutes of 35mm film prints:

All Nothing
The Mighty River
The Man Who Planted Trees

Where: The Bloor Cimena ( Bloor and Bathurst )
When: Saturday March 15, 2008 at 4pm ( ARTIST IN PERSON ) -– FREE ADMISSION !

Also for the first time in Toronto, an exhibit of Frederic Back drawings at the Gallerie at the Alliance Française of Toronto, The Bluff Gallery at the Scarborough arts Council and at the gallery Celine Allard at the Centre Francophone.
Visit : for complete information

This unique exhibition and film screenings is made possible
thanks to the financial support of SAXON INVESTMENTS,
the loan of works of art and films by Radio Canada
and our community partners : LIFT, Cine-Byte Digital,
Alliance Française of Toronto, Centre Francophone and Scarborough Arts Council.

Toronto Animated Image Society
60 Atlantic Avenue, suite 102
Toronto, Ontario
M6K 1X9

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Seems that while Cadbury's stateside office has gone with the tried and true clucking bunny, this year the home bureau (see ol' blighty) has decided to go with a bit racier theme...stop-mo animated shorts featuring suicidal Cadbury Creme Eggs. The campaign, "Here Today, Goo Tomorrow" comes to us courtesy of the merry, merry nutbars at Partizan Labs. Directed by Chris Cairns. Enjoy...and go get yerself a chocky. You've earned it. Just the one, though.