Blue Sky Studios’ latest film, Ferdinand, based on the 1936 children’s book The Story of Ferdinand came out December 15th of last year. And today, we learned that it was nominated for an Academy Award! It’s not the first to be nominated, but it’s the first in a while. Ferd is Blue Sky Studios’ twelfth film, and the third one that I’ve worked on. This is the film at Blue Sky that I am most proud of having contributed to, mainly because it’s the one that I definitely contributed the most to, and because of who specifically on the film I was able to support. On Ferdinand, I worked in two departments as a production assistant (PA) where I helped manage those departments day-to-days. This won’t be a full post-mortem, or cover all of my feelings and thoughts, as I am 1) not allowed to discuss certain things 2) don’t feel that it’s my place to discuss certain things, but this is just my own little celebratory post.
There’s a lot of interesting writing about animation on the Internet, and not all of it is easy to find. So what is this link roundup? This first of many will contain articles, videos, and the like that I’ve stumbled across that I think animation fans would enjoy. For now, this won’t be a weekly or consistent series, but rather something I’ll post when I’ve accumulated a decent amount, or found something I just HAVE to share, like this first one:
“The Night Begins to Shine” from Teen Titans Go!
Teen Titans Go! initially felt like a slap in the face for me, as the original Cartoon Network cartoon it’s based off of is SUCH a solid show. But TTG has definitely grown on me, thanks in a large part to its nonstop DC Comics Easter eggs and aforementioned song. NPR recently published an article about how this song went from a sound library to a chart topping single. I’ve been obsessed with “The Night Begins to Shine” ever since I happened to catch the debut of the episode it’s in (“40%, 40%, 20%“) this song for a while, sharing it with people and genuinely liking the song. Below I’ve linked the song by the original artist imposed over the music video that was made to go with the Fallout Boy cover:
TIME Magazine spotlights Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Time Magazine has a new called “Firsts: Women Who Are Changing the World” where they spotlight women across various fields and walks of life who were pioneers in some way. We have firsts for athletes, politicians and…animation. The sad part about this however, as Cartoon Brew aptly puts it, is that Kung Fu Panda 2 director Jennifer Yuh Nelson was the first…and still ONLY woman to direct a major American feature animated film on her own (as in she didn’t have a co-director, like, say Brenda Chapman did on both The Prince of Egypt and technically Brave).
Cartoon Brew already did cover this, but I felt that it was worth another mention. Also the comment sections on these articles are always a little disappointing. But comments like that fuel the fire.
Story Artist Adam Cootes Shares His Career Path
Full disclosure: I work with Adam at Blue Sky Studios, where he’s Head of Story on one of our upcoming projects. I happened to be perusing Twitter when I saw an article from Animation Magazine simply called “How I Landed a Career in Animation” and clicked on it. My eyes skipped the intro and jumped straight in only to notice how familiar it sounded. Looking at the photo I realized that it was someone who sits a few desks away from me! Adam’s story is an absolutely fascinating one. It’s interesting too to read about people who didn’t go the typical film school route, or people who started a bit later than most. Actually inspiring read.
Cuphead’s Animation Process talk at GDC
I have been waiting for Cuphead for forever. This amazing platformer is styled like oldschool 1930s rubberhose cartoons. On top of that, the 2D animation is done traditionally, which, like, sincere kudos to Studio MDHR. Check out the trailer, watch this awesome 30-minute talk below, and pray that Cuphead is actually, finally coming out this month:
Female Animators Redrawing gender lines in LA MAg
The article, “These Female Animators are Redrawing an Industry’s Gender Lines” discusses the disparity between the increasing number of women attending animation schools like CalArts (which is heavily mentioned in this) to how few (comparatively) are working in the industry and/or holding higher positions. (I think some of the commenters from the Cartoon Brew Jennifer Yuh Nelson article should read this, TBH.) It’s worth a read to inform yourself about common issues that exist in the film/animation industry.
Spike & Mike Doc Campaign Revived on IndieGoGo
I posted about a crowdfunding campaign to fund a documentary about the Spike and Mike Animation Festival in a previous post, but between then and now the campaign was cancelled in leu of a new campaign structure. Rather than all-or-nothing, the creators are utilizing Flexible Funding, which will let them keep whatever they raise. A smart move for a cool project whose initial goal was maybe a little too ambitious for such a niche within a niche as an animation documentary. But I am all about this so I’m happy to see it get some help. The campaign only has 3 days left, so support it on IndieGoGo ASAP!
Paragon Sakuga Facebook Group
Not that you need any more clutter in your Facebook feed, but I’d love for you to check out the Paragon Sakuga group, especially if you are a fan of anime, 2D animation, effects animation, or animation process (blocking, clean-up, etc.). Or all of these, of course!
Here’s an example of a recent post:
Why Cartoon Characters wear Gloves
Vox is a news company that constantly impresses me with the range, depth, and production quality of their work. Every video they produce is a mini-masterclass in motion graphics and editing. I highly suggest scouring their backlog for the various pieces they’ve done about animation/film/art. This one is my favorite, obviously:
Crash Course Computer Science: 3D graphics
While this is episode 27 of an ongoing computer science series, I wanted to single this one out in particular as it gets into some background info about computer graphics. Crash Course as a whole is amazing, and I definitely recommend you also check out Crash Course Film History & Production, and Video Games (among others). I’ve also previously profiled the animation/mograph studio that works on Crash Course, Thought Cafe!