Sunday, November 23, 2008


I wasted another 2 hours of my life watching the Wall-E DVD release this weekend. In my mind, this film is Pixar's worst.

To think that Disney is trying to push this into the Oscar's best film category blows my mind. What did I miss? This shouldn't even be nominated for best animated feature.

On the bright side, the Presto short that was featured before the film and is now on the DVD is one of the better ones I've seen in a while.

Bolt Opens to a Disappointing $27 million

The title says it all. Sad results for over 3,600 theaters.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Mass Scam.. err, I mean Animation

This Facebook short animation project went live today. I browsed around the interface and found that technically, it was put together rather well. And yes, I signed up for Facebook just to check it out.

You can view the animatic and download assets quite easily. Not shabby for a glitzy site such as this.

Unfortunately, the story itself sucks. This is what happens when an executive one day wakes up and decides he is a director. Go watch the reel and let me know if you can stay awake for the entire thing. It reeks of crappiness. (On a non-story note, considering the talent that is behind the music, you'd expect a little more. It was uninspiring and felt flat as a pancake.)

I hate, with a passion when objects like a guitar or violin are deformed like that. It just comes off as rubbery crap. This project is filled to the gills with it. Approached correctly, it could look decent. However, judging by the renders on the Facebook page, the director is interested in stretchy and gooey nonsense.

The good news is, if you are one of the lucky 107 or so animators that are selected to have your shot included in the finished piece, you will receive $500 for your time. That probably works out to around $5 or $10 an hour. Not bad!! (sarcasm)

The bad news is, there will probably be thousands of entries competiting for the 107 selected shots. You'll probably be doing a whole lot of something for a whole lot of nothing. Think about this. You could be the world's best animator and your shot will be rejected, because the majority of shots may be horrible. In order to keep continuity, your masterpiece will be discarded in order to maintain suckiness.

Initially I thought this was a rather cool idea. Upon further self examination. This was a selfish thought coming from the business side of my brain. Sure, this is great! For everyone except the artist. Dell, Aniboom, Autodesk, Reel FX, and other companies walk away with some publicity, and the director and judges get their egos stroked.

But for the "Mass" that will put the real work into this. You'll get very little. This is yet another trick that a producer came up with to get you to work for peanuts. I urge you to resist any temptation to work on Mass Animation. If you are an established artist, instead spend time with your kids, your spouse, your girlfriend/boyfriend, or your pets. If you are a newbie trying to get reel material, instead, spend that time animating a more dialogue driven piece. If you're trying to break into the business, get your head examined, this is not going to do it for you. You'll be forgotten along with the 106 other knuckleheads that had their shots accepted.

I strongly recommend that you avoid this project like the scam that it is.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

What's Going On

Variety had a mention of Illumination Entertainment's upcoming CG film "Despicable Me". This studio is the animation arm of Universal. From what I understand, they'll be doing pre-production work in LA and outsourcing the animation work elsewhere. Something similar to what Imagi is doing with their films. I'm not sure who will do the production work, but they do have a relationship with Framestore and perhaps they are involved in some manner.

A friend told me that at one time they wanted to build a complete studio in LA. That fell apart somewhere along the line. Too bad. I have a feeling we'll see much more of these type of setups for future CG films. Narrowing the number of jobs will hurt.

Sony Imageworks is hiring for a crop of live action films that need a CG character or two. And of course for their next CG film, "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" will need bodies. Many of the released Bolt animators are over at Imageworks now.

A friend of a friend told me that Imageworks was trying to find lesser experienced animators. Which to me means, they don't want to pay the going rate for a senior feature animator. Either that or the supervisors are nervous about hiring people with too many skills to retain their job security. Some of the emails I've received in the past regarding Imageworks indicates that egos of some of the staff are fragile. Who knows.

Along with everyone else, I've noticed that animator salaries have dropped even more in the last year. It's a shame producers are looking for show hires and paying them less to boot. In the good old days if you were freelance you were paid more for your time. Reason being, you were usually a gunslinger that could come in and save a project and you weren't employed every week/month of the year. Nowadays, I guess there are so many animators available, that isn't the case. Less work for less pay. Sadly, everyone will have to get used to it.

Companies and producers are looking to stretch their dollars at your expense.