It took long enough, but animation is just about everywhere you, and (among younger generations at least), is immensely popular. Many have long looked with envy at Japan with its ubiquitous anime and pined for a similar scenario in western markets. Their prayers may have been answered, but the reality is far from expectations. Animation has become a commodity, and with that it has lost its special place in the minds of consumers and fans alike. The question is, what happens now, and where does the industry go from here?
Seems like ages ago that everyone was gushing over Pixar’s latest hit, doesn’t it?
Now Minions is the movie on everyone’s lips. The hit of the land! A tremendous opening weekend! Almost $400,000,000 grossed worldwide!!! Illumination/Universal does it yet again! Can nothing stop them???
Wait, what’s that you say?
They’re working on a Wreck-It-Ralph sequel!?*
Well if they don’t call it Super Wreck-It-Ralph someone should be fired.†
† As quipped by Redditor /u/lpjunior999
Frozen contributed to my disillusionment with animation last year.
Inside Out is the catalyst this time around.
The cranial dynamo ran out of steam, and it’s no easy task to get it spinning again.
Ideally you shouldn’t have to start rebuilding a passion from scratch, and yet here we are.
With that in mind, the focus now is on creating something new, and in order to do that, you can’t focus on the old.
This week saw the announcement of not one, but three reboots to popular old shows. The Powerpuff Girls are being trotted out again, ReBoot gets well, rebooted, and even the Three Stooges refuse to die with a new animated show in the works. It’s all too much for me to bear!
If the thirteen episodes mentioned in the title seems a bit short, just imagine how the Simpsons would be viewed today if the original order was all that was made. Would it still be viewed as a classic, or be relegated to a footnote of television history? Regardless of what would have happened 25 years ago, the future is pointing inexorably towards series runs of a predetermined length and story structure.
Great TV is everywhere nowadays, at least that what everyone is telling me. Creators are pushing boundaries, genres are being stretched, and cultural barriers are falling. If only it were all true! Great TV is like Punk Rock in more ways than one, and what is on our screens nowadays isn’t inspiring me to get a leather jacket, or a mohawk.
This month I chat with Jeff Cooper and Grahaeme Cowie of Smoking Doors Productions about their animated webseries Impotents and the Kickstarter campaign their currently running to get it made. Besides spilling the beans on the series itself and what we can expect, we discuss why they chose Kickstarter and how much planning and effort goes into running a campaign. If you’ve ever been curious about it, you’ll want to have a listen.
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Art is always held in high cultural esteem, yet only the best and most widely acclaimed retain any kind of longevity. The rest is quite literally disposable as any dumpster behind a library will happily attest to. Animation is no different than any other art, and just like them, the internet has brought about an even greater degree of disposable animation and produced a real struggle to create cartoons with any sense of quality, and timelessness.
As I prepare to produce a series of very short, er, shorts, I find my viewpoint of animation as an art and industry being forcibly changed. Not necessarily in a bad way mind you, but rather that it’s breadth and scope have changed as the reality of production becomes my greater focus. Here’s a few thoughts in no particular order.
The production of animated TV programs has never been greater. All three kids channels have full slates, numerous cable networks have their own shows, and FOX continues its long tradition of animated programming on Sunday nights. It’s a good time to be an optimist, yet it’s never been more important to be pessimistic about this sector of the business, because it’s about to go barrelling over a cliff.
In this month’s podcast, I chat with Helen Haswell. Helen is a PhD candidate at Queens University in Belfast, who’s area of research happens to be the merger of Disney and Pixar that took place back in 2006. We discuss that, and lots more in this episode. Just excuse the error in the opening; this is the third episode, not the fourth!
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If the events of the last 15 years have taught us anything, it’s that young people in particular, really don’t give a damn about copyright. What it stands for, why it exists, and the purpose it serves are so lost on the youth that they often act as if it isn’t even real. Unfortunately for one upstart streaming website, the corporate parent of Nickelodeon begged to differ, and wasn’t afraid to sue to remind them either.