2Day in Animation Launches

Being a fan of the fine art of parody, it is only fitting that I pass along news of a new website called 2Day in Animation. Taking a cue from world-renowned news source, The Onion, 2Day in Animation is filled with almost-true stories within the animation industry at large. Headlines include:

Banks on High Alert after Hoodwinked 3 Finance Attempt

Exec Miraculously Rescued from Unscheduled MIPtv Pitch Meeting

and

Teletoon Gives Series to Mediocre Animator Just To Shut Him Up

All these headlines are or course backed up by a full story.

Let’s give ‘Bob’ a show of support and willingness to laugh at ourselves by following and reading this new source of faux animation news.

 

The Underlying Reason Why Kaboing TV Failed To Take Off

Much debate has taken place over the last few days in regards to the current status as future of Joe Murray’s Kaboing TV project. The site’s apparent failures include:

  • lack of viewers/eyeballs
  • lack of new content
  • poor site design
  • original content not optimised for the web
  • etc.

While all of these are valid points, they do tend to focus on the practical aspects of the site. In other words, things that can be changed relatively easily. New content is not hard to come across, site design can be improved and as for the original content, well that is something that can’t be helped once it is made, but it is hardly likely to pull the entire site down, especially if it is dedicated to showcasing a wide range of films.

No, there is one thing and one thing only that really caused Kaboing TV to stutter and that is community.

Yes, community is something that is still being figured out in the webosphere. Lots of social media “experts” will tout it, plenty of marketing folks will emphasise it in their presentations but “community” is still something that is spectacularly difficult to pin down.

First of all,  is it viewers? Is it commentators? Is it creators? It is, in fact, all three.

Websites are the foundation of a successful community but their continued existence is dependent on the nature of the community as well as their level of involvement.

Let’s take for example, Cartoon Brew. It’s a website/blog that focuses on animation issues just the same as many others. So why do we keep it as our homepage and check it at least once a day? The answer is that Cartoon Brew has spawned a community with which we share a common interest (animation) but also because we have reasons to keep going back. If it isn’t for the exclusive news and videos, then it’s the comments or perhaps the comments on the comments.

If Cartoon Brew was lacking the surrounding community, then it would simply be another animation site on the web with nothing to differentiate it and it’s traffic would certainly reflect that.

So look at Kaboing TV in the same light. What was there to commend it outside of the site itself and the content? Very little I’m afraid. Kaboing TV sadly failed to grow a sustainable community that had people coming back regularly and interacting with each other.

Now of course, it’s hard to get a completely new site off the ground and Joe’s (quite logical) reasoning was that if he had some new shorts to go along with it, they would add something extra that would entice people to visit regularly at the beginning and hopefully spur the creation of the community.

Visitors are encouraged to comment, share and otherwise engage on the site, but that is the limit of what they could do. Content is curated (ostensibly to keep standards up) and favours the creator submitting their work. That’s great, but also assumes that there is a community ready and willing to devour the content. This wasn’t the case, and most people won’t put the cart before the horse.

What needed to happen was that the community would submit, approve and vote on new content themselves. The internet is full of examples where so-called crowd-sourcing has worked quite well in helping to build communities and websites. While it admittedly takes time for the numbers to grow, there is little sense in handicapping things from the start.

Kaboing TV is a fine idea and it is a concept that has promise. It’s just that someone was highly likely to fail with the first effort and unfortunately that someone was Joe Murray. The good news is that whoever chooses to follow him stands to learn from his mistakes and will hopefully create an animation site complete with a vibrant and active community to support and sustain it.

 

11 More Animation Blogs That Everyone Ought to Read

Dave Levy recently posted a list of the animation websites he reads on a daily basis (and his blog should most definitely be in your bookmarks already). Seeing as he is a man of good taste, there is no need to amend his list. Indeed, you should check it out to make sure you are reading the same websites he does.

So, as an addition to those, here are 11 more that any self-respecting animation fan would readily admit to reading on a daily basis.

1. Cartoon Brew

Industry standard-bearer and the home page of anyone who is anyone in animation. Guaranteed to either raise a smile or your ire, Jerry beck and Amid Amidi offer up a continuous stream of animated goodies. From the latest TV series to the weirdest merchandise known to man, no animation website is more respected.

2. TAG Blog

The Animation Guild Local 839 is your one stop shop for all the labour news and views from the Golden Coast. Dishing out equal amounts of industry headlines and labour items of note. The TAG blog is a must for current affairs relating to working in the animation business. Sometimes trite, it is nonetheless peppered with commentary from workers and sage advice from union heads.

3. Chuck Redux

The website for all things Chuck Jones. Run by his grandson Craig Causen, Chuck Redux features everything from Oscar’s worldwide travels to the creations from the mind of the man himself. I wrote about it a while back and if you are in any doubt as to why you should read it, look no further than here.

4. John K.

The one and only John Kricfalusi. As if you needed a reason to read his blog, where he discusses techniques, characters and animation in general. Always controversial but guaranteed to advance your knowledge of this fantastic artform.

5. Mr. Fun

Floyd Norman remember Disney when it was run by Disney and then some. Every day he posts his thoughts on working then and now, sometimes throwing in a witty cartoon for good measure. Looking for insights on what it was like to work way back when? Floyd’s is the only website you need.

6. Brian Sibley

Writer and broadcaster from the UK, Brian has not one, but at least three blogs that are worthy of reading. Purveyor of tidbits that are absolutely not to be found anywhere else on the web, Brian’s blogs are a must read. Heck if Michael Sporn recommends them, you know they’re among the best to be found.

7. Deja View

Andreas Deja, famed animator with a sense of humour, recently started his blog. The guy’s one of the best animators about, so expect plenty of technique analysis from the Nine Old Men and more. What more can I say, I look forward to every post.

8. Disney History

If you’re looking for various bits and bobs from the history of Disney, look no further than Didier Ghez’s blog, self-described as:“Interesting discoveries about Disney history, vintage Disneyana, Disney artwork, the Walt’s People book series, and new books about Disney.” Do you need any more reasons to visit? I think not!

9. Joe Murray

Creator of Rocko’s Modern Life and Camp Lazlo, Joe Murray has been around the circuit more than once, and he’s learned a thing or two in the process. On his blog, he offers updates on his studio, news on KaboingTV, anecdotes from the past and advice on how to make it in a fiercely competitive industry. One that should absolutely not be overlooked.

10. Nina Paley

Independent animator, free thinker and open-culture advocate, Nina Palely uses her blog to document the latest in her working life, spread thoughts on free and open culture and to advocate changes in the way the entertainment industry works.

11. Yowp

Do you even remotely like old Hanna-Barbera stuff? Good, Yowp has you covered for just about anything and everything to do with early Hanna-Barbera. From the animators to the writers to contemporary media coverage, this blog has it all.

One Look At These Posters And You’ll Visit Film On Paper Too

If you’re not even a wee bit jealous of Eddie Shannon, then you’re clearly not into movie posters.

Film on Paper is his website where he is archiving his entire collection (literally thousands) and it is by far the most fascinating that I have come across. Filled with rare and foreign versions, the site includes a couple of animation ones, nice ones in fact. His ones for The Incredibles are unreleased, which makes them even more awesome (check out the one below if you don’t believe me).

Is this not the most badass poster you've seen for this film?

You could spend literally hours on the site and I absolutely recommend that you do. Movie posters are a fascinating artform in and of themselves and its nice to see them get some love from a devoted collector.

Ten Rock Solid Reasons To Read Floyd Norman’s Blog Every Day

  1. Floyd’s been around a while, so he knows just about everything there is to know about animation.
  2. His Disney knowledge is exquisite and magnificent in it’s depth and detail.
  3. He keeps things short and sweet but never skimps on the details.
  4. He has plenty of stories to tell about the old days, which make for very worthwhile reading.
  5. His website has a ‘gag wall’ filled with incredibly funny pictures.
  6. In addition to his daily posts, he has a special section for longer stories.
  7. Every post has a lovely photo or sketch to go along with it.
  8. Plenty of learned people read his blog too, so the fun doesn’t stop with the posts, it continues in the comments!
  9. Floyd also stays right on top of all the latest happenings in animation, he’s not stuck in the past.
  10. The blog’s title is “Mr. Fun”, how much cooler can you get than that?

Convinced? Head over here and start reading.

Weekly Weblink: The Mega-Awesome Kt Shy

As I’ve mentioned before, I follow a lot of blogs of various kinds, but my favourite ones are undoubtedly the illustration and sktech ones. The reason is simple, they always contain tons of great pictures and the very nature of them means they are updated relatively frequently with fantastic new works.

One of my very favourite illustration/sketch blogs belongs to the one and only Kt Shy the erstwhile alias of Canadian artist, Katie Shanahan on the interwebs. Self-described on twitter as a “storyboard artist by day and comic making nut-bar by night!”. She does have over 2,400 followers for a reason you know!

Besides the hilarious Shrub Monkey’s comic that Katie helps draw, she also posts tons of sketches and illustrations that cover a very broad range of the artistic universe, from anime to day to day life. What sets them apart is the almost manic sense of humour that permeates them all (or, well, most of them anyway).

Kt updates regularly and her posts are always a joy to read (or see). 🙂

PS. hit up the links page of her blog for a list of plenty of other exceptionally talented folks.

 

Joe Murray is Moving In New Directions And So Should You

Via: KaboingTV.com

Joe Murray (erstwhile creator of Rocko’s Modern Life and Camp Lazlo) has announced that his fledgling online TV network, KaboingTV, will make its grand premiere on March 11th. In case you didn’t know, KaboingTV is Joe’s attempt at creating an online TV station devoted solely to cartoons and also passing more moolah back to the creators.

Why is all of this important? Joe, for all his track record in producing hit TV shows, is moving in an entirely new direction. Heck, in one sense he is being a true pioneer. Some people have tried to do what he’s done (and been successful too) but none have done so with the specific aim of mutual benefit and comradeship.

Joe is not resting on his laurels and has actively searched out new ideas and potential sources of income when he hasn’t been making cartoons. There are tons of people out there who would never in their right mind take on what Joe has. It’s just not in their nature, and that’s fine. We can’t be an entire nation of Warren Buffetts (although I sure could use the kind of money he has).

I’m not saying that you need to go out and repeat what Joe’s done (for starters he’s already beaten you to it), just that actively toying around with new ideas, any new idea, will reap rewards. Maybe not initially, but down the road. It’s kind of like me and the MBA. I’m not going to see the payout immediately, but I do expect to see a difference maybe 10+ years down the road, when I am in a better position to use the knowledge I’ve learned.

On the flip side, you don’t even have to come up with a new idea at all, just engage in something you don’t normally engage in! For animators, this could mean attending a life drawing class, learning a new computer program, exploring the fun (or serious) side of your creativity. You have no excuses for not doing so, and in the end, there are great benefits to be had.

Weekly Weblink: The Character Design Blog

A bit early I know, but that’s just because tomorrow is B-Day or Blog Day, when I finally get around to making some major changes to the site. Seeing as I have the time now and maybe not tomorrow, I’m posting this today!

Character design is one of the more exciting areas in animation (I think) because there are so many avenues to explore when it comes to them. A house limited in certain aspects, but a person can look completely different just by putting on a pair of glasses, or a hat!

With so many awesome character designs out there, I used to often wonder how they came about, that is until I discovered the Character Design Blog!

Featuring interviews and art from some of the industry’s well-known and not-so-well-known designers, it is a rich archive of knowledge and art that stretches back over 5 years. It just recently returned from a brief hiatus although with so much material on there, there are plenty of older stuff to keep you entertained.

The interviews are sharp and relevant and I am pleased to say that the questions manage to avoid sinking into the usual fanboy mess that we are all too familiar with.

On top of all that, there is a full set of links to the interviewees work and/or shop so that you can support them yourself with your hard earned cash.

If you have an interest in character design (or, like me, you like to look at coll character designs) then the Character Design Blog should be top of your list.

Below is an example of the awesome Chris Battle’s work for The PowerPuff Girls that is posted in his interview.