Has it been a whole week since CTN already? Why yes, yes it has. Here’s some week links that accumulated in the meantime.
An über helping of links this week. Please feel free to share with your friends!
The Yowp blog is a favourite of this blogger because it not only does an excellent job of dissecting many, many early Hanna-Barbera cartoons, it also manages to dig up plenty of the associated marketing and promotional material related to them as well. A recent post concerned the celebrations of Yogi Bear’s ‘birthday‘:
Sure, the company began with the deals you might expect—for comic books, toys and records. And it grew from there. But a couple of promotions from the pre-Flintstone era at the studio (which is the focus of this blog, though we stray a bit) are admirable considering the coordination that was involved in pulling them off. One was Huckleberry Hound’s presidential run in 1960 (which combined comic books, cereal offers and personal appearances). The other is the Yogi Bear birthday party of 1961.
Driven By Data Not Desire
In today’s multi-media, web-enabled and YouTube-driven mediasphere, marketing has become a true science. Sure, advertising legend David Ogilvy knew as much back in the 50s, but even he always emphasised the art of marketing and advertising as being the most important element.
Google has since perfected the data-driven approach, wherein data on consumers is gathered and analysed until useful information is extracted. This information is then either used by Google itself, or sold to others for their use in advertising. Such trickery is superb at learning a consumer’s habits and also exploiting them.
The Decline of Social Marketing
The problem with data driven marketing and promotion is that it focuses much more on the individual rather than the collective. Just think about Yogi’s Birthday parties; they were designed to bring people together.
The feeling of being part of a community remains a very strong driver of viewing habits and fandom in general. The feeling that we are part of a group that shares similar tastes is far and away the biggest factor when it comes to how we determine which shows are our favourites.
Fans and fan-dominated social events (like conventions) are distinct from the kind of events that this post is talking about though. The former are geared towards existing fans whereas the latter are geared much more to potential fans.
Today, many of these potential fans congregate in the online space, either on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube. Such platforms are much more efficient and, from a studio or network’s perspective, much cheaper to advertise on than a physical event.
The problem is that as we head ever further towards a future where there is a screen for each individual, there will be a tendency to ignore the physical space in preference of the virtual one. On an adult level, this may not be an insurmountable issue, but for kids especially, it could spell disaster.
That’s not mere fear mongering either. Animated features in their current form depend on the social viewing experience of the cinema. If kids grow up preferring smaller screens with content tailored to their desires, what do you think that will result in?
Finding the Solution
Viewing content will always be social on some level or another. The challenge will be how to do so when technology that permits people to watch any time any where is the norm. Will it still be possible to gather a group of people together to watch something? Large events like the Super Bowl will be fine, but what about smaller animated TV shows? How about getting kids to watch shows in groups at home, will that become a challenge too?
All these remain somewhat of a mystery at this point in time, but one thing is for sure, if we do not find a solution, it will make for some radical changes to animation.
What would you do to stimulate social viewing of animated programmes? Leave a comment below with your idea!
Week links! The stuff I read this week that you should too!
I Hear Voices
The always excellent Yowp blog has a great collection of photos (both publicity and otherwise) of all the great voice actors of the Golden Age. Well worth a few minutes of your time, if only to see Arnold Stang in drag.
An Interview with animation producer Don Hahn
The FLIP blog continues its hot streak of great posts with this interview. Don Hahn should be a recognisable name from all the films he’s produced over the years, as well as the books he’s authored. The interview also features a great checklist for breaking into the industry but this is the most salient and I feel obliged to post it here:
Don’t let the obstacles scare you away. Each studio has firewalls built up in order to keep the hobbyists and fan boys out. As a serious artist, it’s part of the rights of passage to get beyond those firewalls with your talent and persistence. If they don’t return your call, don’t like your reel, can’t talk to you unless you have an agent, or don’t have anything for you, see these for what they are…obstacles to keep the amateurs out. If you want to be professional, you’ll find a way to break past these with time and persistence.
Tweets of the Week
Here’s Fionna and Cake dancing by Shmorky:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
I must admit, it completely flew over my head that yesterday was the actual date, so it’s a bit of a belated celebration over here on the Anomaly blog. Nonetheless, we all make mistakes when it comes to this kind of thing and I was in fact, distracted by the review I wanted to do for Mary & Max.
So, yes, the Yogi Bear Show is 50 years old. My, my, it doesn’t seem that long since we celebrated the 50th anniversary of another famous Hanna-Barbera show. Clearly these were busy times for the studio, and it would shortly add another one to the mix with The Jetsons.
As usual when it comes to such cartoons, I must direct you all towards the Yowp blog, which has once again provided an excellent, concise piece on the show and its beginnings. There is little if anything I can add to an already well-written piece except to say that I did watch the show as a kid and although the distinct memories are a bit foggy, I can say with certainty that they are fond ones.
Happy (Belated) Birthday Yogi, here’s hoping that we may continue to be entertained by you pic-a-nic basket stealing antics.