“Why don’t more animators use tumblr?” Is The Wrong Question to Ask

 Via: The Rauch Bros. Tumblelog

Fred Seibert has opined that more animators should be using Tumblr as a platform for their art. I do not disagree with this statement. In fact, I agree, the Tumblr platform has a lot of features to offer and has proven itself to be a great tool to build a community around your work in addition to discovering new stuff.

However, Fred’s post misses the mark when it comes to its reasoning.

Yes, Tumblr is a social platform, but so is any blog (so long as certain features are engaged).  Fred points out the Adventure Time tumblelog as an example, stating that:

 Very few of the posts get fewer than hundreds of notes (you can see the number at the bottom of each post.) Regular readers will recall that very, very, very few of our posts got even one comment on our old blogs.

This is true, except that comments and “notes” are mutually exclusive. One is a tool to provide feedback or opinion on a post, the other is simply a statistic on how people have responded to it (either likes or reblogs).

Comments are a truer measure of social interaction in that they indicate that people have thoughts or feelings on the post, not merely that they liked it or were suitably enthralled enough to post it on their tumblelog too.

This is not to diss the notes system. Indeed, you can implement Disqus commenting in Tumblr, just as Frederator have done, if you so desire and get the benefit of both worlds. I just don’t see the point in proclaiming the benefit of one over the other.

What Fred is right about is the ease at which Tumblr allows you to share content. One or two clicks and you’re done. Compare that to even twitter, where you often have to click, login, edit the tweet and click again to post. That can get tiresome, especially if you like to post multiple times a day.

A post Mark Coatney proves to be the inspiration for Fred’s post, and although it also focuses on numbers, it lists three things that are essential to building a community on Tumblr:

  • Be Engaging: Have interesting things to say, and don’t talk simply about yourself. Respond to other Tumblr users, ask questions, etc. Remember that Tumblr is a visual medium (more than half of the 25 million things posted on Tumblr each day are pictures), so look for compelling images to tell your story whenever possible.
  • Be Social: Tumblr is above all a social sharing platform. Use this space to show off your best stuff, encourage others to share it with their followers, reblog posts from other Tumblrs that you think your followers will enjoy.
  • Be Yourself: No publication has to fundamentally change who they are to connect with people on Tumblr. The audience responds most to a personal, peer-to-peer connection with you; embrace that.

These are all great points, except that that they are applicable to any platform, not exclusively to Tumblr. This very blog is an example, I engage with commentators, I’m socially active through Twitter, Tumblr and Google+ and I am myself, right down to popping in a ‘u’ in places American’s find weird.

What Fred should have focused on was what he mentions in the very first paragraph:

Some young artists are using it [tumblr], but for some reason a ton of animation blogs are on Blogger, some on WordPress.

Yes, they are using Blogger and WordPress, and I dare say that the biggest mistake they make is not in choosing these platforms, but by neglecting to maintain them! I can easily say that of the 300+ artist blogs in my reader, well under 10% are updated on a regular basis. In fact, I recently went through and deleted any blog that hadn’t been updated in over a year. The numbers were depressing to say the least.

These animation bloggers can’t blame the platform for their failure, they can only blame themselves.

Instead of asking “Why aren’t more animators aren’t using Tumblr?” we should be asking “Why aren’t more animators taking blogging more seriously?”

Does it Really Make Sense to Rent Animated Content Via YouTube?

As The Hollywood Reporter mentioned last week, the Disney Studios is following hot on the heels of the interactive unit in partnering with YouTube to deliver content. Not original content mind you, but content nonetheless.

So the question is, why “rent” films via streaming? That makes little sense. Just let me buy the thing. It’s essentially the same cost to the studio either way, right? I mean I have to download a copy of the film regardless, and the bandwidth has to be paid either way, so why not just let me store it and re-watch it again and again?

Heck, why would I pay to watch it just once when I can hit up the bittorrents and download it for free and without restriction? What’s the difference then? If you’re charging a minimal amount to “rent” it, the marginal difference between making me pay for it and giving it away for free is minimized. The result is that, I, as a consumer, am likely to pick the method that delivers the best value; i.e. downloading the version that I can watch again and again.

I’m decidedly curious to see how this turns out. The last time major studios attempted a streaming “rental” business model, they charged people $30 a movie, and the whole thing fell flat on its face.

The Four Animated Appearances of Sonic the Hedgehog

Yesterday, I finally got around to installing an emulator on my PC that allows me to play all the old classic Sega Mega Drive (or Genesis, for those in the States) games.

Anyway, here’s a list of the animated appearance of Sonic the Hedgehog:

1. Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog

2. Sonic the Hedgehog (a.k.a. the SatAM series)

3. Sonic Underground

4. Sonic X

Two Animation-Related Examples of RW Culture

A while back, I talked about the idea of the Re-Write (RW) Culture that’s discussed by Lawrence Lessig in his book, Remix. RW culture when it relates to animation is,  for all intent and purposes, going to cover pretty much anything made by fans,

One of the most common things that fans like to make is fan fiction, where they take the characters and create new stories and tales for them. In some instances, like the ones we’re about to discuss, they go even further, and extrapolate them beyond where and when the show took place.

Via: Drunk Duck

The first is this, which sadly, remains in a state of limbo at the moment but is nonetheless a great example of a fan taking a show and creating something quite new. This is about the only thing I can post on it as its, uh, a bit mature for what I feel comfortable posting here (I mean, I get enough Google referrals from weirdos already).

Battery Powered is a well made comic that really plays on the idea that the PPG grew up at some point and basically entered adolescence and never really grew out of it. It takes the characters in a whole different direction from what we’re used to seeing.

Via: Grim Tales

The second example we’ll look at is Grim Tales. A similar concept to Battery Powered but in a very different vein. It’s a much more serious attempt to look at how characters would develop long after the time when a show is set.

It’s not a bad example, in fact, its one of the better ones out there. However, it does follow a lot of fan-fiction lines in that it takes the characters and augments them into situations that would probably not have happened in the universe of the show. A prime example of this the central tennant of the comic: Gim and Mandy get married and have kids.

Grim Tales is quite a long comic so fair play to the writers/artists who’ve kept it going this far.

Both comics are just a small sampling of what fans are capable of creating on their own free time that benefit the show in the long run by keeping it alive.


This Post Contains A Serious And Important Discussion About Bronies

Via: Total Media Bridge

It’s true, this post does contain a serious and important discussion about bronies. Although they are sometimes vilified by folks, they nonetheless represent a very special kind of fan that a lot of animated TV shows are sadly lacking.

Let’s be honest, there have always been fans who reside outside a show’s intended audience. This is nothing new and should come as no surprise to anyone, fan of animation or not. What is surprising about My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, is that the show’s producers have not shied away from acknowledging the existence of bronies.

Why would they do this? Why would the choose to break with unofficial tradition, which states that you shouldn’t engage with anyone outside the target demographic lest you alienate the intended audience? The answer is straightforward and simple, such fans are what shows like MLP need in order to grow.

Yeah, you could say that it’s really the little girls that are lapping up the toys, but at the end of the day, that is small potatoes to what fans with real disposable income can do. Now you could say, and I do agree, that such fans are not nearly as common nor as numerous than the targeted one, however, they do tend to:

  • buy more merchandise

  • buy more expensive merchandise

  • tune in regularly

  • participate in online/offline discussion.

All of these things are oxygen for a show like MLP for a number of reasons:

  1. It is broadcast on The Hub, a brand new network with no real audience to being with (it was a replacement for Discovery Kids).

  2. MLP as a TV show was as dated as ever and might as well have been a new show as far as its target audience were concerned

  3. Even though it had the might of Hasbro behind it, The Hub still needed viewers and consumers to watch its shows and buy its merchandise. Marketing and ads will only get you so far.

Arguably the greatest boon to the entire show was the now famous (infamous) post by Amid Amidi on Cartoon Brew. That brought the show a lot of mainstream media attention and focus. Not only did this bring this formerly obscure group of fans into the public consciousness, it also brought MLP and The Hub a lot of free publicity and attention that it never would have received otherwise.

All of this was undoubtedly beneficial to the show and network, however, it is outside of the show that is the most interesting; even though Bronies were tuning and and buying merchandise, they were also forming their own extensive ecosystem both on and off the internet.

Numerous (and I do mean numerous) fan sites have popped up. Yes, they are all the usual kinds you expect to see from a show, but they were all that and much more. They cater exclusively to fans, they help newbies get acquainted with the show, they run competitions, they have downloadable content, they post fan-fiction, they link to merchandise (both official and unofficial), they actively discuss whole aspects of the shows universe, they organise real-life meetups and conventions and yes, they run personality quizzes (that actively embrace new fans):

similar to Applejack.”]

And what is the one truly, unique, magical, fantastic thing about all of this?

The Hub embraced it! All of it!

They didn’t stand there and say: “Hey, there’s a whole bunch of 30-something year old guys watching our show. They’re going to give it a bad name, or worse, make it seem like its for “old people” or something.” No. Instead they said: “Hey, we’ve managed to gain a whole bunch of fans they we never thought we would have. We can’t openly cater to them for fear of skewing the perception of the show, but let’s be nice to them anyway because we’re gaining a benefit!”

Via: Daily Billboard

Via: Daily Billboard

That’s right, while the network was in a bit of a bind in that it was never going to actively cater to Bronies in the mainstream public’s eye, they at least had the wisdom to actively court fans in ways that would be construed as friendly. Examples include the parody ads for season 2, and the exclusive figurine sold at the San Diego Comic Con in 2011.

The very existence of the Brony fanbase has benefited those on all sides of the show. The creators know that they have created a product that is superior to what they were tasked with, the network got a lot of free publicity as well as extra viewers and consumers, and fans got a show that they really enjoy and relate to which gives them a sense of satisfaction.

Every show should have some Brony fans.

For the record, I am not a Brony.

The Surprises I Got Inside the Who Framed Roger Rabbit DVD

It’s quite a while ago since I bought it, but these two “collectable” cards were a surprising find inside. A nice little touch that made the trek to Best Buy worth it.

Flixist on 8 Cartoons That Should Have A Feature Film

Via: Flixist

Movie blog Flixist has a list of 8 cartoons that blogger Hubert Vigilla believes should have a feature-length adaptation. The list is below, but I would highly encourage you to visit the original post to read the explenations.

  1. Danger Mouse
  2. DuckTales
  3. Krazy Kat
  4. Space Ghost
  5. Little Nemo
  6. Mighty Mouse
  7. Cat ‘n’ Mouse
  8. Gatchaman (aka G-Force, aka Battle of the Planets)

Do you agree with any of these? In my opinion, Danger Mouse has by far the most potential of the bunch. But there are plenty more that I would like to see:

  • King of the Hill (bit of a no-brainer really)
  • The Flintstones (no live-action nonsense)
  • Futurama (a true, big-screen adaptation)
  • Atomic Betty (I think it could work)
  • Superman (Vigilla specifically mentions the Fleischer style and I agree

Niko Anesti’s Thoughts on Anime

No Character Sunday post today as I didn’t have one lined up and I was gallivanting in New York City yesterday.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that, apart from a very brief otaku phase in 2007-08, I’m just not that into anime in a really serious way. Neither is my good compadre Niko Anesti, but when an anonymous person asked him on his tumblelog today what he thought of it, he replied with a response that pretty much encapsulates my standpoint and proves that anime remains very much a personal thing.

I used to really despise it, but I’ve opened up to it a bit over the years. There’s still a lot that I don’t like. But every now and then I’ll find something that I like, and it’s usually because they do something different with it in some way. I don’t know how to explain it. Like Shin Chan or Panty and Stocking, the art styles aren’t your typical bug-eyed girls that you see all over. Or FLCL, which is mostly done in the “traditional” style, but the story and the characters are just fantastic. Same with Studio Ghibli stuff. And I say “traditional” in quotes because there isn’t really a regular style for anime, just like there is no regular style for other types of cartoons. But what you see most often, and what most people think of when someone says “anime,” are similar kinds of eyes, hair, bodies, etc. Sometimes it looks horrible, sometimes it looks fine. It seems like creativity as far as artwork goes in anime has been on the decline. Older shows like Astro Boy, Doraemon, and Shin Chan all had very unique, recognizable styles. So really, it depends on the quality, not whether or not it’s anime. There are still many I really want to see and just haven’t yet, and then there are others that I just think, “get this shit away from me.”

The New Yorker on Mickey Mouse’s Legacy

Via: The New Yorker on Tumblr

Actually, it’s a Lee Lorenz cartoon from 1994. A while ago perhaps, but still kinda funny in that it takes the focus away from Mickey as a character and places it instead on what he really is, a mouse!