Back in September of this year, a case came to prominence in the UK whereby Disney threatened to sue independent studio, Brightspark over their strikingly familiar animated films. Take a look at the images below from the 1709 Blog (a really great copyright resource):
There’s plenty of similarity isn’t there? One might be tempted to think that there was some sort of copyright infringement going on. However this case is special because it throws up the devilishly tricky line that is the distinction between copyright and trademark.
You see, Brightspark didn’t simply knock out a film in a similar vein to Pixar’s Brave. Nope that would have been too difficult given the time constraints. Instead, they simply took one of their films that was already made, and being sold even, called ‘A Fairy Tale Christmas’ and re-branded it as ‘Braver’. This wasn’t the first time they had pulled such a stunt either. ‘Tangled Up’ was previously released as ‘Britannica’s Fairy Tales from Around the World’.
So what exactly did Disney sue for? Can you guess?
If you said copyright infringement, you’d be right. if you said trademarks, you’d also be right. Huh? I hear you say, aren’t they both mutually exclusive? Well yes, they are. However in this case, Brightspark made the critical mistake of trying to hit two artistic birds with one stone.
Copyright covers artistic and creative works. Insofar as films are concerned, the title cannot be copyrighted. It can, however, be trademarked. Brightspark went one further though and made covers that also bore a bit more than a passing similarity to their more famous inspiration.
According to Wikipedia, a trademark “is typically a name, word, phrase, logo, symbol, design, image, or a combination of these elements.” So in the context of Disney’s films, the trademark would not only cover the film title itself but would also extend to the title design as well. Ever wonder why studios have a propensity to use custom typefaces for their titles? Now you know why; they get double protection.
With a fairly solid trademark case (dilution of brand, etc.), Disney also aimed for the jugular and sued for copyright infringement, most likely over the title design as well as the covers themselves.
Long story short, Brightspark lost the case and this week, was ordered to stop producing the offending titles and destroy any remaining stock.
Why is this case important? Well there are no shortage of small studios willing to feed off the success of a major film. Chop Kick Panda is probably the more blatant recent example but in that case, the studio made a solid effort to distinguish their productjust enough to make it legally distinct. This included a similar, but different title and a wholly distinct cover design for the DVD, not to mention the story. At best, consumer ignorance would be to blame for any parent picking that film up, something the studio no doubt relies on for sales.
Brightspark simply tried their hand and strayed a bit too close to the chalk to get away clean for which they are now paying the price. It’s just yet another example of how one needs to be aware of the legal rules in the entertainment game.
By way of Cold Hard Flash comes this truly charming video by Dublin-based animator Peter Slattery who used an animated short to propose to his girlfriend. It’s charming and apparently worked, so all you love-struck animators out there: the bar has been raised!
I like female characters, that’s no secret at this point, they’re awesome and unfortunately continue to be under-represented in contemporary animation programming. That’s not to say they don’t exist at all, but they do tend to occupy either the sideline characters more so than the lead protagonists.
Jason Tammemägi recently wrote about this in a brilliant post where he also tackles the concept of genderisation in kids programming. Much more than that, as a creator, Jason notes that:
I find myself very consciously making sure I have female characters in my shows….But a few years back, I did a little drawing-a-day project with zombies. Somewhat gruesome and not for the kids, it was just for fun. I realised when I approached the end of it that an overwhelming amount of the zombies were male. Why? Well, I wasn’t really thinking about it. They just were. It’s like even being so aware of female under-representation that, when I stopped thinking about it, I would fall back into the whole ‘default human being male’ thing.
Is that a fair assumption? Do we (as adults) have preconceived notions of the place that gender plays in roles? Absolutely, but as Jason rightly points out, it shouldn’t be that way:
It tells me the only way to change this situation, to improve this, is to be active about it. Is to actively make it part of our thinking as we develop shows, games, anything. Should we force female characters in to a show if natural development has led to mostly males? In my opinion, yes. Yes we should. Because that ‘natural’ situation usually comes about because we are just perpetuating old media habits and conditioning and those are really hard to break without actively pushing against them. Getting female characters, varied, interesting and active should be a clear goal when developing media. Because there is a very good chance it won’t happen on its own.
In conjunction with the above post is one from the soooper talented Brianne Drouhard (a.k.a. Potato Farm Girl) wherein she details a concept she developed herself, Harpy Gee. Check out the awesome art she posted the other day:
Harpy: An elf that cannot use magic, considered a grave handicap in her home country, she’s been sheltered all her life. She lives and works at the Item Shop, but also will take any odd job around town, regardless if it’s teaching, ballet school, or scrubbing the castle floors. Nothing is too mundane or adventurous. She’s doing her best to make up for lost time and stay optimistic.
Pumpkin: Harpy’s goblin cat. He is indestructible, and will eat anything. Luckily he is lazy and sleeps most of the time. He’s also her living suitcase, she keeps her important items, clothing and weapons in his inter-dimensional stomach.
Opal: A witch doctor from a large family of pig ranchers. She doesn’t like dirt, but since she has to dig up most of her potion ingredients, she wears gloves and a bandana. She uses her shovel to fly, since she also needs it to dig. She likes anything that’s cute, and her helpful ingredient smelling pet pig, Truffle.
Ash: A knight in training. He thinks highly of himself, and regards the others as children. He secretly collects playing cards of famous knights. He tries his best to act like what he knows what he’s doing, but half the time ends up embarrassed.
Humphrey: The prince of the kingdom, he was sent to live at his uncle’s castle in town. He doesn’t like being outside or sunlight, and would rather write sad poetry or read about battles that end in failure. His uncle regularly sends him out to take Peepers, the royal dog out for walks.
They’re all fairly straightforward, right? I mean, there’s nothing in there that could potentially scare away any potential networks or studios, and I sincerely doubt that Brianne would even consider something that would to begin with.
Nope, where the really interesting fact lies is in one of Brianne’s posts from March 2012 that goes into much more detail about the struggles of getting Harpy picked up:
In the end, the shorts program [the aborted Cartoonstitute] went in a different direction, and Harpy was shown around to a few other studios. I don’t think it’ll ever happen, after being told, “Make Harpy a boy”, “put her in high school on Earth”, “it’s too scary”, “it’s too cute”, “boys won’t watch it”, “make her an animal”…
Aside from the more generic comments, a few of the asinine ones sure stand out. What advantage would it be to make Harpy a boy? What’s wrong with the character being a girl? More to the point, why wouldn’t boys watch it? the concept has male characters, so it isn’t as saccharine as, say, My Little Pony, and it’s not exactly about ‘girly’ things like makeup either. Unfortunately Jason hits the nail on the head:
At the weekend, my eldest Daisy was at a party in a kid’s art place. She made a rather awesome clay model of a princess in a tower. Asking her about it, she explained that the girls all had to make princesses to be rescued while the boys all had to make knights with swords to rescue the princesses. I was not exactly happy with this narrow gender-based project. Seeing this, Daisy went further and told me that they could choose to do either but all the girls chose princesses and all the boys chose knights.
I am not sure what form this choice was presented in or if indeed it was much of a choice at all. But if it was an open choice, I could well believe that most girls would choose princesses and most boys would choose knights. Because those are the gender roles assigned to them in an overwhelming amount of media and, in particular, marketing.
In reality, kids only know what they’re told, and with the average American child (and adult) being bombarded with literally hundreds of commercials every day that purport the gender roles that Jason discusses, it isn’t hard to see how boys could be said to favour male-centric programs over female ones.
It’s truly unfortunate because until there is better parity, awesome shows like The Legend of Korra, where the main protagonist is a female (and a kick-ass one at that) will continue to be the exception rather than the rule. And despite the fact that Korra has almost as many boys watching as girls, it’s tough for just one show to change significant numbers of minds. Kim Possible was a great model and the effect it’s had has yet to be felt. Even Lauren Faust says as much, and she knows the truth:
A more collaborative effort is needed that sees a better balance between male and female characters in shows but also a sobering realisation that if boys profess a dislike for lead female protagonists it is perhaps because it has been drilled into them that such a character isn’t acceptable to them.
Is a quota of some kind needed? I would hope not, although if I were the head of a studio, I would much rather see my content watched by the largest audience possible rather than trying to narrow it down in the hopes of selling more merchandise and would make damned sure someone else didn’t attempt to push me down that road.
To end on a positive note, both posts discussed here are optimistic about the future:
I’m also curious how the next few years are going to be for female characters in animated tv shows.
“Legend of Korra” just started on Nickelodeon, and is amazing! Lauren Faust did an excellent job with the current “My Little Pony” and “Super Best Friends Forever” shorts.
I’ve been really happy getting a chance to work on Amethyst too. Sword fighting magical girls is right up my alley!
If we do this and do it well (and by the way, I think many of us in preschool are actively tackling this right now), it would take just one generation to make real change. One generation later and maybe the writers won’t have to think about getting strong female characters into their stories. It will just happen as it becomes normal.
What are your thoughts? What do think it will take to see a more balanced approach to televised animation?
Animation has long been a tool for advertising with stop-motion being a favourite of many a long and successful campaign over the years. So it’s not really much of a surprise (via Creative Review) to see luxury brand Louis Vuitton using the technique to advertise the fact that you can personalize the accessory of your choosing.
Nicely executed with just the right amount of sparkle by Christian Borslap using real ribbons, it’s a colourful spot that gets the message across while continuing to exude just the right amount of luxury.
No, not Windows releases (sorry, as a Linux user I couldn’t resist), release windows. You know, those rules that studios impose that stipulate that a film has to come out in the cinema first, then on DVD a few months later, then on pay per view a few months after that and then lastly on regular TV? Yes, it’s the fact of life we all love to hate. Well, William Jardine over at A113Animation has had enough, of foreign release windows that is:
By this I don’t mean cases where the film comes out a few days later here in the UK than it does in America (as with DreamWorks’ upcoming Rise of the Guardians), nor do I, really, mean a delay of a month or less – although these cases seem a little pointless – what I’m referring to are the several month long, extended delays between the original US theatrical release, and whenever it eventually winds up elsewhere. With the best will in the world, the excitement and anticipation doesn’t quite hold over for four months.
Growing up in Ireland, I was well used to the delays we often were forced to endure until films made the trip across the Atlantic. That, however, was in the olden days; when films were only available on 35mm and VHS tapes from either side were not compatible (a technical glitch caused by the differing TV broadcast standards, not DRM or regional codes).
Today, things are quite different. For one, a lot of US cinemas use digital projection so no more 35mm stock to ship or even splice! Secondly, the global nature of the internet means that instant gratification is not only demanded, it is often necessary.
Take a look at the screenshot below, yes it is the good ol’ Pirate Bay (yo ho ho) and as you can clearly see, I have not only the option to download Wreck-It Ralph, I have options!
This is where the crux of the problem is. the way various licenses and rights work (it’s on a per country basis), they all have to be cleared in advance of a film being shown. That’s not to say that Britain has a slow process, just that movie studios have to copyright and clear everything they do. It’s partly out of necessity and partly out of stubbornness (a discussion for another time). All this is especially egregious when there is no need to redub the language tracks however.
Where William’s (quite excellent letter) strays is that he appeals to the studio’s sense of pride and the fact that it will be to the audience’s benefit (hahaha). As we all know, that’s worked, er, not so well in the past. Studios listen to money. William says that film franchises are “not just money-making machines”, except that that is exactly what you are. If you take away the money-making aspect, the films also disappear.
What the screenshot above represents isn’t so much people denying Disney revenue, it’s proof that Disney is denying itself revenue. If I’m in the UK, why wait the four months for the film to come out? The winter is cold and the nights are long. A quick download later and I’m watching the latest film.
The same goes for the DVD releases, I can safely say that I am much more likely to buy a DVD right after seeing a film in the cinema than months later (and thank goodness too, otherwise I would have a copy of The Last Samurai in my collection).
All of this makes even less sense when, as William points out, DreamWorks will have Rise of the Guardians playing within a matter of days. Disney has done similar releases too, so why the delay for Ralph? Perhaps it would be to the studio’s advantage to always have films ready to go in multiple markets at the same time. Sure, it may cost more, but isn’t that better than seeing people try to view it through other means; especially those that you don’t control or extract revenue from?
New business models is something that interests me. Thankfully, we’re living in the age of new business models as traditional become obsolete/irrelevant and new ones spring up to offer new delights and take advantage of new technologies. Online streaming of video content is one of these new business models. Netflix has shown that it can be easily accomplished with existing content and plenty of YouTube channels have shown some viability for original content (albeit of short length). So where to next? Why long-form original programming of course!
This remains the quote/unquote holy grail of programming. Many folks know that the internet already delivers great content but the ‘sit-up’ nature of web surfing determines the short length of the content. In contrast, Netflix has cornered the ‘sit down’ nature of traditional TV viewing. Can both ideals come together peacefully? Amazon is betting, yes.
Their Amazon Studios outfit (which I have discussed) has been soliciting ideas for a while now. At the time of the announcement, a brief Twitter discussion between myself and Brown Bag head Cathal Gaffney ascertained that the terms being offered ($55K upfront with a cut of merchandise thereafter) did not make economic sense for a traditional studio such as his.
It did, apparently, make sense for someone, because Amazon has announced [Cinemablend but ultimate link to The Hollywood Reporter, an organisation which doesn’t seem to want to cite a source] that their first animated series to be developed will be called ‘Supa Naturals’. Described thusly:
Supa Naturals is about two brash young divas whose lives revolve around shopping, and whom, it turns out, are humanity’s only hope for a defense against the supernatural.
Hmm, sounds, uh, interesting. Anyway, the fact that Amazon is willing to bet on the future with animation. Although the nature of the series is still very much unknown, I doubt it will be suitable for all ages. In stark contrast, Netflix is moving into original programming with House of Cards and a revival of the hilarious Arrested Development; both live-action.
Does Amazon see a potential that Netflix does not? Animation has proven to be an extremely popular form of entertainment that has weathered well over the past 20 or so years (in general if not on specific networks). Amazon’s sign that they are willing to take a risk with only their second announced series is surely a sign of confidence in animation’s ability to find an audience. While it remains to be seen what kind of quality the show has, if the current crop of animated content on the cable networks is anything to go by, it shouldn’t take much to get a foothold in the market.
Until then, I eagerly await the announcement of Netflix’s first foray into animation.
Kickstarter is a great service and one that I’ve covered before in some detail, but recently I got around to thinking, just who is Kickstarter ideally suited for (from the animation world)? What got me started on this train of thought was a project that I’ll discuss in detail further down (that was brought to my attention by Amid Amidi), and after looking at it, I did spend some time perusing the other animation projects on the site but came away scratching my head.
The reason is simple, there’s a complete smorgasbord of projects on there and it’s hard to make a distinction between all of them (unless of course a major name is attached). However, what did become apparent is that there are a few main types of projects:
Starting with the pitches, they are basically exactly that; a Kickstarter to make something that will be used to convince someone else that the project is a good idea. I discussed one extensively in this post and was a bit harsh on the guy, but it was justifiable (and to be fair, we emailed afterward so everything’s cool). This kind most recently came to light with The Goon; essentially a very expensive pitch reel to be used on major studios. That’s great and all, but the budget for that film was astronomical, and a huge name was attached too. The vast majority of this kind of Kickstarter are of this variety; small, independent guys trying to find their way in the world. Kickstarter isn’t ideally suited to them for the precise reason that they’re using it in the first place; nobody knows them!
Episodes and Series
Moving up the scale, episodes and series are quite popular with many projects aiming to create either a single episode or a series of episodes/shorts. The budgets for these are generally higher but the production values tend to be larger too. These projects can be solicited by either individuals or small studios. One that I am familiar with is the one I helped back, the Vegtoons series. The Kickstarter was for one episode but the ultimate goal is an entire series with production being done by Cartoon Saloon.
These projects tend to have a lot more of the unknown about them insofar that what happens after the episode or series is created is sometimes undefined. At least in the Vegtoons instance, a series is promised. It should be noted that there is a lot of crossover between this category and the one above. Plenty of projects are for one episode in a potential series that can be used to gauge interest or as a proof of concept for an investor.
These projects are ideally suited to a small studio rather than an individual. The reason is simple; a studio would be in a more immediate position to get going should production commence. An individual would still need to find a studio and organise the production.
The short films projects are very common with plenty of individual animators and collectives looking to get the funds necessary to complete their masterpieces. The scope of these projects varies but almost all are for funds to complete either the entire of the remainder of production. The latter coming almost always after the creator runs out of their own time/money to complete things in a successful manner.
These projects have even more unknowns than the series’. The reason, quite simply, is what happens to the short film after it is created? I saw one campaign that was simply looking for funds to enter a film in festivals! In any case, the reward of a short film is inevitably the film itself (either in a download or DVD). the economics of these campaigns are more than a bit blurry but at the end of the day they represent the closest approximation of creators interacting with their fans. Naturally there will be disappointments from time to time (I’ve heard noises about John K’s project potentially being one of them) but short film campaigns represent both the largest variety within the Kickstarter community and the closest point where creators and fans interact and meet each others needs.
These projects are the odd man out of the other Kickstarter projects in that they are not complete projects. Rather, they are campaigns to complete stages of a project. The notion being that initial stages require less money and therefore fewer backers whereas the middle or final stages of production will require significantly more money and therefore more backers. The idea behind this structure is that word of mouth can build during production so that the largest potential pool of backers is acquired at just the right time.
Such a method can greatly enhance the success of a project, especially if the audience has yet to be reached. Michael Sporn’s POE film fell just short of funding but could well have been successful (on Kickstarter at least; he eventually received significant funds through Indiegogo) had he broken the production into more segments and run a campaign for each of them.
This method requires multiple visits to the ‘trough’ that may eventually run dry. That said, if a production is well run and keeps its fans informed and updated, there is little reason to suspect that they will stop supporting it. the TUBE Open Movie project is one such example; wherein it is being funded in stages but keeps its backers up to date on progress and even invites them to help!
This is, literally, the holy grail of campaigning. Getting a feature film funded is one of the most difficult tasks in the entertainment business. There are countless stories of independent filmmakers taking on multiple credit cards of debt just to get their films made. Professional investment is tricky and time-consuming and the results aren’t guaranteed (deals falling through, investor jitters, etc.) Kickstarter takes a lot of that out of the equation but it doesn’t help in the budgeting department. Animated feature films are still phenomenally expansive and successful Kickstarter campaigns have all been well below what a theatrical-standard feature film would cost.
Some have gone for the “sprint” route discussed above (the TUBE Open Movie is just one example) whereas others have managed to go the whole hog (Dick Figures) although in fairness, they were not going to maximum quality (or length). It’s hard to see how feature films can find a true home on Kickstarter as the costs are so huge and since only studios are likely to undertake one, they will already have sufficient abilities to raise money or at least talk directly to the people that do.
Is Kickstarter a replacement for traditional investment? No, but that isn’t stopping some people from trying, like this project. Granted, the $250,000 isn’t to finish the entire film, but it does represent a significant chunk of the cost of a film. Michael Barrier has a good opinion of Kickstarter on his website and Mark Sonntag chimes in in the comments with some thoughts that echo my feeling of Kickstarter when it comes to major films. That is, it’s hard to solicit funds from people for such a major project with little more than gifts being the reward. Equity makes people sit up and take notice, and the lure of a return is even better. One way that feature films could succeed on Kickstarter is to basically give everyone a piece of the pie. It’s something that may come along eventually, but for now, it seems that Kickstarter is off-limits to large budget feature films.
To conclude, it’s clear that Kickstarter really does help a large swathe of the animation community get their projects up and running. Unfortunately plenty of projects (both worthy and unworthy) go unfunded and perceived quality isn’t really a yardstick for success. Where Kickstarter seems to shine best is in getting physical objects into the hands of backers. Sending DVDs of a short is one thing, but funding DVDs of something that is already successful is another thing.
Take for example the webcomic Narbonic. Cartoonist Shaenon Garritysuccessfully funded two print volumes (proudly displayed on my bookshelf) through Kickstarter. She was able to take advantage of the fact that she was funding physical objects and the fact that Narbonic was a great webcomic with a devoted fanbase. Animators looking to use Kickstarter should take note; it’s much easier to raise funds when you already have an audience but when you do, Kickstarter can be a great tool to fulfilling your dreams.
Fred Seibert is a guy I have a lot of respect and admiration for so it was quite surprising (and delightful) to see a post from him on the subject of copyright (something that is inexplicably fascinating to me). Fred’s post is actually a discussion/opinion on the news that Republicans in Congress released a paper in which they did a surprisingly good job of analysing the impact that copyright has and some of the myths that surround it.
I won’t go into the details because I want you to read the full post over on a regular haunt of mine, Techdirt. However, I do want to point out that Fred, being in the creative industries that he is, takes a very rational approach to the fact that copyright and the industries linked to it, are rapidly changing.
Rather than stick his head in the sand, Fred details, quite clearly, outlines why increased penalties and terms on copyright protection is detrimental:
….Completely aside from the fact that in this era of expansion of ease of sharing and distribution that more stringent copyright defense is the equivalent of putting up higher and higher anti-immigration fences along our borders, it just isn’t helpful to creative enterprise. Seriously.
And, we’re gathering the forces to realize that all the technological changes in our lives are *demanding* legal change.
A long time ago, copyright was the preserve of entertainment industry bigwigs and specialist lawyers. Today, everyone is at least familiar with the concept of copyright but unfortunately most do not understand the ramifications of the legal rights and restrictions it imposes on the person on the receiving end.
The website Brand New is one of my very favourites. Analysing brands, logos and identities is never a dull sport as there is always something to discuss. Seeing as they wouldn’t really cover an organisation as small or as niche as the Animation Guild, I’ve taken it upon myself to analyse their new logo in a befitting manner.
To begin, let’s take a look at the old logo:
Wow, just, wow. How that was considered acceptable for such a long time is beyond me. An update was definitely (and desperately) needed and indeed was granted by the powers to be:
If the first thing you see is a spring, you are not alone. Plenty of commentators made light of it over on the blog post revealing the new logo. Plenty more tried to connect it to the Guild’s purpose or indeed how it related to animation. We’ll get to that in a second, but first, what about the logo as a logo.
Well, it does attempt to connect the ‘a’ and the ‘g’ together. This is far from a new concept in the graphic design field, but it’s a trick that is only truly pulled off by the best. The designer is Malcolm Grear Designers, and their website reveals that they’ve pulled it off before. In this case though, it comes off as a wee bit confusing, which in fairness is more as a result of the monotonous use of colour than the design of the logo itself. Instead of standing out, the two letters merge into one, neither being overly pronounced despite the heavier leading on the ‘a’.
The colour isn’t offensive. A nice, friendly light blue isn’t going to get anyone in a lather very quickly. It should also translate well into monochrome but will of course retain the clash between the letters. I can’t help but wonder what it will look like after a few bad photocopies (you’ve all seen examples of that I’m sure). Let’s just be grateful they’ve included the title, just so that we know we are dealing with the Guild and not some spring company from Ohio.
So overall, the logo as a design is OK. However that is only half the story though as we now turn our attention to how the logo works as a brand.
The Animation Guild was originally set up to represent artists throughout the animation industry in California and beyond. It reps all the larger studios (Disney, etc) as well as plenty of smaller ones. The animation industry is tight-knit and it’s not often that those within it have to deal in a significant way with outsiders (I’m talking strictly artists here).
A such the old logo alluded to these origins, with a lightbox and mouse. The new one? Not so much. I could wax lyrical about the ‘spring’ and how it could represent how the union gives helps to artists and their careers and so on, but that is a waste of time.
The logo serves first and foremost to identify who the Guild stands for, hence the use of the “Animation” in the title of the original logo. That said, the designers give their rationale for going for a non-descript new logo over something more specific to animation or VFX:
Since the Guild is made up of a diverse group of creative artists, writers and technicians in motion-picture and television animation and computer graphics it was important to us that the symbol not represent any specific design style.
This is more apt than initially appears. The Animation Guild has made noises about organising VFX studios and although that profession is distinct from animation, it would reflect poorly on someone attempting to represent them while appearing to champion that profession over visual effects.The old logo above clearly spells out ‘Animation’ thereby appearing in theory but not in practice to promote one over the other.
Add video game designers into the mix and it rapidly becomes clear that having an animation-specific logo wouldn’t do much good at all. In that respect, the new logo works well as an ambiguous representation of the guild. By reducing the logo to initials, you also remove the direct link to the name and hence the awareness of the ‘Animation’ in the title.
The typeface choice is clean and suitably contemporary (sorry, I can’t name it off the top of my head) but does away with the capitalisation in a move that (to me at least) downplays the serious role that the Guild does.
So overall, the new logo is a much-needed and suitably appropriate upgrade to the Animation Guild’s brand identity; something that, as they note on their blog post, has become increasingly important for now and the future to come.
Nate Hamilton has sent in a link to the teaser for his latest short film, TANK. The film is set when: “a boy finds a connection between his fish tank and a pond in the woods. There looms inside the pond, a giant amphibian.”
Nate has a production blog up which seems to be well worth following to see how someone goes about creating an independent film (hint, there’s a lot of work). In the meantime, enjoy the teaser!
Today’s post is by guest, Stephen Gerard. Stephen graduated from Salve Regina University in 2012 with a Bachelors degree in English/Communications. Animation sparked his interest ever since he saw the movie Surfs Up.
With the exciting progressions in animation moving so rapidly, I thought it would be fun to stop and take a look back at the characters that were most memorable to me, specifically on the big screen. These characters are in no particular order, so feel free to arrange them sparingly in your mind and follow me on my journey as I retrace some of the most memorable animated characters of the last 20 years.
One of my favorite animated characters and a true legend to the animation world is Toy Story’s very own Cowboy. Created in 1995 by Pixar productions, Woody is one of the most genuine animations to this date. Seeing as Toy Story was the first fully computer animated feature film, history was indeed made. Woody being the most complex character to create, his name on this list was properly earned. Created by Pixar’s RenderMan, Woody has flown far and above his buddy Buzz Light-year this time.
The next character could come as a surprise to many of you due to his recent rookie status on the big screen. Produced in 2010 by Dreamworks Animation, How to Train Your Dragon’s Toothless is quite the dynamic character, as he spends most of his time hovering in the air. Categorized as a Night Fury, Toothless is the rarest of all dragons. Though at first he was quite reluctant to use his strengths, by the conclusion of the movie his heroic acts land him safely on this list.
A memorable list of animated characters would not be proper without one that scared the fun out of you. King Kong is the star of his movie, for good reason. Created in 2005, the movie features one of the meanest animated characters to this date. Wrecking everything in his path, Kong was no easy character to create. With the program of Maya, the crew was able to achieve massive results, literally. Seeing this one in theatre definitely had you jumping out of your seat.
Transition from King Kong, its important to note that not all over sized animated characters can be scary. Fighting off neighborhood crime and violence, Mr Incredible of The Incredible’s is a special father to say the least. Though he struggled to bottle in his super power strengths, he proved to be the hero that everyone needed. Produced in 2004, The Incredible’s proved to be one of Pixar’s most challenging projects. The crew faced some difficulties when animating the cast of humans for CGI, but ended up creating an ‘incredible’ securing a 100 per cent success rate for the studio.
Last and not least we must mention one of the most beloved animated characters of our time. A big green monster of sorts, Shrek alongside his close friend Donkey, has helped animation lovers all over the world embark on a journey. First created in 2001, who would have thought a big green Ogre would see so much success. PDI/DreamWorks with the help of Autodesk’s Maya made a big contribution to the films various animation aspects. From the looks of it now, Shrek’s infamy lives on as the most lovable monster out there.
So there it is; my list complete full of Ogre’s, superhero fathers, flying dinosaurs and monstrous primates. As animation practices continue to progress, we look forward to new and exciting characters in the future. With that so, don’t forget the classics!