It took some time to process this news; as far out as it is. Last month, CNN announced that they were rebranding their other cable news network Headline News as HLN and giving it a complete makeover too. Borrowing more than the idea of a three lettered name from MTV, HLN is now gunning for the teen demos, and is banking on animation to help them grab it. The only question that is really raised is: why?
If you’re not familiar with Warren Buffet, pretty much all you need to know is that he’s one of the richest men in the world. That doesn’t have a lot to do with animation, at least on the surface, but what Buffet is good at doing (investing) certainly is and his advice is well worth heeding too. Let’s take a look at why that is.
Gender is a topic in animation circles that is gaining more traction lately mainly thanks to a growing realisation that for all the talk of an industry that has less sever gender segregation and under representation than live-action, it’s still a heavily male-dominated industry. That translates into the programming and associated merchandise so easily that it’s long been simply taken for granted. In recent years, the problem has attracted more attention as viewers, consumer groups and activists look to balance the equation for women and females in animation. For an example of a possible fix, we turn to the east, and the hit anime show Attack on Titan.
Over on the Society for Animation Studies blog, Lauren Carr writes about what she perceives as a crisis in animation studies stemming mainly from a desire by students to simply learn the software tools rather than the technique and theory behind animation. If that’s true, then we are heading for an impending apocalypse in the field from which it will be very difficult to recover.
Voice acting isn’t Hank Azaria’s only talent. He’s also an actor and comedian who just happens to excel at creating great characters. One of those creations got him into a bit of difficulty when it emerged that someone else had created something very similar first. Cue a lawsuit to sort it all out that also reveals (at least in the legal sense) what defines a character.
This morning it was announced that Disney has released Frozen for digital downloading through iTunes. What makes this all the more astonishing is that the film remains in general release in cinemas and indeed, remains well inside the top 10; grossing over $4.5 million this past weekend. So why is Disney doing this now? Are they striking while the iron is still hot, or are other motives in play?
There’s an annual report called the Global Animation Industry Report: Strategies, Trends & Opportunities. I wrote about it last year, but since there’s a new report for 2014, I’m writing about it again. While the $5,000 price is a bit too steep for me, you can view the contents online for free, and that’s where one sub-heading picqued my interest: ‘Pixar’s Technological Advantage’. While that may have been true many years ago, does it still hold up?
Animation is a cultural thing, and like anything related to culture, there is national delineations and boundaries. For example, American animation is very, well, American. Canadaian animation is distinctly Canadian. Irish animation probably isn’t really coming from anywhere other than Ireland. And so on. However, the country of an animation’s origin is not the be all and end all of what it means to be animated.
[box color=”blue” align=”center”]Are you receiving the only curated weekly newsletter of animation news and features? Sign up here![/box]
In a brief, but all too painful and to-the-point post over on Tumblr, Keith Lango lays out what it means to create animation for mass consumption. It’s an eye-opener but one that could be said to be necessary for many people working in the industry. The bottom line:
Audiences. Do. Not. Care. About. “Quality”. Animation.
It almost hurts to read but it is absolutely something you should if you want to confront a lot of truths about the animation industry as we know it today.
Of course, why should audiences care. They don’t particularly care about how live-action is made because despite their thirst for making-of extras on DVDs, they remain quite ignorant of what really makes films happen. Why should animation be any different?
Marketing and promotional art is a key piece of the entertainment puzzle and has been a feature of the promotion business since long before film. Film posters are an art in and of themselves, but as Bill Cunningham points out in a guest post over at Truly Free Film, they haven’t kept up with the times.
Almost all films are a commercial venture to some extent but not all are created equal, as the films of Hayao Miyazaki and Disney demonstrate. Both make successful films, but only one does it to genuinely tell stories.