Animation Articles: March 22, 2020

A selection of the best animation articles including news, opinions, and features from around the world for the week beginning the 22nd of March, 2020.

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Don’t Rely on Disney if You’re Looking For a Gay Princess

People have been clamouring for a Disney princess that embodies LGBT traits for some time, but the latest #GiveElsaAGirlfriend campaign is misdirected, misguided and will ultimately fail to accomplish the very outcome it desires. Why is this so, and why do fans tend to believe otherwise? The answer is troubling and undermines all efforts aimed at increasing representation in the media.

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Make Up Your Own Mind: 10 Articles About Frozen & Feminism

Disney’s Frozen has generated a lot of debate but specifically on the topic of whether it is a feminist film or not, the answer is a bit more elusive. On the one side, are people who claim that it is thanks to dual female protagonists, a positive message, and a muted romantic theme compared to other Disney films. On the other side, there are claims that the film is merely masquerading as a feminist film and in reality continues to undermine the feminist ideal through subtle and not-so-subtle marketing. Which side is correct? You can make up your own mind with these sixteen articles published in recent months that discuss the film.

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Week Links 42-2013

This post was, in fact, written on Thursday the result of a full day of travelling today. The week link list is no shorter however as this week has already produced a decent variety of interesting articles on the topic of animation. Enjoy!

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The Animation Anomaly Podcast Episode 6

A wild podcast episode unexpectedly appears!

In this episode:

00:00 – CTN Expo Recap (Simpsons Music 500 Music Ville link)

05:00 – Three Shows That Changed The Way Networks Think About Viewership

08:30 – Three Interesting Documents

11:00 – Do Studio Ghibli films make Pixar look weak?

14:00 – Frozen and Feminism: Bitch Flicks post, my post

Audio file link

Is Frozen Really A Feminist Film?

Frozen has been released to near-universal critical acclaim praising it as a long-awaited return to greatness for the Burbank studio of the Disney Company. Some reviews and analyses have touched on the film’s greater themes of feminism in light of the twin female protagonists and a dearth of traditional, patriarchal themes. While that may be true, there are other aspects that potentially undermine the Frozen feminist claim.

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Week Links 26-2013

Some post-Independence Day and food poisoning week links for you today.

Don’t Go To Art School

Noah Bradley points out the fallacy of an art degree with this post:

Artists are neither doctors nor lawyers. We do not, on average, make huge six-figure salaries. We can make livable salaries, certainly. Even comfortable salaries. But we ain’t usually making a quarter mil a year. Hate to break it to you. An online debt repayment calculator recommended a salary exceeding $400,000 in order to pay off a RISD education within 10 years.

He’s right. In class this week our group had to present on the topic of higher education and I was tasked with the rather difficult job of pointing out that institutions rarely co-ordinate with industry in regards to job supply or demand. The end result is that a degree is no guarantee of a job let alone a good one.

Unfortunately many companies and studios are demanding degrees for entry level positions and are exacerbating the situation. Noah puts it best:

Find another path. Art is a wonderful, beautiful, fulfilling pursuit. Don’t ruin it with a mountain of debt.

Bryan Konitezko Discusses Ethnicity and Colour Theory in the Avatar Universe

konietzko avatar skin solour

Co-creator of Avatar: The Last Airbender and the Legend of Korra, Bryan Konietzko has a long but comprehensive analysis of ehtnicity, colour theory and character genetics in this post over on his tumblelog.

He highlights two important things:

  1. It’s all to easy to jump to conclusions if you’re not involved in a production
  2. Colour plays an incredibly important role

The post is a great read, especially if you are curious about the Avatar universe and family lines within it. On one hand, it’s nice to see this level of detail being put into a show, but on the other, it’s kind of disheartening that Bryan had to clarify things.

That plays into the first point above. Fans sometimes do unnecessarily jump to conclusions and can unintentionally cause a ruckus or make a mountain out of a molehill. There’s little one can do about it save being open and honest about things; just like Bryan was.

Secondly, the saga highlights just how much of an influence colour can have on a show (or film). This makes now as good a time as any to plug Oswald Iten’s superb blog Colorful Animated Expressions which features just about all you ever wanted to know about the role that colour plays in filmmaking.

This Could Have Been Frozen

couldhavebeenfrozen-1

Coincidentally there was another article about ethnicity in animation this week. Coming from the Daily Mail (with my sincere apologies) is the news that a few fans, unhappy about the supposed ethnic homogeny of the upcoming Disney film, Frozen, have taken matters into their own hands and have come up with a few ideas of what a more diverse alternative could have looked like.

couldhavebeenfrozen-2

There is of course the obligatory tumblelog where people can submit their own ideas.

All I can say about this is that Disney has a long history of augmenting traditional tales in order to make them more convenient or marketable; complete historical accuracy has never been one of their strong points (remember, the original Aladdin story was set in China.)

Tweets of the Week

 

Week Links 25-2013

Better late than never but a tad short thanks to an extremely hectic week that left little time for reading.

A Skeptical Look at the Newest Disney Princess Film, Frozen

Bitch_Frozen

Hanna White over at Bitch Magazine takes this decerning look at the upcoming Disney feature. Even though it’s still early days, enough details have been released to allow for some critical analysis and this is certainly a good one.

100 Hour Weeks & Homeless

A detailed account of what a VFX artist has gone through in the industry. Well worth a read.

Tweets of the Week

 

Those Frozen Posters and the Curse of The Modern Blockbuster

A few weeks back, some images escaped onto the internet purporting to be for the next film in the Disney cannon, Frozen. They were quickly disavowed but the company nonetheless made an effort to rescind the impossible from the public’s mind. Here are said Frozen posters for informative purposes:

Disney_Frozen Poster A

Disney_Frozen Poster B

Disney_Frozen Poster C

The entire saga raised a number of questions but the true answers to them are rather straightforward.

Why Were They Disavowed?

The posters were disavowed for the simple reason that they are unofficial. While the posters do exhibit traits previously linked to the film (such as the title design), as a whole, they are not officially sanctioned by the Disney company. The studio is therefore obliged to distance itself from them, but there’s is more to it than that.

Poster trademarks is something that’s been talked about here on the blog before, and with these posters, there is very high possibility for confusion among the public. This is especially so given that the posters feature two characters that could easily be thought to be from the film. Trademark law requires holders to defend or face losing them. In that respect, Disney cannot simply let them slide because it could underpin future litigation.

Why Were They Even Released Then?

That, we don’t know. Cine 1 is based in Argentina, and we can only speculate wildly how they a) got the poster designs at all and b) would post them for any reason besides attracting publicity for themselves. Either way, it’s a fishy background to the entire affair but does not dilute the fact that it got a lot of people talking about the film.

So Where Does The Curse of the Blockbuster Come Into All This?

Where the curse of the blockbuster comes into this is that Disney were also duty bound to stifle the public’s interest in the film at this point in time. Why? Quite simply, they’re not finished selling the current one yet.

Yes, Wreck-It-Ralph comes out on DVD in March and as successful as that film was, it doesn’t do the Walt Disney Company much good to start flogging the new one before they’re done with the old one.

The curse of the modern blockbuster is that it makes money in precisely defined, extremely short periods of time. They have a few weeks at the box office before being pushed out on home media a few months later. The former brings in some money, but the real dough is (and has been for many years) in the latter. Disney simply cannot, through sheer necessity, ignore this period.

As a result, it will continue to devote any and all resources to Wreck-It-Ralph in the coming weeks. A distraction such as the posters above represents a significant problem with that strategy. It thrusts into the minds of the public who are constantly demanding new things and serve as a shocking reminder that yes, Wreck-It-Ralph is a done and dusted film while Frozen is so new and sparkly, we haven’t even seen any animation yet.

This bodes poorly for Disney, so they swing into crisis mode and attempt to stop it while they can. That’s not a bad thing, but it does reinforce the fact that studios like to dictate the publicity for their films despite the fact that the internet is an unwieldy beast that eats such control for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the case of Frozen, the internet is clearly very hungry

The Alternative?

Back in December, we were given a single, concept sketch in an official capacity but then, nothing. Why do it then if there was nothing to follow? Disney may have been better off waiting until after Christmas before beginning to periodically (and predictably) releasing stuff. Independent animator Elliot Cowan is doing precisely that on his twitter feed; posting artwork from his feature film on a regular basis as he completes it. Disney could have handled this better; here’s hoping it’s a once-off event.
Just when should a studio start releasing artwork? Let us know with a comment!