An Interview with Independent Animator Signe Baumane

Latvian-born, New York City-based Signe Baumane has made a name for herself through her consistently intriguing works and willingness to tackle topics that others do not. Her 2014 feature film Rocks in my Pockets received widespread praise from critics and viewers alike. Currently in the midst of producing her next feature, My Love Affair With Marriage, Signe graciously took some time to answer a few tough questions from me.

Why America Remains a Magnet for Animators: An Interview with Ricky Renna

Animation on a global scale is growing like never before. Unlike times gone past, there are now a multitude of local employment choices for animators in many countries. That said, America continues to be a draw for many foreign artists. I talked to Blue Sky animator Ricky Renna to find out why.

The A.V. Club Interview with Alex Hirsch

As the serious side of the funniest news organisation known to man, the A.V. Club somehow manages to remain a wonderfully rich source of entertainment news. Today is no exception as they posted an interview with the creator of one of the hottest animated TV shows around these days: Alex Hirsch of Gravity Falls.

The entire interview is well worth a read but what got me was this question and its answer:

AVC: Did you take any lessons from how Springfield has been built in the last 23 years apply them to Gravity Falls?

AH: [Laughs.] I think the No. 1 lesson I learned from The Simpsons was just that animation could be as funny as live-action. That animation could be funnier than live-action. That animation didn’t have to just be for kids. That it could be satirical and observational and grounded in a sense of character interaction. I think that’s really what got me excited about animation more than anything was seeing, “Oh my gosh! I love cartoons and these cartoons are also making my parents laugh and making me laugh.” As I grow older it makes me laugh more.

Personally, I find that a great observation of animation’s appeal within comedic entertainment. Animation is often seen as the ugly step-child but it’s much more than that. It’s an integral part of modern culture that The Simpsons is absolutely responsible for. I completely agree with Alex insofar that animation is funnier than live action on many levels and that it can be suitable for both kids and adults.

That’s one of the appeals of the technique; it’s so adaptable and accessible to all ages. Live-action often fails on both accounts and it’s a shame that it continues to get the lions share.

A Depressing Quoute From Lauren Faust

Lauren's group of self-made dolls that would make a killer TV show, and yes, I own a T-shirt!

Lauren Faust is widely admired for not only her work on the PowerPuff Girls and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, but also for her work on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and lately, the Superfriends series of shorts for Warner Bros. Well a long long time ago, there was a post on Cartoon Brew (not this one) where Lauren’s husband Craig McCracken was quick to defend her work on MLP because it was the best girl-oriented show going and it was only after facing many defeats pitching her own show to the networks.

At the time, Laruen didn’t really comment on the pitching aspect, but in a recent interview with LA Weekly, we get a bit of an answer as to why she was never able to successfully sell her own show, and not through lack of talents on her part:

On pitching animated shows for girls:

If you talk to the people in charge — the people looking to invest in these things and, unfortunately, the people who usually tell you no — they’ll tell you that girl things just don’t get the numbers. It’s a business and you need to make money. The girl books don’t get the ratings, the girl books don’t get the sales. Unfortunately, a lot of people will tell you that this is because girls aren’t interested in cartoons or girls aren’t interested in comic books.

I don’t think that’s true. I think the reason that might be is because most of the stuff for girls isn’t hitting them in the right place. All too often, “for girls” means “for little girls.” They won’t target an 8-year-old or a 10-year-old. An 8-year-old isn’t going to be interested in something that’s aimed for a 5-year-old. And, when they do gear stuff for 8-year-olds, it’s all about combing your hair and clothes. I don’t think girls are interested in that kind of stuff. I think they’re interested, but I don’t think that they’re interested in stories about it or characters whose lives revolve around it. I just don’t think that enough people have made stuff that was good enough or compelling enough to bring the girls in.

Girls’ stuff doesn’t get the same kind of budget that the boys’ stuff gets. It’s usually lower quality and kids can tell that stuff. Instead of blaming it on the quality, they’ll blame it on the gender. They’ll say the stories are for girls. That’s what’s making it not work, where I feel that it’s the quality and the content that’s making it not work. I’m hoping for people to put a little more faith in girls. Too much stuff for girls is about tea parties and holding hands and skipping down the lane.

Someone please give this woman a TV show!

Hayao Miyazaki: His FIlms In His Own Words

Hayao Miyazaki imageEmpire Magazine has a surprisingly insightful interview with Hayao Miyazaki which contains his own thoughts on his movies over the last 30 years or so.

Well worth a read for choice quotes like this:

Why did the lead character have to be female? Well, it doesn’t look truthful if the guy has power like that! Women are able to straddle both the real world and the other world — like mediums…..It isn’t the swordplay that Nausicäa is good at, it’s that she understands both the human world and the insect world. No animals feel danger in approaching her; she’s able to totally erase her sense of presence, existence. Males, they are aggressive, only in the human sphere — very shallow! (Laughs) So it had to be a female character.

H/T to Eddie White for tipping me off with his tweet 🙂

What Happens When Two Irish Guys Interview John R. Dilworth?

Magic, that’s what happens. No, seriously, the lads over at The Comic Cast recently managed to collar him the recent screening of his films at The Big Screen Project in New York and have a chat with him.

Besides hearing to the thick Irish brogues of Liam Geraghty and Craig O Connor, there are some great questions about Dilworth’s career and how he ended up in animation as well as some of his unique sense of humour. There is also some great tips for aspiring animators and some talk about Courage the Cowardly Dog.

Start your day off right! Head on over the The Comic Cast and have a listen!