My Two Cents on Digital Projection Technology

  1. It provides a crisper, clearer picture than the traditional 35mm film.
  2. So does a HD plasma screen TV.

The bottom line: If I wanted to watch a digital film, I’d wait for it to come out on DVD/Blu-Ray. Assuming the film was digitally distributed too, I should be paying a lot less for my cinema ticket* but there’s fat chance of that happening.

This is because there is not the same financial outlays involved in shipping physical cans of films around that a traditional setup involves.

Has the Rise of the Children’s Networks Contributed to Obesity in Kids?

It’s something I want you to dwell on for right now (I’ll do a full post in a wee bit), but does the fact that there are three networks broadcasting children’s TV shows 24/7 (for the most part) form a contributing factor when it comes to childhood obesity?

I’m not talking about the content or the advertising (although that has long earned the wrath of concerned citizens) I’m talking solely about the fact that children nowadays have unmetered access to content aimed at them.

What are your thoughts? Would limiting the hours of operation of children’s channels make a difference?

Women in Animation: Focusing on the Right Things

Apologies for the belated post today and the complete lack of one yesterday (*&%^ work schedule). Today’s topic has been doing the rounds recently as a result of two news items (both, incidentally, in the Los Angeles Times).

The first concerns Pixar’s upcoming film, Brave, which was already in the news for having its director, Brenda Chapman removed halfway through production. The second is that the premiere of DreamWork’s Kung Fu Panda 2 is also the first time a women, namely Jennifer Yuh Nelson, has directed a theatrical animated feature.

Brenda Chapman, in the LAT article, bemoans the fact that:

We’re in the 21st century and there are so few stories geared towards girls, told from a female point of view.

Two things:

  1. Well, duh
  2. Is being female even necessary?

I will be the first to admit that males and females ain’t quite into the same things (she’ll like cartoons someday, dammit) but Chapman is calling for the wrong thing.

Does it matter that females create content for females?

I don’t care who makes my entertainment, as long as it entertains me. As a kid, I definitely didn’t care who was writing, directing or animating my cartoons.

It’s not that I completely disagree with Chapman. Balance is a great thing and over-dominance of one gender over another is wrong, especially in the creative arts where both sides are equally capable of producing excellence.

Women absolutely should have a greater role in creating content for girls but one should not construe such a need as being all-conquering. Men can and do have a role in creating content for girls the same way women can and do have a hand in creating content for boys.

The real crux of the issue is that there is a gender imbalance in the industry and people in general (both men and women) still have their attachments to content aimed at their respective gender. Both of these need to be fixed before we see any changes.

This post is as good as any to highlight the exceptional work done by Women in Animation whose goal is to:

foster the dignity, concerns and advancement of women who are involved in any and all aspects of the art and industry of animation.

They’ve got a great website that should be an essential part of your bookmarks and they hold plenty of events too that aim to further the organisation’s mission.


Animation Is A Genre

At least it is according to the New York Times:

At the box office, animated films, which have recently been Hollywood’s most reliable genre, have fallen into a deep trough…

Animation encompasses many genres which is why it should not be considered one. It is part ignorance, part misinformation, but there are very few, if any excuses for such a sweeping generalisation an artform.

Besides, the films have been “reliable” because they’ve been good and have more often than not out-performed their live-action counterparts, not just because they are animated.

Four Thoughts on Seth MacFarlane Rebooting The Flintstones

Yoinked from Cartoon Brew

I admit I was disappointed when I read the news yesterday. Why someone felt the need to let Seth MacFarlane reboot one of the greatest TV shows of all time is beyond me. Since we haven’t even seen or heard anything yet, I cannot have an opinion on the show either way. What I can have, are some thoughts on the whole idea, which I present to you below.

1. Why bring it back?

The old saying “let a sleeping dog lie” is apt. There is no shortage of original concepts out there just waiting to be made. Instead, in this age of sequels and prequels, we get an existing property that just has to be brought into the modern age.

Don’t get me wrong, The Flintstones aren’t sacrosanct. Remember the kids version from the 80s? Hanna-Barbera themselves weren’t as nice to the characters as they perhaps should have been. The difference is that they knew the jig was up in the early 90s and began making original content.

Why now? The Flintstones is 50 years old and the only new content being created is the Fruity Pebbles commercials. That’s pretty bad, but also appropriate. The show itself is only shown on Boomerang and merchandise has been gradually retracted over the years. The show is losing its audience (as they regrettably die off) and there aren’t enough new ones discovering the show.

My beef with the whole idea? Can you imagine if, back in the 60s, some network decided to bring back some vaudeville act from 50 years before? They’d be laughed out of town. Sadly that is not the case today.

2. Why Seth MacFarlane?

He already has three ‘winners’ on the network that pull in hundreds of millions of dollars a year for FOX. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Besides, he did work on some of the H-B cartoons of the 90s like Johnny Bravo, which was very much in the retro style. He is (or should be) familiar with the characters and the style of the show.

3. Will the reboot return animation to the glory of prime time?

No. That era is well and truly dead. The proliferation of the audience among the vast number of cable channels and the internet has meant that the audience necessary to sustain a top quality animated prime time show is gone. The days of the The Simpsons and Family Guy itself are rapidly drawing to a close. Don’t expect any big surprises.

4. Will you and I watch it?

I don’t know, will you? I’ll probably watch  the premiere but to be honest, I haven’t watched FOX on Sunday night in months. The quality of the evening has sunk to the point that I would rather invest my time in a film or TV show on Netflix than get let down by The Simpsons and the MacFarlane shows. It’s sad but it’s the truth.