4 Reasons Animated Shorts Will Soon Reign Supreme

Over at the TAG Blog (which in turn got it from Comic Book.com) Steve Hulett offers 5 very good reasons why animated shorts are apparently coming back into fashion with major studios:

1) Shorts provide a continuity of work for employees who might otherwise be laid off and move on to the competition.

2) They are added value for the features to which they’re attached.

3) They provide valuable training for up-and coming board artists, directors, and writers.

4) They help keep well-loved franchises alive and viable between the ninety-minute tent poles.

5) They can be magnets for shiny gold statues that studios covet.

I wholeheartedly agree. Shorts accomplish all of those and more! Here’s a few reasons why shorts will soon reign supreme in terms of volume.

1. Attention spans are ever dwindling

If the rise of the internet has proven anything, it’s that attention spans are getting ever shorter. Sure, people can still sit down for a full feature film, but on a day to day basis, media and entertainment is being delivered in ever smaller doses. The short is ideally positioned to take advantage of this. Taking a break to watch a quick 7-9 minute short is much easier as opposed to a half-hour TV show. Besides, small screens like phones and tablets, give shorter content an advantage when it comes to ability to watch.

2. There are cost efficiencies with shorts that even TV shows can’t match

Shorts (when done right) can quite literally be pumped out; Next Media Animation in Taiwan is proof of that. Sure, the quality is questionable, but they do take things to extremes by getting stories out literally within hours. For better quality stuff, 2-3 weeks was the standard back in the day and there’s little reason why that has changed since then. In any case, South Park has been known to cobble episodes together in under a week but then they focus much more on plot than actual animation.

On top of that, characters, scenes and layouts can be re-used ad naseum. By keeping things simpler, shorts derive most of their cost savings from not having to come up with new locations, characters, props, etc. In addition, what is created is used many more times than for a TV show and so the cost of creating something can be spread out over many more episodes, thus lowering the contribution cost to each short.

3. Bandwidth is growing, but it isn’t there just yet

The inevitability of the internet as a distribution channel means that we’ll all have to get used to loading bars, in the short term. Bandwidth will eventually expand to allow for near-instantaneous streaming/downloading for the majority of consumers, but for now, short content will stand to benefit, as it can be downloaded much quicker. Expect to see this scenario continue for a few more years to come.

4. History likes to repeat itself

When cinema first got started, it seemed fairly obvious how people would make money, but it still took a bit of time before things like the states rights markets disappeared and the studio-distributor-theatre model developed to collect and transport revenue. Where we are right now is a similar situation. Making money from content on the internet is still being worked out, with many various models being tested. It’s much easier to test one with a short than with a TV show or film. Shorts dominated the animated cinema until Snow White in 1937 and it is highly likely that shorts will dominate the internet until someone turns a real profit with a feature film.

The 2012 NY International Children’s Film Festival is Coming!

It’s that time of the year yet again, when New York City hosts their International Children’s Film Festival, a fantastic event that brings a decent amount of otherwise obscure animation to the big screen on American shores.

This year’s lineup is quite impressive with the US premiere of A Monster In Paris and a sneak peek at Aardman’s latest, The Pirates!Besides that, there is the usual mix of live-action and animation from around the world, including an impressive shorts schedule. As an added bonus, they will also be screening the Beatle’s Yellow Submarine!

The festival runs from the 2nd to the 25th of March on the weekends, so you really don’t have many excuses for not making it to at least something.

Tickets, showtimes and locations, can all be found on their website.

Giant Creative Starts Setting Out the Goods

About a month ago I featured a short film by new Irish animation outfit Giant Creative, well since then, they’ve rolled out a whole slate of shorts. They’re a mix of films, tests and actual production work, and they’re all worth checking out.

Today though, I’m posting my favourites.

Caution, the one below contains nudity!


A Triple Helping of Videos

Normally these would be posted on a Thursday, but flexibility is a skill all bloggers must have.

1. Be A Vegetarian (tip o’ the hat to Broadsheet.ie)

2. Plymptoons Holiday Video

3. D on ice – A sardonic look at what Walt would think if he came back to life today. (Cheers, Cartoon Brew)


The Fleischer Superman Shorts, Now Available on Netflix

Via: the Superman Wiki

The other day, while browsing the “Recently Added” section of Netflix, I was pleasantly (although not entirely) surprised to see that the entire series of Superman cartoons by the Fleischer Brothers had been added and were available to instant streaming.

Suffice to say they were added to the instant queue immediately.

Via: Classic Film Freak


The Maryland Film Fest, Cars 2 Posters & Michael Sporn on the ASIFA-East Festival

MD Film Fest

Last night was a lot of fun down at the Charles Theater in Baltimore. The screening was packed and there was lots of top quality animation to be seen along with plenty of laughs and applause.

The shorts will be screened again on Sunday evening at 5pm in case you missed them.

Cars 2 Posters

Via: Hollywood.com

As much as I have already discussed the ones created by Eric Tan, the latest batch (such as above) truly boggle the mind. For one of the top creative companies on the planet to turn out/approve such banal works is most disappointing. Especially when the concern things like cars, objects elevated to the status of art a long time ago.

Besides that, the ‘puns’ for titles make for almost gut-wrenching reading. They are neither funny nor appropriate.

Based on what I’ve seen, I’d say we’re headed for Pixar’s first major misstep. You heard it here first.

Michael Sporn on the ASIFA-East Festival

Last week the ASIFA-East Festival took place in New York. I wasn’t there for personal reasons but I read about the winners the following day. Seeing as I had a final exam on Tuesday, I congratulated a few winners and carried on with my life.

However, it seems that a heated discussion blew up on Cartoon Brew after the list of winners were posted. Sometimes negativity can cloud the debate and spoil it for everyone. Which is exactly what happened here.

Michael Sporn has posted a sage response on his blog that is the best I’ve read. If you are in doubt about the society or its voting procedures, you should read it. I’m glad I read it first before the Brew comments.