Saturday, December 06, 2008

Thanks To Contributors!

Song of The South is probably my favorite Disney movie storywise.
It's the only movie where the stories aren't stuffed with filler (unless you count the live action sequences)
Disney didn't write the stories of course, but Bill Peet staged and cut them together very cleverly in his storyboards and gave the animators a strong structure to work in.
Most Disney movies are derived from 4 or 5 page fairy tale stories, and then filled up with 65 more pages worth of junk that has nothing to do with the stories: naked flying babies, animals that wipe dishes clean with their butts, long sneezing sequences, big chunks of insufferable pathos and more.
The Uncle Remus stories are told straight. They're good stories for kids and they look beautiful. I'm not sure if these first few frame grabs are Kahl; they look a little different than the close ups, so someone help me out here...
The backgrounds are beautiful, the compositions clear and handsome and the animation is really fun to look at.
Brer Fox here has a lot more detail and a more complex construction than Elmer Fudd (who is generic) and this would make him harder to control. Only really top animators could turn this guy around and tilt his head in every angle. If you are trying to teach yourself construction, this is the wrong thing to study, because there is too much to control. Start with Elmer and Porky or Tom and Jerry who are more basic.
Also Disney characters move so much and flail their arms all over the place that you get distracted from the drawings and mesmerized by the flailing. It's easier to copy the flailing animation than the really tough solid drawings.
These drawings can be figured out logically in the same way Elmer can, by starting with the basic shapes. I'll do that in another post.


In the meantime,
Thanks to all you kind folks who support my rantings! I hope you get some progress out of it!
















27 comments:

Michael J. Ruocco said...

I believe the first few framegrabs with Brer Fox holding the match are Marc Davis' work, not Kahl's.

I'm looking forward to your next solid drawing posts. They're really intriguing to me.

Roberto González said...

"Most Disney movies are derived from 4 or 5 page fairy tale stories, and then filled up with 65 more pages worth of junk that has nothing to do with the stories: naked flying babies, animals that wipe dishes clean with their butts, long sneezing sequences, big chunks of insufferable pathos and more."

Hahaha, that's funny cause it's true. I mean, I'm a lot more tolerant than you with that kind of thing, but I basically agree with you about this.

I know you have talked about Blame It On The Samba and Aquarela Do Brasil, but what do you think of Three Caballeros? Is another of my fave Disney movies. Everything is funny there, not too much filler.

The sad part is people with no artistic interest tend to think that story and pathos is the meat of the movie and the gags and funny visuals are the filler.

Brer Fox really looks great in that last pannel.

Masked Stinker said...

Your welcome!

The posts on construction, color, background have helped me make better cartoon art.

I still have a way to go, but I'm trying to apply all the priciples you've ranted about!

No teacher I've had has really put this kind of knowledge forward.

So thanks for doing this.

Maybe one of your readers will one day break through and change cartooning for the better(like you've been fighting for for years).

I certainly hope so.

Tony DiStefano said...

It might have been Ollie Johnston who animated Brer Fox.

Rudy Tenebre said...

Disney exploits the emotions, (like Spielberg) it hasn't true pathos.

The construction of a like fox character and the aligator and hippo breakdowns in Preston Blair's how-to book show a really wonderfully complex arrangement of pears and spheres.

I do appreciate your rantings, il maestro del scherzo!

Christine Gerardi said...

http://tinisketch.blogspot.com/2008/12/elmer-basic-construction_06.html

John, here's some Elmer constructions I did. Any critique would be appreciated.

Moro Rogers said...

Don't forget sliding around on ice. (I think Bambi and Thumper spend more time butt-sliding than running away from the forest fire...)

Zoran Taylor said...

"Disney exploits the emotions, (like Spielberg) it hasn't true pathos."

Exactly, if you want genuine cartoon pathos watch the second season of Ren & Stimpy!

Guy said...

The sad part is people with no artistic interest tend to think that story and pathos is the meat of the movie and the gags and funny visuals are the filler.

Indeed.

We've yet to see a story in an animated film that would rise above "crap" level if it was in, say, a book. (Would the source material of Disney movies be improved if you added the kitsch and cheese?)

But boy, story (and, bizarrely, pathos) sure is a more intellectual thing to care about than silly things like jokes in supposedly comedic cartoons.

Mr. Semaj said...

Most Disney movies are derived from 4 or 5 page fairy tale stories, and then filled up with 65 more pages worth of junk that has nothing to do with the stories: naked flying babies, animals that wipe dishes clean with their butts, long sneezing sequences, big chunks of insufferable pathos and more.

I started to laugh at this, until I read this

The sad part is people with no artistic interest tend to think that story and pathos is the meat of the movie and the gags and funny visuals are the filler.

...which couldn't be more backwards, and shows that a few folk have never researched the amount of work that goes into a Disney film.

Stories like Snow White, Pinocchio, Bambi, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, and Beauty and the Beast are based from full novels, and began with years and years of story and visual development. "Mouse Under Glass" (1997) will tell you the number of sequences from Pinocchio and Alice in Wonderland that were based directly from the source that never made it to the final film for any number of practical reasons.

And keep in mind these are projects set for 80-90 minute feature films, not 7-10 minute shorts.

PCUnfunny said...

"Stories like Snow White, Pinocchio, Bambi, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, and Beauty and the Beast and began with years and years of story and visual development."

First of all, Snow White was a SHORT STORY that could not possibly last 90 minutes and be loyally adapted. Most of the film was filler just like all the movies. Pinocchio himself is not even remotely loyal to the literary counterpart. That kid was an a** hole in the book. Hell just look at all Disney films, they all show the same pattern of little story and mostly dancing animals and inanimate object. You can't logically convince me or anyone else that these films devoted years to story and character.

johnglenntaylor.blogspot.com said...

Every time I come here I am sincerely amazed at the wealth of knowledge you are sharing with anyone who is interested in the art of animation. I have to think that no matter how messed up things can be, society has advanced somewhat just by the very existence of this forum. And how many geniuses would take the time to so meticulously disseminate a lifetime of passion for the benefit of others. You're a class act Kricfalusi! Clampett would be proud of you!

Brendan Body said...

Thanks John, I love the animation in this sequence so solid yet fluid. Looking forward to you going into it further. On a similar note, I happened to stumble across The Making Of Anastasia on youtube. It's quite depressing how formulaic the whole process was, especially when it comes to story. All that money and effort to make a stiffly animated Cliché.

Part 2


Is Don Bluth your nemisis?

Roberto González said...

>>I started to laugh at this, until I read this>>

So if John says that it's ok, but if anyone else like me says it then it's wrong?

I already said I'm pretty tolerant about it and I even enjoy pathos when I find it believable or somewhat original in some of those movies (I loved Lilo and Stitch). I'm not even refusing that they work in the stories, but ultimately they play pretty safe and they are always overrating what they call "story" and emotions and undestimating the fun, abstract and purely visual aspects of the movie. The whole American Dog/Bolt thing is a good example. I found Bolt entertaining, but there's nothing new there.

I mentioned this cause I just remembered watching Three Caballeros with a guy that loves Pixar stuff and he told me he found Three Caballeros boring cause there wasn't any story. I can't understand how could somebody find Three Caballeros boring. Everything in the movie is funny, the characters are extremely likeable and the visuals are incredibly surprising.

I do like Pixar movies, but I think they include more filler and generic pathos in those and they are not as much fun as Three Caballeros is.

Mr. Semaj said...

You can't logically convince me or anyone else that these films devoted years to story and character.

Not if you've ignored the book I just stated (Mouse Under Glass), and rely on stereotypes to prove your point.

Shawn said...

Song On the South has great art and stories!

Too bad Disney won't release that movie in the U.S.. It's been deemed too "racist" by the white hippy liberals.

HemlockMan said...

You should teach. Do you ever do any formal teaching?

Mr. Semaj said...

So if John says that it's ok, but if anyone else like me says it then it's wrong?

No.

What I'm saying is that it's wrong to assume that anyone who's story-oriented doesn't care about art.

The Butcher said...

Animating that fox while keeping the elongated muzzle in perspective must have been an extremely difficult task.

Will Finn said...

My 2 cents on ID-ing Br'er Fox: the first 6 stills look more like Eric Larson's work to me, than Davis or Kahl.

not 100% sure though.

jack raffin said...

hoyl crap! those toys are AWESOME

Nicolas Martinez said...

In this clip, I think Milt did these scenes of Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox (at the 6:04 and 6:39 marks), when he was talking about "Song of the South." The way the heads tilt and turn are really well done.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_yC0-fGawc

PCUnfunny said...

"Not if you've ignored the book I just stated (Mouse Under Glass), and rely on stereotypes to prove your point."

All those sterotypes you can point out in and every Disney films. They far too formulaic not to notice them. I also have actually read some of the source material.

Roberto González said...

>>What I'm saying is that it's wrong to assume that anyone who's story-oriented doesn't care about art.<<

I didn't mean that. I wasn't talking about the guys making the movies there. I was talking about the audience. That's why I put that example of this guy being bored by Three Caballeros. Audience is so accustomed to narrative films that they'd usually prefer an unoriginal story full of cliches instead of something that doesn't include character evolution or pathos but does include good drawings and funny visuals.

The movie-makers sometimes care about both the story and the art, but the second one is still a little too servicable to the story sometimes.

Song Of The South tales are well told but they do include their good share of gags. For example that gag about Brer Bear taking the hat from the tar puppett and removing his whole head, and Brer Fox fixing the puppett in the last minute. This is funny and it adds tension to the scene. I feel this kind of thing would be cut in a modern movie cause it's unnecessary or too long.

Thanks to the dvd comments I knew that they almost removed my fave sequence in Lilo and Stitch, the one that has the characters surfing. I think that scene has a lot of good subtle depictions of the characters and while the story would be still understandable without it, it is a fantastic and memorable sequence on its own. They finally included it cause people liked it in focus groups, so I guess audience is sometimes right too.

I'd rather get rid of one of the zillion times they repeat "Ohana means family" or Nani singing a sappy song to Lilo. I know these movies are for kids and moms and not for animation geeks, but they spend way too much time with the sentimental/cliche moments. Like that conflict moment between the two main characters in every Pixar movie. Sometimes it doesn't even make sense but the characters always have to get mad with each other at some moment. And then they get sad and overly sappy during five or six minutes, instead of just moving to the next story point. Maybe it adds some depth to the movie once in a while, if the dialogue is especially good, but most of the time it's filler.

trevor thompson said...

I used to have that second-to-last one of Tramp. That was a sad day, losing that in the move. :(

I see my buddy Matthew Nunnery's name up there. Good! You got our donation!

Merry Christmas!

- trevor.

Mike said...

John,

I'd love to see a book by you called "Big Chunks of Insufferable Pathos: What's Wrong With America".

The solid drawing posts are clear, concise and totally educational. For me, a total layman as far as animation goes, these posts actually opened up a new understanding of cartoons! Can't wait for more.

PCUnfunny said...

I was just watching clips of Song of The South. I find it so delightful. This was deemed racist by whom ? The dirty footed, facist hippies ? Screw 'em.