Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Raketu - Bobby Bigloaf

2 main pencil drawings:

This cartoon was to be very limited indeed. Only 2 keys.

Lip Sync:

...and some mouth positions

..and a ton of recorded dialogue.

I had to figure out a way to keep the cartoon moving and interesting while drawing attention to the important verbal points in the message.

This is not my favorite way to do things, but it was all that the time and budget allowed for. I Haaaate having to rely solely on words to get a message across, but here I was stuck with the problem.

inked by Brian Romero, colored by John:

Then I remembered one of my favorite cartoons from my childhood-Roger Ramjet!

Roger Ramjet was an extremely limited animation show. Almost no animation and no inbetweens.

But it had hilarious dialogue and acting by Gary Owens and other radio personalities of the time. The stories were funny and fast paced.

And on top of that, Fred Crippen and Bob Kurtz figured out a way to make the visuals funny without actually animating anything!

First, they designed and posed the characters funny.

Then they devised a style of cutting that made the show even funnier and drew your attention to the jokes and vocal acting.

Roger Ramjet - cutting theories:

Roger Ramjet is the funniest TV cartoon ever. It has clever writing, acting, drawing and cutting. It is very low budget but that didn't stop every creative talent on the team from making the most of every creative opportunity! No one said "Only the words can be funny!"

Roger Ramjet clip:

Roger Ramjet is sort of Jay Ward done right.

Now, the words in the Bobby Bigloaf Raketu ad aren't as funny as Roger Ramjet, because after all, it's meant to be a commercial not a story, but I tried to use the cutting technique to make it funnier and make the meanings clearer.

Also, Eddie does the voice of Bobby!

Immature Uncle Mike Finds The Simple Things Funny

Mike Fontanelli, being a cartoonist, is of course quite immature.
He collects all kinds of kiddie toys and silly cartoon books and old tv shows. Shame.
He is so proud of his wrong color Hanna Barbera toys - as he should be.

Uncle Mike invited Uncle Eddie and his new baby and some other immature buddies over to his cartoon museum one night and proceeded to amuse us with his childish antics.
He served us baby food.
Kali fell instantly in love with Eddie Junior.
Look at this innocent tyke. Don't you just want to cuddle him? Not Mike.

Mike sees a newborn and starts right in on putting it in funny positions to amuse his friends."Here's Eddie driving to work every day! CHNEEE HEE HEE HEE HEE HEE HEE!"
"This is Kali's POV of Uncle Eddie" guffaws Mike.This went on all night.

Well, soon I couldn't resist any longer and I offered Mike my own baby to play with.

This is what he came up with.
Mike giggled non-stop for hours as he put his insatiable creativity to work.

Uncle Mike may be immature, but he's not so childish as to imagine that The Lord Of The Rings would make a good animated movie.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Spotlight On Criminal Defense Executive P Girl

Riddle: Who is most qualified to "give notes" to a cartoonist:
A plumber? A nuclear physicist? An animation director? A public defender? Or a duck?

I sat down the other morning to do my business and grabbed a magazine to thumb through. It was "Animation Magazine", the magazine about executives.

It made me think to myself, "I wonder what makes an executive tick? How do you go about being an expert on things you can't do yourself?

What background, experience and study qualifies you to tell cartoonists how to cartoon?

Well, lo and behold the answer was in the magazine. There was a whole page devoted to answering all these mysteries! Let me share it with you.

If you thought about it for a minute what would you think would qualify someone to tell cartoonists how to make cartoons?

Having made some popular cartoons? Of course not. Having drawn a cartoon picture once? Nah...Having told a funny story to somebody and they actually laughed? Don't be silly.

Of course!
If you can defend burglars, murderers and wife beaters, I guess you can defend just about anything, even not having any logical qualifications to boss cartoonists around!

But then, surely you'd have to have some talent.... at least in a distantly related field, right? There has to be some way you can relate to creative people.

"I can't act and I can't sing." I'll have to put that on my resume when I go out trying to get a job in entertainment!

What would I have to do to trick you into buying a show from me?I'm gonna go back and rework all my characters so that they have transcendent adjectives! That's what the kids want in their cartoons!

"Reaaaaallly think about them"......after all, I've never created a world of characters, but I sure have some theories about it."

Poor old Tex Avery would fail under this criteria (Believing in his world of characters).

Do cartoonists ever make you roll your eyes patronizingly?

Can I say, "It's gonna be breakout like Sponge Bob?"

So basically to sell a show, you don't really have to have a good show or any experience. You have to know how to trick an executive with your enthusiastic and pretend sincere pitch.

If you can jump up and down and wear a retro outfit and make wacky faces, and listen sincerely to his "I can't act, write, draw or sing" comments, then you're in.

Tell him you "Believe in yourself." They eat that shit up!

A funny anecdote:

I actually did all these exact things in front of this very public defender and surprisingly, he didn't have any comments about the stories or the worlds of characters.

He was however intensely interested in my pants. "Where did you get those awesome jeans?"

Unfortunately, the pants weren't quite good enough to sell a world that day. Later, I burned the pants and sent them down the Ganges River to a better world.

(BTW, he isn't the only exec to focus on the pants during my pitches; it seems to be a common occurence)

What's your greatest preposterous fantasy?

Another mystery to solve!

Which part of the cartoon does an executive "make"? The drawings? The story? The voices? The colors? Can anyone help me out here? Have you seen one make something? Is there a photo of it happening?

I think I will make a hit song by telling a musician to write one and play it for me. But I'll make sure he plays it off key by giving him arbitrary notes.

The amazing thing about all this is that someone who went to law school - to learn about the logic of argument, in order to subvert logic to win court cases would willingly present his completely illogical qualifications, boldly in public -where all his little zany cartoonist worker bees could read it! That's even wackier than Sponge Bob!

Here, check out this rap sheet.


Is there an executive bolder than this? Share your stories.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

BGs and Style 10 -use reference, get ideas and inspiration from different styles

There is nothing more creatively stultifying than having a "style". Your style should be constantly growing. When you get used to one style, get mad at yourself and discard it for some new ideas. This isn't easy, but it's more fun than stagnation.
There is no greater evil in cartoons today, than that a show show should have a style. Look at old cartoons and take inspiration. In the 1930s to the 1950s the cartoonists constantly experimented with the looks of their cartoons-especially with the background styles.
A lot of background artists didn't even come from animation. Many of them were illustrators that didn't have pre set notions of what cartoon BGs should look like. Of course they couldn't completely dictate what they would draw and paint. That was the director's job.
The directors of the past would work with them to guide the artists to compose their BGs functionally to help make the characters and stories more effective. But the directors were very open to the BG artists creating their own looks.
A lot of people think that Ren and Stimpy had a style. It didn't. Go back and look at a couple episodes back to back. You will see many different Background styles and character styles too. We constantly experimented and tried to outdo each other and ourselves.

Background styles can and should vary wildly. It's fun to experiment. Just make sure the BGs serve their functions-they compose around the characters, give mood to the stories and tickle the eyeballs.

Don't let the executives tell you that kids crave a consistent look. They don't. Smash the exec in the face and tattoo this post on him, tie him to a chair and make him watch 5 Bugs Bunny cartoons in a row so that he can see that the only consistency there is in a good cartoon series is a consistent desire of the artists to change and get better.

Avoid "wonkiness" and chaotic uncontrolled messy backgrounds, because these will distract from the characters.

Controlled variety is the goal. And fun!