If this isn't alchemy, what is?
Here's a Wednesday compendium of links with a shorter shelf life ... who wants to wait until the weekend anyway?
Disney veteran Don Hahn serves up a new book on his chosen profession:
The Alchemy of Animation aims to give readers a comprehensive look at the process of making animation at Disney in the modern age. Hahn’s first book in nearly seven years, this one is aimed at a slightly older audience than his acclaimed Animation Magic ...
(Cartoon Brew has its take here).
Imagi picks up a DreamWorks property and runs with it:
"Tusker" was brought to Imagi by Cecil Kramer former co-head of production at DreamWorks Animation, whom Imagi hired last year and who Glen said had "mothered the project for six years ..."
Imagi describes "Tusker" as "the saga of a young elephant's journey of discovery, heroism and redemption, which intersects with and renews the life of a reclusive old elephant who has always been an outsider." Company says that it will announce a helmer and other talent roles in the coming weeks.
Company also said it is in advanced development of "Cat Tale," a tale about a cat raised as a dog. Galen Walker is producing from a script by Aaron Mendelsohn.
(Apparently Mr. Kramer was more enthusiastic about doing the project than Mr. Katzenberg was, yes?)
Speaking of Mr. Katzenberg, he'll be winging to the Netherlands next month to receive an award:
IBC, the leading event in electronic media worldwide, has announced that its International Honour for Excellence 2008 will be presented to Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation SKG ...
"I am thrilled to be among the distinguished list of recipients to have received an International Honour for Excellence," Katzenberg said. "At DreamWorks Animation we aim to create and deliver quality and innovative entertainment for family audiences across the globe, and I am very grateful to IBC for acknowledging our efforts in this area." ...
Daily Variety serves up another article about animation outstripping live-action in the triple dimension department:
While live-action filmmakers are mostly still pondering stereoscopic 3-D, the stereo revolution is sweeping animation.
The biggest CGI animation studios -- Disney/Pixar, DreamWorks, Fox/Blue Sky -- are all working in stereo.
That means new tools for animators, new ways of thinking for animation directors -- and perhaps even different stories to animate.
Animation directors need to think differently about their staging and pacing, says Ben Stassen, director of "Fly Me to the Moon," the first animated feature made from its inception for digital 3-D.
"When you make a 2-D film, you use the screen as a window, and you tell the story through that window," he explains. "When you make a 3-D film, you try to get rid of the window and the frame and transport the audience as close as possible to the filmic space, if possible to the middle of the filmic space itself."
At Siggraph, Ed Catmull talked about his differences with some studio topkicks:
He cited an unnamed head of a major studio who told him, "Our central problem is not finding good people, it's finding good ideas."
Pixar's experience, Catmull said, was just the opposite.
"We realized that if you take a good idea to a mediocre team, they'll screw it up. And if you take a mediocre idea and give it to a good team, they'll either fix it or throw it out and do something else. So the important thing was to find good people."
As a result, he said, Pixar's development department doesn't look for ideas for films.
"Their job is to find teams that work well together. In fact, since everything sucks at the beginning, all we can tell is whether they work well together."
I tend to side with Dr. Catmull on this one. Since there are only ... what? ... six basic ideas, the execution of those ideas becomes sort of important.
Meanwhile, you're halfway to the weekend. Don't quit now.