Friday, September 21, 2007

'Toon Linkage

The Writers Guild of America West has re-elected Patrick Verrone, attorney and animation writer, as Prez of the WGAw:

TV animation writer Patric Verrone has faced off a challenge from a radio newswriter to secure his reelection to a second two-year term as WGA West president.

Verrone drew 1,081 votes – or 90% of the 1,199 cast in the race – to challenger Kathy Kiernan's 118 votes. The balloting was announced Tuesday, one day prior to the scheduled resumption of all-important talks on a new contract for guild movie writers and primetime scribes.

And we congratulate Mr. Verrone...

This think piece from Johannesburg South Africa gets at the essence of Pixar: "It's the story-telling, stupid:

the visual splendour of Pixar again has obscured its most essential characteristic: antiquated. Beneath the eye-catching CGI sheen of Pixar's dazzle lies a nostalgia and style indebted to classic filmmaking.

"People in Hollywood, the press always fixate on technology because it's easier to quantify," Brad Bird, director of Ratatouille and The Incredibles said.

"Technology has never been the answer. The same answers to making a good movie are the answers that were around 80 years ago," said Bird....

Steven Higgins, curator of film and media at the Museum of Modern Art, wonders if Lasseter and Bird are beginning to show an authorial stamp to their work like Scorsese or Hitchcock. "What they're really trying to get at in Pixar films is: technology is simply the tool," Higgins says. "What they're really all about is classic storytelling."

The Weinstein Co. continues to push forward with various c.g. animated projects:

The Weinstein Co. and Exodus Film Group have set "Navy Seals" as the first film under their recently announced CG-animation co-production pact.

Under the strategic partnership unveiled in Cannes, TWC and Exodus will jointly develop, produce and finance a slate of CG-animated feature films, DVDs and TV series. The seeds for the partnership were sown a year ago, when TWC picked up worldwide distribution rights to Exodus' first CG-animated film, "Igor." That film is set for U.S. release on Oct. 24.

"Navy Seals," an adventuresome family comedy developed by Exodus, tells the story of an elite pod of U.S. Navy dolphins who are captured. Their only hope for rescue is a group of seals.

You probably know about the Weinstein Co., but here's the skinny on the lesser-known Exodus:

Exodus Film Group is an independent production company based in Venice Beach, California, with satellite offices in New York and Paris. The company develops a wide range of projects for all media outlets in both live action and animation. Exodus has taken pioneering steps in the animation field by creating one of the first private equity animation film funds.

The President of Exodus is Max Howard, formerly of Disney Feature Animation and Warner Bros. Feature Animation. We wish him well. We also wish him a contract with TAG...

Celebrity Cafe reviews Warner Bros. Animation's newer Batman feature:

Until just a few weeks before the premiere of "Batman: The Mask of Phantasm," directors Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski thought it would be a Direct-to-Video release. The decision to make a theater release came only at the last minute.

The first spin-off from the successful and acclaimed "Batman: The Animated Series," famous for its dark themes and characters drawn with a characteristic square chin, Phantasm is also the only spin-off to follow this path, all the other were released direct-to-video.

This goes back almost a month, but it's a nice remembrance of the last Disney project Ward Kimball worked on:

Lasting just over thirteen years, the World of Motion is one of the most beloved extinct attractions from Epcot. The pavilion was one of the few light hearted attractions of the very serious collection of Future World rides. This is largely due to animator/imagineer Ward Kimball's influence on the project. Previously, Ward Kimball had been involved in creating some of the most zany moments in Disney animation...

I remember Tad Stones (now a producer at Starz Media) telling me about working with Ward at Disney Imagineering (then called WED) on this project. Ward, Tad said, always had lots of items on the burner:

One day we got hold of a big peanut butter cookie. Ward wondered how much grease the thing had in it, and so he put it on a couple of big sheets of paper. He kept it sitting there for days, and by day three there was a huge pizza-sized grease stain radiating out from the cookie..."

Ward Kimball. He will not pass this way again. Have a fabulous weekend.


Anonymous said...

It didn't stop with the peanut butter cookie. Ward started collecting lunch cookies and snacks and doing the same thing. Eventually he had a gallery of grease rings pinned up iin a conference room.

I seem to remember Oreos doing well but then, that's the chocolate cookie outside. That creamy center is another story.

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