Wednesday, January 09, 2008

01/2008 Linkfest

Here's a mid-week overview of animation news bites ... starting with SPA's Surf's Up -- which didn't light any bonfires at the box office, but is now receiving awards kudos:

... On Monday, Sony Pictures Animation’s Surf’s Up became the first fully animated film to be nominated for Best Single Visual Effect of the Year by the Visual Effects Society (VES). The surfing penguin flick’s CG waves were impressive enough to put it up against the more traditional vfx-driven films Transformers, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Spider-Man 3 and 300. The award will be presented during the 6th Annual VES Awards on on Feb. 10 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood ...

Original artwork from Fantasia (1940 edition) turns up decades after getting swiped from a New York art museum:

Nearly 20 years after they were stolen from a New York cartoon museum, two original Disney watercolor pieces were recovered last week thanks to a Florida antiques dealer ...

The paintings - which depict Mickey Mouse in the 1940s Disney classic "Fantasia" - were among five stolen in 1991 from the Museum of Cartoon Art in Rye Brook, New York ...

Yet another story about the Indian animation industry growing like topsy:

..."[T]he Indian animation industry, which is now pegged at $550 million, is expected to grow over 30 per cent annually in the next couple of years and reach a level of $15 billion by 2008. India has the world’s largest entertainment industry, a robust software industry and also skilled manpower, all essential ingredients for the growth of the animation industry.”

“While the domestic market is still very nascent, analysts predict there is tremendous growth opportunity for animated content in television and movies.”

It's always nice to see new and better opportunities for animation artists:

The creators of's animated news series "The Quick Draw" have joined CBS News, where they will produce a similar version of the three to five-minute interstitials.

"The Fast Draw," from Josh Landis and Mitch Butler, will explore and explain the major stories of the day using a combination of live action and cartoons, CBS said. It will air on a variety of CBS news broadcasts including "The Early Show" and "CBS News Sunday Morning."

How's this work again? An animated tie-in for Terminator?

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles premieres next week and with it comes a renewed interest in the franchise.

Consulting Producer James Middleton and star Lena Headey ... revealed a few details about the series as well the upcoming films and an animated tie-in akin to the Animatrix.

The animated tie-in (currently called Termination) will be released sometime after the new film hits the big screen in late summer 2009. It will feature a number of short animated features from different areas of the Terminator universe.

Whoops. Looks like the high def format wars are close to being over. Warners went with Blu-Ray along with most of the other majors, leaving DreamWorks Animation and Paramount the only group aligned with Toshiba's high definition format. But now there's this:

Paramount is poised to drop its support of HD DVD after Warner Brothers’ recent backing of Sony’s Blu-ray technology, in a move that will sound the death knell of HD DVD and bring the home entertainment format war to a definitive end.

Paramount and DreamWorks Animation, which makes the Shrek films, came out in support of HD DVD last summer, joining General Electric’s Universal Studios as the main backers of the Toshiba format.

However, Paramount, which is owned by Viacom, is understood to have a clause in its contract with the HD DVD camp that would allow it to switch sides in the event of Warner Bros backing Blu-ray ...

So that's the ballgame then, innit? And Sony is already partying .

Have a really fine rest of the week.


Anonymous said...

When they "peg" the Indian animation industry at $550 Million what does that mean? Payroll? BO Gross? Stockmarket capitalization of the companies?

Anonymous said...

"When they "peg" the Indian animation industry at $550 Million what does that mean?"

It means that you'd better develop a love for curried foods...

Steve Hulett said...

Re "everything going to India."

I keep telling people I don't think so, witness the game company Electronic Arts. EA has production companies around the world, and one of the major sites is in Playa Vista. In Southern California. U.S.A.

And let's face it: the work force and real estate in So. CA is far pricier than in, say, Bangladesh.

So why would EA have a big presence there? Because labor cost is not necessarily the driver. There are lots of other things, like available talent, infrastructure, small items like that.

Anonymous said...

"So why would EA have a big presence there? Because labor cost is not necessarily the driver. There are lots of other things, like available talent, infrastructure, small items like that."

That this is currently true doesn't mean it will remain true. What happens when things like infrastructure and available talent improve in places like Bangladesh, as they inevitably will? Do you think labor costs will be an issue then? Over on AWN, LucasArts is advertising for an Outsourcing Manager, and I doubt it's to deal exclusively with domestic studios, given that ILM has begun outsourcing some of their effects work to asia.

Steve Hulett said...

It isn't just ILM that outsources to India. Other effx houses do it as well.

And you're right. Nothing is forever. The world is an ever-changing place. Happily*, since the U.S. dollar is dropping like a stone, we should be cost-competitive with some of the other countries around the world.

As long as our voting population keeps electing candidates who enact unrestricted free trade at the behest of international congloms, we'll have more outsourcing.

* This is sarcasm, in case you're wondering...

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