I watched a lot of cartoons and movies. I draw incessantly and carry a sketchbook everywhere. I work in animation and self-publish my books. There are monsters in the streets, don't wear red. Mad bulls and monsters hate that color. I still watch cartoons.

Monday, June 28, 2004

A Saturday with Animators

The launch of the 2D Expo seemed to have ambled into wakefulness on a Saturday when most people who already gave at the office cannot be bothered to arrive somewhere other than their own back yards. But people did show up. Not in numbers that could overwhelm and thinking about it later I was very happy about these very people who did make it and no more.

There was no glamour to it. The exhibit room was spare and the campus of Woodbury, tucked away from the hubbub of commercial Burbank, was quiet and airy enough to wish for a hammock instead of being in a room to hear people talk about drawn animation. But there they were. Names and faces you've seen associated with the production and support of multi-million dollar productions over the decades but now without the trimmings of big studio regard--and not to mislead, there weren't many there. The faces in the crowd all wanted to hear and see what could happen this afternoon. I hear the organizers say that they could have advertised it better. I would agree, but then later in the day who could say, maybe it was just the genius of the approach. A silent call to those who would come, with no promise of any gains or glory other than perhaps a confirmation that there are others out there wanting the same things to happen.

I also came because of several people. Jerry Beck and Amid Amidi for starters. As the voices of Cartoon Brew they made it clear that they walk their talk--and their talk is about their passion for animation, its heritage, its people, past and present and its future. Their site was the only site other than ASIFA's itself that advertised the event and if you think about it, given the rather remote pseudo location the internet is, it is amazing that people showed up. Stuart Ng was there with a pared down collection of enticing books. If you haven't visited him at any of the few conventions he does go to then you still have one gold mine of book buying joy waiting for you. If you are an initiate then you understand what being hooked on that catalogue of his means. He is also good people and cares as much about the history and craft that all of us in animation and drawing do. Jim Capobianco, a good friend who's making a short on his own and forges on without checking the clock. I just knew he had to be there so I nudged. Throughout the day I was seeing people and meeting new ones and that made the trip all the more worth it.

I could name drop a gaggle of people but will resist-—I’m so deathly afraid that I'm forgetting or misnaming people. Here's some photos of those who were in the panels and in the audience. You can play a small game of Name that Animator.

Standing To Be Counted. I have to congratulate all of you who did show up. Panelists, participants and exhibitors. I am probably typical of the membership of the union in that I am nearly deaf to its plight and immovable about helping out. Maybe it's my years in it not doing a thing or maybe I am ready to do something now, I can't say. But to see people show up to this gathering was...well, inspiring. A cornball word perhaps but I can't use another one when this one fits. A timid sense of pride for every panel and every seat taken in that room. These people showed up and made by their very presence a vote to keep something alive. Not much may be done and not one job may result from this and I can only muse about what could be in some day yet to be when more are there to be counted, and it would not be a day about superstars and giant projects but would still be about what these few made of this nameless Saturday afternoon.


"Leonardo" made a good splash and seemed to have charmed the room right off. I can see Jim's face light up to hear the crowd's reaction and I can almost draw the word balloon over his head, all the years of working on it seems to be worth it. Earlier I was afraid that he would be dismayed by the rather spare attendance and a visit to the exhibitor tables could douse anyone's enthusiasm--it was a quite small. But it was all about the substance of the people we meet there. I will seriously consider getting a table there with our books and showcase the short(s) if they do this again. So, we made new contacts, saw old friends and showed a small appreciative crowd what we've been up to. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon. Even if we did have to drive a few hundred miles for it.

Friday, June 25, 2004

2D Expo

Driving down to Glendale, ye olde stomping grounds, to participate and mingle at the Asifa Hollywood's 2D Expo tomorrow, Saturday June 26, 2004 at Woodbury University. Jim Capobianco has this short, Leonardo, burning a hole in his proverbial hand-drawn animation pocket for a while now and since it's mostly all animated and headed to the minutiae of finishing the movie we decided it would be good to be amongst those who're trying to tough it out on this quiet road (more quiet than before) of pencil drawn animation. I'm doing some art direction help on it as well as on-site kibitzer.

An excellent post at Cartoon Brew that I'm replicating here that is relevant to those of us who cling to the dream of making our own movies, short or feature: First, a SURVEY by Chris Robinson that asks independent animators a simple, yet crucial, question: "Where do you find the money to finance your films?" Next is an ARTICLE by Deanna Morse, who was on the selection committee of this year's recently concluded Zagreb Animafest. She shares her experience of having to go through 1,500 entries in two weeks to come up with the 245 films which screened at the festival. One of the most interesting parts of the piece is where Deanna highlights "common tendencies" in the festival entries and creates a list of the recurring themes and characters in the short films that she saw.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Paper Biscuit in AnimePlay

Enrico and I were filmed at the recent APE convention (have I raved about how much we preferred the size, scope and energy of this convention in the last hour?) by these guys and we were properly flattered and gave our best shot at it. Well, if you pick up the latest issue of AnimePlay, Summer Issue Vol. 5 you'll find a DVD that features the short interview of myself and Enrico talking about, well, ourselves and our work. The magazine is full of interviews and galleries of feature and series anime big shots and my name-dropping skills are not what they were but it is a good range of luminaries. Us? We're the Johnny-come-latelies and lucky to be there. Thanks to Robert Silva and his crew.

As always, click the headline to go the AnimePlay link.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Adventures of Mia 2!

Seems to be a good year for second issues. Adventures of Mia 2 delivers a soaring adventure on the promise of the first issue. Quite the feat. I can say that because, well, Enrico and I do the work on our individual books (we're a few offices away from each other) by stealing time any which way we can, deferring the pressures of our individual lives and staying up late when everyone in their right mind is at home recovering from the day and sometimes we wonder, "what am I doing all this for?" The answer is there at the end of the marathon: You will have finished something. And you get to show it to people now. And speaking of people who've seen it, here's an early review by a satisfied reader.

Click on the headline above to get a peek at the pages and see for yourself.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Updates June.08.04

Paper Biscuit #2 is at Westcan Printing Group and has gone through one proof stage already. My ability to see typos and glitches diminishes relative to how long I've been working on the pages. I saw a cluster of mistakes that just swam past me on the computer but there it is, stark staring at you in the blue line, a testament to change blindness (see post in the archives about gorilla suits and a basketball game). There will be other proofs on color adjustments for the cover and page alignments. I hope to get them this week and give them the "go" signal by week's end. Sigh. Making your own books is a minefield of minutiae to sniff out and adjust and I'm naturally lazy at that.

I made my own font at Fontifier when it offered their site's services for free. It has since closed that window of free trials and now charges $9 to download the font you make. Very reasonable still, I think. So, I'm using my own type, Delcarmen, on this book--for better or worse (I do have problems with my font when Photoshop won't recognize one punctuation mark and updates the text layer with a question mark instead. Nerve wracking). The book is also finished without the inking stage, that is, I used my pencils as finished line. Very different from the first book but similar to Paper Biscuit 1.5's images. It is the most involved work I've done for this book and one would think that it's also easier since I've cut out a whole step. That's a maybe. I saved some time but gained the added worry of stray pencil lines and specks here and there. Oh, and I forgot to mention that it is forty pages of all story--no editorial page or sketches section.

Chris Young and David Fraser at Westcan have been very accomodating and do go out of their way to make sure you understand that they value your project. I used Adobe In Design (thanks to Enrico) for the first time and David walked me through the steps--better than a tutorial--so I can deliver the pages with the utmost control. I'm a novice at all this so it took several tries. It got through without a major hitch. Old dogs, see.

The website desperately needs revamping and I do need a store page. You'll notice that there is no link whatsoever to buying the books. That's intentional and hopelfully will be resolved before the San Diego Comic-con comes around. I am not able to get on top of the book orders given the amount of work the day job is demanding of me. Add on top of that making these books and prepping for the con--then you have one frazzled artist.


Did a weekend workshop. Judith Weston's Acting for Directors Workshop. This lady started the first day with a gentle promise that by the end of the three days you will be transformed. I must admit that I took that to mean that any three days you dedicate to doing something will change you in some way. Nothing cosmic or anything. But by the end of Sunday I can say that cosmic comes very close. And whatever I may have learned as tools to use in navigating a director/actor relationship paled in comparison to what I got out of it as self-realization. Can't explain it without sounding like a crazed zealot but I seem to be able to literally see things better after this weekend. I just hope this state lasts a while. So, surprise surprise! Here's my endorsement: If you are able to and you are in Da Business anyway, this is something you should do.