Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Disney-Pixar Relationship

I'm a little pressed for time over the next few days, but wanted to point out this excellent article in the N.Y. Times about how the two companies are adjusting to each other after Disney's purchase of Pixar. I'm going to come back to various things in this article, tied together with Michael Barrier's Disney bio, The Animated Man.

This quote, in particular, caught my eye.
One Pixar insider, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized by the company to speak, joked that scheduling a meeting with Mr. Lasseter has become harder than “lining up a chat with the pope.”

Monday, May 26, 2008

FMPU Animation Unit

UPDATED! Turner Classic Movies ran the 1943 documentary The First Motion Picture Unit of the Army Air Forces and it did include a section on the animation department. Here is the relevant section. The bit at the end is included because I spotted Frank Thomas in the chow line.

Below are some frame enlargements from it. Can anyone identify any of these people? Click any image to enlarge.
According to Amid Amidi in the comments, the man at right in the above photo is Jules Engel.
According to Amid, the man in the center above facing the camera is Joe Smith.

The man above is possibly Gus Arriola.
A short clip from an animated film about the principles of flight is included in the documentary. This character below represents the drag on an airplane, and his animation smacks of Disney. Perhaps he was done by Frank Thomas or Bernie Wolf.

In a later section of the film, as the men line up for chow, I spotted Frank Thomas in line. He's the fourth from the right. According to Amid, Rudy Larriva is third from right. Are any of the others from the animation section?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

101 Dalmatians: Part 9A

Sequence 7 is another one directed by Ham Luske that's cast by animators. Hal Ambro handles the humans and Frank Thomas and Blaine Gibson handle the dogs. This sequence is brief, but it gets the story point across; the dogs take action to find their puppies. The best part of this sequence is Frank Thomas animating Pongo's desperation to get the word out. Anyone who has ever struggled with a willful dog on a leash will recognize the physical exertion involved: the dog pulling and the person holding the leash attempting to stay balanced and exert some countervailing force. There's good physicality here.

The next sequence, 7.1 directed by Reitherman, introduces two characters who appear briefly, but who make a strong impression based on the concept of contrast. The Great Dane and the terrier not only look and sound different, they move in very different ways.

Hal King does a magnificent job on the terrier. The character moves distinctively, characterized by frantic movements played against holds. By this time, Disney animation had moved toward a kind of naturalism that frankly is a little boring. Compared to earlier films, poses are less graphic and a character's line of action less distinct. There is less distortion of a character's natural shape and timing is more realistic.

In the terrier, King has a character that lends itself to a more stylized approach and he takes advantage of it. Because the terrier moves so quickly, there are strong shape changes in very few frames. While the character is small, the poses are as broad as the anatomy will allow. Even the fur is expressive during shot 14 when the terrier is barking.

I spoke earlier of King not receiving enough credit for his work at Disney and this character confirms to me that King was exceptionally talented and deserving of further attention.

John Lounsbery's work on the Dane conveys size and strength. The Dane's movements are slower and more concerned with believable weight than with expressiveness. From the standpoint of story, we know that other dogs take Pongo's alert seriously and will do their best to spread it. The terrier really only exists for the sake of exposition. He should be able to understand the barking the same as the Great Dane, but by asking questions, he allows the Dane to spell out that Pongo's message has gotten though.

Bill Keil and John Sibley get a collection of shots showing the word spread throughout the dog community. The shots are full of in-jokes. Shots 15, 17 and 17.1 show Jock from Lady and the Tramp. The Afghan and the poodle from the first sequence of this film re-appear. Peg and the bulldog from Lady and the Tramp are in a pet shop window in shot 20 by Sibley. The pups are dalmatian pup animation from other parts of the film, painted differently. Shot 22.1. shows Tramp in the upper right and Lady at the bottom center of the screen.

Thad asked in the comments to Part 9 if the re-used animation from Lady and the Tramp was credited to the original animator. The only shot in the draft that references animation from somewhere else is the pet store window in shot 20. The draft says, "Anim. from Sc. 30, 32, Seq. 10, #2079 - also Sc. 43, Seq. 004, #2110." Clearly two different films are being referenced. 2110 is Dalmatians, so I assume that 2079 is Lady and the Tramp, but no animators names are specified. The animation of Jock, Lady and Tramp that appears in this sequence would seem to be new work.

The sequence ends with shots way out in the country, showing how far the dogs have been able to carry Pongo's message.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The League of Public Domain Properties.

Ruben Bolling comments on copyright extensions in this comic I lifted from Click to enlarge.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

FMPU Documentary

During World War II, the First Motion Picture Unit (FMPU) of the Army Air Forces was stationed at the Hal Roach studio, jokingly referred to as Fort Roach. Within the unit, there was an animation department headed by Rudy Ising that included artists Frank Thomas, Jules Engel, Theodor Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss), John Hubley, Phil Monroe, Bill Scott, Bernie Wolf and other veterans of the Hollywood animation studios.

Next Sunday, May 25, at 6:00 a.m. Eastern time, Turner Classic Movies will run a 21 minute long documentary called The First Motion Picture Unit, made in 1943. I haven't seen this film and don't know how much, if any, coverage the animation department gets. However, I'm looking forward to seeing it and hoping for the best.

101 Dalmatians: Part 8A

This sequence begins the film's second act. This opening sequence establishes that Cruella is connected to Horace and Jasper and that Roger and Anita are unable to do anything to solve the kidnapping, even with the publicity in the newspapers and the help of the police.

In contrast to many other sequences, this one, directed by Ham Luske, has animators cast by character. Marc Davis does Cruella, Art Stevens does Horace and Jasper, Les Clark does Roger and Anita and Ollie Johnston handles Pongo and Perdita. It gives each of these animators the opportunity to do some real acting. This sequence, the aftermath of the kidnapping, is marked by strong emotions and clear attitudes, which always makes for good animation.

As usual, Marc Davis does a great job on Cruella. She starts out sounding as if she empathizes with Roger and Anita's problem, but quickly shows her contempt for them, especially Roger. She's gleeful over her revenge on Roger for denying her the puppies. Once Jasper calls, her delight turns to cold anger. That phone call erases any doubt in the minds of the audience that Cruella is behind the kidnapping and also demonstrates how thoroughly she dominates her henchmen. After the call, Cruella wonders if she's been connected with the crime, so she calls Anita.

Where Art Stevens handles Horace and Jasper well, they have only a single emotional beat to hit. Marc Davis, by contrast, gets to take Cruella through a range of emotions within a very short time.

I'm tempted to say, "Hooray for Les Clark!" He finally gets some shots with strong emotions and shows that he can shine if given the right material. Roger is openly belligerent towards Cruella. Anita finally has some emotional range in what's probably her best scene. She's stuck between an accusing husband she loves and a friend who appears to be innocent according to Scotland Yard. She feels the loss of the puppies and is distraught over what to do, but isn't ready to blame Cruella without some evidence. This is meaty stuff and Clark performs it all believably.

This sequence really belongs to the human characters. While Ollie Johnston handles the dogs, he's stuck with Pongo reacting to what's going on and then delivering exposition about the twilight bark. Starting in the next sequence, the animals take center stage.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ken Harris

Thad Komorowski has written an essay about Ken Harris, best known for his animation for Chuck Jones at Warner Bros. and for Richard Williams on A Christmas Carol and The Cobbler and the Thief. The essay includes lengthy quotes from animator Greg Duffell, who worked with Harris at the Williams studio. The grand finale is a video of Harris's work for Jones compiled by Thad.

Walt's People Volume 6

Editor Didier Ghez has announced that Walt's People Volume 6 is now available from and will be available to those outside the U.S. from in 6 to 8 weeks. The contents include:

Foreword by Michael Sporn

Michael Barrier: Carl Stalling

I. Klein: The Disney Studio in the '30s

I. Klein: Some Close-Up Shots of Walt Disney during the "Golden Years"

I. Klein: Golden Age Animator Vladimir (Bill) Tytla

I. Klein: Walt Disney Took Another Giant Step!

Steve Hulett: Wilfred Jackson

Steve Hulett: Eric Larson

Steve Hulett: Ward Kimball

Steve Hulett: Ken Anderson

Steve Hulett: Ken O'Connor

Steve Hulett: Claude Coates

Robin Allan: Claude Coats

Christopher Finch: Frank Thomas

Christopher Finch: Ollie Johnston

Christopher Finch: Milt Kahl

JB Kaufman: Maurice Rapf

Richard Hubler: Lillian Disney

Richard Hubler: Roy O. Disney

Richard Hubler: Edna Disney

Richard Hubler: Sharon Disney

Richard Hubler: Diane Disney Miller

Richard Hubler: Ron Miller

Richard Hubler: Dick Irvine

Richard Hubler: Marvin Davis

Richard Hubler: Joe Fowler

Richard Hubler: Roger Broggie

Dave Smith: Fred Joerger

Jim Korkis: Ken Anderson

Richard Hubler: Frank Reilly

Frank Reilly: The Walt Disney Comic Strips

Jim Davis and Alberto Becattini: Ken Hultgren

Wes Sullivan: Bud Hester

Wes Sullivan: Iwao Takamoto

Gabe Essoe: Larry Clemmons

Christian Renaut: Joe Hale

Didier Ghez: Steve Hulett

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

101 Dalmatians: Bill Peet

I've only just read Dodie Smith's novel 101 Dalmatians. As I'm breaking the film down, I was curious to see how it compared to the source material. While I am a long-time admirer of Bill Peet, his adaptation of 101 Dalmatians is an excellent measure of his talents and only increased my admiration for him.

The book has many differences from the film that resulted. The dogs' owners are the Dearlys, not the Radcliffs, and they never get first names. Mr. Dearly works for the government in finance; he is not a musician in any way. There are two nannys, one who worked for each of the Dearlys before their marriage. There are three adult dalmatians: Pongo, his bride Missis, and a wet nurse named Perdita. Cruella is married to a furrier and her plan isn't just to own a dalmatian coat but to go into the manufacture of them. Cruella has a Persian cat whose kittens she keeps drowning. The Badduns are brothers: Saul (not Horace) and Jasper.

The book begins with the Dearlys already married. When the puppies are stolen, it happens off-stage. Cruella is visiting and waiting for the Dearlys to return. While Cruella keeps Nanny busy, the dogs are stolen without any confrontation whatsoever. Tib (not Tibbs) is female and her real name is Pussy Willow. The horse in the book is not associated with the Colonel and Tib but is part of a Gypsy encampment. The end of the book does not include a chase sequence. Once the dogs board the van heading to London, they make it to Regents Park without further incident.

The book spends an awful lot of time on logistics, dealing with how the dogs are going to find sufficient food, water and shelter. The humans in the book, including Cruella, are developed in general terms only. None of them is particularly vivid as a personality.

I mention all of the above to show how much work Peet had to do in adapting the book. He was forced to invent a lot and restructure a lot of what was left. He streamlined many of the plot points and incidents. One of the best things he did was to eliminate characters, cutting out Missis, one nanny and Cruella's husband. He understood that he needed scenes that included conflict and suspense. The opening of the film is a lovely sequence that Peet created out of whole cloth. The kidnapping of the pups includes a direct confrontation between Nanny and the Badduns and is far more interesting than what's in the book. The final chase is also far more exciting than the novel, where the climactic tension comes from trying to move so many puppies over a great distance while keeping them fed, watered and rested. Besides increasing the threat to the dogs, Peet includes the point of view of the villains where the novel only sticks with the dogs.

It's in the area of personality that Peet really shines. Cruella is distinctive in the book, but she lacks the flamboyance that Peet gives her. Roger is far more interesting as a musician, which instantly gives him physical business to do, than Mr. Dearly is as a financial advisor in the book. The Badduns are ciphers compared to Horace and Jasper. The relationship between Tibbs and the Colonel is better developed in the film and Tibbs is given a greater role to play.

Peet took the novel only as raw material. He kept the central conflict of the book and what worked cinematically, like the twilight bark and the pups' interest in television, but pulled the whole thing apart and rebuilt it adding drama, suspense and personality. Anyone having to adapt a story for animation would benefit from comparing the novel of 101 Dalmatians to the resulting film. While the Disney film is admired for many things like the art direction and the animation, the underlying appeal of the film really has to be credited to Bill Peet. He's the one who gave the film its overall shape and appeal.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Industry Day Revisited

Here are two local news reports about Sheridan's recent industry day. The students and facility shown in the reports are from the post-graduate cgi program. That program's films screened in the morning and I'm assuming that the reporters featured those students as they needed time to edit the stories for the evening news.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

101 Dalmatians: Part 7A

In Dodie Smith's novel, the kidnapping of the puppies takes place off-stage and is only discovered after the fact. Bill Peet wisely realized that this event held great potential for conflict and suspense, and he uses it to introduce the remaining villains Horace and Jasper. The sequence also gives Nanny a chance to shine. Her dialogue with the crooks at the front door shows that she's no fool and her physical resistance once the crooks enter the house gives her heroic stature.

When I see sequences like this, I'm always puzzled as to how animators are assigned. For shots 2 through 8.1, Horace and Jasper are sitting in their truck discussing the job to come. Eric Cleworth and John Sibley share these shots. I would think it would be simpler to have one animator take care of everything or have each animator assigned to a single character. Cleworth and Sibley both have shots where they animate both characters, so it's not like one of them was incapable of some part of the sequence.

Horace and Jasper are very economically introduced. We quickly learn that they're crooks with a record and that Jasper, the tall thin one, is the dominant one of the pair. When they get to the door, it's Jasper who delivers a line of blarney intended to get past Nanny, and when she firmly resists allowing them to enter, it's Jasper who forces his way in and then traps Nanny long enough for Horace to grab the pups.

John Lounsbery's animation of the pair at the door is wonderful stuff. Jasper has a very flexible face and Lounsbery makes the most of it while Jasper attempts to con Nanny. Shots 34 and 35, where Lounsbery animates Jasper talking at the attic door also show off some great facial expressions. In shot 30, Lounsbery animates a terrific walk when Jasper goes up the stairs. Jasper's proportions are very odd; he's all arms and legs with a hunched over body. His walk is distinctive and funny, looking like a very odd spider.

John Sibley also gets some very good Jasper shots. Shot 8.1. clearly establishes the relationship between the two bad guys. Sibley animates Horace and Jasper approaching the front door in shot 12, doing an excellent job on Jasper's walk. Sibley animates Jasper pulling Nanny's hat up and releasing it in shot 29.1. He gets a bit of Jasper at the attic door in shot 34.2. Sibley's handling of Jasper is as good as Lounsbery's, but he never gets a chance to build up any kind of performance with the character because he rarely gets two shots in a row.

Hal King continues to animate the puppies for the few shots they have in this sequence. Where Ollie Johnston animated a lot of Nanny in earlier sequences, here Cliff Nordberg and Don Lusk inherit her and do a fine job of maintaining the drawing and personality of the character. This sequence is Nanny's big acting scene. In fact, in terms of range and emotion, it might be the biggest acting scene of any of the human protagonists and I'm surprised that the nine allowed someone outside the inner circle to animate it.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist

Last night I attended a screening of Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist, a documentary written and directed by the brothers Jon and Andrew Cooke. I'm a longtime reader of Eisner's work and I approached the film with a certain nervousness. I was afraid that the film would be too fannish, only working for those who are immersed in Eisner's work and the comics subculture. Happily, I can report that the film is excellent and works well for a general audience. The film screened as part of the Toronto Jewish Film Festival. The majority of the audience was not comics people and they were appreciative of the film as it laid out the importance of Eisner's life and work.

(You can see a longer version of this trailer here.)

Eisner died during the five year production of the film, but it does include interview footage of him that was shot for the documentary. In addition, the film includes on-screen appearances by comics creators Art Spiegelman, Joe Kubert, Gil Kane, Frank Miller, Jules Feiffer, Jerry Robinson, Denis Kitchen, Max Allan Collins, Scott McCloud and Neil Gaiman as well as novelists Kurt Vonnegut, and Michael Chabon. The voices of Jack Kirby, Harvey Kurtzman, Neal Adams and Milton Caniff can be heard in interviews that Eisner conducted himself acting as a comics historian. A great deal of Eisner's artwork is featured, much of it shot from the original drawings.

The film covers the course of Eisner's life from his poor beginnings in New York, his struggle to find work as an artist during the Great Depression and his innovations in the early comic book field. It recounts his time in the military during World War II when he became heavily involved in using comics for training and maintenance purposes. It discusses The Spirit, a comic book insert distributed with newspapers that allowed Eisner to create stories that appealed to the entire range of newspaper readers, from children to adults. In the '50s, he formed a company to create sponsored comics for educational purposes and in the early '70s, he sold the company and created a series of highly personal graphic novels.

The film also covers Eisner's personal life, showing home movies with his parents, his wife and his children and includes Eisner's perspective on comics as a business and an art form. The film is attractively put together and well paced. It does an excellent job of portraying Eisner and his work and the audience seemed interested in both based on questions they asked Andrew Cooke after the screening.

Eisner is inspirational to me on several fronts. From the standpoint of creators rights, Eisner was a pioneer in owning the rights to his work on The Spirit. In the early 21st century, Eisner was still earning money from work he had done 60 years before. It would take decades after Eisner for the idea of royalties to take hold in the comic book business and mainstream comics still resist allowing creators to truly own their work. Eisner's entrepreneurial bent propelled him into using comics as a teaching tool, broadening the market and the audience for comics. As he approached 60, an age when many business people think about retirement, Eisner began a third career creating a series of graphic novels that were a complete break with what was being done in the comics field. He was still doing new work until his death at 87 from complications resulting from heart surgery

Artistically, Eisner underwent a major change of focus between his early work on The Spirit and later graphic novels; it's as if he metamorphosed from Alfred Hitchcock into Jean Renoir or Chaplin. His early work is Hitchcockian in that it depends heavily on genre and uses the camera and editing to achieve its effects. His graphic novels are more like Renoir and Chaplin; the characters' emotions are more important than displaying technical virtuosity. Eisner had an animator's ability to say a lot about a character's inner state through how a character was posed. Like Renoir and Chaplin, his late work often looked backwards to an earlier part of his life. In Eisner's case, he was the child of immigrants in New York City's multicultural melting pot.

The film makes the point that Eisner's exposure to underground comics in the early 1970's was what inspired him to return to creating stories. While Jules Feiffer, who worked for Eisner in the late 1940s, is interviewed in the film, I think there's a case to be made for Feiffer's influence on Eisner as well. Feiffer's weekly comic in The Village Voice was completely stripped down. There were rarely backgrounds of any kind and Feiffer's panels were often occupied by a single character grappling with the politics, relationships and social mores of the 1950s. Eisner never stripped down his work to the extent Feiffer did, but Eisner's subject matter certainly moved more in Feiffer's direction than in the direction of underground cartoonists like Crumb or S. Clay Wilson.

If you have the opportunity to see Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist, I highly recommend it. I look forward to owning this on DVD and will mention when it becomes available.

(For those of you in New York, Jules Feiffer will be at the Strand Bookstore, 828 Broadway, on May 15 at 7 p.m. signing The Explainers, a collection of the first 10 years of his strip for The Village Voice. As I'll be in New York that week, I hope to be there.)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Lure of Live Action

Two things arrived in my email this morning that are separate but related. The first is that Teletoon, a Canadian animation cable channel, will start running live-action programming. The second is that AWN reports that Chris Wedge, co-director of Ice Age and Robots, will be directing the live action film version of The Invention of Hugo Cabret, based on the book by Brian Selznick.

It's easy to understand why Teletoon is doing this. The TV winds are all blowing the Disney Channel's way, with live action tween fare pulling in the ratings. The corporate commitment to anything only lasts as long as it is profitable. If animation ratings are down, animation is not the business to be in.

The Cartoon Network has already gone this route and is reportedly upset that their name is so explicitly tied to animation. Teletoon has the same problem and one more. It is chartered by the government and its mandate is to be an animation channel. The following quote comes from an email newsletter I get from Here's how Teletoon will be positioning their live action content so as not to get in trouble with the government:
"We don't have to air just animation; we will do fully live-action series. It would be really interesting to hear more pitches on things like that," says Teletoon's director of programming Caroline Tyre, outlining a new drive to think outside the box.

"She points out, however, that there still must be a connection to animation, whether it is a toon/live-action hybrid or simply based on a concept that comes from the world of animation, such as a graphic novel or a pre-existing cartoon property."
So the purpose of Teletoon isn't to broadcast cartoons, it's to broadcast programming based on cartoons. See? That was easy!

There are reasons why an animation feature director would try out live action. First, there are just more live directing gigs, which means that someone with a successful box office track record has a good chance of landing a project. Brad Bird will be directing a live action film called 1906 and Rob Minkoff has helmed several live films such as Stuart Little. Even Frederik Du Chau, whose animation track record is hardly stellar, has managed to carve out a place for himself in live action.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a good book with the potential to make a good film. However, it's nothing like the films that Wedge has co-directed at Blue Sky. That's another reason why live action is attractive: a greater range of subject matter.

That might be the most pertinent issue. As much as we want to believe that animation is a medium and not a genre, maybe everybody outgrows it after a while. Which isn't to say that animation isn't capable of more than it's currently doing, but looking at what's out there now, it's not hard to sympathize with directors who want to try something new.

101 Dalmatians: Part 7

Sunday, May 04, 2008

101 Dalmatians: Part 6A

This sequence serves to introduce the puppies as individuals, though only four of them get named. Patch, Lucky, Roly and Penny get bits of business to separate them out of the pack.

The dogs are just like the audience for this film: parents and children together watching entertainment on a screen. The children are emotionally involved with what they're watching while the parents are somewhat jaded. What's most important is the easy relationship between the parents and children, content to spend time together and enjoy each other's company. The comedy is gentle, but based on observation of real family interaction.

What's on TV is a satire of 1950's fare. Westerns dominated TV in the '50s, as did old B westerns and serials. Given the cliffhanger ending of the Thunderbolt episode, it suggests that the footage was from an old serial. Thunderbolt himself is based on Rin Tin Tin, an actual dog brought home from Europe by an American soldier in World War I who went on to be a very popular Warner Bros. star in the 1920s. In the 1950s, Rin Tin Tin was a TV series (not starring the original dog), as was Lassie, both shows that the 1961 audience for 101 Dalmatians would have been familiar with.

This sequence is an example of why I object to the mystique of the nine old men. Eric Larson is the only one of the nine present in this sequence and he gets several personality close-ups. Hal King does about as much footage as Larson, yet King is a non-entity in terms of Disney history. King started at the studio in 1936 and animated on every feature from The Three Caballeros (1945) to Robin Hood (1973), yet who has heard of him? A quick scan of my bookshelf reveals that he animated some of Michael in Peter Pan and worked on the soccer game in Bedknobs and Broomsticks, but that's not a lot of recognition for a 37 year career at Disney.

I see nothing about King's work in this sequence to rate it any less highly than Larson's. Larson does some great work on scenes with Patch, but they're no better than King's scenes with Roly. The animators' work blends together without a problem and King gets some nice close-ups with Pepper (named only in the draft, not on screen), sitting on Pongo's head in shots 6, 24, 32 and 42. King captures the fleshy nature of dogs with the distortion in Pongo's brows and from an acting standpoint shows how involved Pepper is with the TV show while Pongo is clearly taking more pleasure from his children's reactions than he is to the show itself.

Art Stevens and Julius Svendsen do the animation on the TV. It's meant to be melodramatically over the top and they succeed in hitting the right tone. I assume that one of them did the Kanine Krunchies commercial, a parody of the UPA-style of commercials of the time. While it's a parody, it's better animated than many '50s commercials.

This sequence serves to create identification between the family on screen and the families in the audience. The quietness of this sequence serves as a rest between the excitement of the puppies being born and the kidnapping to follow. Once the kidnapping occurs, the peace that this sequence represents will be shattered until the film's finale.

Andrew Stanton

The director of Finding Nemo and the upcoming Wall-E is profiled in the New York Times Magazine.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Cognitive Surplus

We know that the media ground is shifting, but nobody knows where it's headed. I think that the talk below by Clay Shirky gets to some underlying truths. Until now, media has assumed that we are only consumers. They put stuff out, we watch/read/listen and pay for the privilege. Shirky believes that we're coming to the end of the period where we'll spend our surplus time purely as consumers of media and that with the web, we're moving into a period where, in addition to consuming, we're also producing and sharing. We can already see this with YouTube, FaceBook, MySpace, Wikipedia, etc. and Shirky thinks that these things are not fads but signposts as to where we're headed. Clearly, anyone thinking of creating intellectual property needs to consider what this means.

One of the things that Shirky talks about is the astronomical number of hours spent consuming media. This is something that I've thought about on a smaller scale. If you make a half hour TV show and a million people watch it, you've used up 500,000 hours of human life. If you make a feature and a million people watch it, you've used up two million hours of human life. There are only 8,760 hours in a year, which means that your TV show burns up more than 57 years of human life and your feature burns up more than 228 years of human life for every million viewers. These amounts are not trivial. We should all ask ourselves if we are providing value for the amount of the audience's life we are using up. And looking at it this way, how can we be surprised if the audience would rather spend that piece of their lives doing something other than consuming media?

(Link via ¡Journalista!)

101 Dalmatians: Part 6

Some quick notes on this sequence with more commentary to follow. Julius Svendsen does some of the animation on TV in this sequence and Didier Ghez posted an article by Svendsen's daughter about her father's job at Disney from Jack and Jill magazine.

The credits on this sequence are somewhat misleading due to the presence of the separate animation on the television. While shot 38 only credits Svendsen, it's likely that the pups on the chair were animated by Hal King with Svendsen doing the material on TV. Similarly, I would bet that Eric Larson is not responsible for the TV animation in shots 61 and 62.

It's a shame that this draft doesn't reveal who is responsible for the Kanine Krunchie commercial or the announcer who reacts with horror when the TV set is turned off. I've always loved those bits.