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Wednesday, July 04, 2012


I think I should mention some blog sites where you (students especially) can learn something about animation in other parts of the world. The industry was Hollywood-centric for so long that it's a positive pleasure to see the center of gravity shifting, or at least evening out. The Internet is a huge aid to animators: not only for communication, but for actual production. How many of you realize that you now don't need a distributor, or a studio, to get a short film made? Thanks to YouTube and Facebook and Kickstarter, we can network, fund, and distribute indie animation online. That's a pretty powerful set of tools for a bunch of crazy artists to handle.
But on to the blogs. First and foremost I would like to talk about the British site Skwigly . This was revived recently with a series of amazing podcasts with people like Barry Purves, Billy West, Fraser McLean (author of SETTING THE SCENE, the first book on layout history--really) and yours truly.  (You can hear me starting at 18:00 in Podcast Number 3.) They have just posted a podcast from the Annecy festival. Take a listen!
Raul Aguirre, Jr.'s MAN VS. ART is an eclectic blend of interviews, reviews, and articles about working in the biz, and is also very entertaining.
One of my favorite bloggers is Steve Moore, whose FLIP magazine was actually written by and for animators. (Yes, I have a couple of articles in there but Steve is unquestionably the best writer on the site.) He's now revived FLIP as a blog and has a British contributor as well!
Elliot Cowan's Sandwichbag chronicles, among other things, its owner's production of an independent feature film.  Read about it there, and view some more of Elliot's stuff. He's drawing, but everything is done on computer. This is the way cartoon animation is developing and (frankly) I don't think I will miss paper much if the results look like the ones I've been seeing here and elsewhere. (by the way, I've been drawing on a computer since 1997 and produced two animated films without paper; it's not such a big deal if you have the right tools.)
Jenny Lerew is a story artist and author whose Blackwing Diaries blog is an interesting combination of history and industry news.
Lastly, there is the blog of Animation's Editorial Cartoonist, FLOYD NORMAN...whose autobiography is being published in about a month's time. Don't miss the Gag Wall!
I know there are other blogs out there, but these are the ones I visit regularly. I hope you enjoy them.
Well, I have to tell you, it is just WONDERFUL here in my new apartment. I enjoy the neighbourhood, I like the vibes, and most importantly, I enjoy coming home to the place. That can be a very important thing when your life is basically divided between work and home, during the school term.  This is Gizmo, in the eat-in kitchen. I haven't had one of these since I was a kid. It took a little getting used to but it is fun having breakfast in the charming, well lit place. Even though the building is old and rather ugly on the outside, it has a beautiful interior. I suppose there is something profound to be read into this except that I cannot figure out what it is.

I'm on summer break now but that does not mean I've stopped working. There are people (not just Sheridan students) who ask for help on various projects. I do what I can.
There are some interesting developments in the Toronto animation scene as well. This weekend is the first TAAFI ANIMATION FESTIVAL . It's about time that Toronto had its own animation festival, and the Tiff Bell Lightbox is an excellent place in which to have it. They have a number of events, masterclasses and so on, that might be fun. Truth to tell, I'm only attending the opening screening and party, but I think that the other events should be really good, and I hope that they are booked solid.

And I'm going around camping and traveling in Canada a bit this summer, so there will be pictures. The bicycle trails here are just gorgeous, and I plan to use them as much as possible. So stay tuned...