Friday, September 18, 2009

DISNEY ANIMATION HISTORY part I: THE WAREHOUSE YEARS

Disney may not have invented animation, but they certainly refined and perfected it and should take better care of it...

 THIS POST HAS BEEN REMOVED FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS.

DISNEY: HAND-DRAWN ANIMATION

Disney may not have invented animation, but they certainly refined and perfected it and should take better care of it – Mickey Mouse, is on their corporate flag, after all, hand drawn too.
In the 1980s, Disney’s goofy management actually tried to scrap animation altogether, ignoring the fact that animation was the genesis and the raison d’ĂȘtre of Disney.  Say “Disney” and we don't think of Herbie the Lovebug, we think of BAMBI and DUMBO and FANTASIA and LION KING.  It took the energetic intervention of Roy Disney to get animation the reprieve of  being relegated to a warehouse in a grimy industrial park far from the studio.  It was in that dusty warehouse that the LITTLE MERMAID, ALADDIN, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST and LION KING were made, where the second golden age of animation would explode like fireworks.
     Even though the animators were corporate pariahs, their art could not be crushed.  They worked away enthusiastically, doing what they loved best, drawing.  Then BEAUTY AND THE BEAST got nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, holy crap!  Hollywood directors and actors were horrified to be competing with a, shudder, cartoon and Disney management woke up and said eh?
The public, knowing nothing of the behind-the-scenes shenanigans, came to see the films in multitudes and droves.  The corporate goofs scratched themselves and asked WTF?  When LION KING became the biggest box-office success in animation history, doofus management finally realized they’d made a big mistake, that animation wasn’t going to just go away and die and there was actually money to be made with the art form for which they had so little respect.  So, they welcomed their artists back into the fold, built them a big new studio, gave them raises and contracts and parties with live bands and catered food.  They were the flavor of the month.
    Then came CGI and Pixar and Dreamworks and SHREK and TOY STORY and once again Disney decided that hand-drawn animation had to go.
This time, they figured the money was in the medium.  It took five years, John Lasseter and digital disasters like CHICKEN LITTLE to make them realize it wasn't.
See also:   
 DISNEY, THE BLUE HAT YEARS
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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

LOSING LIBRARIES

Will we eventually lose all our libraries, all our cosy book-lined rooms with their erudite-looking, multi-colored book spines and papery, leathery smells?  And book cases, bookmarks and bookends
And will we have fake books in fake bookcases, like a Hollywood set?
There will be nowhere to press flowers or for bookworms and silverfish to live. 
Are server farms our new libraries?
And if trees are no longer to be slaughtered, will they overrun the planet?  Lovely thought.


Friday, September 11, 2009

WELCOME TO THE NEW-BLOG PARTY

Sorry you missed the GOODY BAG
filled with diamonds and pearls,
but you still get my new URLs:
 www.NLLumiere.com
www.ANIMATEDaNovel.blogspot.com
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      Imagine the glass house in FERRIS BEULER’S DAY OFF, with trees all around and the Ferrari sitting in its glass garage nearby. Guests mill about, jasmine perfumes the air as Bach’s Goldberg Variations plays softly in the background. Waiters waft about with flutes of champagne and trays of cocoa-covered truffles on doilies. Silver Macbooks are everywhere, on leather couches, beanbag chairs, low tables next to glass bowls of jasmine. Guests are browsing and clicking, typing and talking.
    A doorbell chimes and a George Clooney look-alike enters in ripped jeans and white T-shirt. Obviously an animator.
    “Hello, glad you could come.”
    A waiter glides up with champagne, the animator takes a frosty glass.
    “You have a very in-your-face new header.”
    “Subtlety wasn't getting me anywhere. Do you like it?”
    "It's okay. So, where are the animation posts now?”
    A maid in a French-made French maid outfit sashays up with chocolates, but George Clooney declines. 
   “Same place, under "ANIMATION" in the cloud. You left a comment, didn’t you?”
    “Yes, I thought you were rude about CGI.”
    “Sorry, I'm just puzzled about some CGI issues.”
    George Clooney sighs with exasperation. “Let me go and try to explain it to you online. Again.”
    “Okay, see you later.”   
    Off he goes to a nearby sofa, where he picks up a Macbook, scrolls down to PENCIL VS. MOUSE and begins to type.
    A hubbub fills the room, laughter erupting as guests discuss the new header, browse through old and new posts, admire comments, discover the new roll of brilliant blogs, slide-shows and subscriber RSS feed.
    A large group arrives, some shoving and shouting, some pained and pinched, some drunk, some stoned.
    “So, where’s the booze”
    “This way. Grab a glass or a choc.”
    They accept both and split up to pore over posts. Some go to stare at the butterflies and white peacocks that can be seen through the glass wall.
    A pierced and tattooed guest  shuffles up clutching two glasses of bubbly.
    “Woah, Dom Perignon!" he says, waving both glasses. "What a snob you are!”
    I do a Marge Simpson growl. “Arrrrg. Didn’t you read the post on SNOBBERY vs. APPRECIATION?”
    “Yeah, I read it, didn’t get it.”
    He weaves away.
    Suddenly, in the illuminated doorway, a tall, statuesque woman of stunning beauty, wearing Armani, Gucci and kitten-kicking Jimmy Choos, stands surveying the scene with a sneer. She lights a cigarette, letting the back-lit smoke curl around her like sulfur fumes.
    I clutch my chest.
    “OMG, an AGENT!”
    I hastily summon a waiter, “Forget the champagne. We need scotch. Lots of scotch. Chivas Regal. Two or three bottles.” He hurries off and I rush over to gush and fawn.  “I’m so happy you could make it. There’s a lot for you to look at, particularly OH WHAT FUN and TWITLIT, WRITING OR ART and CREATING is very popular. Have a seat, have a chocolate, have a whole box, do you like caviar, we can get some, how about––"
      She holds up an imperious hand as the waiter pours a scotch over ice and passes it to her, then she sweeps past wordlessly into the crowd.
    "Thanks for coming, don't forget to sign the guest book..." I whisper, just before passing out from the vapors.
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