Monday, April 30, 2012

Filthy Update

We got these guys on the run!! Just wrapping up the final compositions on the piece, very excited, but still dealing with what seems like an endless mountain of tweaks. Welcome to animated music video production, the project that never seems to end, but after clocking almost 3 months on this guy, it's about ready to roll!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Put a Monster On It

Awesome gallery of Thrift Store Painting bombs, over here at Check em out!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Motion Man- C'Mon Y'all (2002)

With the LP art finished and some other artwork done for a Single sleeve, we'd started on the video. The biggest challenge was figuring out how to actually animate the figures themselves. We opted for taking a puppetry approach, and got started. We'd mix in digital effects and erasing techniques, and shoot it all digital.

Kurt had wanted to shoot it on PAL, which required us to rent a PAL camera as well as a monitor, which ended up shooting up costs. The results did come out a lot better though. We shot it at the producer Dean Chamberlain's brothers home, and enlisted the talent of his nephews and neices to star in the video. We had a blast, and wrapped up shooting in 3 weeks.

We were going for a vintage 1970's look with the video, so, we studied ads like these old toy commercials:

The digital effects ended up taking much longer than anticipated, so, all together, production from start to finish ended up taking us a good 6 months. I didn't get the results I'd originally hoped for, but, we pulled off exactly what we'd intended:

Friday, April 20, 2012

Animated Snack Bar Intermission Film

A great animated snack bar intermission film from the late 1950s or early 1960s. This one is pushing Dr. Pepper.
From what I know, this was produced by UPA. The folks who brought you Mr. Magoo, and a hundred dozen animated shorts and animated commercials over the years. They had a pretty robust run throughtout the 50's and 60's despite a run in with the House Un-American Activities in the late 50's.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Digital Entertainment Network 3

By October of 1999, things were in full swing, and we had more work than we knew what to do with. All 15 to 20 of the shows on the network had full staffs, and they ended up renting a separate building to house production. That was about the same time the staff got news that the founders of the company were in a bit of trouble.

According to sources, the principal founder behind the company was being investigated for lewd behavior with a minor. He'd since notified the company he was in fact gay, and had an affair with a 16 year old, whom he'd bought plane tickets for, crossing state lines.

Aside form being a bit of bizarre news, it was a blip to all of us being so entrenched with the workload and momentum we had. Trouble was, the news had an effect on the major sponsors cash influx. They started to pull their money and branding from the network. While all of this was deliberating, we started to get word that our show in particular needed to increase it's size and workload.

We spent 3 or 4 weeks reworking what we'd been doing, and ramp it up to be more of a community. I'd hated this idea, being that it just watered down what we'd already built. Little did I know, all of the shows were getting this treatment as a way to keep us busy while some major restructuring plans were under way.

By January 2000, it was announced that the company would lay off 1/2 of the total staff. The news was a bit daunting to say the least, but most of us kept busy. They basically set it up that, you got called into a meeting first thing, and were told the bad news. I was spared, but a lot of friends were cut, and you started to think they were the lucky ones. They sold 2 of the buildings by now and consolidated the staff back into the original warehouse, where they planned to restructure. Everyone by now knew that it was a lost cause.

The original 3 founders were now international fugitives on the run somewhere in Spain. The whole thing had become a bit of a perverse joke. I left in April 2000, and DEN officialy closed it's doors in May giving those last hold out employees the chance to work for free. I always look back fondly to that year and a half at DEN. We learned so much, and I made a bunch of friends who I still work with to this day.

PS: Someone put a channel on YouTube of some of the shows. Proceed with caution:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Digital Entertainment Network 2

By the summer of 1999, the network had launched about 15 of the shows it planned. Half of the building was staffed with 25 or so 'interactive' team, and the other side was filling up with the production crew. It was an uneasy grouping at first. The production people had come from the world of large budgets, monitors and cameras. Now they were dealing with digital technology, some for the first time. You heard the phrase 'Well can't you just make it work??" thrown around a lot.

I was working as an illustrator and animator on a few shows wielding my new found enthusisam for Macromedia Flash (3.0). We were actually creating some great simple interactive games and animation. All the while I'd been pitching a few show ideas myself. One involved Hip Hop, and , partnered with a friend and engineer, Jon Bauer, we set out to make it happen. After weeks of nagging some of the higher ups, they eventually gave us the green light on creating a show of our own. It was called Hip Hop Massive.

The idea was to host a different city a week, and focus on the talent from that spot and the aspect of Hip Hop they represented (graffiti, breakdancing, rapping, etc.) The fact that it was a documentary style show helped a lot. Most of the other narrative shows being produced screamed low budget due to the limitations. The budget lent itself to this show by letting the talent host themselves and we hired a 'wraparound' host named Eric Cubiche.

We built a site with tons of features to encompass the show and we were off. We ended up becoming one of the more popular shows, featuring the likes of Melle Mel, KRS-1, Wyclef Jean, Gangstarr, all of my heroes as a kid, and getting to meet them, all in a days work.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Digital Entertainment Network

In late 1998, working graveyard shift at a newspaper/auto ad shop, I got word that a new digital media start-up wanted me to interview. I jumped at the chance, and after word I'd been hired, swiftly quit the lousy ad job I'd been subjected to.

It looked like I was one of the first dozen or so hires at Digital Entertainment Network (DEN), and it was pretty much a big empty warehouse house in Santa Monica by this time. Sean, who'd hired me, told me that's I'd be learning Flash, which I was excited about. I'd been moving into animation and Flash was the future for web animation.

Among the founders of the company was Michael Huffington, who'd explained to the dozen or so of us in a meeting that he'd recently come out of the closet. It was an odd thing to witness, but everything at the company so far seemed a bit surreal. I spent the next 2 months or so, basically learning software (Flash, After Effects, HTML, etc.). It was amazing the level of enthusiasm that was building now that the company had grown to about 150 hires by this time. They had a roster of shows they were to produce in house, and us, the interactive team, were to put them on the web. The execs (who were NBC/ Channel 1 alumni) were convinced we were set to be the next HBO.

We'd screened a bunch of the shows they'd produced thus far and most folks were pretty underwhelmend with what they'd seen. They'd taken the concept of narrowcasting pretty literally, and had a show each for Punk Rockers, Asian Americans, Hispanics and Christians, that seemed at best, condescending, and on track to offend each of the groups respectfully. The upshot was, the group of us were asked to come up with our own ideas for shows. A few of us brainstormed and came up with a slew of ideas that weren't so obviously narrowcasted, and were basically what we'd want to see.

As all of this was happening, major sponsors (Microsoft, Ford, Pepsi) had pledged millions to the company, and it looked like DEN was set to do what it had intended. They'd sent up a 'soft launch' in April, and when the actual videos were streamed on the web, the video size was about 200 X 140. For most, it didn't seem like the major online media revolution that was promised (THIS is supposed to compete with TV?), but the founder assured everyone that, as bandwidth increased, video size would follow. Little did we know, things were about o get much more interesting.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Car Eater!

Down to the final piece of animation for this project. This involves the characters being swallowed by their possessed car. Yet tostart the character art on this, but, wrapping up the car animation:

Monday, April 9, 2012

Biz Puncher

Here's another old GIF used waaaay back for an old video. Scroll your browser down keeping your eye on the top of the screen.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Ghostly Warplanes

Cool photos of some abandoned planes in Arizona. 'The Boneyard Project’is an effort to beutify some of thes eold beasts, and offers up probably one of the best canvases imaginable.

Check it out!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Filthy Update

Things are shaping up with the latest project. Most of the animation for this piece is wrapped up, but, now the arduous composition process begins. This hopefully won't be too long, but sometimes, you can't tell how things will pan out when all of the multiple layering happens.