Check the Category Labels in the side-bar on the right! There you can find animator drafts for sixteen complete Disney features and eighty-five shorts,
as well as Action Analysis Classes and many other vintage animation documents!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Ready for Pleasure Island...

Here is something I heard today:
A gymnasium class went to the Danish Royal Theatre, and was very loud and ill-behaved up in the balcony. One guy didn't want to do the "excuse me, pardon me" to the side when he had to "go," he walked to the first row on the seat backs! Then, when he got to the first row, he slipped and went over the side--and was lucky to only break his arm when he landed one floor down--and noone else was hurt, in itself a miracle. So - wouldn't you know it - this idiot now is sueing the theatre for not having proper guard-rails to keep people from falling down from the balcony! I mean, really!

If I'm a bit late posting tomorrow, it's because I will be flying most of the day, arriving in LAX a bit after 3 pm. Just so you know...

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Prod. 2003 - Seq. 7 - Stupid Little Boys?

Norm Tate, Charles Nichols and Norm Ferguson - and NO Shamus Culhane! Again, it's the 2nd Final draft. See Michael Barrier's comment previously for his thoughts on Culhane's Tate-a-Tate.
Sequence director T. Hee, layout Ken O'Connor...
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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Prod. 2003 - Seq. 4.9 - My Nose!

Frank and Ollie's Pinoke, augmented by Les Clark. In the article by Charles Solomon on AWN, Frank tells the story of the growing nose and the birds - but he didn't mention that Ham Luske, the sequence director, animated the birds - without animation footage credit!
"Different guys did the nest, the leaves and the birds--on the drafts, we had about eight names." Well, it only mentions Thomas & Ham.

Cricket by Kimball first, then Bernie Wolf and John Wesley Elliotte (bet they called him Jack, too). Blue Fairy by Jack Campbell, though in one scene by Ken O'Brien. Layout by Ken Anderson. Note this draft is "After Preview" - Sc. 29-3 "was cut out after preview"...
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A few other things to note: there are several scenes where the animation footage count is "None." In the first scene, Kimball gets no footage credit, for instance. Why, I wonder? Ollie's Pinoke in cage was a reuse, I gather. We see that generally, effects were credited with 1/8th the scene's length in footage. Also of note is that in sc. 8, Pinoke and Jiminy are animated by Bob Younquist and Walter Clinton. Was this a test? Or just considered so unimportant that it was left to the "lower echelon?"

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Catergory Labels...

It took me some time to "embrace" the labels that one can add to the blog, but finally, I did it - I added Barsheets, Animator Drafts, Classes and Lectures, News etc. to pretty much all postings, and on the right you'll find links to open these searches in a new window.

My personal favorite postings I have called "Important Items!" - they include my favorite lectures, my explanations of barsheets and my little free metronome for animation use, the Beatronome, which I still hope to hear more about from users. So far only one person seems to have tried this handy beat-generator for the pc...

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Prod. 2003 - Seq. 4.8 & 4.7 - ...a little oil!

Though the numbering seems wrong, this is how the sequences are ordered in the draft, and as far as I remember, in the film.

In the first sequence, directed by Ham Luske and laid out by Ken Anderson, we have crickets by Ward Kimball and John Elliotte, and a heart-felt Pinoke by Ollie Johnston. In the one scene that Seq. 4.7 is, Gepetto by Art Babbitt. Again direction Jaxon, layout Stapp.
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Sunday, February 25, 2007

My Personal Opinion...

I do think Cars could have been better at grabbing me from the beginning, but really - in my world, Happy Feet has no place in Academy lore. When I saw it, in glorious IMAX, I sat with my mouth open, amazed at its expressionless superficiality, its bland songs, its talentless voice direction and its illogical story. I smiled at a single joke - the seagull speaking of "alien abduction." At least Cars had me FEELING something for the characters, and it explored the warmth, charm and humor that was drilled into us by Frank and Ollie - values that I found sadly lacking in this overproduced piece of motion capture that doesn't even begin to do justice to the art of tapdancing... It seems that the MoCap-CG crowd in general does not want to learn from the past - and quality and entertainment suffer. Oh, well...

[Floyd Norman summed it up brilliantly on Cartoon Brew:
Frank Thomas made ‘em dance with only a pencil and paper.
Now, that’s impressive!
]

I have not seen the Norwegian film The Danish Poet. I really liked The Little Match Girl, but as it was the only short I have seen, I cannot really say anything about this category...

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Forensic Detective

...is what Børge called this bit in an email to me yesterday.
"Pinocchio walks to school. Fox and Gideon originally entered the film where Pinocchio runs unbetween them and the Fox does his wonderful take. At least the scene is called number 1.

Later, Disney chose to give the two guys a solid presentation with dialog etc. in the good old Orson Welles-and-Circus manner. It can be seen from the numbers of the new scenes. Walt even managed to slip Stromboli into the expectations "while we are at it anyway," for otherwise the Italian would have entered just as abruptly as the Fox and Gideon originally were planned to.
"People have got to meet them" as he said about the dwarfs at the foot-end of the bed. In a machine-written continuity (and in a novel) it is logical to meet the villains when they are needed. On film it seems appropriate to show them off first. "Here it comes, dear audience - sit up straight on your chair!" "

You wouldn't think Børge turned 86 a few days ago...

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Prod. 2003 - Seq. 4.4 - Very Comeecal!

Stromboli in a piece of (over)acting that we know to be by Bill Tytla, with Pinoke mainly by Frank Thomas, with bits by Lars Calonius, Harvey Toombs, Bob McCrea and Ollie Johnston. I wonder, thinking about the later animator assignment (Bambi on Ice, Mr. Toad), if Frank maybe planned Pinoke in the whole sequence - or did he just get the scenes "Here! Animate this!"

Elsie Donahue, the secretary, seems very familial, she uses first names in the header on some of the pages (except when referring to the sequence director Jaxon). Assistant director Jacques Roberts (we met him in Action Analysis Class) and layout by Terrell Stapp...
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Saturday, February 24, 2007

A Note Re: Clampett's Storyboards

Børge Ring notes, re: the comparison of Bob Clampett's storyboards to screengrabs by Michael Barrier (Writing and Drawing, Cont'd):
"Dave Hand was asked "What should the ideal story scetch look like?"
He answered "It should look so that when an animator sees it he says "gimme that scene."
"

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Draft Dodgers

I take it everyone has read Michael Barrier's thoughts on posting drafts in his yesterday's article "Feeling a Draft" - I basically agree, but have an addition: I suspect ONE of the reasons why there doesn't seem to be more interest in posted drafts is, that many people just download and study them, but cannot think of anything to comment on or to ask.

Michael's point about the golden age leaving our collective memories is valid, too. It leaves US, who knew and worked with the people and the material they left behind, to carry the torch for the amazing accomplishments they have witnessed and been part of during their lifetime. For me, many of the animators of the 30s who did not live past the 60s are as vivid in my imagination as the few I personally knew, because of the legacy they left on film. I see photos of them, read stories about them, and feel I got to know them a little - ever since my parents gave me Finch's Art of Walt Disney and since the first episodes of Funnyworld and Mindrot I borrowed of Børge.

Personally, I, too was disappointed by the seeming lack of interest.
I would like to have some kind of response, and not ONLY from the handfull of "regulars" like Mark, Mike, Amid, Thad, Keith and the spectre, but that did not happen. I do note about a hundred visitors a day, and many of them return visitors, which is the grounds for my above theory and part of the reason I decided to post the Pinocchio draft anyway. It also made me decide to post it slowly, as an underlying theme the following weeks, to remove my daily pressure in finding new material for a while. As things are, it will all be "up" March 16th. The thing I am MOST happy about is getting well-informed comments from knowledgable animation historians, pointing out my own errors of deduction or other non-obvious things, and in general helping to make sense of the films and their crew. But any sensible questions are welcome, and I can always filter out comments that are too smarmy (I did that once, I think).

And then there is another reason, maybe: drafts are not drawings.
A single drawing on a blog can arouse the masses and get tens or hundreds of comments. Drafts and documents do not do this for most people, since there is no "direct satisfaction": they have to think, remember and maybe even research what they themselves know.
It seems that the draft info put into Mark Mayerson's mosaics or presented on film as by Thad Komorowski and myself has a following - it generates many more comments - but then again, for many it will just be the first time they ever see the imagery.

I think my main disappointment was not about drafts, but about the Action Analysis Classes: here is SO much to learn, so much that can, after proper study, improve animators' abilities, but not many seem interested in learning or improving. And those who are interested do not believe that a 70 year old document can teach them anything, especially if this is from an old "2D" studio, and they are doing "3D" work, not realizing that the Theory Concerning the Presentation of Amusement1 is the same!

Even worse, not many people even READ anymore. An email longer than 5 lines is beyond comprehension. This is the saddest thing...

1[I was told that Frank and Ollie wanted to use that as subtitle for The Illusion of Life...]

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Prod. 2003 - Seq. 3.1 - Nobody eats a bite!

A short sequence today, with Art Babbitt, Eric Larson and Don Lusk...
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Friday, February 23, 2007

A note on Pinocchio...

With his eye on the ball, my old mentor Børge Ring reminds me that for (Norm) Tate, one should substitute (Børge's late pen-pal) Shamus Culhane. So I looked it up in Culhane's book Talking Animals and Other People and there on pages 119-121 we read about Culhane's amazement to see his name expurgated from the film, while his assistant Tate was credited instead.

Culhane had to leave Disney due to health reasons, against his own wishes - and a short while later, while at Fleischer's in Miami, he found out that if he lost a tooth, he'd be otherwise ok. At that time he was stuck in a two-year contract.

I also note that Culhane keeps talking about how great Don Graham was and how much he learned from him, so by all means, if you haven't already, have a look back in the archived pages to check out Graham's Action Analysis Classes!

[Addition: note Michael Barrier's comment to this post!]

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Prod. 2003 - Seq. 4.2 - Apimyentogogardi!

Between Sequence 3 and 3.1 we find Seq. 4.2, "Marionette Show."
This being a musical number, the sequence director is Wilfred "Jaxon" Jackson, assisted by Lou Debney. Layout by Terrell E. Stapp (1893-1979) and Thor Putnam (starting with a multiplane shot).
Pinoke masterfully animated by Frank Thomas and later Ollie Johnston, Jiminy Cricket by Bernie Wolf, Don Towsley and Ward Kimball, Stromboli by Bill Tytla, Dutch Puppet by Jack Campbell, French puppets by Art Babbitt (the "singer") and Eric Larson (the "dancers"), Russian "Bomb Throwers" by Woolie Reithermann.

As today's special treat, here is the entire Sequence.
Frank's animation in this sequence is some of my all-time favorite, as it is an amazing acting job, a complete analysis of this little shy boy, who happens to be a puppet, being "pushed in the pooblic's eye."
Jiminy Cricket is in a supporting role, cause "What does an actor want with a conscience, anyway!"
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On a more technical note, see the background column - and the "choice" of using either a 5 Field or a 6 1/2 Field setup. This indicates which camera stand to use, and dictates the size of the paper. It isn't always that close-ups are 5F... You can see details of the setup in the very third posting I have made (and here), see the archive pages, and the paper and field sizes you can see on my separate page that is always linked to on the right...

The weather in Denmark: cold! I braved the snow on my bicycle today - there are still places where it wasn't cleared away, making me wonder where my tax money went...

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Prod. 2003 - Seq. 3 (II) Goodbye, Jiminy!

Today we meet Sam Cobean, Norm Tate, Howard Swift, Frank Oreb, Woolie Reitherman and, of course Milt Kahl... and a Fred Moore scene with Jiminy! Sequence directed by T. Hee, layout by Ken O'Conner, assistant director Larry Lansburgh. Note that this is a SECOND Final draft...
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[See my note on Norm Tate posted "tomorrow"!]

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Prod. 2003 - Seq. 3 (I) On to the Theatre!

Pinoke's first meeting with J. Worthington Foulfellow (here just called "Fox") and Gideon the Cat leads him on his way to glory in the theatre - or so they lead him to believe. A fine conscience Jiminy Cricket turned out to be, having to run after them in his Sunday's best Milt Kahl drawings, as shown last week by Michael Sporn. We also see some nice, broader acting by Hugh Fraser, John Lounsbery, Phil Duncan, Marvin Woodward and Nick Nichols...
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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Prod. 2003 - Seq. 2 - Run Along Now...

When Neil Gabler in his book about Walt speaks of the expensive opening of Pinocchio, this was the actual bit he meant, Sequence 2, "Going to School." The scenes 1.01 to 1.06 seamlessly show us the Alpine village that Pinocchio was carved into using the Multiplane camera in a way so intricate that these scenes alone cost more that a whole short film - wasn't it around $115,000?
Thorington C. "Thor" Putnam (1911-2001), the layout artist, must have gotten some grey hairs from this sequence. And I bet sequence director Wilfred "Jaxon" Jackson didn't hear the end of this, either!

There is some nice acting by Art Babbitt, Milt Kahl and Les Clark.
I always thought the scene with Pinocchio turning, body only, was particularly funny and a good reminder that he was not a real boy...
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By the way, if you think I am spreading this stuff thinly, I can only say that it is hard to come up with something new each day, especially here from Denmark! I'd think it's better than nothing...

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Prod. 2003 - Seq. 1-7 (II) Hullo to Figaro...

Second part of Seq. 1-7, Pinocchio meets Geppetto, Figaro and Cleo. Including a couple of scenes of Geppetto by Fred Moore, who originally redesigned him...
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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Why Jack?

What's with the calling people Jack in the 30s?
Joseph A Gayek (effects) was called Jack Gayek...
And here are three directors:
John Frederick Hannah was called Jack Hannnah...
James Patton King was called Jack King...
John Kinney was called Jack Kinney...
And I guess there were several others! But why?

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Prod. 2003 - Seq. 1-7 (I) You DO talk!

Patterson's clocks (I don't remember - was this Don or Ray?), Tytla's Geppetto and Ollie and Milt's Pinocchio, here in the first part of this sequence... In case you are wondering, the last page nr. is 129...
[Note: IMDb only credits Don Patterson on Pinocchio.]
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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Ward Kimball anecdote...

Here is an anecdote that may be hard to verify - told to me by Børge Ring: "In 1968, when Ward Kimball had 'retired', he visited the Disney studio, walked through the halls, and imitated Walt's cough. It quickly became very quiet..." Does sound like Ward to me...

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Prod. 2003 - Seq. 1-6 - Temptations...

Here is the first installment of the continuation to the draft of Pinocchio. Please keep commenting, and remember, always let your conscience be your guide!
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