Please note: if an earlier link doesn't work, it may have changed following an update! Check the Category Labels in the side-bar on the right! There you can find animator drafts for sixteen complete Disney features and eighty-six shorts,
as well as Action Analysis Classes and many other vintage animation documents!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

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...]



Anonymous Michael Sporn says...

I agree with you about the disappointment at the reaction to the Action Analysis classes. Those docs are gold to me. I can't tell you how much it helped me when I first unearthed and started reading them as I worked at the Hubley studio. Of course, I had the master I could consult with if there was anything I was confused about. I think John appreciated responding to some of my stupid questions.

I get the feeling today that a lot of younger people feel they know more than even these docs have to offer. It's too bad. There are so few people keeping it alive. But it doesn't discourage me; I still enjoy posting things and gabbing about them. Comments are few and far between though.

Saturday, February 24, 2007 at 6:50:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Mark Mayerson says...

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I'm extremely grateful for the drafts that you've posted. You're a one-man Disney archive.

Obviously the mosaics I do would be impossible without your drafts. I'm going to start on Pinocchio, though I'm betting it will take me a lot longer to complete than it will you.

I learn an awful lot during the creation of those mosaics. I wouldn't care if nobody ever commented. I get to see those cartoons in a way that would be impossible without the drafts. You can read the director's mind with the drafts and when you can isolate the work of one animator, you can read the animator's mind, too.

If you want to learn anything about film or animation, there is no substitute for staring at a scene or sequence over and over. While teaching, I run a sequence five times in a week, and on the fifth viewing, I'm still seeing new things. I'm still spotting new things in films that I've been watching for more than 30 years.

What you're doing, Hans, is sending out messages in bottles. You can't predict where those bottles will land or who will pull out those messages, but some of them will get through.

Just like we saw a renewal in the '80's and '90's, I'm betting that we see another within 10 years and I think that blogs will be responsible for it. There is a bonanza of information and art sitting on blogs, put there by people who are motivated by love and enthusiasm for animation. I have to believe that there's a small army of artists out there looking at this stuff and the wheels in their heads are beginning to turn. The results may take a while to see, but I do believe that what we're doing will have an impact.

Saturday, February 24, 2007 at 8:15:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Bill B. says...

I'm sure I speak for many of the hundreds who visit daily when I say I am very grateful for the draft postings and action analysis transcripts. I've thought of writing with my thanks many times; I'm certain others feel the same.

Saturday, February 24, 2007 at 11:23:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Keith Lango says...

Mark me down as one of the silent appreciators of this info. In CG circles this stuff is never discussed- ever. I'm a very late comer to the whole "who-did-what" studying of older Disney works. I have a very selfish motive in that I want to be a far better animator than the current stale world of CG can make me. I want to move beyond the shallow grave of what has been accepted as great animation these days and get back to seeing what was possible when the medium was developing- all in the hopes that I can break the locks on my own eyes and see (and ultimately execute) a wider horizon of animated possibilities. I'm not a historian nor an academic. For me this stuff is bedrock practical. I download all of these drafts, but it takes time to sift through. Thus I have pretty much nothing to add to the conversation- especially when I see other better informed animators and historians expanding the understanding base. Thus the silence. But please know that this stuff is making an impact- upon my study and growth as an animator at least. I do expect that in years to come I can't help but be affected, influenced and be left better for having been exposed to this treasury of history. So from this self-educated schmuck from the CG ghettos I just want to say Thanks.


Saturday, February 24, 2007 at 11:53:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Hans Perk says...

Mark, I look forward to the mosaics, and I'll be one of the first to download them. I hope and believe that you are right. Keith is an example of your theory. Keith, excuse my exchanging your name for one of my friends' - I fixed it in my post. Keep learning and keep teaching - neither ever stops. Bill B., thanks.

Saturday, February 24, 2007 at 12:16:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Julián Höek says...

hi hans.
thanks again for keep posting the drafs, notes and all the action analisis clases!
i was thinking that the lack of comments might be 'couse lots of people come to your site, download the pages and read them later.
in my case i'm coming every day to see what's new and every time
there is a lot of cool new stuff up so what i do often is i download all of it to my computer and i read them later. With the action analisis i'm planing to go to a copy house and print them all so i can read it from paper. reading so much from the computer it's painfull to my eyes, and from the paper is so much better so most of the time i don't have an inmediate feedback to give you about it couse i haven't read it yet. i'm doing the same with the draft. i want to have them all and then print them so i can watch the film with the notes in my hand and study the cartoons but the diference is that i take a fast look over them to see the animators names before.
all this amazing stuff you are posting it's to read deeply and calmly not perhaps in the moment. i guess this happens to a lot of people that visits this site and would explain the lack of inmediate comments. i don't thinks nobody cares, this is incredible and so interesting.
please don't feel discourege by the lack of comments. your visitor counter proves you that there is a lot of trafic going on and that's for the priceless information you are giving for free every day.
i'm from argentina and i work as an asistent animator in a 2d feature it's beeing made here and lot's of people are very intereste in this. i told them about you site and thekind of information you post and they jaws inmediatly hits the floor so i pass the link so they can check it out for themself.
please keep it up, i'm very very gratfull for you blog and don't worry about the comments, i'm shure everybody is getting it and are interested.

Julian from argentina

Saturday, February 24, 2007 at 12:21:00 PM PST  
Anonymous The Jerk says...

count me as a young person who finds your postings post invaluable. Someone once said "you don't talk much when the food is good, you're too busy chewing." Perhaps these documents you so generously share cause such deep contemplation that your visitors here become unable to speak or comment right away...

Saturday, February 24, 2007 at 7:24:00 PM PST  
Anonymous David Nethery says...

I sent Mike Barrier an email encouraging him to keep posting, despite the relative lack of responses, and I'll repeat my message to Mike here, addressed to you, Hans, and Michael Sporn, Mark Mayerson, and others like you :

THANK YOU so much for continuing to post this material (drafts, class notes, etc.) even if there are not a lot of responses in the comments section. I have found that I have sometimes been guilty of silently appreciating the posts from you, Barrier, Michael Sporn, Mark Mayerson, Jenny Lerew, and others, without always posting an appropriate note of Thanks.

On one of my responses to your posting of the Don Graham notes I did say : "This stuff is GOLD" and I'll repeat my sincere sentiment : This stuff is GOLD. Please don't stop posting it, if only to create an internet archive for we few, we happy few, we band of brothers, who truly appreciate this material.

I enjoy making the rounds to the various blogs everyday , but maybe what someone needs to do is start an Animation History Wikipedia and continually archive all the combined posts from these blogs into the Wiki , so there is a central location for the information, for years to come .

Sunday, February 25, 2007 at 7:23:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Hans Perk says...

A little statistic: on an average, my blog has had under 1.8 comments per posting, and that includes my own answers. I will not say that every posting has been a stroke of genius, but I do think that there is quite a lot of material here that has never seen daylight before (since it was produced), so in that respect I do find that there is much less discussion than I had hoped, especially on the Action Analysis Classes and the bar-sheets/Beatronome...

Monday, February 26, 2007 at 3:57:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Stephen Worth says...

Well, there's two different things here... traffic and comments. I generally get comments on my posts when I have some passion in what I'm presenting, or when I pose a question for people to think about. Just because people don't comment, it doesn't mean that there isn't traffic.

It also helps to present the material as clearly as you can. People don't spend a lot of time on webpages on the average. If the information is spread out over several mouseclicks and paragraphs of bald text, they may never get to see it. That's a graphic design issue.

Ultimately, you have to create a community. No one has done this better than John K. Cartoon Brew is now following his lead on that. You can't build a community without allowing comments. The web isn't a one sided conversation any more.

As I posted over at Michael Sporn's site, there is tremendous interest in animation on the web right now. The ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive is doing 120,000 page views a month. Cartoon Brew does double that. And John K does double Cartoon Brew. The readers aren't just animation fanboys... they're creative people- designers, musicians, illustrators. The information has to be relevant to creative people.

You're doing a great job, Hans. Thanks for your efforts.


Monday, February 26, 2007 at 12:28:00 PM PST  
Anonymous eve says...

Hi :)
My name is Eve and I study Animation at National Academy of Theatre & Film Arts at Sofia, Bulgaria.
Not a long time ago we obtained a trickfilm Crass from 1976. Unfortunately some "well-wisher" cut the cables :(
I was searchin in google for manual or any scheme for our Crass but without any result.
My question is (if it`s not a problem for you and you want to help me) can you help me finding a manual or scheme that will help us to fix it?
Thank you in advance!
eve :)

Thursday, September 27, 2007 at 6:58:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Hans Perk says...

Hello, Eve - I fear I can be of little help. I have had dealings with several Crass cameras: Anna & Bella was shot on one, and so was the Danish 1985 feature Valhalla. Maybe the cameraman from then has some schematics? Send me your contact info and I will try to pass this on to him...

Thursday, September 27, 2007 at 8:57:00 AM PDT  

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