Reading Media Culture – Friday’s film class notes

March 16, 2009

ANTHROPHOMORPHISM
The endowment of creatures with human attributes, abilities and qualities.
– by Paul Wells in his book Understanding Animation
Creatures covers more than animals or plants as seen in The Brave Little Toaster (appliances)

There are 2 practices that explain this theory in greater detail:
– Animism – the belief that everything on Earth has a spirit and impacts on life
– Totism – incorporation of natural entities into ritual behaviour
(ie: dove with an olive branch = symbol for peace as a mental construct / candles on a cake = symbol for birthday)

In Eisenstein’s article, he refers to Vesilovski’s definition of Animism, “We involuntarily transfer onto Nature our own experience of Life which is expressed in movement in the manifestation of a force directed by a will.”

Key to the Animation Industry = Design characters that the viewing audience can identify with and would want to watch over and over again.
– viewers either see someone who they know or like, or possibly themselves (cross-genre use of animation and musicals are a natural mixture)
– this character can be an idealized version of who they are
– as a result, viewers feel more comfortable about who they are (personality animation)

The Three Little Pigs by Walt Disney

Anthrophomorphism examples from the animation:
– wearing clothes, talk, stand on 2 feet, procrastinate, dancing, building houses, play instrument, a pig that’s afraid (tails), picture frames, furniture, relied on others, showed hubris (extreme arrogance = get what you deserve for your cockiness), boiling water, understand english, use tricks to foil the wolf, lock the door, deceptive quality in the wolf, wolf uses threats, first 2 pigs form a collective where the third pig is on his own, have luxuries (welcome mat), portrait of the family in the pig house (2 of Father – one with sausage and one with a ham / and one of mother nursing), understood the concept of work, lived in capitalist society (if you don’t work, you are screwed), separation of class structures (pig represented as civilized where the wolf is shown to be a vagrant), different pitches of voices from first 2 pigs to third pig, Darwin theory of survival of the fittest, creation of suburbia (own your own house), have a fire, value of hard work, potted plants, self-serving mentality of the first two pigs, turpentine and mixing it into the cauldron, individual clothing and voice style, be prepared motto shown by the third pig, hits the wolf with the brush = defense strategy, opposable thumbs (foundation to human evolution), eyes structured like humans, mocking the wolf when they thought they were safe, have beds and pillows, ability to reason and negotiate

Most blatant examples are when the wolf tried to trick the 2nd pig that he had left and then showed up as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Then he tried to pass himself off as a Fuller Brush salesman trying to put himself through college.

Merbabies by Walt Disney

Imaginary divine omnipotence – Eisenstein
– manufactured utopia – impossible dream to live in that environment – shown when the bubbles rise to the surface and reveal that the whole setting is imaginary
– mermaid characters were very cherubic in their portrayal
– defiance of the food chain – big fish eats the little fish

Bugs in Love by Walt Disney

What comes first, the chicken or the egg when it comes to animation?
– Chuck Jones, one of the greatest animators ever, talks about the creation of Daffy Duck.
– Producer Leon Schlesinger was a very bombastic persona who was authoritative, yet he spoke with a slight lisp
– Jones used this as creative license and added it to the persona of Daffy (wasn’t a duck in fact, but a transvestite chicken!)
– Jones asked Mel Blanc to do the voice and the track was sped up
– but then they realized that Leon would have to listen to the recording and approve it
– as a result they wrote out their resignation letters beforehand just in case
– “Jesus Christ, what a silly WOICE! Where did you get it?”
– moral of the story = where does an animator get inspiration for their work? – answer is that every animator has a mirror on the side of their desk to mimic facial expressions

I do not know what it is I am like by Bill Viola
– Video Art deals with the camera in a totally new way so that you have immediate feedback in what you are recording
– Failure of Knowledge is a major theme that they wanted to develop
– image is displayed will leave you in discomfort and wants to put the viewer in the piece itself rather than as an entertainment tool = leaves you in a state of frustration and you are stuck with it = anti-telivision and anti-constructed entertainment (not here to entertain you)
– feel like a spectator inhabiting the world of the bison – other than the camera recording the imagery, there are no obvious human interactions, not even a narration

Planet Earth – by BBC


Reading the Screen – class notes from last Friday (animation)

October 2, 2008

“The Humorous phases of funny faces” – J. Stewart Blackton?
FIRST ANIMATION EVER 1906


– done with chalk so it was erased with each frame

“Fantasmagorie” – Emile Cohl

– first true animation in August 1908
– graphite on paper

“Walking” – Ryan Larkin

– was nominated for an academy award in 1970, but Ryan lost his way and fell into drugs and despair
“Ryan” – Chris Landreth


part 1

part 2

– a 2004 Oscar-winning animated documentary by Chris Landreth about the influential Canadian animator Ryan Larkin (see above – he did “Walking”), who in later years lived on skid row in Montreal following a history of drug and alcohol abuse.
Earl Heard 1915 – invented celluloid animation – all studios had to pay him a royalty until the patent ran into the public domain

“The Old Mill” – Disney

– tricks of the trade – multi-plane camera
– special effects animation from back in 1937 – old school cgi hand drawn and hand painted (very labour intensive)
– editing is so important, it’s how you move an audience
– as the storm builds, the shots get closer and closer – cutting/editing make the film
– Walt Disney spent only 12 years to refine animation from Steamboat Willy to Fantasia

– Disney either created or refined modern day aspects of animation
– Leonard Maltin has published numerous animation history books, including “Of Mice and Magic”
– 1937 – Snow White – used multi-plane camera up to Little Mermaid – last time it was used
– now they use D Canvas or Caps and computers to simulate 3d and distance
– “Minnie the Moocher”


– opening with Cab Calloway Hidy Hidy Ho!
– Cab Calloway was the man back in the day!  Max Fleischer vs. Disney studios
– Betty Boop was one of the first fully female animated characters- early example of rotoscoping with Cab dancing – precursor to Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly plus the iPod commercials as well – music video by The New Pornographers
Waking Life – Trailer

A Scanner Darkly – Trailer

New Pornographers – Myriad Harbour

Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed (The Adventures of Prince Achmed)

– 300,000 cut outs to make this film – Lotte Reiniger – made in 1927
– very first animated feature film – she was the only one who did the cut outs – silhouette animation film

The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello – steampunk animation

The Old Man and the Sea – Alexander Petrov

part 1

part 2

– hand painted on glass (finger painting)
– wow – incredible paintings – clouds turn into elephants – lions – the sailing ship
– amazing detail in the oar slicing through the water and having the drops drip down
– the swordfish leaps several feet out of the water and keeps puling the boat further out to sea
– phosphorescence at night is beautiful – the crowd of people on the beach is incredibly detailed
– in the credits, it shows the director Alexander Petrov hand painting each individual glass frame

Peter and the Wolf – Suzie Templeton (also did a film called “Dog”)
– stop motion puppet animation

MISC CLASS NOTES:
lots of cutting edge animation happening in music videos
international film festival – should check it out
the story of pixar – director leslie was grand-daughter of the guy who helped do steamboat willy
– the man who planted trees was roger lassiter’s inspiration – he played it to introduce his festival
– not an actual true story – was fiction – frederick back

animation = bringing life out of something static
– animation is about drawing movement
– is it possible to make a bad film with beautiful drawings (star wars 1-3, final fantasy…)
– can you make a good film with bad drawings (rejected, simpsons, don hertzfeld)

Welcome to the Show – Don Hertzfeld

– DAMN THE ILLUSION OF MOVEMENT TO HELL!!!!!

Intermission – Don Hertzfeld

End of the Show – Don Hertzfeld

Rejected – Don Hertzfeld

– animation = just for kids?!?!? nope, it is much much more
– film screenings on wednesday help showcase the various techniques

STOP MOTION
– claymation (chicken run)
– paper cut out (south park, adventures of prince achmed – first animated film ever) aka silhouette animation
– puppet animation (nightmare before christmas)
– pixelation (neighbours, space jam, white stripes hardest button to button
– object animation – stop motion (joanna priestley)

– experimental (painted glass, the street, norman mclaren)
– pin screen animation (very rare – use pin screen – NFB animations – do research – each shot is unique – cannot be recreated – alex alexsov)
– rotoscope (waking life, a scanner darkly)
– cell animation (disney, looney toons, duck amuck)
– limited animation (simpsons – all you get is mouth/hand being animated vs. disney where the entire body is animated)
aka illustrated radio because the shots are reused 1960’s cartoons like spider man)

Additional Animation clips:

The Animatrix – Final Flight of the Osiris