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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Archive: The Top Ten Topics Of 2007

As the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive completes its second year in operation, it's time to review the accomplishments of the past year. Here's a countdown of the ten most important subjects we've covered in 2007. See if your list matches mine. Click on the links to read more on the topic.

THE TOP TEN TOPICS OF 2007


MILT GROSS
NUMBER 10: MILT GROSS

Milt Gross is one of the greatest cartoonists who ever lived, but most of his work has been out of print for many years. He was a master of both words and images. His books Nize Baby, Dunt Esk, and De Night In De Front From Chreesmas are classics of ethnic New York dialect humor. His masterpiece, He Done Her Wrong, which Gross described as "The great American novel- and not a word in it- no music too", tells a story entirely in funny pictures... Read More



CULTURAL LITERACY
NUMBER 9: CULTURAL LITERACY

Zutty Singleton, Cootie Williams, Zoot Sims, Bubber Miley, Papa Jo Jones and Dizzy Gillespie weren't just guys with funny first names... they were some of the most creative individuals who ever walked the earth, working in the greatest new artform from the past 100 years... Jazz. And they weren't the only ones worth studying. The 20th century sparked an explosion of creative expression in the fields of filmmaking, music, the performing arts and dance. All of these have a direct relation to your work as an animator... Read More



CARTOON WRITING
NUMBER 8: CARTOON WRITING

One of the principle catalysts for discussion on the net is John Kricfalusi's blog, All Kinds of Stuff. A series of John's posts on writing for animation created a wave of comment across the "blogosphere". A prominent cartoon scriptwriter vehemently disagreed with John's opinion that cartoons should be written by cartoonists. But when he was asked to name his favorite golden age cartoon writer, the scriptwriter was unable to come up with a single name... This isn't particularly surprising because THERE WERE NO CARTOON SCRIPTWRITERS prior to 1960... Read More



MODERN ANIMATION
NUMBER 7: MODERN ANIMATION

Amid Amidi's great book, Cartoon Modern: Style and Design in 1950s Animation stirred up a recent revival of interest in 1950s stylized animation. Just about every animation related blog had posts dealing with the subject. Back in May, a firestorm of controversy erupted around a fascinating series of articles on John Kricfalusi's blog, All Kinds of Stuff. The informed and impassioned arguments on both sides of the issue spilled over into Michael Sporn's Splog and Amid's Cartoon Brew... Read More



MILTON CANIFF
NUMBER 6: MILTON CANIFF

Milton Caniff has been referred to as "The Rembrandt of the Comic Strip", and oft by himself as "an Armchair Marco Polo", but in fact this whirlwind of a comic strip innovator and writer was essentially a sincerely nice man who loved to draw. He created and drew Terry and The Pirates from 1934 to 1946, which set the standard for the adventure comic strip. He raised the bar with Steve Canyon, which unlike Terry, he owned lock stock and barrel from the first daily strip in January 1947 through to June 1988, the final installment published shortly after his death. Caniff worked rain or shine, seven days/strips a week for 54 years, even from his hospital bed, the deadlines never ended... Read More



ORIGINALITY vs RIPOFFS
NUMBER 5: ORIGINALITY vs RIPOFFS

Ethics may not be the first subject that comes to mind when you think of the challenges facing cartoonists, but it's an important issue. I addressed the students who read this site and gave them some useful advice on thinking for themselves in an article titled "Chaplin's Shadow"... Read More



rotoscope
NUMBER 4: ADVICE FOR CG ANIMATORS

In 1914, Max Fleischer invented the rotoscope as a time and labor saving way of producing animation. He soon came to realize that although the device was a great aid in effects and technical animation, it was a poor substitute for character animation...

motion capture
In 1986, engineer Ernie Blood developed motion capture techniques as a time and labor saving way of producing animation. A decade and several mocap features later, many CGI animators are coming to the same realization that Max Fleischer and his staff had more than a half century ago. Read More



CLAIR WEEKS
NUMBER 3: CLAIR WEEKS

The ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to the family of Disney animator, Clair Weeks. Weeks was a missionary's son, born in India, who moved to America in the early 30s and ended up working as an assistant animator on Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Weeks went on to work on Bambi, Cinderella and Peter Pan. He eventually returned to Bombay, India to establish the animation community there... Read More



GRIM NATWICK
NUMBER 2: GRIM NATWICK

Grim Natwick is undoubtedly one of the most influential animators who ever lived. His career spanned the entire history of animation- from its earliest days in New York to Richard Williams' Cobbler and the Thief in recent times. He animated in every style, but was able to maintain his own personal flavor, regardless of whether he was animating for modern studios like UPA or cartoony ones like Fleischer. If one had to define the single element that set his animation apart, it would have to be that his characters always seemed to have a genuine spark of life... Read More



CARLO VINCI
NUMBER 1: CARLO VINCI

The history of animation is populated by scores of remarkably talented animators. But Carlo Vinci was much more than just an animator. "Legend" is a word that has been overused in recent times, but when applied to Vinci, it's perfectly apt. Carlo Vinci left behind a lot more than just classic cartoons. He left behind a legacy that will inspire and enlighten artists for generations to come... Read More

Stephen Worth
Director
ASIFA-Hollywood
Animation Archive
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