I certainly hope all is well.
Today’s podcast is the first of a two part series on….
The History of Animation according to me.
Why am I doing this? A good question to which I have a good answer.
I recently came to a big decision concerning my technique for producing animation. For the longest time I’ve been clinging to my traditional animation shtick, and it has served me well. But now I need to scale down the fancy stuff and streamline my whole process. This is a must if I ever expect to increase my cartoon output. I want to tell stories that are more involved and work with a bigger cast of characters.
I believe that by adopting a Ghettomation attitude I can knock out more toons without sacrificing quality.
I decided to research the history of Animation to learn how our cartoon forefathers handled technique, technological change, and social conventions. That way I could find ideas on ways to scale back on my own process and learn what not to do from their past mistakes.
When you want to make a giant leap forward sometimes it’s a good idea to look back first.
For as long as man has been creating art, he has also tried to depict motion.
Instead of the smoking gun, for animation there is The smoking pot.
The images found on five thousand year old clay pot in Iran shows a sequence of a goat jumping up to take a nibble from a plant.
Piper vs. Superfly Snuka!
Here we see the a four thousand year old Egyptian Mural that clearly attempted to capture the motion of two wrestlers going mano y mano.
Phantasmagorie by Emile Cohl.
The earliest known paper drawn cartoon is the 1908 French short.
His exalted Holiness Winsor MCcay
Winsor MCcay is considered one of the first true animators . In the early 1900’s he took full advantage of the recently invented motion picture camera and used his love for drawing to animate films that were pure genius. MCcay’s animated films have stood the test of time and to this day are considered masterpieces. I think the word exquisite describes MCcay’s work perfectly.
Gertie the Dinosaur
MCcay stunned audiences with this wonderful animated piece that showed a character with personality, solid anatomy and weight! While other animators were using quarters and nickels to trace out heads and bodies for their cartoons, He was light years ahead of his peers producing elegant pieces that blew the pocket change brigade out of the water.
How A Mosquito Operates,
Set mind to blown.
Some really good drawing and acting in this work!
The Sinking of the Lusitania.
Brilliant depiction of the terrible maritime disaster that shocked the world.
Walt Disney’s Steamboat Willy
It all started with a mouse that was a big F.U. to Universal.
Steamboat Willy marked the beginning of a new era early on, barely in the infancy of animation. Cartoons could finally talk. Disney Studio held vast influence over the development of the animation process for decades..
The Fleischer Brothers
Best Superman Animation adaptation ever.
These guys created very unique cartoons that I am a total sucker for. With their studio in Florida they were able develop independently of all the other cartoon studios for many years!
The cartoon asylum known as Termite Terrace produced the unforgettable Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes.
I think I now know what I must do.
Speaking of awesome…..
Jim Lujan’s nominee for the Man vs. Art Pantheon of Awesomeness.
Ode to Andy.
There can only be one “first time”. You can only be a pioneer if something is undiscovered. There was only one first man on the moon. That man was Andy Kaufman and the moon was the world of undiscovered comedy. How do you take 25% awkwardness, 25% embarrassment, 25% chaos, and 25% fearlessness and turn into 100% genius? You can only do that if you are a groundbreaker willing to put your neck on the line discovering something new. Andy was that man.
Never before. Never again. Never quite the same.
He changed comedy and upped the game for comedians and actors alike. Andy took comedy to place where there was no roadmap. He built his own roads out of disorientation and pulling the rug from under our feet. The audience was stunned and could not look away. Some were repulsed and others instantly addicted. He showed people there doesn’t have to be a punchline to be funny. The punchline is the confusion created by no punchline. You either got it or were gotten by it. There was no hipster irony to his comedy. It was pure. The world didn’t know what this guy was doing….I have a feeling he was the only who really did. That’s the beauty of it. Not only did he march to his own drum, he built the drum and played it while singing “The Impossible Dream”.
But alas, the true secret of Andy is….there can only be one. Andy was and is the one. Genius. Fearless.