SDCC 2011 Day 1

The actual first day of San Diego has come to a close, and as an animator today was that first wave of creative energy and inspiration that comes over an artist amongst not only his peers, but also the fans of the medium.

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When it comes to SDCC, I’m definitely more of a panel person, more specifically the smaller ones and the ones that deal with my interests. Today my panels were the CCI-IFF film school series: pre-production and screenwriting, Alex Niño, How to use CG in comics, Bill Plympton, Classic Cartoons: Tom & Jerry/ Looney Tunes, Robert Rodriguez, Jon Favreau & Guillermo Del Toro, New Generation of Spike & Mike Animation, and Kung-Fu films…

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I won’t even attempt to go over each and every panel I went to, but I will give you some of my main points I took away:

Film is an art (duh), start small and practice your craft, know your tools and how they can make your workflow easier, I have a deeper appreciation of Tom & Jerry more so than before, Guillermo Del Toro likes to cuss, and I really need to re-watch Police Story starring Jackie Chan.

The highlight of my day was the Spotlight in Alex Nino.

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It was like listening to my Filipino Uncles tell stories, except this uncle was into drawing, inking and comic books. I asked him about the restrictions of being an artist during the Marcos Regime in the Philippines and his thoughts on the difference between the animation medium and comic book medium. His answers were brief yet insightful. He recalled his censorship of his artwork during martial law, and he waxed poetic about his freedom as a comic book artist as opposed to the team environment of animation.

If I had some regrets, it was that I didn’t have enough time to chat with these panelists afterword. SDCC is so huge now, it seems that someone is always just more aggressive than I am, plus when I have limited time to jump to the next panel it makes it even tougher. I think next time I’ll try to leave a larger gap between panels esp. with the folks I really want to meet.

It was a good and inspiring, yet tiring 1st day of SDCC 2011. I’ll definitely need more of these tomorrow…

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SDCC 2011 Preview Night

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San Diego Comic Con 2011 Preview Night. As a professional animator, my goal for SDCC is to not only make valuable contacts within the industry, but mostly to stay inspired and let my creative juices flow with all the geekiness around me.

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Most of the contacts and info will come from the panels in the days ahead, preview night is all about inspiration, getting a lay of the exhibition floor, and shopping!

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And I got a chance to finally pick up the kotobukiya Psylocke I’ve wanted for so many years:

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And thanks to Daps1 for braving the line and picking me up one of these:

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And lastly, probably the purchase that felt the best, were these plush yoshi dolls that got for my nieces.

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Because above all, even though I go to SDCC to geek out and generally think about ME, the reason I stay inspired and the reason I animate is for all the folks out there, and that especially goes for me family.

I haven’t written here much, but stay tuned… I plan to try to blog about many things animated that are happening at SDCC 2011 from panels to costumes to artists, etc… I might even attempt a Capt. America review.

Have fun!

Winnie the Pooh

Winnie the Pooh/ dir. Stephen Anderson & Don Hall/ 2011 


On the second to last day of the Seattle International Film Festival, I sit in a theater awaiting the North American premiere of Winnie the Pooh. To my left, my partner of about a year and all around me I am surrounded by an almost full theater of smiling parents, anxious kids, and general fans of animation (well at least the folks that can make it to an early morning showing on a Saturday). After the parade of speakers and thank yous, the lights go dim, and Winnie the Pooh comes on. Amidst the occasional laughs from the small children around me, my eyes are affixed on the screen, hanging on each beautifully animated frame while I reminisce of the days when I first met the round lovable bear known as Winnie the Pooh. Days after I’m still collecting my thoughts, reflecting on all the changes that have occurred in and around me in not only the 5 months since I last wrote, but also the 2 years since I took my first baby steps into the animation world. All this brought about by a mere children’s movie.  So after a very lengthy hiatus, I figured I should write something…

Winnie the Pooh is not your traditional “modern” animated feature. It’s doesn’t offer any flashy effects or well planned out action sequences. There is no magic, no plot twists and no added adult humor or pop culture references to entice the older audiences. No, Winnie the Pooh is an old fashioned Disney 2D/ hand drawn animated film through and through. It knows its core audience and it’s an effective film for 3 reasons: simple storytelling, a subtle yet powerful moral message, and a creative imagination. All these add up to something that gets lost in today’s films of CG, big action sequences, grand sets, and manufactured emotions… Innocence. Continue reading

Evangelion 1.11 You Are (Not) Alone

Evangelion 1.11: You Are (Not) Alone/ Hideaki Anno/ 2007/ Japan

I thought it would be fitting to review Evangelion 1.11 on 1/11/11. How many times do you get the chance to do that? a

Evangelion 1.11 is a special DVD/ Blu Ray edition of Evangelion 1.0, which in turn was a reboot of the classic anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion. Confused? Well that’s the point. Anime is sometimes known for its convoluted stories, intricate plot twists, and techno-babble dialogue, and the poster child of this generalization was the original 1996 Neon Genesis Evangelion Series. Evangelion 1.11 is the reboot… err… well, its more of a facelift, as it seems the scenes were ripped straight out of the original series. Is it any good? If you like the OG series, you’ll like this film. If you’re looking for a fantastic in-depth, artistic, and stylistic look into the fragile psyche of a teenager abandoned by his father then this is the film for you. If you also like big mech robots fighting huge monsters, then this film is for you. Be warned, you may get lost in its confusing plot and its many allusions to religion. But if you give it a chance, you’re in for a treat.

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Best Animated Features 2010


Let’s put a bow on 2010 and wrap it with Art of the Cartoon’s Best Animated Features of 2010. I’ll be honest, 2010 was an an okay year in animated features, not great, just okay. I enjoyed 2009’s offering of animated goodness better than 2010, but still I have to commend all the animation studios for putting out some quality work in 2010 (by the way studios, I’m looking for a job as an animator *wink wink*). I only have a top 3 this year, so let’s go over some ground rules first:

  • I have to have seen the movie! (Yes I’m looking forward to seeing Sylvain Chomet’s The Illusionist, too bad it wasn’t released stateside in 2010, so I haven’t seen it. So it is OUT! )
  • If the animated movie was widely released in 2010, it counts!
  • I (obviously) have to have enjoyed the movie. Technical merit counts (animation, sound, etc…) but its the sum of all parts, so if I’m not entertained for the duration, then you’re not making the list.

Let’s do it! Hit the jump for the Best Animated Features 2010…

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2009 in Review

It’s been awhile since I posted something on here. Animation has kept me pretty occupied, but some 4 months into 2010, I think it’s finally time I reveal my best animated features of 2009. 2009 was an outstanding year for animation. Seeing that there were 5 nominations for Best Animated Picture at the Oscars, and beyond that there were quality animated films this year that may have been considered in lesser years. Anyway before I get to the best, I wanna go over my ground rules for best of 2009:

  • I have to have seen the movie! (Secret of Kells, even though nominated for an academy award for best animated picture, is OUT! Just because I haven’t seen it! But I want to!)
  • If the animated movie was widely released in 2009, it counts! ($9.99 was made in 2008, but was widely released in 2009, so it’s in contention)
  • I (obviously) have to have enjoyed the movie. Technical merit counts (animation, sound, etc…) but its the sum of all parts, so if I’m not entertained for the duration, then you’re not making the list.

Without further delay, hit the jump to see the Best Animated Features of 2009… Continue reading