Congrats Animation Mentor Graduates!!!… Now What?

Congrats to my fellow Animation Mentor graduates! We did it!

Yes many of us have been done since either last summer or this past fall, but the ceremony, show, and pomp & circumstance all happened this past weekend. For an online school like Animation Mentor, these events are even more thrilling, as we finally get to meet-up with all those folks we’ve seen only through the eyes of a lowly webcam. It amazes me, that even though we’ve never met in “real” life, I can start up a conversation with them like I had known them for years.

The events of this past weekend are a definite high, but the real question comes after. Like coming back from a conference, or an expo, the quintessential thing we must ask of ourselves after all this is… Now What?

There are some graduates out there that already have found themselves a job, and for them they have answered their “Now What?” I’m proud of them, but I’m also proud of everyone else that graduated that will either now or later attempt to do something that not many people ever accomplish… Realize a dream.

For me, I’m not going to stand still through this high. I’m going to go back to where my inspiration lies:

It’s time to give this piece an animated facelift that I have always envisioned it to have. After about 2 years, I think I owe it to all those organizations that fight for social justice, especially those I organize with, to do something positive for the people. And hey, if I get a job in the industry at the same time, even better.

Carlos Buloasn Test Character Rig

I know my fellow AM graduates have other shots they’re working on as well, and the main thing, like I’ve always stated each in week in my videos to them, is to keep inspired and most of all, HAVE FUN!

Yes for some it’s a struggle, but that’s why we’re here. Yes we observe life in order to create the illusion of it, but at the same time by animating life, we can change it as well.

If you want to know who we are, WE ARE REVOLUTION!

Congrats once again AM Graduates!

Every Child

Every Child/ dir. Eugene Fedorenko/ 1979/ Canada

Vodpod videos no longer available.

In the world of animation in 2010, there are many elements that go into making an animated piece. Besides the actual animating, there are riggers, modelers, lighting artists, environment artists, textures artists, background artists, etc. and this doesn’t even include the music and camera work. All these can come together to create a compelling story and a convincing message. But sometimes the best animated works are the simple ones. Take for example Eugene Fedorenko’s Academy Award winning short of 1979, Every Child. A short and subtle 6 minute film about a society too engrossed about themselves to even take care of an abandoned child.  Every sound effect and voice done by the same two dudes, and the simple yet elegant animation compliments the tone and message of the film, which is to say that we’ll just pass this along until someone else deals with it… Continue reading


Avatar/ dir. James Cameron/ 2009

“Wait! YOU haven’t seen Avatar! … I can’t believe of all people, YOU, haven’t seen Avatar!”

And that’s the sentiment I hear every effing time I mention to folks that I haven’t seen Avatar. EVERY EFFING TIME! C’mon people, I have school, animation shots to work on, work, other animated films, shorts and series to see, more comics and books to read, artwork to do, things to write, people to see, people I’m trying to get with =P, video games being neglected, etc… so please excuse the fact that I have not seen the film… Until Now. I finally gave in to peer pressure…

I have to admit, I was a little leery to see this movie because of all the conflicting comments/ analysis from folks I know. I know some animators who worked on the film and I have heard rave reviews. At the other end of the spectrum, I have other folks screaming of “the great white hope/ white guilt” movie disguised as “pretty to look at” sci-fi flick. So where does Avatar fall? Was it a “white savior” movie in an elegant package, or was it something more deep, a movie that deserves its Oscar nomination of Best Picture?

Well… Even though Avatar is a familiar story, it was made more grandiose because of spectacular designs, effects, environments and animations. These grand effects and animations offer a glimpse of what an animated film can strive to be and what messages animation can convey to the masses that aren’t bringing in kids to see cute cuddly characters. And make no mistake, Avatar IS an animated movie! Too bad, its message is a re-hash of stale ideas combined with Hollywood giving itself a pat on the back. Continue reading

First Quarter Storm: 40 Years Later…

Yesterday marked the 40th Anniversary of the First Quarter Storm in the Philippines, which was a series of protests against a corrupt and unjust Marcos Regime. The significance of which was the catalyst that eventually started the People Power Movement and the ousting of Ferdinand Marcos.

Now how does this relate to animation, comics, and cartoons? Well, the First Quarter Storm also produced a creative spark that artists have been feeding off of for the past 40 years. I know its inspired me, and has also other more well renowned artists. And its something I WE keep in the back of my OUR mind(s) as something that drives me US as I WE progress (slowly) through my OUR (neverending) process of learning animation…

For now, I present to you a video of a poem by Carlos Bulosan called “If You Want To Know Who We Are.” Produced and voiced by Ron Antonio (yes the same dude from here)

I have talked with many folks who feel that its best if politics stay away from art/ animation/ cartoons/ etc. NOT ME, as far as I’m concerned, no matter what, politics is always involved, and that makes the art that much more powerful. But you know what, I’m always down for dialogue.

MLK Day: A Message to Animation Students….

Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and I got many hits for my previous Bootleg Classic post about it. Well, I decided that I had to say a message to not only animation students, but anybody else that wants to listen about the importance of yesterday, and the vital dialogue and work needed to fully realize Dr. King’s OUR dreams.

I kept it vague, and I probably could’ve added more of my own commentary, but I think folks are smart enough to have their own opinions…

I only hope that folks are listening…

Bootleg Classics: The Iron Giant

10 years ago, one of the finest animated movies ever to grace the bigscreen debuted in theaters. The Iron Giant was the breakout movie that put Brad Bird’s (The Incredibles, Ratatouille)  name out there among the elite animation directors. Even though it underperformed in theaters  and was  a box office failure because many felt Warner Bros. didn’t properly market the film, The Iron Giant was praised by critics and is still seen as one of the better examples of storytelling in animation. See the original trailer here:

(Hit the jump to read more about this Bootleg Classic) Continue reading

Miyazaki’s Quiet Protest of the Iraq War

I found this article on Cartoon Brew. I have always enjoyed Miyazaki’s social commentaries in his movies,  but his way of protesting the Iraq War was quite interesting. Also ,I knew Howl’s Moving Castle had that anti-war commentary attached to it, but I never thought it was a direct commentary of the Iraq War. I may need to re-watch it and do a retro-review…


Hayao Miyazaki

by: Amid

Hayao Miyazaki didn’t come to the United States in 2003 to accept his Oscar forSpirited Away because of his opposition to the Iraq War, he recently told the LA Times:

“The reason I wasn’t here for the Academy Award was because I didn’t want to visit a country that was bombing Iraq. At the time, my producer shut me up and did not allow me to say that, but I don’t see him around today. By the way, my producer also shared in that feeling.”

Critic Daniel Thomas MacInnes offers some context to Miyazaki’s actions onThe Ghibli Blog:

It should be common knowledge to any serious Miyazaki scholar that he abhorred not only the Iraq War, but war itself. The idea of violence is depicted in his work as violent tragedy, slapstick mockery, or both…I don’t think very many Westerners know that the war in Howl’s Moving Castle was itself a reflection on the Iraq War. It was a comment on that war, viewed through the lens of Miyazaki’s long career.

Review: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen/ dir. Michael Bay/ 2009

As a huge fan of the Transformers franchise, especially of the original Generation 1, all I really expect from the 2nd live-action Transformers movie is some great Autobots vs. Decepticons fighting complete with guns, explosions, battle damage combined with a bunch of transforming action, and give a nod to the fans, especially those of Generation 1. If you do that, I can pretty much forgive the shortcomings of the film. For example:

Weak Story/ Confusing Plot: That’s fine! Let’s be real, Transformers has never been about story, its been about huge robots that transform and fight each other. And as a veteran of countless animes, I can deal with a confusing plot. Continue reading

Review: Battle for Terra 3D

Battle for Terra/ dir. Aristomenis Tsirbas/ 2009

The Terrans are inhabitants of the planet Terra — a place that promotes peace and tolerance, having long ago rejected war and weapons of mass destruction. But when Terra is invaded by humans seeking a new home due to an environmental catastrophe, the planet Terra is plunged into war and chaos. 

Since this movie was NOT produced by either Dreamworks or Pixar,  Terra seemed to have that indie vibe to it, which appealed to me. I was hoping for an entertaining movie that focused more on the effects of war and the struggle to survive and resist as opposed to the usual “dialogue, action, conflict, action, cute characters, action, dialogue, then happy ending.”  But this trailer had me a little worried and disappointed:

They should have just watermarked the word “cliche” to this trailer. If there was drinking game where you took a shot every time a cliche came up, within a minute you would be gone! BTW, in the future when I get to my short-film class, if I have the dialogue “It has begun…” in it, feel free to punch me in the face. 

Despite all this, I decided to give Terra a chance and I made the trek to the movie theater. And while, yes, it was very formulaic, slow paced and a little bland, the subtle sociopolitical commentary throughout the film kept me entertained. (Hit the jump to read the rest of the review) Continue reading