Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What's Everybody Doing... in 1980

Not too long ago Howard Beckerman was the man magazines (O.K. "magazines" -maybe it was a while ago) would call on to write about animation.  He was a regular contributor to Millimeter and Backstage and probably a dozen others.

Here's a little run down he did in 1980 for "Filmmakers: Film and Video Monthly".

By Howard Beckerman

Animation doesn't belong to any one person or organization; it's the province of all or any who wish to take the plunge.  A look at the humming activity across the country proves that this is the case.  Studios have popped up everywhere using all manner of techniques to develop their ideas.  And a surge of new developments in the technology of animation-related equipment has followed in the wake of the demand for fantasy filming.  There are now computers that create three-dimensional images or add colors to create cartoon shapes and camera mechanisms that can be programmed to spin, turn, and twist in any direction on command.
Interest in animation has grown so strong that hardly a film school in the country doesn't offer some animation training.  Still, there is no guarantee of jobs for all the bright students who are turned onto the medium.
The  following survey demonstrates that if you're trying to make it in animation, the small, individually owned studio is the way to go.  This sampling of what's doing in the world of animation, big studio, or one-person shop, shows the feverish activity in what we like to call "the industry."
 Click to enlarge any image

Above: paragraphs on ART/WIPE in Santa Barbara; Astoria Motion Picture and Television Center Foundation; Walt Disney Productions; Action Productions, Inc. (John Gati's stop motion company); Gabor Csupo; Anivision, LTD in Pittsburgh run by Rick Catizone.

Above: Boyington Film Productions, San Francisco; Bakshi Productions, Inc. (just finished "American Pop"); Darino Films; Howard Beckerman Studio (just moved to 45 W. 45th Street); Hanna and Barbera Productions, Inc.

Above: Diaz de Villegas Studios -Puerto Rico's only animation company; The Cartoon Kitchen (who recently completed animation for Carl Sagan's PBS show "The Cosmos"); Eight Frame Camera Service -George Davis' New York based Oxberry; Harold Friedman Consortium was sort of like the Acme Filmworks of the early 80s;  Fluid Art which was Kelly Hart's company specializing in hot wax on glass animation.

Above: Image Associates in Mishawaka, Indiana; Bill Helvey Productions, Columbia, MO; Hellman Design Associates in Waterloo, Iowa; Phil Kimmelman and Associates "hopping" with commercial work including a series of medical spots for children entitled "Dr. Henry" designed by Roland Wilson; Anthony T. Isoldi, Staten Island "an animator who is literally boxed in as the creator promos and instructional films for commercial packaging firms.

Above: The Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art, Inc.; Candy Kugel, just completed "Audition" "she even sings on the track"; Peg McClure Moody in Milpitas, CA.  "Moudy is excited about the prospect of applying animation to diverse topics like science fictions, humor and social commentary."; Ovation Films, Howard Basis is actively turning out inserts for live commercials; Luminous Animated Films, Richard Sanca produces a lot of work for Sesame Street; Nelvana Limited working on $5.4 million feature "Drats" (this would become "Rock and Rule")

Above: The Optical House doing special effects for Broadway and features; Perpetual Motion Pictures; Neworld Animation, South Blue Hill, Maine.  Offspring of Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary -started as recording studio and evolved; Mary Ann Michna, Jersey City, NJ.; Moon Studios in Philadelphia.

I've done some limited searching for Peter Craigie and Moon Studios and come up blank.  His address, 2226 Frankford Avenue is right down the street from my family's Fishtown stomping grounds and not far in the other direction from where my father lived for many years.  No luck so far.

Above: Yellow Ball Workshop, Lexington, MA; Ruby Spears; Zander's Animation Parlour hour-long "Gnomes" in production (in addition to Perpetual Motion's "Berenstein Bears" there seems to have been an uptick in New York); Hilda Terry -New York based newspaper cartoonist turned animator, creating animation for baseball scoreboards (one of the dream jobs).

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