Saturday, April 30, 2011

You Get What You Pay For

I don't like to spread negativity with this blog, but these subway ads embarrass me.  Every time I see them, I sort of cringe and hide my face lest something recognize me as someone remotely associated with drawing and hold me somehow responsible.


You may have seen EZ Pawn's cringeworthy  commercials featuring a thrift store Uncle Sam if you've got TV insomnia.

Usually when I see these low end, direct spots I think -use some simple illustration you can make a nice spot with this same small budget.

There's no accounting for taste.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Cartoons of Glory

This is an article from the November 3, 1986 New York Magazine that was in The Ink Tank pressbook.  I won't repost all the copy, click the images to read everything.

The photo on page one is from an MTV ID designed by Mark Marek. The actress is R. O. Blechman's mother-in-law.


Cartoonist R. O. Blechman, known for his squiggly line, was frustrated.  The head of The Ink Tank, an eight year old studio that makes animated films and television commercials, Blechman had spent the whole day trying to bring to life a storyboard for Serenity, a new product for incontinent women.  But the resolution and dissolves "weren't working -the whole thing looked banal," so he decided to scrap the agency suggestion and start fresh.  The revised spot opens with animation, segues into a live action sequence, and closes with animation.  Ordinarily, Blechman rejects the conventional ad-industry wisdom that live action is credible and animation is not, but in this case, he agreed the patch of reality worked.
The article then discusses some of the studio's spots before getting to "a computer system recently installed at the Tape House Editorial Company... The new computer, nicknamed the Harry system, 'lets you juggle and edit out anything -an offending pole, say -in live action or animation.'"  That's the Paintbox system which would open a new chapter in special effects history.

Then:

Pan Productions has begun to specialize in "color xerography".  The studio takes live action footage, Xeroxes it frame by frame, and colors the copy to produce an animated effect.  Los Angeles based Kurtz & Friends has created a futuristic spot for Toyota in which an illustrated sports car becomes a real Supra...

Perpetual Animation created a combination spot for Home Box Office that shows an animated family in a three-dimensional set, watching live-action movie clips on their cartoon TV.  Jerry Lieberman productions put real script erasable pens into the hands of animated people...



...Buzzco Associates has created a series of ads combining  live action and animation: a cartoon vacuum cleaner hosing around real-life cans of Love My Carpet; real babies crying animated tears for WMET radio; an animated viewer watching live-action TV for Lifetime Cable; and a drawing of a made-up eye becoming a real eye for Aziza eye shadow...
Then Candy Kugel points out this sort of thing has been around forever but technology makes it easier.

 ...Nine years ago, Mark Zander Productions dropped comedian Bob Hope onto a remote oil rig operated by animated Texaco workers.  More recently Zander cast an animated basset hound in a chorus line of live dancers stomping and kicking for Hush Puppies shoes, and in a spot for Shick Plus  razors, planted a fuzzy white cartoon beard on the face of a real-life man. (The sudden appearance of the animated facial hair terrifies a crowd.)

Then there's some pretty banal history which tries to elevate itself by calling Walt "Walter Elias Disney".

The resurgence in commercial animation has been stimulated by advances in technology and by the work of artist like Blechman, who formed The Ink Tank in 1978 after producing an animated TV special. The Ink Tank's next project is an allegorical film The Golden Ass, which tells the story of a young man who, having been magically transformed into a donkey, struggles to regain his human form. The story recalls Blechman's award-winning TV film, The Soldier's Tale, in which a peasant soldier trades his fiddle to the Devil in return for great wealth, and find happiness only when the trade is reversed.

With big dollar advertising, Blechman feels he has made a personal Mephistophelian swap. In the sixties, he refused to advertise cigarettes, promote Muzak, or sell illustrations to Playboy. "But between these black and white poles lay a vast gray (and green!) world of commissions, and I did not know how to chart my course," he writes in his book, Behind the Lines.

Blechman has since learned. The Ink Tank is accepting more project than ever before -45 so far in 1986 -and many, like the Serenity ad, are animation-live action mixes. "Advertising is dead if it doesn't attract attention," says Blechman. "Mixing live action and animation does just that."

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Step One (Sometimes): A Design Concept

These are some designs Liesje worked up for a potential project.

It's a bit too complicated (and unofficial) to go into, but I like the drawings.





And one without color.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Top Cel Vol 2, #10- 7/8/45: Cobean Cartoons, Credits


The cartoons on this page were drawn by Sam Cobean, former Disney-Universal-Screen Gems storyman now a T/4 in the US Army.  In addition to his work in The New Yorker, Sam's drawings are published by Mademoiselle, Colliers, Saturday Evening Post and assorted advertisements.  Cobean told us his cartoons are also appearing in an OWI exhibit in Paris and in the gent's rooms in a number of Third Ave. bars.


OUR UNION

With the vacation period so close, members should make arrangements for an early payment of dues and fines so that all money matters are settled by vacation time.  At Terrytoons some members are consistently in arrears.  Until now they have been notified to help avoid the $2.00 fine, but henceforth, no notice will be given, and the fine will be applied automatically as the Brotherhood constitution orders.

Letter from Wm. M. Weiss, Vice-President, Terrytoon, Inc.: 

Screen Cartoonists Local 1461
800 Riverside Dr., NY, NY

Attention of Mr. Pepe Ruiz, Business Agent.

Gentlemen:
In reply to your letter of recent date please be advised that we are willing to extend the present contract under the same terms and conditions for a year from the expiration date.  Please acknowledge receipt of this letter indicating your acceptance or rejection of this off.

Very truly yours,

Terrytoons Inc.,
(s) Wm. M. Weiss
Vice President
(Registered Mail Return Receipt Requested)

And our answer:

Terrytoons, Inc.
271 North Avenue
New Rochelle, NY

Attention of Mr. Wm. M. Weiss, Vice President

Gentlemen:

In view of the position expressed by the Terry Unit and the General Membership at the 11 June meeting in New Rochelle, the Executive Board last night has unanimously agree to accept only a contract similar to that originally proposed to you.  We would appreciate you setting an early date for a meeting with our Negotiating Committee and Attorney to discuss this matter in full.

In answer to your inquiry, the address to which all union mail should be addressed is 800 Riverside Drive, New York 32 NY.

Very truly yours,

Screen Cartoonists Local 1461
(s) Pepe Ruiz
Business Agent
War Labor Board approval on the Willard contract will be delayed a week or two because the request for proration of the vacation time on a one day per month basis has forced the Board to reconsider its policy on this point.  We may also get a maximum of four weeks severance pay on a one day basis.  Those clauses are a great improvement over other contracts in the industry and both may be approved.

At Famous the dispute case over our contract was certified to the Board on June 21.  The hearing will probably take place before the vacation period.

EDITORIAL

Being a union member entails certain responsibilities in return for the benefits that the union gives.  One of these responsibilities is the exercising of common sense when speaking to the employer on union matters.

The union does not take the position of discouraging chats with the employer.  There is a wide range of subjects that might be discussed in such conversations.  If the subject starts weering toward union matters, however, then it is sensible to realize that they can speak freely and then have their Agent or Lawyer carry their thoughts to the employer.  It is peculiar sensation to discover that you have said something at a meeting only to find that a thoughtless member has distorted or misinterpreted your thoughts and then has proceeded to discuss your opinions freely with the employer.

A union exists for the mutual benefit of all its members.  And even though it is sometimes slow in attaining its objectives, it nevertheless is in there trying.  It has to, because it is really made up of you, and you, and you.

So protect yourself and your fellow employees by not discussing union matters with the employer.

************

TRADE NEWS
(What-do-you-like-to-believe-division.)

"WLB order calling for wage boots of approximately $50,000.00 yearly is being appealed by Disney Prod. Company heads declared that lower-bracket worker were given substantial tilts by WLB.  Already had been handed increases amounting to 25.6%.  It also contented in appeal that board did not take into consideration evidence pertaining to financial condition of company, etc."  (From Daily Variety, June 6/45)

"Ninety-nine per cent of all possibilities in Latin America now play Walt Disney feature and short subjects, Leo Samuels, Disney's sales manager, said here yesterday following a two-and-a-half month trip.  Samuels  said that The Three Caballeros would gross $700,000 in Latin America and that business on the picture was hitting new marks.  In 10 weeks at the Alameda in Mexico City, the picture grossed more than Snow White, Pinocchio, Fantasia, and Saludos Amigos are being dubbed in French and Dumbo is being dubbed in Swedish.  More than 50 prints of Bambi are being readied for Russia"  (From Film Daily, June 7/45).

SCREEN CREDITS


A GI friend of ours asked us whether we could get him the credit list for those responsible for The Three Caballeros.  He mentioned how hard it was to find out, with the flash they pass in front of you, who animated or wrote the story of a cartoon.  Our answer was that in one reeler there was not much you could add.  However, his complaint was that even in full length cartoons our producers seem to be too conservative when the time came to give screen credit.

Actually, we don't know what can be done about it.  We are sure the Producers are conscious of the problem, but incidentally, why don't all cartoon producers give full credit to the different departments like Disney does?

The Three Caballeros screen credit

Prod. Supervision Director............................Norman Ferguson
Production Manager......................................Dan Keefe
Sequence Directors.......................................Clyde Geronimi, Jack Kinney, Bill Roberts

Story..............................................................Elmer Plummer, Ernest Terrazas, Homer Brightman
                                                                      Ted Sears, Roy Williams, Bill Peed, William Contrell
                                                                       Ralph Wright, Del Connell, James Bodrero

Musical Directors..........................................Charles Wolcott, Edward Plum, Paul J. Smith
Lyricist..........................................................Ray Gilbert

Art Supervisor...............................................Mary Blair, Ken Anderson, Robert Cormack

Process Effects..............................................Ub Iwerks

Film Editor....................................................Don Halliday
Sound............................................................C. O. Slyfeild

Life Action Sequences Photography.............R. Rennenhan
Art Director...................................................R. F. Irvine
Choreography................................................Billy Daniels, A. Oliveira, C. Maracci

Sorry W. S... we still can not tell you who did the layouts, animation, backgrounds, et cetera.

********************

SUPREME COURT ENDS 11-YEAR PERSECUTION

The eleven-year drive to "get" Harry Bridges West Coast labor leader and president of the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union, and send him back to where he came from (Australia), was stopped cold last week, at long last, by the US Supreme Court.

By a vote 5 to 3, the land's highest court said that Biddle (Francis Biddle, outgoing attorney general) had no leg to stand on in his tireless effort to deport the CIO leader.  The Supreme Court held that the trial of Bridges was unfair, that there was no evidence he was a Communist, or "affiliated" with the Communist Party.

Supporting this opinion, Justice Murphy wrote that seldom, if ever in the history of this country has there been "such a concentrated and relentless crusade to deport an individual because he dared to exercise the freedom that belongs to him as a human being and that is guaranteed to him by the Constitution."

THE ANIMATION DERBY

The exciting contest at Famous of "Animator, animator, who will be an animator?" is still racing ahead at full speed  with Bill Hudson and Woody Gelman being the last hopeful survivors.

Many months ago we reported in these columns that the columns that the company, wishing to be  strictly impartial, of course, decided to hold a contest to see which of its Assistants could be promoted to animation.  Your Executive Board and Business Agent believe the company was sincere and urged the fellows to try for the job.  Some did.

After the usual delays, the momentous decision was announced.  Lo and behold, a miraculous new invention was able to record a photo finish in animation.  Hudson and Gelman!!! After watching their work during the contest and for years before that, the company still could not tell which was ready to animate.

Hairbreath Hudson and Galloping Gelman rushed into a run-off. In all sincerity they finished another scene, waited patiently again.  They're still waiting.

One wonders why this contest was held in the first place.  If an animator was really needed why didn't the company select one right away instead of working along without a new one?  Surely the company knows which of its men, if any, can handle the job.  And if in their opinion none of them can, why not be honest about it instead of keeping false hopes alive?

*****************

LABOR NEWS

Studio office workers in Hollywood hit the jackpot for $860,000.  New wage agreement, inked by all but two major lots and calling for a 7% tilt in weekly salary minimums for 2,500 clerical workers, was approved by the War Labor Board.  It was retroactive to Jan 1, 1944.

Unions cannot get away with a constitution which restricts membership to whites and American Indians, according to the US Supreme Court in a decision affecting an AFL union in NY.  The case involved the AFL Railway Mail Association.  The New York branch decided to defy the international by writing into its local constitution that all in the trade were eligible for membership. The international appealed to the courts to stop the local on the ground that its own constitution limited membership to those "of the Caucasian race or a native American Indian."

The War Labor Board rules that employers may give workers all day Saturday or Sunday afternoon off between now and September 15 without making deductions from pay for time off.  The announcement said employers did not need Board permission to pay regular wages, without deductions, for the shortened work week.





FROM THE AIR CORP

"...I was interested in McDermott's description of the Marines on Okinawa.  That's called esprit de corps I guess, but I know exactly what he means.  I've felt it many times.  The days I didn't go out I used to watch the group forming... the sky filled with noise, the red flares as identification.  I could see all the guys I knew up there. The ones I like, the ones I didn't know and somehow they were all one.  I've seen them come back, tired, beat, somehow pulling the formation tight as they went over the field to peel off and land.  Nothing but pride could do it.  They wanted the outfit to look good, that's all.  "My head is bloody but unbowed."  Maybe it is baloney but you've goo to have something.  I've stood in the Briefing room waiting for interrogation, the shot of whiskey warm in my belly and listened in a kind of daze to the snatches of conversations, profane as any Mac ever heard... "I saw six chutes.... the bastard blew up.  No chance..."  "Yeah, he was a good sonofabitch," ..."No, no chance." "Hi ya, ya old Buzzard?  I thought I seen you blow up." ...I'd look around and see then all talking and hollering, still keyed up, dirty, unshaven, rings around their faces where the oxygen mask had been, pistols slungs carelessly -and I could almost hear the music -almost, but not quite!....."

**************

FLIPPINS

Dave Hilberman going to camera school in Long Island.  At a party given for him by the Massies there were, among others, Cl. Hartman, Bob Perry, Art Moore, Wilbur Streech, Bob Laffingwell, Sam Cobean, Lou Guarnier, John Barron, etc.

Evie Ireland was married at the Roger Smith Hotel in White Plains.

T/4 Robert Faro is now with a US Mission in Norway.

The Capt. Sidney Smiths (nee Bel Wienber) honeymoon in Atlantic City.

Ed and Happy Saylor wish to announce the arrival of Jean Catherine on 6/26, weight 8 lb.

Perry Rosove, a Cpl. and a gunner on a B-9 is in town on furlough.

Edith Vernick, now in civies, called in the Famousites.

Martha Cochrane formerly at Terry's now an inker at Disney's/

Cpl. Frank Spalding now in Paree.

Ex-Gems Sgt. Wendell Ehret's new comic book is in all book stores in New York.  It is highly recommended.

Lt. Phil de Lara and his bride Catherine Gleeson now in New York.

Ruth Linderman, Eleanor Erickson, Joan Bassi, Mary Ann Marvin seen marching with the Civil Air Patrol on Memorial Day.  They looked pretty nifty in uniform too.

"X" Atencio, a Captain, in France and just back from Germany, hopes to see us soon.

Seymour Slosberg transferred to Camp Elliot last week.

Pepe finally managed to get a ticket for California .  His beat up expression is due to the struggle put up by railroad officials.  He leaves July 21st.

Bev. Gauntlett Oregon bound -and home -come vacation time.

Don Figlozzi now on Animation.  Steve Gattoni new head of Breakdown and Inbetweening Dept. at Terry's.

Howard Baldwin on his way overseas.

Vonda Bronson soon becomes the bride of Al Wise of 20th Century Fox now in Anacostia.  Also from Anacostia we learn that George Rufle was married to Ruth Gorden with Capt. Fennell as best man.  Abner Keitel and George Geopper were ushers.

Lee Hooper enjoying Top Cel in Germany.

Woody Gelman and Larry Riley working in stories at Famous.

New additions to the Signal Corp Unit in NY.  Lt. Art Moore, Lt. Phil de Lara, and Capt. Bob Laffingwell.

Thanks to Hal GoddardMichael Tessa and  Concetto Auditore for sending their addresses.  Freddie Benz, office boy at Terry's left to work on a farm.

Some of the gals at Terry's have decided to try Latin dancing. Last week found Elsa Fumaro, Phyllis Shagrin, Irene Rowland, Connie Quirk, Jean Settino, Helen Bromback, and Eleanor Wrickson swinging it in the Rumba Room at Arthur Murrays.

Stan Green wounded in action.  His tank got a direct hit, killed seven men.  He suffered some burns, but is on his feet and well again.

************

MORE BLOOD FOR PACIFIC IS NEEDED

Though it is our solemn responsibility to keep blood donations flowing in a steady stream to our boys in the Pacific, donations here have fallen off sharply since the end of the war in Europe.

To help labor organize its share of New York's weekly quota of 8,000 pints of blood, the CIO War Chest has asked all local unions immediately to undertake the scheduling of regular group appointments.

The men wounded on the bitter fight on Okinawa need blood donations as badly as their buddies who fought in Europe.

**********************

HOLLYWOOD STRIKE (Cont.)

Here are a few lines from the official report of the National Labor Relations Board under the heading: "Background of the Dispute":

In the instant case, there is no showing that the employees failed scrupulously to observe all the terms of their contract so far as affiliation with another labor organization was concerned.  It was the Producers and not the Employees who failed to observe these provisions.  This failure persisted over a long period of time and in the face of repeated importunities by the employees.  It even persisted beyond and in spite of the recommendation of the War Labor Board arbitrator...

It was only after this lengthy process that the strike occurred which the Producers now claim breached the very same contract, which they themselves had refused to observe...

That the employees were willing to arbitrate and that the Producers were not is strongly indicated by the conduct of each with respect to War Labor Board Arbitrator Tongue.

The Set Decorators did not strike because the Producers refused to change provisions of a contract.  They struck because the Producers refused to act in conformity with a clear provision of the contract.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Reality Picture

This was originally delivered in a weird codec, that may explain why there was no audio.  I'm sure there's an aiff on a DVD somewhere.

Here is the visualization of the board we posted on Friday.

video

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Carol Channing: Larger Than Life, TriBeCa Premiere

We did seven little animated inserts after a Hirschfeld illustration for Carol Channing: Larger Than Life which premiered at the TriBeCa Film Festival yesterday.


Very often we'll screen lots of different cuts on these sorts of projects, sometimes sitting in the editing room to offer thoughts on the overall structure and content of the film.   By the time of the premiere, it might be possible to recite the film line for line.

In this case, we pretty much stuck to our sequence only screening a very early cut.  So it was like seeing the film for the first time.

Tyne Daly delivers a note from the star who couldn't make the screening.  Director Dori Berinstein to her right.

Turns out to be a terrific film.

Dori Berinstein, the director, and Adam Zuker, her editor and co-writer, present a loving and layered portrait of an iconic performer.

One moment is particular touching (amongst many touching moments): with her stage performances numbering into the high thousands, Carol Channing has the reputation of having never missed a single show.  She steps into correct that, she did miss a show -the second act at least -after contracting food poisoning and vomiting all over the stage.  Even while taking treatment for ovarian cancer she would fly to New York after her Saturday show for therapy only to return to the stage in whatever city the tour had landed for Monday.

What I find particularly touching is her dedication -not so much to "craft", although her love of performing is contagious -but to her fellow performers, and moreover her audience.   She says something to the effect, people save up a lot of money and more importantly go to a show to have an experience they'll remember forever.  They're doing all of that to see her and she refuses to let them down.

She shows a commitment which we all should make to our work.

Carol Channing: Larger Than Life has three more screenings this week. And will next show at Hot Docs in Toronto.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Now We're Getting Somewhere

After a few miserable experiments the first part of the first film of our sequence of signal films for Ottawa is coming together.


Using her day off from work to help out, Liesje Kraai, work up some animation which looks like this.

With some luck it'll all work out.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Storyboard Reality

This is a rough storyboard Brian did for a sequence in the PBS documentary series Make 'Em Laugh directed by Michael Kantor.

It parallels the opening sequence we made for the episode which illustrates classic situation comedy tropes.

By the end of the episode, reality shows are suggested to be a replacement to the sitcom -at least in terms of popularity.


We'd rather watch untalented people make fools of themselves than watch great comedians like Jackie Gleason.


This is also when I first heard of Teela Tequila.

So you can learn something new on every job.


We used a pretty stiff photo cut out style here.


We have limited material to use, basically a single photo for each character.



That meant the animation would need to behave like traditional under camera cut outs.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Process Puffery

PBS asked me write a brief on the creative process of the Jeff Bridges: The Dude Abides title design to attach to an awards submission.


They wanted it in first person singular, which I find a little difficult when talking about production.  They also needed it under 100 words.  This is my first draft, it's a little longer:



Early in the production of “Jeff Bridges: The Dude Abides” -even before the film had a title -director Gail Levin asked me to start thinking about design and graphics.

Design in a film like this should be unseen, the subject is the star and the graphics should reflect the character and not make too strong a statement on its own. I immediately gravitated towards Jeff's drawings. First attempts felt too practiced, too separate from the subject. This led to asking Jeff to paint on screen.

Again, the idea is for the craft to be invisible so the focus can be on Jeff and his creative process. I advised Gail on the best way to shoot -the materials, the colors, the lengths and angles of the shots and she gave Jeff the space to create his painting.

Having already anticipated that we would animate this finished art into the film title, not even knowing what he would come up with, when he produced a horse, we felt that this would make a great motif to carry throughout the picture -carrying his on screen roles from the rustic “Last Picture Show” through “True Grit”.

The title would link through music into open credit sequence. This presented a different set of obstacles. Beyond assigning production credits, we had to introduce the elements of Jeff the documentary would explore -actor, photographer, family man. Using the approach to his photography which we had already developed we used his pictures as graphic transitional elements amongst quick cuts of his acting roles and red carpet footage which served as a bed for a simple but soft type design.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Who The Heck Cares About Exposure?

A brief editorial.

I try not to editorialize too much.

We regularly get contacted by "filmmakers" looking to add animation or graphics to their piece.  It's understood that independent artists -those making short films especially -are fairly tight on cash.  Animation, though, is a time consuming process that involves expertise, capital, and years of training.  These things have monetary value.  That said, we've (almost) never turned away a project that was good for budgetary reasons.  As long as there's a budget to be discussed.

There are other forms of payment in addition to cash considerations -after all, there needs to be an exchange of considerations for any contract to be valid.   A primary additional consideration is credit.  Credit for the work, not your MasterCard (though I wouldn't turn that down).   The size and placement of the credit is a payment of sorts, about 1000 times less valuable than the lowest hourly rate but it's something.

"For your reel" is not a form of payment.   It's hardly worth addressing it's soooooooo not a form of payment.

The one thing which bugs me most, and we've been hearing this a lot is "exposure" in lieu of greenbacks as a form of payment.

The obvious problem with that, of course, is "what? huh?".   If someone can't even afford to pay the people on their film exactly what sort of "exposure" will it be getting?  Will it be good as the network television work that we do?  Or the feature films?  Or making something on our own dime and putting it online?  How, exactly, I am benefiting (i. e. getting paid) by this "exposure"?

Deeper than that, the promise of "exposure" shows a fundamental misunderstanding of animators in general (and hints, by extension, at a lack of understanding of the process).   The promise of "exposure" is attractive to Donald Trump types who love the sound of their own voice, even if they're parroting vapid lines.  The animator who seeks that sort of thing is very rare -that's why they gravitate towards the anonymity of the lightbox or desktop.


So, really, "exposure" is no form of payment at all and if that's what someone is offering their offer is, in fact, a net negative considering the greater "exposure" an artist would get if the committed the time to the creation of their own work instead of using it to make a gift for an aspirational entrepreneur.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Top Cel Vol 2, #09 06/15/45 - Photo Offset


With this issue "Top Cel" goes formal. There is nothing too good for our readers. Photo-offset reproduction... Pictures... and the usual typo-graphical errors.

We admit the effect is a bizarre one. Something resembling a bowery bum with a silk topper. But we love our little paper and our readers write that they do too.

Our thanks go to Jim Carmichael, Geo. Giroux and Morey Reden for their drawings on this page. And we take this occasion to ask for more cartoons. They don't have to be carefully rendered. They don't even have to be clean. Just make them plentiful and we'll do the rest.


OUR UNION

At our last General Membership meeting our yearly elections took place and the following members were elected:

President: Orestes Calpini
Vice President: Ralph Pearson
Treasurer: Dave Tendlar
Financial Secretary: Judith Weiner
Warden: Joe Deneroff
Conductor: John Gentilella
Trustees: Gordon Whittier, Katherine Chaille, and Gloria Feriola
Business Agent: Pepe Ruiz

Fletcher Smith Studio elected J. Tanaka and D. Oldbury as their Delegates to the Board.  Gene Sogioka as the Unit Chairman.  Willard Pictures Paul Bush and Peggy Adrian as their Delegates with Tommy Morrison as the Chairman.  At Famous Studios Gordon Whittier and Anton Loeb were elected Delegates with  Woody Gelman as Unit Chairman.  "Top Cel" congratulates all!

The Union conducted negotiations with Willard Pictures and as a result have signed another contract.  This contract has some features that are better than the Fletcher Smith's.  The company will give its employees one working day vacation with pay for each month of employment, each worker shall receive payment for all accumulated but unused vacation credit.

A week ago last Thursday the New Case Committee of the WLB accepted our contract dispute with Famous.  The only points in dispute are, 1) the duration of the contract (the Studio desires a two year contract), 2) the phraseology of the union shop clause, and 3) the so-called "most favored nation clause."  The Union desires to be able to accept a contract which pays less than Famous if the membership of Terry so desire.

The major point of disagreement, of course, is in salaries.  the Union is attempting to obtain $105 for animation with a range up to $150; $60.00 for assistants with a range up to $86; $37.50 for Inbetweeners with a wage range up to $55.00 (and the same for Inkers).  $35.00 for Painters with a wage range up to $50.00.  (The last three salaries were the one approved by the WLB in the Disney case).  Since the Famous attorney requested its client to withdraw its previous offers, the Union is not certain of what stand the company now intends to take.

At the June General Membership meeting our members demonstrated their understanding of the issues of the Decorators strike and their sympathy for the action that had to be taken, by voting overwhelmingly to accept and vigorously carry out the Painters request for a boycott of all motion picture houses until the dispute is settled.  Our members were only too happy have this opportunity to go on record in support of Herb Sorrell in his fight against Bioff unionism and Producer-Union coalition.

EDITORIAL

Despite the plans of educational and other non-theatrical groups of film people, the Army Pictorial  Service has been burning millions of best of film.  Much of this film would be of great interest in an educational light and the quality of many of the productions is of a much higher caliber than is possible of attainment by the average 16mm studio.

An action like this help bring to a head the moot question of whether much of the valuable property of the Government, for which taxpayers have been paying heavily, will be destroyed wantonly just because some people feel that business shouldn't have to compete with these mountains of unused materials.

Somehow it strikes us as a sad commentary on our powers of organization when we must destroy valuable materials to create phoney production schedules to replace these very same items.  If business lacks the inventiveness to create new fields, it seems that Government ought to take a bigger hand in seeing that employment and production are maintained without resorting to this phoney production.  If products exist and there is an abundance of labor, cutting down the hours of labor or creating new markets seems the more intelligent approach.

LETTER FROM A PILOT

"....The group has pulled a couple of mercy missions flying liberate allied PWs out of Germany.  The first group the boys hauled out were Frenchmen most of them prisoners for five years.

These lads here have seen their buddies blow up or burn without turning a hair, but the Frenchman trying to kiss their hands and crying with joy at the sight of Paris was too much for them.  The boys all came back without a cigarette, stick of gum, and without having eaten for 16 hours.

I asked them if they didn't get sandwiches. 'Oh yeah, but they weren't any good so I just gave them to the PWs.'  Such guys!  I happen to know you'll eat the luminous paint off the instrument board after 5 hours of formation much less 13 or 14 hours of that brain-binding-back-breaking stuff.

This is the nicest thing we've yet used our murderous skill for and somehow makes one feel that it is maybe worth it.

The 'hottest lick' was our radio operator holding an animated conversation when the only words Sgt. Jones knows in French are 'au revoir'.  Jones gave the Frenchman his cigarettes (he immediately gave all but one to his buddies) and a stick of gum.

The Frenchman, not to be outdone, tried to give the Radio gunner his wornout shoes -evidently his most precious possession and when Jones refused them, the Frenchman tried to kiss the Sgt. who was quite embarrassed.  They then lapsed into just sitting and smiling at each other and about every ten minutes they'd break into hilarious laughter.

Who can deny that T/Sgt. Fay F. Jones, Radio Gunner from a jerkwater town in Utah, speaks more fluent French than the diplomats at San Francisco?"


TRADE NEWS

"Reconversion period, to which the government and industrial planners have been alerted, find the picture industry in what is considered by trade analysts as the stronger financial position in its history.    But a possible reversal in the trend of ever-rising box office grosses and rentals, the cash position of majors, strengthened by boomtime earnings, will be further bolstered along with other industries by proposed government "relief" measures slated to become effective about January 1, 1946.  Excess profits taxes alone for the six majors during the war, including the first quarter of 1945, total more than $170,000,000.  Any reduction in excess profits taxes figures importantly in calculations for postwar film business profits." (Daily Variety May 31, 1945)

Walt Disney's Pinocchio may be revived by RKO Radio this Summer, it was reported.  Five test engagements are now being set up, and if the picture is successful in the test spots it will be released for general distribution.

Fred Quimby signed a new term pact with Metro to continue as cartoon producer and short subjects executive.  Quimby joined the Culver City lot shorts department in 1926 and later launched the cartoon studio.

Dave Fleisher was reported resting satisfactorily after an emergency appendectomy last week.

Hugh Harman Productions has filed suit for $1,073,900 damages against 20th Century Fox charging breach of contract with Harman to make 936 foot sequence, combining animated cartoons with live actors for "Billy Rose's Diamond Horseshow", for $100,000.

Morey and Sutherland Productions, Inc. is new company tag for Larry Morey and John Sutherland cartoon producing organization which releases through United Artists.

George Pal has suspended production on all entertainment films in order to concentrate on a heavy assignment of technical pictures for the war and navy departments.

FLIPPINGS

News from the Repair Base (San Diego) UnitJohn McGrew is about to be discharged soon,  Al Tarter is seeking a transfer to Vine Street. Jack Bruner is already there. Gene Hazelton was transferred to Hueneme last year.  John Law Walker will be released soon.  Jack Cosgriff was released last year.  Only Animation artists remaining there are Bob Matz (Schlesinger) and Bob Gunther (Disney).  John Karas (Disney) was sent to the Navy Hospital at Bethesda MD and Herb Kornfeld and Leo Salkin were sent to Pearl Harbor.

Patricia Stockford's engagement was announced May 27th at a tea.

Marcia Kaplan and Marie Scheiter donor at the blood bank last week.

Sgt. Glenn Couch announces happily the arrival of Andrea Adele on May 23rd.

John McLeish in Camp Roberts.  Dave Hilberman in Camp Crowder.  Dick Alexander in March Field.  Steve...  Urania Kikes' Marine Captain hit California last week at long last.

Bernice Bernstein left Famous.

Milton Wohl was married last week.

Lester Schudde is a proud papa again, to a 6 pound baby gal, May 25th.

Howard Baldwin was for a few hours in Hollywood and is back in Kansas about to leave for overseas.  Here's hoping Mr. McAvoy is feeling like himself again.

Walter Gleason visited Terry's while on furlough from the European theater of war.

Dick McDermott  has a whole page of drawings in "The Leatherneck", the Marine magazine.

Dick Kelsey is out of the Marine Corp.  Eric Cleworth and Al Hank are still in the Pacific.  George Baker and Sad Sack are gone to the Philippines.

Discharged Capt. Bill Williams is back in the States with six awards or citations, after 3 years in the Pacific.  At a party given him we saw Sam Cobean, Regie Massie, Wilbur Streech, C. L. Hartman, Nick Gibson, John Barlow, etc. 

Bob Janness became the the father of a baby girl.

The Famous Animators plan shindig.  Watch this space for date.  (Any help or advice on entertainment will be greatly appreciated)

Somebody screwed up and George Giroux got promoted to 1st Lieutenant.

Art Babbitt from the Pacific sends his regards to Tytla, Baker, Cobean, Massie, Roman, etc.

Dotty Kneitel and Ruth Forrest celebrated their birthday last month.

Lt. Freeman Silva still at Torney Hospital in Palm Springs.  Thanks for the card!

Ida Gottfurcht sporting her annual feathercut.

Katheryn Chaille and Ruth Lynch requesting a Withdrawal Card.

M. Gollub from San Diego, greets his friends.

Wendell Ehret's cartoon book was published by McBride Co. and release May 26th.

HOLLYWOOD STRIKE (cont.)

Herb Sorrell knew he was starting something when the Conference of Studio Unions decided to back the Decorators in their fight to democratically choose the bargaining agent they wanted to represent them.  The IA President and Producers coalition has used all the tricks in the book to win their point, such as firing workers, forcing IA members to become scabs, taking autocratic control of Local 44 (the Local being used as the excuse for the show down, etc.  It is unfortunate that for diversal reasons, those usually interested in democratic unionism in Hollywood decided to stay out of the fight.  But so far, that has not prevented Herb from achieving the complete success his cause deserves.

Showing that it remembers very well how much the Cartoonists owe to Herb Sorrell and the Painters, the Metro Unit in Hollywood made a partial repayment by contributing a check for $64 to the striking Decorators.  We are happy that the fellows on the West Coast haven't forgotten that without Herb's abundant donations of advice, work and money, the Metro Unit never would have been organized (and consequently the Guild)  and that without Herb and the Painters, the Disney strike never would have been won.  Although the amount is small in comparison to the hundreds of dollars the Painters and Herb personally gave us, it shows that we haven't forgotten our debt.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday Morning Pitch Trailer

A few years back we developed and produced a pilot for Cartoon Network.


The production was fairly compressed (after a long time waiting for lawyers). In some ways we made the mistake of not "pushing back" and insisting on a proper schedule and development period. It's always a difficult balance.

video

We re-cut the pilot -which was just supposed to be "animatic" into more of a trailer.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

You Can Have Your Cake

and eat at your own risk.

Cars!

Dora Explorer.  Tough night.

Batman, crushing crime.

Everybody's pal, Mickey the Mouse

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Unknown Freddie

Someone was kind enough to send me this photo of their painting sometime before July 2009.  I have no record of who or why, I just stumbled across it on a hard drive this week.


It's a Fred Mogubgub painting.  Probably from 1983 or 84.  No title is visible.

The photo isn't the best quality, but you can make out some interesting things on the canvas.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Stepford Cards

In the drawer next to the Japanese Bambi cards are two decks of cards from the wrap party of The Stepford Wives post production.

The faces are standard, but the backs are special order.


They're a nice little keepsake from a fun project.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The World of Animation

Making room on the ol' bookshelves for some recent arrivals caused me to pull this down.






The World of Animation was published by Kodak in 1979.  Written by Raul da Silva with lots of illustration from Ray da Silva including this cover...

...it's one of those step-by-step beginners guides to animation which currently glut the bookstores.




Maybe time has treats these books well.  Maybe a more educated audience makes these guides from decade past interesting today.

This copy was once in the library of The Richard Williams' Studio.

 
It contains a couple nice photos of a 1977 laptop computer.

CAESAR: I came, I saw, I generated 12 frames of backlit green lines in three weeks.

What caught my eye were these model sheets from Gulliver's Travels


I can only make out the signatures "OKing" the sheet from Seymour Kneitel and Frank Kelling. There are a few others but they're too faint in the reproduction.


I'm guessing these are from 1939 and the artist who dated #2 here was still a little hung over from the New Year's celebration.  The film was released in December of that year and was made with breakneck speed.  The Miami studio opened in the Fall of 1938 and the entire picture was produced there.

I love the action punching drawing in the center of model #2.


We're then shown a clean up guide model sheet from The Thief and The Cobbler.  Looks like drawings from a scene photostatted onto one sheet to make the model page.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Further Testing

Starting to get somewhere with the first of (probably) eight Ottawa Signal films.


Did an animation test based on a painted model.

video

This (above) is basically one part of a motion/production experiment.  It would represent one "layer" of activity.

video

Something like the first will probably integrate with something like the second.  With a little effort it should work.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Top Cel Vol 2, #8 5/25/1945 - Sharing With The West Coast


OUR UNION

At the special General Membership meeting held at New Rochelle, the proposed Terry contract was approved and already has been sent to the company for study. Also, the rest of the nominees were elected in preparation for our elections next month. Running for the different offices are:

President: O. Calpini, L. Silverman

Vice President: R. Pearson, N. Tafuri, R. Little

Treasurer: D. Tendlar, M. Gushe

Financial Sec: P. Shagrin, S. Knoring, V. Szigeti

Recording Sec.: K. Weiner, R. Gorman, D. Nickerbocker

Warden: J. Deneroff, A. Creasso

Conductor: J. Gentilella, R. Sancier

Trustees, Famous: G. Whittier, L. Zukor
Trustees, Smith: L. LeFleur, K. Chaille
Trustees, Terry: G. Feriola, N. Gushe

Business Agent: P. Ruiz

Delegates to the Board
Famous: G. Whittier, B. Henning, P. Carbone, A. Loeb
Terry: F. Crampton, T. Collier, M. Bishop, P. Adrian
Smith: D. Dougherty

Unit Chairmen
Smith: Gene Sogioka, K. Chaille, D. Oldbury
Terry: T. Morrison
Famous: G. Place, N. Tafuri, W. Gelman

The elections will take place Monday, June 11th at New Rochelle, with the balloting being done at the different studios. The stewards will pass the ballots around, and the same will be brought to the meeting for the counting.

When the WLB didn't approve the raises requested for C. Vinci and T. Creazzo of Terry, the company, for diverse reasons didn't want to appeal the case.  However, we felt it was worthy, especially since the original petition was written by the company, and not by the Union.  The Board justified the organization for its zeal by reversing itself and granting the raise for Vinci and Creazzo.

FAMOUS has announced officially that the studio will be closed for two weeks starting July 23, to give two weeks vacation with pay to those working in the company for more than one year, and one week with pay and one without, to those working over six months but not one year.

The same situation will prevail at Terry with the vacations starting the July 9th week and everyone returning the 23rd when Famous goes out.

To our request for even closer ties with the Hollywood Local we have received a very enthusiastic letter agreeing on the following points:

Establishing a uniform set of initiation fees to work in both Locals.

The Local is sending us enough copies of their paper "The Animator" to be distributed here and mailed to our members in the services, and at the same time we will send them copies of "Top Cel" for the same purpose.

To keep each other informed of all the principal steps taken, the Guild will send a copy of the Executive Board recommendations to the General Membership.  We shall do likewise.

Feeling that seniority should be on an industry wide basis, we are going to work together to establish it.

As up to now the Local has not taken any step establishing the minimum rates we have here for free lance animation, nor have they been able to do anything on the Comic book work we wrote them about.  We hope to be able to get together on that matter soon too.

At the last Executive Board meeting it was found out that the following members were subject to fines for not attending one out three meetings: O. Buchheister, M. Cole, P. Caldera, P. de Angel.

E. Erickson, V. Feurman, G. Green, E. Klien, O. Messmer, EM Regal, C. Renza, I. Rowland, J. Tanaka, W. Turner, D. Ungar.  Of those members only four excuses were presented.  The others are being informed that before paying their June dues they have to pay the equivalent of their dues as a fine for non-attendance.  The Executive Board interpreted the ruling by the General Membership on fines as follows: "Accepted excuses for non-attendance excuses the fine only, but necessitates attendance at the consecutive meeting."

"Form 10" has been sent to the WLB requesting increases of salaries for LaFleur, Oldbury and Dougherty at Fletcher Smith Studio.  The raises are retroactive to May 2.

The Executive Board decided to help the 7th Bond Drive by investing in six $100 War Bonds.

FOR SERVICE MEN

On request of the Navy Dept. the Postmaster General, on May 14th banned the mailing of individual copies of newspapers and magazines addressed to Navy, Marine and Coast Guard personnel overseas, except on written request of the addressees for subscriptions or renewals.  (The Army has a similar rule) Relatives and friends may pay for subscriptions and renewals, if the written requests have been made.  Unexpired subscriptions will be accepted.

Requirements for assignment to Marine Officer Candidates' training have been revised recently by Letter of Instruction #969.   This letter states that any enlisted man who has served or is serving overseas during this war, and who is considered to be of officer caliber, is eligible for a temporary commission as a second lieutenant.  No definite requirements concerning educational standards or age limits are made for application under this policy, but the physical standards specified under earlier provisions are still maintained.  Three hundred of these officer candidates per month are to be selected and returned from units of the FMF, Pacific for officer training, and the first group of these candidates will begin training shortly after July 1, 1945.  Enlisted men in the US who have not served overseas, but who have had two years of college education, remain eligible under the provisions of Letter of Instruction #878.

The War Man Power Commission was worried about the number of veterans unemployed in this area, in spite of the fact that certain industries were asking for skilled help.  Upon investigation, three reasons for that situation were found:

1) Veterans hearing fantastic stories about workers salaries refuse to work for the prevailing wages.

2) The men want to continue working at trades they've learned in the services, but most of these industries (radar, radio etc.)

3) Returning servicemen do want to work near home, instead of traveling to other parts of the country where there are more opportunities.

To meet all this, much is being done by the War Manpower Commission.  In this district since January, 74,700 veterans have registered with the WMC and employment was found for 48,600.  In the last month, however, 12,734 veterans applied and 5,841 were placed.  That is an increase to more than one-half who were not placed or did not accept the position offered.

All Army enlisted men and WACs 40 years of age and over now are eligible for discharge upon their own application in a new War Dept. ruling.  This was the second age-limit cut down made by the Army in the last five weeks.  On April 17th the War Dept. announced that all men 42  years of age and over could apply for discharges.

TRADE NEWS

On the eve of presenting to the War Labor Board our dispute with Famous Studios over our proposed contract, the National Board in Washington approved wage increases averaging nearly $50,000 annually for employees of the Disney studio.  Under agreement, weekly minimum for inkers and painters will be tilted $5 with the same boost applying to all apprentices.  That is, $35 for painters and $37.50 for inkers.  Inbetweeners will receive a raise of $2.50, bringing their salary to $37.50, as will assistant supervisors in the inbetweeners and painters departments.  Checkers also are given a $2.50 weekly hike, while those doing comic strips will be boosted $10 weekly.  Rate for class one in the comic strip department jump from $95 to $105, that of class two from $75 to $95 and class three from $65 to $75.

Exhibitor demand for shorter features, running 35 to 45 minutes, is forseen as a result of war-developed popularity of short subjects and newsreels.  Oscar Morgan general sales manager for Paramount shorts, admits he's carrying the torch for shorts by reason of his

job, but says that facts speak for themselves.  "War shorts have increases business for other shorts" he said. "Exhibitors have become more short subject-conscious than ever before.  The excellent Army and Navy shorts and documentaries put out have created a public demand.  Added to this is the fine job the newsreels have done in reporting the war.  The result is that exhibitors are trying to find ways to fit more shorts and newsreels into their programs, sandwiching them in with the double bill.  And they're going to be looking for shorter features for part of the double-bill program.  There's doing to be a big market for features of 45 or even only 35 minutes' running time."

"What paper do you read?  Effects of the raw film shortage in limiting the product of major studios was indicated last week i an announcement by Metro that short subject production is being curtailed.

Despite reports of a shortage of Technicolor prints, Ted Eshbaugh announced the delivery of 125 prints of his first short subject cartoon for Film Classics, "Capt. Cub Blasts the Japs."

Short subjects, passed up because of a lack of screen time, are now being sought by Chicago theaters to eke out bills when prints of second features are not available, a leading exchange manager reported.  Formerly bills were too long to permit shorts showing but now some unusual shorts are even getting second dates on bills.

LABOR NEWS

A sinister combination of food processors and the automobile industry was moving last week in an effort to smash the NLB' effectiveness, and deprive workers of their legal rights to union organization.  Labor sounded warnings against the move which had so far succeeded in inducing a House Appropriations subcommittee to cut $500,000 off the NLRB appropriate and reinstate the infamous "Frey rider", protecting company unions.  The fund slash alone would destroy the Board's effectiveness by cutting the staff by 22%.

Cecil B. DeMille and his friends in the California Assembly took a decisive licking on VE Day, and also when the legislators voted down a Republican-sponsored bill to outlaw collection of assessment for political actions.

After an angry session the bill was tabled with 50 votes for the action and 27 against (of which 24 were Republicans).

The AFL executive council unanimously approved the new labor-management charter on May 4th, while the board of directors of the US Chamber of Commerce was taking similar action.  Previously, the CIO executive board had endorsed the code of industrial peace.

Leaders of the World Labor Congress meeting in Oakland, CA this past fortnight have drawn up the charter of the new World Federation of Trade Union (WFTU) which will be submitted next September in Paris to the delegates representing 60 million organized workers of 35 nations.  This development was followed by the announcement, a day later, that the old International Federation of Trade Union (which had persisted in excluding the CIO, the Soviet trade unions and the Latin American labor movement) would be dissolved immediately after formation of the new FWTU.

FLIPPINGS

We read in the first page of the Daily Variety: "Lt. George R. Giroux, Jr. former cartoonist on Columbia's Screen Gems staff, has been awarded the air medal for "meritorious achievement while participating in heavy bombardment missions in the air offensive against the enemy over continental Europe".

Lou Abbot's wife had a baby.

Evie Ireland leaves Terry's Friday May 25th to be married.  The best of everything, Evie!

Talk about Sinatra......the wolf dept at Terry' 13th floor is HOWLING success under the able management of Tony Patafio. Kathleen Coyle writes thanking us for "Top Cel".

While on furlough PFC. Rocky Elettp visited Terry's.

Mary Mathewson recently had a boy.  Congratulations, Mary!

Julius Engel and George Barrows, Jr. of the Culver City Unit, having an exhibit of abstract art on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood.

Jean Maier recently had a letter published in Time Magazine.

Mr. Terry's brother is a new and active member of the staff.  Steve Gattoni won $10.40 in the baseball pool at Terrytoons.  Other winners have been Mannie Davis and Carlo Vinci.


TO THOSE WHO RECEIVE "TOP CEL" BY MAIL:

It is our purpose to give our member and friends as much information about our industry and the labor
movement as is possible.  Now we are reaching even a larger audience thru an agreement with Local 852 on the Coast by which we will sent "Top Cel" to them to be distributed to all their members and they will send "The Animator" to us for our members.

In carrying out this project, members overseas will now get both papers directly from us, and Local 852's overseas members will recieve "Top Cel" directly from us, speeding that way the paper to them.  In doing this we would like you cooperation to this extend:

Will you please correct the address on the enclosed card and mail it back whether or not there is a change?  You letters tell us how much you like our publications, so please help us out in straightening out our files.