Sunday, March 22, 2009


Like most kids, I loved animation. And I was even more fascinated by the process by which it was created, in awe of people who could sit still long enough to generate the thousands of individual drawings necessary for a single seven minute Bugs Bunny cartoon.

I drew pictures and watched cartoons all the time and dreamed of someday making my own comic books and animated movie characters.

Although I didn't have access to art schools or even textbooks on the craft, I had television. And somewhere in almost every episode of "The Woody Woodpecker Show", Woody's creator, Walter Lantz, would appear on screen to explain one step or another of the animation process.

Lantz had begun his Hollywood career writing gags for silent Mac Sennett comedies and won his first animated character, "Oswald the Rabbit", in a poker game. Eventually, he parlayed Oswald, Andy Panda, Woody and other of his creations into what became the animation division of Universal and later his own studio.

Learning from Lantz's humorous, easy to follow lessons, I was soon creating flip books and fannable pages that allowed my sketched dogs and horses to run and jump -- and get me in serious trouble when I inked their images on the corners of thick school textbooks that offered the opportunity for much longer "flip" adventures.

Nine years old and my love of Art already had me in conflict with Authority.

I gave up on my animation career a couple of years later. My spirit had been broken by too many "textbook graffiti" detentions, by Walt Disney returning my portfolio with a letter instructing me to get back to him AFTER I'd graduated from high school and -- this drawing thousands of almost identical pictures thing was hard.

But I never lost my respect for those who work as tirelessly as animators do to enlighten and entertain us. And whenever my own film and television creations start feeling like they're too much trouble; I always remind myself that I could be going through the agony of drawing each and every frame.

And so, at the end of a week where the Media bastards seem to still keep winning, where supremely bad television wins rave reviews and where dedicated TV people lose their jobs while their incompetent superiors are cushioned from the blows, I found a little piece of film that made me feel better.

This is animation taken to a whole new level. The planning had to have been massive and the execution beyond maddening. But the result is sublime.

So. Keep working hard. Stop being one of the Sheep. And Enjoy your Sunday.


DMc said...

Oh My GOD.

Thank you for that.

Brandon Laraby said...

Holeee shit.

That was amazing!

Thanks Jim!!

(Now THAT is how you do a viral video!)

Elize Morgan said...

...That was beautiful.

I think that they might a bit of time on their hands. Mayhap.

But, my gods. They made sheep-pong. That is so beyond wicked.

deborah Nathan said...

Jim, do you remember the days of writing for fun? That's the feeling I get from that clip. Perhaps we can capture that feeling again.