Viewing entries tagged
film

Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs - THE SERIES!

Cloudy with a chance of meatballs was a great film. Back in 2010 when it first hit cinemas, I remember being very indecisive about buying a cinema ticket, because it sounded ‘weird’ and out of the ordinary, so it's quite interesting to see that it is now being turned into a series because of its IP being a safer bet for investors than something new and out of the ordinary.

Image: Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs - Sony Pictures Animation

Image: Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs - Sony Pictures Animation

 

The film was great because its story was well structured with a proper through-line, it had really interesting characters that were wacky and eccentric, but also three-dimensional with empathic problems and obstacles.

Image: Logo - Sony Pictures Animation

Image: Logo - Sony Pictures Animation

 

The computer animation done at Sony Pictures Animation was also very well executed. Until that point, nobody was producing such exaggerated cartoony animation in computer animation. In fact, I would go as far as to say that nothing had been that well executed since Tex Avery was still in the business.

 

image: Cloudy with a chance of Meathballs - Cartoon Brew

image: Cloudy with a chance of Meathballs - Cartoon Brew

The film brought in $243 million in cinemas and a sequel was equally as successful. So it's no surprise to see Cartoon Network outputting a series. The series has been produced by Sony Pictures Animation, DHX Media and Corus Entertainment and they have used 2D digital animation techniques. With 52 episodes to complete, each at 22 minutes, you can understand the studio's producers decision to move away from the 3D production process of the film. For one, it would have been incredibly difficult to match the high standards of the feature film, which is naturally what people would have been comparing it with. The animation talent required may well not have been available (or affordable) and the technical wizardry behind the rigs and renders needed to support such wacky animation would probably have been out of the question too. It would have all come down to scale.

 

Whilst Digital 2D animation is not a lesser art form than 3D, it doesn’t require so much upkeep or front end time. There are also a lot more 2D animators available to work on shows like this, the process is not as convoluted as its 3D cousin and the software used is often quick and easy to pick up (if you already have the animation chops!).

 

Image: Beauty and the Beast

Image: Beauty and the Beast

Image: The Land Before Time

Image: The Land Before Time

It's sometimes annoying to see reboots and spin-offs of already existing IP, but there is a good reason for it. People find it easier to invest their time in entertainment when it is something they are familiar with and know they already like (why we have transformers 4, Jurassic Park 5 and The Land Before Time 20 or something.). Children are even worse. They get addicted to single films for months, they get obsessed with characters for years and most importantly they decide which toys, jumpers and bedspreads get bought from shops. This ultimately means that a child who loves the Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs films will be choosing to watch the show when it comes to Cartoon Network in March and all the interest and fanaticism that the films have earned over the years can be further exploited by all of their interdependent stands.

 

Investors will feel their money is safe and their chances of ROI is much higher than a brand new endeavour ever could be. Some consolation for this fact of life, however, is to remember that our industry is greatly stimulated by these safer ventures. Artists continue to be employed and new ideas stand more chance of seeing the light of day in an industry held up by tent-pole series like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

 

To find out more about the Cloudy with a chance of meatballs cartoon series, click here: http://www.cartoonbrew.com/tv/first-look-cartoon-networks-2d-cloudy-chance-meatballs-series-145968.html

Staffordshire Digital

Image: Deviant Art by  Sintonio

Image: Deviant Art by Sintonio

I’ve got a reputation in the office for being an 'old man' despite only being a little under 30! This came about when I started declining invitations to go to late night cinema showings and the pub because I needed to be in bed for 21:30 ready for an early morning start. I don’t mind my OAP reputation (even if it is very clearly false), but what I do mind is Stoke’s ‘Has-been’ reputation (which is also very clearly false)!

 

Image: http://www.express.co.uk/

Image: http://www.express.co.uk/

For those didn’t know: Once upon a time Stoke was a very creative capital of the UK, shipping hundreds of thousands of highly artistic ceramic products across the world and thus we were known as ‘The Potters’. Then our pottery industry bubble burst and the factories relocated abroad, leaving Stoke’s economy, culture and spirit to slowly decay and fall into ruin.

 

Well I have been delighted to find that as a region we are starting to write one of Stokes next chapters; as a part of Staffordshire's overall digital presence. Staffordshire already has a great number of ‘Digital Businesses’ who are healthy and actively operating across the west midlands. We’re building websites, making videos, programing apps, selling computers and of course creating animation, but we are doing so, very separately.

 

Image: British Flags

Image: British Flags

An idea I found interesting from a meeting had last week, was one of uniting the whole area under a single umbrella brand: Staffordshire Digital. Of course the idyllic picture would be that people across the UK will think of Staffordshire as being on the forefront of digital services and innovations and although I like the idea, I don’t think it is something we as a town or region can just choose to label ourselves with. It is, however, something that we will become known for, something we’ll earn in time. To become known for something, we must first be noticed, we must stick some seriously noteworthy flags into the ground and sing from the rooftops about them. Flags like the feature films and television work Carse and Waterman are doing right now in federation house. Flags like the scientific innovations Keele university are achieving and flags like the ambitious City of Culture title which Stoke city council are boldly marching for. If we keep doing these things, keep bringing new exciting projects to the area it won't be long before the rest of the UK start to notice us again.

Image: Stoke-on-Trent city of culture banner

Image: Stoke-on-Trent city of culture banner

We’ll never get to choose what we’re known for, that's up to the rest of the country, but we can work hard in getting noticed as a town and as a region. This OAP is working on some noteworthy flags of his own, here at C&W and hopefully in time (and with effort), the rest of the UK will actually brand us as 'Staffordshire Digital'.

 

Thoughts by

Gary

Creativity!

The reason we are the most successful species on the planet is down to our ability to join things together and get creative. Creativity is a massive topic with loads of angles and areas I could dig into, so I will cover only my basic thoughts here today!

Credit:   Archive Films

Credit: Archive Films

Let's talk about what creativity is, how to nurture it, how to kill it, how to allow it to take place at all and how to let it help you in any area you’re in.

To Paraphrase James Dyson, creativity is a new ‘thing’ that is formed by connecting two currently existing other things together. It’s saying things like, "let’s take animated Penguins and cross them with that paratrooper scene from Godzilla" (which is how we came up with out Christmas animation in 2016!). It can also be, "let's take that woodchip suction cyclone machine and cross it with a domestic vacuum cleaner to get a bag-less vacuum” (Dyson's billion dollar idea). Or it can be as simple as saying, "hey, rather than having a picnic before climbing the mountain, let's take the food up the mountain and have a cool hilltop picnic, instead!".

Loui the Penguin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V36rgew1hmM

Loui the Penguin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V36rgew1hmM

The important thing to note is that creativity doesn't have to involve a trumpet or a paint brush or anything we typically associate creativity with. It can be applied anywhere in life.

Creativity is not a skill or a talent, it's a way of thinking and we all have it. All it requires is an open mind that is willing to connect things together freely, without dismissal or fear of judgment. It requires you to have confidence in your own judgement and accept that your way is as individual and bold, not better or worse than any other human being, past, present or future. Dickens, Dawin, and Einstein were all ordinary men once, until they connected the dots together and had the courage to show the world.

What counts when being creative is feeling pumped by the idea that has just come to mind. When you feel excited and stoked up it's important to act immediately (which should happen anyway if you like the idea enough!). We all have great ideas, I would almost say they are common. The thing that separates the good from the great, is the will to act and implement your idea. It takes a degree of faith and the tenacity to say "this could be great and I am proud to say it out loud" and to start to gather together support. Which brings us to our next point, how others respond to it.

A lot of people keep ideas close to their chest because they are afraid others won’t like them. The truth is, you really don’t need everyone to love your idea, you just need enough people onboard to help you make it a reality. The world is full of subjectivity and diversity, and a lot of people won’t like your idea, but a lot of people will love it too. This is why it’s important to be true to your own vision, don’t dilute your colours to try and broaden your approval with others, this simply leaves you in an average Grey place. Let ‘Blue’ be ‘Brilliant-Blue’! And all those that love ‘Blue’ will flock around you and those that prefer ‘Red’ can look elsewhere.

Bounce the ideas around with someone you know will 'get it'. It’s really important to do this, because by not sharing it, you miss out on all the things you simply wouldn't think of yourself. Inspire others, let them react to your idea, then they will inspire you and enable you to react to their thoughts.


It's important to note that creativity is not a final idea that forms in your mind and simply needs to manifest itself into reality. Creativity is the first mark in the sand, that leads to a moat surrounding a castle with a flag. Your first idea is the first stage of the evolution that leads to your masterpiece. You and your like minded team build upon the inspiring idea until it reaches its potential. Notice I didn't say final form. There is no final form, you can always make changes to something to the point where it turns into a completely new thing, which is why it's important to line things off with a schedule and deadline. If you don't schedule a project, you won't finish it, because you will never stop making improvements. Fact: passion is not infinite. You will get tired, your attention will go elsewhere and your project will come to a holt. So schedule it and get it done before you get swept up by your next great idea.

 

Thoughts by

 

Gary