Monday, 28 February 2011

Oscar Winners!

I didn't watch the Oscars last night - as I was fast asleep in Britain - but I'm delighted to hear that The King's Speech won four Oscars, including Best Picture. It won Best Actor for Colin Firth, Best Director and Best Writing. It tied against another film that I've seen called Inception.

For some animation fans, it may be disappointing for them that The Illusionist didn't win while Toy Story 3 was the Best Animated Feature winner. Although, sadly I haven't watched an animated film in the cinemas this year that were nominated - so how will I judge?

Well, now that The King's Speech won - it looks like I won that bet - and people owe me.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Fantasia Mosaic (XVI)

The orchestra, Leopold Stokowski and Deems Taylor are still having their 15 minute intermission - and some of the orchestra are tuning up their instruments to get prepared for the second half of the show. In fact, some of the band players on the Philadelphia Orchestra are having a bit of fun by "jamming" with their instruments. The double-bass player has some fun swinging.

I have to say that the Intermission sequence is one of my favourite parts in the Fantasia film. I like seeing the orchestra having fun during their break after the exhausting Rite of Spring piece. I like hearing what the orchestra get to do - and their own talent.

Deems Taylor seems to be get from his break (I wonder if he had coffee as his break). This time, Deems shows the audience a piece that's very important in the film and says that "he's very shy and very retiring". That "he" is what we call - the soundtrack. The soundtrack sequence is one of my favourite scenes in the picture and it's absolutely marvelous. It was animated by four effects animators: Josh Meador, George Rowley, Art Palmer and Harry Hamsel.

Each effects animators handle the types of instruments. Harry Hamsel animates the first instrument in the String  family, and that's the harp. I really like Hamsel's harp. They really come to life, and I love the wavelengths that he gives on it. They really makes them full of life, and it reminds me of what Ward Kimball could've directed. Harry Hamsel is another unknown effects animator who worked for Disney in the Golden years.

Art Palmer is the first effects animator in the Soundtrack alumni that produces a sound (although not a sound that makes musical notes). Shot 48 with the soundtrack blowing a raspberry with 12 frames is an amusing shot. The effects are funny and it's got quick timing and pacing. Art Palmer animates the string instrument which is the violin - and here his timing is good and Art Palmer animates it well. Although I just like his shot of the woodwind instrument which is the flute - the animation is just beautiful. The rhythm of the flute just remind me of the sound of Peter Pan's pipes (and the fact that flute and pipes come from the same Music category - the woodwinds).

George Rowley gives his animation of the trumpet much rough and solid than Art Palmer's work - and the music is rather much louder and rougher than Art Palmer's or Harry Hamsel's work. Although it's still good - and I like the fact that the backgrounds changes colours each time. George Rowley also handles the bassoon soundtrack - and I have to admit I always find the very low notes quite disturbing in a way that I won't go any further.

Josh Meador handles the Soundtrack in the scenes when it peeks into the screen and moves away from the camera at the end. In between when the music stops playing and Deems starts his music introduction - Meador handles the Soundtrack when it's not making any sounds - although I wonder if he still had to animate a lot of it. But, Josh Meador does handle an rhythm to a percussion instrument which is the bass drum - and this is my favourite rhythm of the soundtrack. I like the bass drum a lot - and there's one word I'll describe the animation - cool. The shapes of the animation is brilliant and it's got brilliant timing - and I love the sound of the symbols clashing. I love the sound of the "ting" of the drum at the end and then the soundtrack ends.

Although - we do know that the sequence was directed by Sam Armstrong who directed the live action sequences here - and for a while it has been said that Dave Hand or Ben Sharpsteen directed the soundtrack - but since the draft is helpful, now we know the full answer. This is another reason why I like Sam Armstrong's work a lot - he really is a genius.

I assume that the Soundtrack would've been a difficult assignment in terms of timing because the effects animators would have to animate the shots correctly and make sure that it paces along with the music. It can't be mistaken - it had to be perfect. Although, not every single frame of the soundtrack is perfect - sometimes after the notes are finished - the soundtrack disappears and then a second later it comes back on.

What I really do like about this draft - is that the secretary (Worth/Brown) have divided the soundtrack scenes into with smaller footage - because we see this as one very long shot and I've just calculated it's total footage. Overall, the long continuous scene of the Soundtrack lasts a total of 256 feet and 2 frames, and it lasts for 2 minutes and 50 seconds, which is nearly three minutes. It's longer than the last shot of the Ave Maria segment - but at least it's chopped into smaller ones so that we know who did what.

That's my talk down - and next up: Beethoven.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Fantasia Mosaic (XV)

"And now we'll have a 15-minute intermission," says Deems Taylor. The orchestra walk out to take their break and then the curtains close. I'll post the next intermission sequence where we meet the Soundtrack done my effects animators tomorrow. The fun will come tomorrow.

Stay tuned.

My Day at the Titanic Exhibition

Hey folks,

If you visit my blog daily and you noticed that I wasn't doing any posting today - well, I have my excuse to be not blogging for the day. Two days ago, I was on my trip to London and I heard about a Titanic Exhibition that was going at the London o2 (formerly the Millennium Dome). I was really intrigued about it and then my dad booked tickets for us to go in February.

From the moment I went into the London o2 - I was amazed, I've never been there before and I thought that it was SO COOL. Inside the o2 it was like paradise - it's basically like a town indoors. They had so many brilliant exhibitions going on and there were shops, restaurants going on there - and it was lovely. They even had palm trees there - and the o2 reminded me of a city or a town except nobody lives there.

We saw our exhibition and we weren't booked until 1.30pm so we waited for a while. As soon as the time came, I was really amazed with what we got. While we entered, we were given passenger cards and it told you what your passenger name, age, cabin, class you were - and after the exhibition you would look at the names of the list and find you was dead or alive. It turned out my card passenger was named Jacques Futrelle who was actually a well-known author and he perished in the sinking. Here is what the card looked like:

This is what the card looked like - although, this is NOT my card. This is my dad's card. He got a male lucky 1st class passenger named Samuel L. Goldberg who survived the sinking.

The exhibition was amazing, we were walking past and there were some 3rd class and 1st class rooms that had been redesigned and built for the exhibition to show the public on what they looked like. Some of the actual artefacts that were with Titanic under the water for so many years and finally discovered some years ago were brought here. Although the lost items weren't named by who it belonged to.

While at the Titanic Exhibition, we even felt an iceberg and the temperature water dropped and it showed us how cold the Northern Atlantic water really was. I tried to take a competition on how long can my hand last on the ice and it only lasted a mere 10/15 seconds. It was freezing. Although, mind you the passengers on the Titanic didn't die from drowning but they mainly died because of hypothermia because of being in the freezing water for too long.

While at the orchestra, I noticed one of the band orchestra who played music during the sinking to lighten up the panicking passenger's spirits - named Wallace Hartley. No, he isn't my relative - but he was an important figure on the Titanic sinking. A lot of people claimed that Hartley and his band orchestra's last song they played during the sinking Nearer My God, To Thee.

However, I did find one of my mum's relatives name - and that was my great, great uncle's name. Although, his name was Mr. Edward Joseph McGarvey and he was actually a worker on the Titanic - he worked as a fireman / stoker - and his duty was to get a shovelful of coal and put them in the Titanic's boiler. Sadly, McGarvey was one of the many 1'500 people who died in the sinking.

It was a great exhibition by the way, and I really enjoyed myself. Afterwards, I went to the gift shop, and I noticed a book called The Story of the TITANIC as told by its survivors. The book was written by the survivors of Lawrence Beesley (a survivor who wrote the book The Loss of the S.S. Titanic in a mere nine weeks after the sinking, and his book is in there), and there's Col. Archibald Gracie who wrote The Truth About the Titanic and it was published in 1913 shortly after his death. And there's stories written my Second Officer Charles Lightoller and the ship's distress signaller Harold Bride. The book was edited by Jack Winocour as a "Dover edition" that was published in 1960. I've just started reading the book and so far it's a terrific book from what I've read.

After our exhibition, we had our belated lunch or early dinner. Our trip to London wasn't over yet - we went on the London tubes to Waterloo and there were some musicals going on and we already picked on what we wanted to watch Dirty Dancing. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Dirty Dancing - even though there were a lot of cheesy moments, and all the girls screamed when the character (played by Patrick Swayze in the film) said "Nobody puts baby in the corner".

After the show, it was time to head home, and I didn't get back home until 11.30pm and it was straight to bed for me. I had a big day and I really enjoyed it.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Fantasia Mosaic (XIV)

Here we finally come to an end of the last sequence of The Rite of Spring - you guys didn't think it was going to end didn't you?

It has been revealed that the dinosaurs have been completely wiped out from the last sequence and all we find in this lonely planet is no life. Nothing. Except for dry land, and also some old fossil fuels that are part of the dead dinosaurs. It has been like this for a long time in the planet now - and until something finally happens that is unexpecting. A massive earthquake roams the earth and mountains start forming, and boiling seas start pushing its way through.

I must say here that this is actually my favourite sequence of the Rite of Spring segment for several reasons. Well, to be honest - I do find the Rite of Spring the tedious segment of the Fantasia film - and probably why I like it because it's I just find it more exciting than the other sequences in the Rite of Spring. Two: I love the animation in it - particularly the earthquakes scenes.

What I like a lot about the earthquake sequences is the fact the way it was drawn. It was timed very spontaneously, and I love the rough drawings of the rocks falling - and the music just goes very well. Although, despite that I just have to complain about the music. Sure, I don't hate the score - but what I do hate the fact is that in the original Rite of Spring ballet - the music with the earthquake and water wasn't in the original Stravinsky ballet - trust me, in the ballet version (which I saw on YouTube long time ago) it was the original music. Oh, according to the Internet Movie Database with the trivia on Fantasia - it says: When Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971, the only featured composer still living in 1940) was contacted about the rights to use "The Rite of Spring," he offered to compose a completely new piece for Walt Disney. This was not taken, and Stravinsky hated Leopold Stokowski's re-orchestration and re-organization of the piece (the original order of the sections was jumbled, and two of them were completely left out of Fantasia (1940)). 

From Stravinsky's point - he hated the way Leopold Stokowski who re-arranged the Rite of Spring ballet. Interesting. Of course Igor Stravinsky was the only composer of the seven pieces of music in Fantasia alive to see the film.

What I do get the feeling of (as a comment reminded me) that the rocks and earthquake do look like Disney 1960's effects animation. It does feel like that it has been used by the Xerox process - but it wasn't. This animation of the rock is very rough and I really do like the it was treated - I even like the way it was done in some of the scenes like the effects animator like Don Tobin or Paul Kossoff animating the rocks without in betweens - and I think it's good it was done that way.

Art Palmer (again) continues to animate the waves - and he seems to be mostly "water" effects animation. Although what the draft has recorded is that most of the water scenes are a repeat from Sequence 8-2. As it says on the draft itself. Although I find it interesting that some scenes in the Rite of Spring draft have repeated scenes from Bill Roberts and Paul Satterfield in such a masterpiece film.

Although I have to say that I do like shot 18 animated by Don Patterson - because it just shows a scene of the bones, and in the scene they are shaking. I thought that it must've been difficult to achieve - especially from the year 1940. Because the eruption it effecting it and the bones have to move as if an earthquake is moving. Interesting how Don Patterson doesn't get much credit for his work in the Rite of Spring - but yet, he didn't do a lot of work here in the segment - so I suppose that the credits had to go to the others. But, I wonder why Don Patterson was here in the segment if the directors Bill Roberts or Paul Satterfield weren't going to put in the screen credits, while Patterson got screen credit on Night on Bald Mountain segment.

I like how the segment ends with the seas cooling down - and then the total eclipse from the sun just goes down.

Although, I do like the ideas from the storymen and researchers contributing to this sequence - but; isn't there a different story to what happened to the dinosaurs afterwards? Wasn't it like this: a meteor hit the earth, and destroying all the dinosaurs, and then suddenly ice spread all over the planet turning into an ice age. Until years later, it thawed and new life was born. Although that is what I thought, but as I'm not too good at science (trust me, I find Science difficult - I try - I got an average score in my Science test sheet).

By the way I really like how shot 23.1 animated by Ed Aardal and how it was handled. I loved how the skull in the ground got crushed by a rock and then it cracks into pieces that fly away. Wonderful, spontaneous timing here - and Ed Aardal was a good effects animator, a few years later he went on to character animation (we've seen that on my Pecos Bill mosaic).

Right folks, I'm afraid that's my talks for The Rite of Spring finished - and now I'll be looking forward to be posting mosaics for my favourite segments such as The Pastoral Symphony and Dance of the Hours. But, on the way we have to meet the Soundtrack.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Titanic Exhibition

Sorry - I have no time for a lengthy article but I do want to note one thing:

Tomorrow I will be off to London to go to an exhibition in London that's called the Titanic Exhibition that will be held throughout January and May at the London 02 Arena. What they have there will be some rare artifacts and objects that had once been in the North Atlantic Ocean almost 100 years when Titanic sank after being struck by an iceberg on the night of 14 April 1912 at 11.40pm and sunk at the early hours of 15 April 1912 at 2.20am - just 2 hours and forty minutes after the collision.

For a guy who's also fascinated about the Titanic (like me) will be looking forward to this exhibition and I get to finally see some stuff that I've been dying to see - and even some history on it. I've always been fascinated about the Titanic, like the fact how it sunk and the survivors and how the orders were "woman and children" first. At one stage when I was 13, I really wanted to write a book about it and make up a story (not the mushy, soppy story from the James Cameron blockbuster) but a story of passengers' time on the deck and their friendship. I was in progress until somehow I never got further - I don't know why? Maybe I'll get back on it later, and when I feel ready to write it.

If are free until May, or can afford a trip to England (to outsiders of Britain), or live near the 02. Then come on down and see some amazing objects that they'll be showing.

The last Titanic survivor Millvina Dean passed away almost two years ago on May 31st 2009 - aged 97.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Fantasia Mosaic (XIII)

Hey folks - I have to admit that I'm a little bit surprised about the feedback recently - I'm not trying to pressure to you commenting - but, I have to admit I don't feel it's going as well as I thought it would be, are you guys still interested in me carrying on with the mosaics? To those who have commented (inc. Eric Noble), thanks for the stuff. Now, enough of my whinging and get on with the mosaics ;-)


We have reached the end of the Fight sequence, and here we are up to the final sequence for the dinosaurs. This is a very worrying time for the dinosaurs, as we are up to the "Extinction" segment. The dinosaurs are dying, there is hardly any water left, and worst of all - the Earth is very dry and there is a HUGE drout going on. The dinosaurs can't survive without water and sooner or later they'll be dying soon. They are dying of thirst and the whole planet was gone famine.

This sequence shows some good estimation about what could've possibly happened while the dinosaurs were extinct. Although, isn't there a different method when a meteor hit the Earth turning the planet into an "Ice Age" for years.

The animation of the dinosaurs here show a great monument of weight here, the dinosaurs move well and since we don't how an actual dinosaur moves - this here shows a great estimation. Although, I have to admit I'm not a huge fan of the cels in shot 32 - the animation is good and brilliant weight to it - but I just don't feel that the cels should be too rough.

Here in this sequence some animators take over - Phil Duncan animates the beginning shots of the dinosaurs trying to find water - and as dust spreads through the scene and then Woolie Reitherman takes over the dinosaurs during the quicksand scenes. Paul Busch doesn't really take control of the dinosaurs here, he only animates the beginning and end scenes. Also, throughout the dinosaur sequences, I don't think Busch had much control of the dinosaur scenes than Woolie or Duncan do. Busch only really animates the dinosaurs watching the fight and some dinosaur scenes. They're basically primary stuff.

The special effects here are interesting - the dust somehow looks real - and I wonder which effects animator did that. The draft on those scenes only seem to get the second string effects animators and none of the ones like Josh Meador, George Rowley or Ed Aardal. Although I can spot one scene of the dust my Meador in shot 33. Although in shot 35 it says on the draft "Animals marching in dust." Although in the scene, I don't see dust moving, although I suppose the dust is in the air and it's not animated, so maybe Meador did the shadows here in the sequence - or the dinosaurs fading away into the distance.

Shot 35 while the dinosaurs are "marching into the dust", as they march to their deaths - what I think makes great visual storytelling is dinosaurs into the dust. As they fade away - you never see them again. You'll assume that they will be most likely dead by that point.

After shot 35 - there is no animation, except layouts of the skeletons of the dinosaurs (in which in millions of years to come they'll be discovered as "fossils"). It is perfectly revealed that the dinosaurs are officially dead.

I read in a home page about Josh Meador here that Josh Meador animated the "bubbling mud" scenes, and I was expecting Meador do be doing it here. Although, the only credit Josh gets in this sequence are the dust. Huh, funny that I shall mention this - I don't really think Meador handled much effects animation here at all than the other effects animators. Sure, you see his name - but I just don't think he does anything heavy at all. Maybe because Meador was the "Animation Supervisor" on effects animation in this segment and all the other effects animators were professional and knew what to do which meant that Josh didn't have a lot to do. I always thought that Meador was given the scenes by the director with the instructions "animate it". But I doubt it was done this way, I'm sure he contributed to the other effects in the film - maybe helping out a little.

I'm afraid that's as far as I'm going to get though - so, I hope you enjoyed this short post. I'll hopefully hear what you'll have to say - and I'll get on with my stuff.

See ya

Monday, 21 February 2011

Old Drawings and Crazy Doodles

Today as I've been checking through some stuff in my wardrobe, I found a lot of stuff that I thought would be useful for scanning, some old drawings and scripts that came in handy. However, I decided to take out a few of my old drawings that I did when I was 12 or 13, and that I thought was worth analysing and seeing.

I've always admired drawing and cartoons, and ALL THE TIME while I'm at school. I tend to doodle all the time if I have paper with me, usually at school - people or staff never see me without a pencil/pen or a scrap of paper. I draw all the time - and I do want to improve, and someday I want to be as talented as animators such as Ward Kimball, Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, Milt Kahl and OTHERS! I improve my drawings at times by studying by either looking at a drawing and comparing it to mine, and do some reworking and reworking.

I've never actually been interested in anime/manga - that Japanese style of animation and cartoons never appealed to me, I often thought that the timing was terribly done. And let me share my secret opinion to you "Anime is a style that I love to hate". However, I always to love drawing in a style of Hollywood cartoons and British comics, and that's where I get my influences from.

Here what I'll show you I've done while I was a potential, unprofessional, amateur cartoonist (I still am using a lot of potential, I'm improving and improving). These drawings I did were really dated about 2 years ago, and one that I found last year. I would just like to hear your thoughts.

I'll start off with my first one:

This here that I drew is in fact one of my earliest attempts of drawing the cartoon steam-trains Casey Junior from the Disney movie Dumbo. At the time, I was really hugely inspired by the cartoon locomotive and I really liked the song "Casey Junior" in the movie. While I was at school, which there was a drawing activity going on and I decided to take part - and even without looking at a picture - I did my first attempt of drawing Casey without looking. Of course, when I finished it - I was proud of it. Now, as I got to know animation and drawing better. Comparing it to my version and the Disney train - mine's not as realistic or as professional as the animators handled it.

If I did do that as an employee for Disney in 1941, I sure wouldn't dare show this to people like Ward Kimball or Walt Disney himself. I'd probably be nagged about my lack of weight, and for not including the other train vehicles.

Ah, here is a drawing that I did exactly almost a year ago - February 25th 2010. I was only 13 and a half at the time. and of course I was getting familiar with animation websites and I was doing my attempt of drawing Pinocchio being translated into a donkey - which is one of the most famous scenes in a Disney film. Of course, here and now this is not what Pinocchio looks like. Of course, I struggled doing his actual hat in the movie - so instead, at the top of my head I (some reason) drew a fez on his head.

I even drew Pinocchio with connected joints in his wooden arms - sorry, I couldn't draw what the Disney version of Pinocchio back them - I was sort of drawing to draw my own Pinocchio - not the Disney version. After I drew Pinocchio, I sort of drew his shadow (which is indeed clumsily staged), and for the sake of it - I drew a small Jiminy Cricket hopping to Pinocchio.

Yes, I know - I'm not good at drawing those chairs and tables. The table legs are extremely poor - it looks like legs to me.

Ah, here is a sheet of paper that I did circa. 2009 - although there is no date to it. I remember doing these drawings very well - I was only 12 at the time and I was wondering around the school caricaturing some of the staff at the school. The lady that is breathing fire was my old care worker. If you look carefully you may notice that I drew two Futurama characters - Leela and Professor Farnsworth with the speech bubble "I'm a hag". I've even filled up the doodles at the back of the paper (that I also scanned).

Here are my caricatures of a few staff at my school back in 2009 - when it was almost the end of the year. The man at the far right at the top with the furry eyebrows with the words "PONG" above it was my old Design Technology teacher Mr. North and I showed it to him and he was almost in a shock with laughter. I even showed it to the deputy principal and he thought that the drawing was hilarious. The man with the glasses with the really bulgy nose was my old ICT teacher Mr. Drew who I always thought was hilarious and daft. He also found the drawing funny.

The man with scribbles on his face (which is meant to be hair) was also my old childcare worker and he is pretty hairy all over his face - so I exaggerated here a bit but that was really aiming for fun and laughter. I don't recall showing that to him.

Here is a drawing that I did more than a year ago when I was 13 - and it's sort of a similar character to the earliest Looney Tunes character Bosko. Of course, if you compare it to Bosko, my drawing here is a lot taller and thinner than Bosko. Of course, I haven't seen that character in quite a long time and I need to take a look at it again and do some reworking for a bit.

I'm afraid that's what I've found that I wanted to post done now. If I find some more stuff interesting in my alcove and old draws and boxes of junk, I'll try and post them again. 

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Thoughts on "Bagpuss" Opening

Here today, I want to share my thoughts on the opening of "Bagpuss", and in my opinion - one of the creepiest openings of all time. I will share with you people my thoughts on it and reasons why I find the opening scary and creepy.

In case you don't know what Bagpuss is I'll tell you: Bagpuss is a British children's television-show that first came out to British television in 1974 in BBC One. It was created by pioneering producters Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin. It is a stop-motion animated series, about "an old, soggy cloth cat, baggy, and a bit loose at the seams." Only 13 episodes were ever made in the series - but it did become one of the most recognised shows of all time and often repeated in television.

In the begining of the show (in every episode) it began in a small town and there was a little girl named Emily and she lived and owned a shop, but the shop didn't sell anything. Emily would collect these broken stuff and display them at the window of the shop. Her favourite of the old was Bagpuss.

Although, the episodes don't really scare me - they were a bit of fun. What always creeps me out the most is the fact of the opening. I don't really know why it scares me. I think it is the little girl that gives me the creeps, it's just her face and hair that give me the creeps. I just find her scary, just by the look of her. She reminds me of the girl in the horror-film The Ring. Although the girl was actually played by Peter Firmin's daughter (simply named Emily Firmin). So, I'll show you each title card to the opening of Bagpuss.

Bagpuss title card - and nice acoustic guitar tune.

"Once upon a time---"

"---Not so long ago."

"There was a little girl and her name was Emily---"

"---And she had a shop."

"There it is. It was a rather unusual shop because it didn't sell anything."

"You see, everything in that shop was a thing that somebody had once lost. And Emily had found, and brought home to Bagpuss."

"And Emily's cat, Bagpuss."

"The most important---"

"The most beautiful---"

"The most magical---"

"---Saggy old cloth cat in the whole wide world."

"Well now, one day Emily found a thing."

"She brought it back to the shop."

"And put it down in front of Bagpuss."

"Who was in the shop window fast asleep as usual."

"But then Emily said some magic words:"

"Bagpuss, dear Bagpuss,
Old fat furry cat-puss,
Wake up and look at this thing that I bring.

Wake up bright,
Be golden and light,
Bagpuss, O hear what I sing."

From that point on, the black-and-white old-fashioned pictures blur and then here comes Technicolor. Bagpuss yawns and wakes up and so does the other toys in the empty shop. Including the bullfrog that played the banjo, Madeline the doll and the organ mice, etc.

Here is the opening of Bagpuss on YouTube:

Here, I've explained my thoughts on Bagpuss, if you've got some time to come over and comment about it - go ahead. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts about it, even if you may be unfamiliar with the series of Bagpuss.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Fantasia Mosaic (XII)

Here we get to the most exciting sequence of The Rite of Spring segment - the fight sequence between the Tyrannosaurus Rex and the Stegosaurus. All brilliantly animated by the one and only Wolfgang "Woolie" Reitherman.

This sequence is basically a continuation from the last scenes in the previous sequence. All the dinosaurs have been alerted that danger is coming while the T-Rex is striking over and is trying to kill some of the dinosaurs by eating them. All the herbivores scramble away, while the Stegosaurus is the only one brave enough to fight with the Tyrannosaurus Rex.

What's probably most well-known about this sequence is the fact that it was animated by Woolie Reitherman. Woolie was long credited for his work in this sequence, and we all know that Woolie is famous for his "re-using" while being a director (e.g. Maid Marian dancing in Robin Hood, original animation of Snow White), and Woolie was very well-known for animating his action scenes. While his dinosaurs have a lot of action and heavy stuff here. Also, Woolie was favourite for the chase scenes. Woolie was always stuck with the chase scenes because nobody else wanted to do them and Woolie really wasn't at all bothered about them, and did them. We know some famous Woolie "chase" animation sequences he worked on: (Monstro the whale in Pinocchio, Hook and the Crocodile in Peter Pan, etc.)

This is probably Woolie's most famous sequence, and my guess is that my probably planned the entire sequence by himself. We even see some action scenes by John Sibley who animates some of the dinosaurs trying to escape from the stomping T-Rex. Paul Busch animates the primary scenes of the dinosaurs watching the fight. Woolie's animation is superb and he has put a lot of "monumental weight" into it. The action is brilliant, the timing is excellent. Of course, working on a Fantasia production like this would be difficult in terms of "music animation timing", but Woolie really worked hard and didn't slack at all and here is the effort he brought here.

I've always found this sequence, in someways (disturbing) because there is a fight going on - and this isn't going to be done in a comical way, this isn't a "Donald Duck fight", this is a real dinosaur stag fight. Although, what does make it less disturbing was that the animators didn't add in the blood and gore to avoid the film censors. Although, as the stegosaurus dies - I think that this is probably the first time we actually see a character in a Disney film to die instantly. So, we've seen Bambi's mother die but that was off-screen. Showing the dinosaur dead is actually shown on the screen - and this is probably the first time in Disney where a villain actually wins.

What would have made this sequence very difficult is the fact of "animating the dinosaurs". Who on this planet knows how a dinosaur walked millions and millions years ago? The animators and crew had to use their brains and head to figure out on how the dinosaurs would walk and what would have came out similar. The animation is far from "Pluto" or "The Seven Dwarfs". Woolie Reitherman and the dinosaur animators (Duncan, Busch, Sibley, etc.) have really put a lot of effort, thought and research on what could've been possible of a "dinosaur walk".

What's interesting in some of the close-up scenes of the dinosaurs (either Stegosaurus or Tyrannosaurus) there are two effects animators credited (Jim Will, Jack Harbaugh or Frank Follmer), and my guess is that one of those animators did the rain scenes in the background and the other effects animators did the shading of the dinosaur's reflection. Of course, shot 50 as a shot of a thunder bolt striking and it's certain that either Jack Gayek or Jack Harbaugh handled that effect on that shot.

What I've noticed during the fight sequence is that some of the scenes appear to have been repeated from a previous scene or flopped. I wonder if Woolie contributed on those scenes and this being one of his earliest reusing contributions.

Oh, did you know that Ken Peterson (who later went on to become Head of the Disney Animation Department) was Woolie Reitherman's assistant on the dinosaur fight along with Xavier Attencio. That would have been difficult for them to clean-up Woolie's drawings because Woolie was known to have made messes in his rough drawings - and some of the assistants couldn't even get a new sheet of paper, they had to clean-up directly on the animation paper. It was hard because Woolie was a great draftsman and it wouldn't be necessary to mess up someone's work.

Some of the scenes of the Stegosaurus' tail in close-ups reminds me of the Monstro's tail scenes - coincidentally enough that Woolie animated those scenes.

That's all I've got to "blab" about - if you've got anything interesting to say, feel free to comment - I won't nibble or bite.

Oh, Rite of Spring topic: In school I was invited by the Music group to see the performance of the original ballet of Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring in June 8th 2011 - that'll be a very exciting experience for me. Although, I don't take music anymore (as there was very few options to take in my school year), but at least I was invited. ;-)

Friday, 18 February 2011

A Letter TO Bill Justice

As I found out last week about the death of Bill Justice - I looked at the letter that I still had at home, although this is not the final letter that I wrote - this was my first draft I written - the final one is all the way in California somewhere, probably in Bill Justice's old room, I don't know. Although, I decided to share with what I written.

I have to say that in this first draft I forgot to add his special titles with Xavier Attencio and his Imagineering career for Disneyland. I later wrote that in the final draft of my letter. I believe that the letter I wrote was dated on January 15th 2011 - and I sent it the following day on January 16th from all the way in the cold England. I'm not sure if the letter was late for arrival or not - but I hope that Bill got the letter on time.

In case late Blog readers haven't noticed and haven't a clue what I'm on about: I'll tell you - Bill Justice is an animator/director/imagineer at Disney for many years between 1937 to 1979. He worked on multiple films such as Fantasia, Bambi, Make Mine Music, The Three Caballeros, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan and doing special titles and designs for The Parent Trap, The Misadventures of Merlin Jones and Mary Poppins. He is best known for creating Chip n' Dale.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Valentine's Day

As today is Valentine's Day and I will be off for my school week - I just want you let you folks know that I hope you have a good day tomorrow - and good luck to you if you have dates. Of course, I've got myself a date too, yes two weeks ago I got a girlfriend and the relationship is going very well, although it'll be on Facebook to see (if are a friend of mine on Facebook).

So, I'll be having a good time and hopefully a kiss. I recieved a Valentine's card from her last week and it was very nice and very sweet, although I won't scan it - it's private to me ;-).

Now, here are some Valentine (or romance jokes) that I thought were a bit amusing (and a bit rubbish):

My One And Only

Roger, who was 19 years old, was buying an expensive bracelet, to surprise his girlfriend on Valentine's Day, at a very smart jeweller's shop in Hatton Garden, London.

The jeweller inquired, 'Would you like your girlfriend's name engraved on it?'

Roger thought for a moment, grinned, then answered, 'No, instead engrave "To my one and only love".'

The jeweller smiled and said, 'Yes, sir; how very romantic of you.'

Roger retorted with a glint in his eye, 'Not exactly romantic, but very practical. This way, if we break up, I can use it again.'

The only reason why I married my wife is because her birthday is on February 29th and I only get to buy her present every four years.

A Thoughtful Valentine's Day Gift

Jim asked his friend, Tony, whether he had bought his wife anything for Valentine's Day.

'Yes,' came the answer from Tony who was a bit of a chauvinist, 'I've
bought her a belt and a bag.'
That was very kind of you,' Jim added, 'I hope she appreciated the thought.'

Tony smiled as he replied, 'So do I, and hopefully the vacuum cleaner will work better now.

Just thought it would amuse you - they're not great, but some were funny.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Fantasia Mosaic (XI)

I was originally supposed to post this on Friday but since I found out about the death of Bill Justice - I felt the tribute was a bit more important, though. But don't worry at least we have a mosaic for the weekend as we are still continuing with The Rite of Spring.

We are still continued with the dinosaurs sequence, and here this sequence is basically showing some lives of the dinosaurs and what they probably do for most of the day. The dinosaurs that we would see in this sequence are herbivores, and they were easy to get along with and herbivores which are vegetarian dinosaurs eat plants and what's interesting here is that some of the dinosaurs are trying to share some of the food.

The music in this piece isn't really memorable here - and it's a very calm sequence here just showing some of the dinosaur's life - and what it probably would've looked like. The diplosaurus who are herbivores mainly fight over the seaweed.

ARRGH! I just found out - the struthiomimus dinosaurs were originally the origins of ostriches - HELP ME! Yes, I know what I'm doing is probably very weird but in case you don't know - I hate ostriches so much they're just one of the scariest animals I've ever seen. One of the reasons why I hate them is because I fear that I would be attacked by one or kicked, because ostriches have a very powerful kick and it could kill you. I'm also scared of the looks of ostriches, they're face and body just always freaks me out! The struthiomimuses were animated by Phil Duncan here and darn it - why didn't I ever know that? When I watched them in the film before they seemed freaky and now I know why?

What you will find interesting is that animator John Sibley comes up here in The Rite of Spring. The first time I saw the draft I was surprised to see Sibley on The Rite of Spring because we all know that Sibley worked on Goofy and Sibley was brilliant at comedy action scenes and who could imagine Sibley animating some of the difficult dinosaur animation here? Although I have to admit, shot 27 with the triceratops lacks a bit of weight to me and Sibley probably only just started animating, or found the assignment difficult. I also thought that Sibley animated the triceratops rather strangely.

It's good to see that Woolie Reitherman is here instead of not just animating his famous Fight sequence with the stegosaurus and the Tyrannosaurus-Rex. Although, he isn't given much here in this sequence, he animates the Stegosaurus here and including the reaction shot. Here some of the animators get different assignments - Paul Busch animates the "Archy" flying - and Woolie Reitherman does the two shots of the Stegosaurus, while Phil Duncan animates the family life scenes of the dinosaurs, and uncredited effects animator John McDermott handles mainly the reaction shots at the end - and mainly the brontosaurus'.

What I find interesting is that in shot 30 animated by Phil Duncan is some of the dinosaurs being born after being hatched from their eggs reminds me of the birth of the baby dinosaurs in The Land Before Time.

I'm afraid that I really haven't got much to ramble on really because it's a short sequence, and what more else should I say?

Friday, 11 February 2011

Justice for Disney - The Passing of Bill Justice

"Bill Justice loved his work at The Walt Disney Company, whether it be programming Audio-Animatronics figures for the theme parks or animating Mickey Mouse. Once, when asked if he ever got bored drawing Mickey Mouse, Bill replied, "Have you seen me draw Mickey upside down?" He then did so - effortlessly."

I've been sitting here for  a few hours on the computer listening to some of the music and shorts that Bill Justice was involved in - and at the moment I'm sitting here just surprised and upset by the fact that one of the Disney legends Bill Justice has passed away yesterday on Thursday 10th February aged 97 - he died just the day after his birthday. He lived to a very good age and almost the age of 100.

This is very sad news for those who are interested in the Animation industry - because Bill was a very inspiring man to me - and sadly his life has come to an end and that's heartbreaking. Recently, a few weeks ago - I wrote a letter (typed on computer, my handwriting is too messy), and I sent it to America as I found the address on the Cartoon Brew website - and I was hoping to hear a reply on him and hear his experiences and I kept my fingers crossed.
Although I knew that he was very old and probably would be too ill for reply - but as I heard about his death on Brian Sibley's blog and Cartoon Brew website - it left me to think "Did I write that letter too late?" - and maybe I was having too much pressure. I hope that Bill got the letter on time - I know that he would loved to have replied - he sounds like a marvelous man. I now wish that I knew him.

I feel bad now that while he was still alive, he was an animator that I never really paid attention to and I even knew that he was still alive - and I was starting to get real interested into him by writing him the letter and hoping for reply. I mean, the man has brought so many brilliant things into the Disney screen, he directed the opening credits for the original Mickey Mouse Club series and created Chip n' Dale for crying out loud. He was more than an animator - he was a director for Disney and title designer for some of the films (brilliant title designer) and also an Imagineer at Disney. He was a marvelous man who loved the Disney job so much and was never tired of it - and his career lasted 42 years 1937-1979.

William Justice was born on February 9, 1914 in Daylton, Ohio - and he attended the John Herron Art Institute in Indiana where Bill Peet attended - and both Justice and Peet would later have a career at Disney. He eventually went to Indiana University and graduated in 1935. In 1937 when it was a bad time to have careers since it was still the Great Depression - but Bill got a job as an animator for Disney and started as an in betweener for Walt Disney's first upcoming-feature Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Bill was soon promoted to animator and he first worked on Fantasia where he was the animator on "The Pastoral Symphony", one of his scenes he animated included the scene of the centaur picking of the petals of the flower on the river and the centaurette relaxes - a beautiful scene. He mainly worked on some centaurette scenes - and also worked on a few scenes of the cherubs splashing on a puddle with the rainbow reflection. Bill was busy working on Bambi at the time and working on the likable rabbit Thumper. One of Bill Justice's cartoons was on Der Fuhrer's Face which is a very funny cartoon on what the would would be like in a "Nazi world", and it shows Donald Duck as a Nazi - and Bill animated Donald as a Nazi and the struggles it had living in a German world.

Bill was also well-known for creating the two adorable chipmunks Chip n' Dale and their mischevious adventures - you could say that Bill was also another "Duck man". In the 1950's, his career had HUGE highlights, Walt Disney had promoted him as a director at Disney, and he worked on one of my all-time favourite Disney shorts - A Cowboy Needs a Horse. It's a short about a boy who dreams of being a cowboy and finding indians - I always find the song in it brilliant - and at the time, Bill Justice was working closely with a another Disney artist called Xavier Attencio.

Bill Justice went on to direct one of my favourite all-time opening sequences for a television show which is the Mickey Mouse Club and the song is very cheerful and fun - and jolly music - and the animation is good, so Bill Justice really put a lot of effort on the opening credits. I wish that the Mickey Mouse Club would be voted as one of the greatest opening tunes instead of the usual Simpsons (mind you I like the Simpsons too).

Another career at Disney Bill also had was an Imagineer at Disney and worked on many stuff like the Pirates of the Caribbean.

What I do like a lot by Bill Justice (and Xavier Attencio), is his job by designing special titles for films on The Parent Trap, and one of my favourites that he's done is for the underrated Disney film The Misadventures of Merlin Jones - and the opening tune may be very cheesy but I like it very much and it's one of my favourites - and Bill designed the titles of the animation and it was achieved by cutting pieces of paper and slowly making it move - it would look like it would take forever and difficult to achieve - but Bill had a lot of justice for it and that's what makes him a hero. The animation in the opening of Merlin Jones is very good and also very funny. It reminds me of one of the earliest prototypes of the animation like Wallace and Gromit or Morph.

"At last it works, I wonder what it's for?"

"We call him Merlin Jones,
The scramble egghead Merlin Jones,
The campus cook, but everyone's whirling,
She's that girl in love with Merlin Jones.

Although I know his "way-up" brain is on Cloud 9,
His kisses make me want to be his Mrs...FRANKENSTEIN!"

(My favourite part of the Merlin Jones song - thanks the Sherman Brothers)

Bill Justice was also the director of the film The Truth About Mother Goose which tells a bit about English history of Mary, Queen of Scots - London Bridge falling down by the Vikings, etc. he co-directed it along with Woolie Reitherman.

Part One.
Part Two.

Bill Justice retired from Disney in 1979 - and now he died on February 2011 - and his survived by his wife Kim and his two daughters. REST IN PEACE BILL, it's been a fun ride. I hope that you are smiling down on us.

Now that Bill Justice is gone - there is only a few Disney animators from the Golden Age with us left: Don Lusk, Tyrus Wong, Blaine Gibson, Mel Shaw, Xavier Attencio, Dickie Jones, Burny Mattinson, Floyd Norman, Dorse A. Lanpher (those are the people I can think at the top of my head), I'm afraid that soon the end of the era will have to come to an end...

Perhaps we should sing a little verse that I quickly made up, as Bill Justice was a brilliant title designer:

Who's the leader of the titles, that's great for you and me?
B-I-L-L  J-U-S-T-I-C-E

Sunday, 6 February 2011

The King's Speech - The Hopes for King George VI

As we are now in the year 2011, and it is the "National Year of Communication", and on January 7, 2011 - it was the right time of the year to release the movie The King's Speech.

The movie did so well, that the BBC press were interested in speech and language difficulties. As I recently was chosen to be interviewed on the TV. I then decided that I ought to go and see the movie at some point. So, last week on Sunday 30 January 2011, I went for dinner with my family to go and see the movie The King's Speech and we weren't given good seats because it was a popular film, and we had to sit at the front. As soon as the trailers and advertisements were over, the warm screen got darker and darker, and then the film played.

I was really looking forward to seeing this amazing drama film - as I read in the newspapers that it's got more Oscar nominations than any other film. From the moment, I saw the film; I saw that the film was taking place in the year 1925 and King George V was still in the throne, and the future King George who was at the time the Duke of York and he was very nervous because he had a bad stammer problem, and he really struggled with his stutter, and he was supposed to prepare a speech for a horse race show.

As the years went on, and Prince Albert, Duke of York - King George VI (played by Colin Firth) was married to the Queen Mother/Duchess of York (Helena Bonham Carter), and he was known as the "Reluctant King", and then he was given advice to attend speech and language therapy lessons from Lionel Logue (played by Geoffrey Rush), and it was strongly recommended. 

For a while, the sessions work - and there are some funny jokes here - like when Prince Albert and Logue place a one-shilling bet; and what is interesting is that George stammers at different words, and yet he doesn't stammer when he swears - which is quite amusing, when he keeps on swearing without making a single stutter, and at times the entire audience were laughing at a fun joke in there. Lionel Logue helped George by placing music headphones on his ears and playing music, and George reading William Shakespeare's (Hamlet) - "to be or not to be...". And I thought there was a big spark at that point because King George VI stuttered very little with the music over his years, and he tried to assure Lionel that he couldn't read - but practice took time.

As his father King George V passed away very ill in January 1936, Prince Albert's older brother was the successor to the throne and was King Edward VIII - and this was trouble for Edward because he was deeply in love with the twice-divorced American woman Wallis Simpson, and it wasn't allowed in the Royal Family - so Edward had no choice but to abdicate the throne and George didn't want this to happen - that's way he was known as "The Reluctant King".

King George VI was planned to have a coronation - and then he wanted to invite Lionel Rogue as one of the important people in the coronation - Logue admits that he had no specific training in speech and language therapy - and yet he still practices with King George VI for his speech for the coronation - and tells him that he has to speak louder and that's what sparks me - because when I'm rehearsing for school plays in church halls, I'm often told to speak louder and I found that touching.

As soon as World War II comes and Hitler speaks about what will happen to the future world, and one of my favourite parts was when the young Elizabeth tells his father, "Daddy what is he saying", and George replies to the Hitler dialogue off-screen "I don't know but he's saying it well."

However, when it reached the ending - that's when I thought it was a real spark for me and it was extremely touching for me. King George VI was due to prepare a broadcast speech at 6 o'clock and he thought that he could never, ever complete it - and then he brought his friend Lionel Logue to help him with the speech and then he tried to make it easier by dividing the syllables and sign language. So, on the radio while he was still stammering but it was still going well - and at the time I thought it was the biggest highlight in the film. I have to say that I thought that the ending was very emotional because he completed a speech for the first time - and there were some tears that slowly came running down from my eyelids and running down my cheeks. It was an emotional ending in a good way because I just know how it feels to have such difficulties towards stammer because I've seen people in my school with stammer problems - and I just don't like it when people mock them because they obviously don't know what it's like to have that - and when I hear people mocking it: they'll be sorry.

So I left the cinemas and had dinner at a restaurant thinking what a brilliant film it was. I thought it was a very brilliant film to me - and I thought it was one of the best films that I've seen in a long time - and why I like the film so much is because I've learnt and recited the experiences I had when I was younger - and I thought that it had a brilliant storyline based on the true facts that had set each other perfectly.

Colin Firth who played the Speech and Language Impairment King did an excellent performance here - and I see some superb acting from Firth - and I think he deserves a HUGE round of applause and even an Academy Award for being the Best Actor of 2010. Geoffrey Rush who played Lionel Logue who is the King's speech therapist did fantastic acting in the film - and I think he could win the Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars in February.

All the actors did superbly well, and I also like the story well - and I'm glad the the King's Speech did really well at the Oscars, because at the end of the film where he announces the speech, the camera angles were very good.

The story was very good - because Logue and King George VI had a very good friendship and they became friends for the remains of their lives, and I just found it very touching and even when it it based on the true facts, and that's what makes it into a good film.

I hope that the film will go on will so many Oscars...

((Addition)): I recieved a comment from a shirty Anonymous person - who said, "The line "to be or not to be" is from Hamlet, not the Tempest you dumb-ass". Well Anonymous person - I'm not a Shakespeare fan and to be honest I think his work is BORING - so don't be shirty about it - and you can't expect me to get everything right like the character Nick Bottom who is in Romeo & Juliett.