Animation

Discussion in 'The Media Hub' started by enviousdominous, May 23, 2016.

  1. enviousdominous

    enviousdominous Behold my diction

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    My adventures in "parts unknown" aren't quite over yet, but I've noticed that Wrestlezone is no longer being blocked by the network out here, so here I am.

    A budding young animator from the UK has been taking the animation world by storm with his efforts to share his view of the world through moving pictures, and his name is Steve Cutts. He's apparently most famous for conceiving the Simpsons couch gag that portrayed Homer and his couch as buddy cops in a glamorously portrayed homage to the 1980s tv show Miami Vice.

    This work of his is a very poignant rendition of a relatable rodent's pursuit of true happiness, appropriately titled "Happiness". When I watch it, I'm reminded of how wanting something is often more of a thrill than actually having something. Also that happiness is a shameless but very potent marketing ploy on behalf of companies that thrive off of misery. For some of us; the satisfaction that comes from contentment is boring, and thus prosperity becomes confused with greed.

    Steve Cutts - Happiness

     
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  2. enviousdominous

    enviousdominous Behold my diction

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    I wish everyone here a very Merry Christmas.

    This holiday has always been a "to each their own" type of holiday in terms of its true meaning. We've all likely seen Charlie Brown and his gang of irregulars discover that a decrepit looking tree can be made beautiful with effort and an excessive amount of decoration, the true meaning for them was that they accept the day as a day to not look down on or ignore the impoverished. Whether or not they chose the best approach to deliver that message with what -- for me -- amounted to an extreme makeover to validate the notion of physical beauty is a completely different debate.

    I see Christmas as an opportunity to learn from the excesses of others. As if I was wearing a badge of immunity, on the day of the purge. People rush to validate their principles and their traditions by buying material goods, claiming that their name is "Merry Christmas" at Starbucks, and perhaps they volunteer at a shelter to glow in an aura of self-indulgent generosity. I'm an Atheist who celebrates this day because I wouldn't want my friends and family to feel neglected, and because I honestly think that Jesus Christ existed and that he was a great person.

    The creator of the short film I'm about to share -- Ryan Larkin -- was no stranger to a fundamental principle that I believe that Jesus Christ lived by, that there's no shame in poverty. Ryan Larkin was an eccentric person, to put it mildly. His young adult years were, in a word, "shameless". His animation was meant to startle his audience, and explore the differences between common folk when they're compared side by side. The content of these seemingly simple art projects were explicit enough to get some of his projects censored or outright banned by The National Film Board of Canada. It would have been impossible to share any of his early work on this forum without risking being banned, if it weren't for Ryan going through a paradigm shift of sorts in the early 2000s. His attitude toward art changed, and he began production of a short animated film titled "Spare Change".

    Ryan wouldn't live to see his work finished. He developed lung cancer and passed away a year before his work was completed by the National Film Board of Canada. For me; the film depicts Ryan's perspective on the world around him long after waking up from the wet dream that was his young adult years. He was a man who could have enlightened the world with his knowledge, trapped in the body of a bum who depended on the generosity of random strangers. Giving, sharing, and seeing everyone as equal. That's not just a snippet from the Communist manifesto, that's the true meaning of Christmas.

    Ryan Larkin - Spare Change

     
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  3. enviousdominous

    enviousdominous Behold my diction

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    Cartoonists are a valuable source of positive morale for me. When I was a kid I could sit for hours and read comic panels depicting relatable characters getting into off-beat situations. One of my favorites, if not my absolute favorite, was Garfield.

    The Garfield character became so popular for his creator, Jim Davis, that it made sense to animate his more popular adventures for tv specials. This was all prior to his Saturday morning cartoon show. Jim enjoyed putting Garfield into insanely comedic situations, and at one point he decided to create stories loosely related to Garfield that explored other types of artful storytelling.

    Garfield: His 9 Lives was a tv special produced for CBS in 1988, based on a book of comics with the same name. The tv special deviated slightly from the book, and introduced a story that was absolutely breathtaking. The theme being that Garfield is revisiting his past lives to explain his character for his adoring audience. The story I'm referring to is Diana's Piano.

    This story depicts a normal housecat who is a source of inspiration for her family. I'm amazed at how beautiful it is, and at how well it works with a compilation of short animated movies that invoke a wide variety of emotions.

    Doug Frankel - Diana's Piano

     
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  4. enviousdominous

    enviousdominous Behold my diction

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    For a human being to achieve a state of higher sentience, they must develop a way to comprehend their surroundings in simple terms. We have a numbered system that owes itself to the mathematicians of ancient Mesopotamia. While most societies of the world invented or adopted a system where the number 10 would be the base from which we start counting from 1 to 9 again, the ancient Babylonians considered the number 60 to be a more substantial base.

    Many systems we use today use the number 60 as a base or a strong reference point, how we measure time and degrees of a curve utilize 60 as a principle factor. There's a society called The Dozenal Society of America, and it's their goal to replace the base 10 system with a base 12 system. The numbers ten, eleven, and twelve would be replaced with, dek, el, and doh (respectively). Counting on one hand, you'd use the bones of your fingers to represent the values and your thumb to point to whichever value you intended to indicate.

    This idea has been on the minds of mathematicians for as long as the base 10 system has existed, and it was explored in an episode of an educational animated show from 1973 called School House Rock. The episode titled "Little Twelve Toes" is my favorite of the series, and it was narrated and sung by a man named Bob Dorough. Bob Dorough passed on last Monday at the age of 94, and his many contributions to School House Rock are just a small fraction of the body of his work in music.

    School House Rock produced 11 episodes, each episode focusing on a number. 1 and 10 were left out, likely because of how much focus those numbers already receive receive. This episode was animated by the late Rowland B. Wilson, who was most famous for his satirical cartoons from magazines like The New Yorker, Esquire, and Playboy.

    Rowland B. Wilson - Little Twelve Toes

     
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  5. enviousdominous

    enviousdominous Behold my diction

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    Searching high and low for a vaguely remembered animated work can be a thrilling endeavor. I can say from first-hand experience that finding a hidden gem of an animated work from your past is an amazing feeling.

    There was an animated film released in 1976 in the Czech Republic called "Clock Man". It's the story of a magician who goes to great lengths to teach a young girl the values of being honest with her mother. The most compelling thing about this film is the striking image of the Clock Man. I had never seen this film until recently, but it was referred to me as an example of how individuals had desperately sought it out with only a very vague impression of its plot. What haunted them mostly was the Clock Man, and they could only find closure after years of searching.

    Dagmar Doubkov√° - Clock Man

     
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  6. enviousdominous

    enviousdominous Behold my diction

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    A word has been on my mind lately, and that word is "entropy". It represents the idea of a seemingly ordinary concept potentially falling into disarray over time, usually used as a negative concept.

    Choas and disorder are frightening for those of us who grew up on the structure of society. I personally feel that we become complacent without being challenged by problems that seem way outside the norm of what we'd normally expect.

    The Navajo would tell many tales of the Coyote, and how it sowed chaos. What's striking to me is that the tales aren't presented as though the Coyote is a villain, more like the Coyote is a welcome aspect of nature.

    In the Navajo tale of "The Coyote and the Stars", a man is carefully designing the stars in the night sky to flawlessly resemble the animals of the land. The Coyote mocks him for being so careful, and taking so much time with his task. The Coyote abruptly snatches the stars, and tosses them into the sky. The man isn't upset, as the stars still vaguely resembled his design. The Coyote did not use any stars to create his own likeness, and is left with only one star to use for himself. This star was named The Monthless Star, as it was only visible a few days of the month. It is not known which star in our sky was the one recognized by the Navajo as the Monthless Star.

    The following animated work is an interpretation of this story, created by Scottish animator Claire Stewart. Something to note is that this does not contain the Navajo language, or any dialogue at all. It is actually forbidden to tell these stories in the Navajo language when the frost isn't on the ground, between the 1st of September and the 30th of March is when it's allowed to tell these stories in the Navajo language. Please keep this in mind if you intend to reference Navajo stories of the Coyote on YouTube, and respect their traditions.

    Claire Stewart - Coyote and the Stars

     
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  7. enviousdominous

    enviousdominous Behold my diction

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    Kindness is a rare trait. At times it seems easier to justify not being kind, in that the consequences of sharing ones resources or more vulnerable feelings can make one feel like a more vulnerable target of abuse. Choosing to be kind is admirable, especially when someone remains kind after being tested by fate.

    2018 is the Year of the Dog in regard to the Chinese Calendar. The Dog of the Chinese Zodiac is loyal, and has a good heart. It behaves selflessly to achieve good things, and never wavers from that ethos. A Chinese online retailer commissioned an animated short film, which was released in February of this year, to celebrate the Year of the Dog. It's a charming depiction of the universal language of the heart.

    Kyra Buschor & Constantin Paeplow - A Joy Story: Joy and Heron

     
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  8. enviousdominous

    enviousdominous Behold my diction

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    Have you ever frightened yourself? Everyone I've ever spoken with regarding the subject of lucid dreams has admitted to having had them at least once from what they could remember, and that the experience was more often terrifying than liberating.

    There's things that we don't know about ourselves, there are ideas that we haven't directly confronted that direct our behaviors. When we dream, our minds manifest our ideas in a spontaneous manner. The subconscious mind is governed by the expectations of our conscious mind, but will often exploit our expectation that things will often go terribly wrong. When the conscious and subconscious minds meet in a lucid dream, the result is a reality that doesn't know how to make sense of itself, and a sense of reason that can't decide if it would be better to preserve or end that state of madness.

    John Paul Grigsby is a prolific musician and film maker. He has worked tirelessly to express his creativity, and examples of his animated films are indicative of his work ethic. One work of his explored to idea of discovering oneself in a lucid dream and the madness that follows, animated entirely using an etch-a-sketch that he received as a gift from his father. Half-way through filming, the etch-a-sketch broke, and no other etch-a-sketch would produce the same distinctive markings. John fixed the etch-a-sketch he received from his father in order to finish his film. The soundtrack is an ambient instrumental song written and performed by John Paul Grigsby.

    John Paul Grigsby - An Introduction to Lucid Dream Exploration

     
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  9. enviousdominous

    enviousdominous Behold my diction

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    Sometimes we want to be told a story, and sometimes we want to just watch waves crash against a cliff side.

    Animation can enthrall you with an interpretation of events, and it can simply feed your mind a series of abstract images. An American animator named David Daniels innovated his own animation technique called "Strata-Cut Animation", which involves shaving off layers of clay to reveal each frame, to present his debut film "Buzz Box".

    Buzz Box serves to mock television as a nonsensical stream of sensory numbing indulgence that feeds our minds subliminal messages of patriotism, social consciousness, and persuasion toward an advertiser's brand. The viewer is encouraged to -- as a reward for their hard work -- sit back, relax, and watch. Days of the week are presented as existing solely for the sake of a programming block's ability to draw you in for more intense imagery.

    I'm going to warn anyone who might choose to watch, this may be too overwhelming for some. That's not some form of meta-influence, this is literally the stuff of nightmares. Watch at your own risk.

    David Daniels - Buzz Box

     
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  10. enviousdominous

    enviousdominous Behold my diction

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    The choices we make are often dependent on the life experience that precedes them. As a matter of survival throughout history, human beings have attempted to understand the natural world around them and thus figure out a way to interpret and predict that natural world. Those that struggled were rewarded with a better understanding of the limits of their endurance, and those that stumbled upon parts of the world that granted them an abundance of resources with little effort on their part were likely to take the gifts of the Earth for granted. There's the example of why it's wrong to feed wild animals, as they would likely assume that they can seek human generosity for their next meal and risk starvation if that generosity never comes.

    There's a presumption among those religious communities that desiring more than what is reasonably needed constitutes greed, and that knowingly feeding a person's sense of greed is an evil act. It's one thing to be willing to ignore the desire for excessive wealth, it's another to deny it if it's offered.

    The following film is a breathtaking perspective on what would happen if a small struggling village was granted an abundance of riches and resources by a sinister stranger. While I believe that there's no way to accurately predict how human beings will behave, this film seems to capture the likely chaos of a group of human beings that feel that they no longer have to suffer to survive.

    George Ungar - The Wanderer

     
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  11. enviousdominous

    enviousdominous Behold my diction

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    There are times when I observe something, in this case something within an animated film, and something about it captivates us and stays with me for decades. Before the World Wide Web came into full swing, I'd likely only remember that moment. I wouldn't know the name of the film, or any names of those that produced it. I could just remember that one, wickedly captivating thing that stole my attention. Twenty-five years have passed since I've seen this film, and I finally found it yesterday.

    Our eyes are the basis of our outward being. We make eye contact to interpret honesty, and we can use our eyes to convey the full range of emotions we're capable of. Our eyes can stop the world around us, as the world becomes anxious to hear us explain the story behind them. We can have a thousand yard stare that would make the abyss envious, and we can lock our eyes onto a target where the dead-serious state of mind observes no other form of stimulus.

    This film is called "Merlin and the Dragons", and I first watched it when it aired on The Disney Channel back in 1993. It came with a disclaimer, stating "The following film may be too intense for younger viewers." Being eleven years old at the time, I was eager to be tested by this so called "intense" film. In this film Merlin tells the story of a young man named Emrys, who has the ability to foresee future events and observe hidden areas beneath the Earth. Emrys is tasked by the evil King Vortigern to aid in the construction of a tower, as previous attempts to construct a tower have failed due to an unseen force beneath the Earth. There are many details to this film that I could have remembered, but what grabbed my attention was the look that Emrys gave to Vortigern when the former was about to be struck down for his impudence. He wasn't afraid, or even slightly concerned. He looked into his eyes, and I imagine that doing so left a scar on his soul that would have persisted long after being executed.

    I forgot about the dragon battle, the towers falling, literally everything except the eyes of Emrys.

    Dennis Woodyard and Hu Yihong - Merlin and the Dragons

     
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  12. enviousdominous

    enviousdominous Behold my diction

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    When I started this thread, I had had a lot of ideas in mind for short films I'd like to share. Many of which I had to painstakingly search for, and finding some has been bittersweet as I'd learn of the recent and tragic passing of a film's director as soon as I'd find the film.

    As a pre-teen, I was mesmerized by a show on MTV called "Liquid Television". This show would exhibit animated films where some would tell a story, and some would simply be a mix of random symbolic but abstract forms of visual and audible stimulation. One particular film of the abstract variety stood out to me, a film by animator John Wrake, better known as Run Wrake, called "Anyway". Mr. Wrake created this film while studying at the Royal College of Art in London, and released it as his graduation film.

    To me, the film manages to pull off a somewhat paradoxical idea of overt nuances. A character wanders forward while being distracted by what occurs and what's said around them, and those distractions become a stronger part of the environment than the main character. Every part of the environment that's observed is more alive than the observer, and beyond the overt subtlety of the background behavior I get a sense that those behaviors are also being parodied for being more observant of themselves than their environment.

    I own the complete set of Liquid Television episodes, and until recently I never thought to look into this film as something I'd like to know more about. Finding this particular film was difficult, as I had to sift through every episode of the three season series to find this particular film. I was very happy when I found it, and I left a lengthy message of thanks on what was obviously Mr. Wrake's YouTube channel. After doing so, I scrolled down to see messages of condolence to his loved ones. Johnathan "Run" Wrake passed away from lung cancer on the 21st of October in 2012. If you browse his YouTube channel, you'll see that within months of his passing he was uploading his work onto YouTube with very brief and humble explanations in the information section.

    I wish that I could have thanked him for his hard work before he left this world.

    Johnathan "Run" Wrake - Anyway

     
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  13. enviousdominous

    enviousdominous Behold my diction

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    Sometimes we disconnect. The world often becomes a big scary place, and -- not out of fear, but perhaps more a desire to find something else -- we sink back into our own minds and ignore the world.

    When I was a kid, I happened upon the movie "Robot Carnival". It was a compilation of animated work, with each short film being created based on only being told one word, which was "robots".

    There have been times in my life where I didn't really feel human, or even real for that matter. I'd wander through my routines, with a little less emphasis on their importance. I wasn't sad, or depressed, or enduring circumstances that would warrant a state of misery. The world around me just seemed so over-excited about things that wouldn't matter in a few weeks, and it was as if I was learning to indulge in not behaving like those around me. I would still want for fate to hand me wonderful circumstances, but for periods of time I was content with the mundaneness of a life where everyday is the same. If, while in that state, and angel came and gave me purpose, I would reject it if it wasn't solely on their own behalf and wasn't based on an assumption that I wanted such a vestment.

    This short film is titled "Cloud", and it was directed by Manabu Ohashi. I've often wondered if the main character was the inspiration for the Cloud character from Final Fantasy 7, I first watched this film before Final Fantasy 7 was even released. The main character got to me, directly to the part of me that I mistakenly thought was barren of a soul. For the first time, I was seeing my kindred spirit. For whatever character we observe in fiction and identify with, I finally found mine. A robot, forgotten and of no importance to the occurrences that happen around it, wanders forward simply for the sake of wandering. What I saw, was like seeing who I was and who I'd like to become conceptualized in a short film.

    In all seriousness, this is my favorite of all films that I've ever seen. Enjoy.

    Manabu Ohashi - Cloud

     
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