"It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

YouTube and National Film Board of Canada Strike Deal For Oscar Shorts

Seven NFB shorts will be featured on YouTube's new channel The Screening Room, which offers viewers a selection of the best international animated shorts. The first NFB gem to screen on the video-sharing Web
site will be the 2007 Oscar winner THE DANISH POET by Torill Kove, who attended the launch in Los Angeles on June 23rd.

The selected NFB animated shorts will screen on www.youtube.com/ytscreeningroom, each for six consecutive weeks.

Now easily access the best of shorts in a dedicated YOUTUBE channel !

This is what the Screening Room is all about -

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Weekly Movie Recommendations : 21st June 2008 - 27th June 2008

Memento (2000)

Genre - Crime/Drama/Mystery/Thriller

Cast - Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss

Whats It About - A man, suffering from short-term memory loss, uses notes and tattoos to hunt for the man he thinks killed his wife.

Why You Should Watch It - Apart from an interesting plot, what is brilliant about this movie is the execution by the director and the choice of narration for his story. Memento" mines this psychological terrain, using non-linear film narrative to mirror Leonard's own effort to interpret the random pieces of evidence he hoards. The murder, rewound in the opening frames, we discover, is logically the endpoint of Leonard's story. What we learn comes from a point earlier in time, a few moments and a few sentences prior to what we've already been shown. As Leonard's story unfolds, the meaning of events changes. Allies, enemies, victims, victimizers swap place almost kaleidoscopically.

It simply blew me away and chances are it will blow you too. This is one of those very rare movies which kind of makes you think a long long time even after you have finished the movie.

Enjoy a glimpse right here -

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

BLOGS will never be the same again - Animation Mentor launches its own BLOG !

Animation Mentor and its team of crazy enthusiastic talented people never ceases to innovate and surprise me !

After building a world class animation school and that too online, after hosting webinars, where their co-founders share their knowledge and after having their monthly newsletter (full of informative stuff regarding the school, animation related insights, cool tips and tricks to improve our animation) and which has a huge fan following month after month, they have gone one step ahead and started their own blog !!! Yes you heard me right !

To quote Shawn Kelly, one of the co-founders and author of the Tips & Tricks section of their monthly newsletter -

"Hello there! Welcome to the first AM blog!

If you're reading this, you probably already know that I write an animation Tips & Tricks article for our monthly newsletter. This blog will be a place where I can publicly answer some of the emailed questions I get that I just don't have room to answer in the newsletter. (Let's face it - if my newsletter articles get any longer, they'll have to design a whole new internet to accommodate them!)

We'll also be posting some stuff from the newsletters in here (mostly stuff that didn't make it into the ebook) in the hopes of spreading that info around a bit more, so if you're a longtime reader you'll probably notice some repeats, but there will be plenty of new content for you guys as well...

As always, feel free to email questions, complaints, ideas, feedback, and your favorite drink recipes to me at:

And a big special thanks to Eunice Park, Kris Larson, Rachel Ito, and Big Michael Dauz for helping get this set up and making it look so pretty!

Shawn :)"

So what are you waiting, join the party !!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Wall-E Vignettes #4 : Pixar's new short animations featuring Wall-E

Wall-E having fun with Hula Hoop !

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Weekly Movie Recommendations : 14th June 2008 - 20th June 2008

Minority Report(2002)

Genre - Action, Crime, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Cast - Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell

Whats It About - In the future, criminals are caught before the crimes they commit, but one of the officers in the special unit is accused of one such crime and sets out to prove his innocence.

Why To Watch It - MINORITY REPORT is a dark, brooding vision of the future. Spielberg expertly mixes thrilling chase and suspense sequences (the best of which involves Anderton being pursued by eye-scanning mechanical spiders) and stunning special effects with a challenging look at society's willingness to sacrifice privacy and the notion of free will for convenience and security. MINORITY REPORT is a thought-provoking and exciting film that ranks with Spielberg's best.

Steven Spielberg is at his directorial best with this action, adventure. Tom Cruise is at his acting best as a futuristic cop on the run. This movie reminds us why we go to the movies in the first place.

Have a look at the future right here -

Saturday, June 14, 2008

My EXTENDED Views on "Getting Indian Animation Right. Why is it such an uphill task?"

My previous post about the issues affecting the Indian Animation Industry had some nice and insightful comments and after reading them i thought there were certain issues which i may have overlooked and certain issues which needed more emphasis on. So here is the extension of that post.

Again a disclaimer seems inevitable.

DISCLAIMER - Whatever I am mentioning here is absolutely my view of the issue/subject as I see it. I am not getting paid by anyone to write this and I am not affiliated to any institution/organization. I am not claiming whatever I write is correct as my interpretations of the subject can be as different as many of you reading this. We all see things in our own perception and that perception may be right or wrong depending on who is reading it. Having said that you are more than welcome to comment on my post and let me know whether you agree or disagree and why. Or you can in general present your views on the subject. Views/comments/opinions are very subjective and relative and there is really no right or wrong.

Last time i mentioned about the current animation boom in India and how almost all the institutes are making false promises of a fantastic career in animation and that too by just doing a course of 6-12 months. If indeed it was so easy i am sure all the other professional sectors would have closed down and everyone wanted to be in the Animation sector. Now in other vocations say management related or software related, its indeed true to an extent that if you do hard work in the starting years that is when you are doing your MBA (2 years) B.Tech (4 years) you are reasonably well on the right track once you finish your education. Then its only the matter of refining yourself as you work along because the foundation has been set with the education you have been provided. BUT in creative art forms, this is not the case. Here you can know/learn the tools, but by no means does it imply that once you know the tools what you create will be good. Learning or knowing is not enough you need to understand how and when to use the tools. And this is just the starting. You need to learn the tools, know how and when to use it and in the end the final output you create has to connect with the audiences at all levels. It has to be believable and it has to reach out emotional and sincerely. And this is no easy task by any means.

So if you are one of those who thinks "just because its in demand and it looks easy and since i am not sure what i will be doing in life, lets do animation", then you are better off not even thinking of Animation. Not that you are not good, but you lack the drive and passion which is required to sustain in this profession. You may enter the industry and may even earn a decent salary, thanks to our brilliant HR(more on that later), but to enter is just the easy part. Working everyday long hours, doing justice to your work requires immense dedication and hard work. Its not a field for losers, but requires a lot of study on a daily basis for as long you want to be in this profession. Animation is a serious business and a very serious vocation. Without doubt its a lot of fun and frolic and behind all these lies many many sleepless nights. You may be a loser before joining this career and be a changed person after that, but thats a different subject for discussion altogether.

Imagine, you are not well or some one near and dear to you is not well. Now obviously you will be depressed and not in your normal mood because of the circumstances around you. Forget being cheerful, it will be even difficult to behave normal. Now in all this if a friend calls you and invites you to a party/movie to celebrate some good thing which happened to him, will you feel like going and will you go in the end ? I am sure the answer to both the questions without even thinking twice is NO. You cant go because you are not in that emotional state to go. But when you are working as an Animator, there might be days(many infact) when you have to work on a very happy/sad scene whereas personally you may be feeling totally opposite. Trust me it can very challenging emotionally and creatively and professional to do justice to the work you are doing. And this is just one instance which is sort of usual for animators in their everyday lives. So like i said before behind the fun and play lies total immersion in your work. So think 100 times before choosing Animation provided you want to be in it for a long time.

So now if you see any more ads of those useless training institutes conveying in beautiful colors "Come learn from us and become and animator in 6-12 months", you will know its nothing but false promises and is similar to a politician's speech when he says you give us vote and we shall promise we will give you food, water, electricity and so on. And i need not explain whether they actually fulfill their promises or not. Of course like in the field of politics there are exceptions of few good people really inclined for the betterment of the society but majority are just burdens on their country. Similarly there lies many good training institutes who really know about animation and care about their students future, but even here the majority are nothing but burdens in the name of education.

Now the other issue which i am hearing a lot these days is the attitude of the artists specially newcomers who are just entering or entered the industry. They have been in the industry for less than one year and they act as if they were among the "nine old men" from Disney. Well no matter how good you are, if you have a bad attitude, not easy going, no one will want you to be around. People tend to forget that a lot has been achieved before they were even born. There is just no excuse for having a bad attitude, i don't mind going far and saying that people who have this false air around themselves, as if they are GOD are suffering from a disease much like say CANCER, long term it can get very very dangerous and might even be fatal.

I think to an extent even the recruitment process and the Human Resource department are to be blamed for this bad attitude behavior which is getting rampant day by day. Just to increase their targets, during recruitments, they literally beg in front of a prospective employee, offer them unimaginable amount of salaries, without even analyzing whether he/she actually deserves the kind of importance they are giving to them. And what happens in then end, freshers with no experience get a taste of false prestige in disguise of good salaries. Money is like drugs, in no time it can go to your head if not handled properly. And the result is the "i am the best" kind of attitude. If the person is lucky he/she may realize about this disease but by then it would have been already too late. Unfortunately even some seniors and veterans in this field have this attitude problem. I cant think of a more appropriate quote for this context than -

There are two ways of exerting one's strength;
one is pushing down, the other is pulling up.
-- Booker T. Washington

Majority of the times, we have a tendency to show strength by pushing people down instead of pulling them up. If we are among the few who are blessed with talent, thinking that if we share knowledge our importance will go down, we try to push other people down. Who suffers is the end is the art form and the organization where they work. They purposely maintain the gap so that the management becomes dependent on them and they can bend the rules whenever they want and demand a hike in salary whenever they feel like. All these grey areas which i am sure is applicable to any other any profession as well, but unlike other professions, it affects the animation industry on a more deeper level and that too on a daily basis.

Like some said "charity begins at home". So if you are reading this, all i can request is that let us all have a nice pleasing attitude of helping people, sharing knowledge, being genuinely nice to everyone, dont back stab anyone, don't indulge in office politics, though thats a different topic of discussion all together, but if you cant help getting affected by it, at least don't create or contribute to it. There is enough space for everyone and if we all live and work cordially, coming to work will be so much fun like never before.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wall-E Vignettes #3 : Pixar's new short animations featuring Wall-E

Wall-E getting magnetized..literally !

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Weekly Movie Recommendations : 7th June 2008 - 13th June 2008

The Apartment(1960)

Genre - Romance/Comedy/Drama

Cast - Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray

Whats It About - A man tries to rise in his company by letting its executives use his apartment for trysts, but complications and a romance of his own ensue.

Why To Watch It - Billy Wilder's "The Apartment" is a film which can produce some of the biggest laughs and at the same time... can bring many viewers to tears, Billy Wilder's quaint little tale about everyday people who get tangled up in love, jealousy and infidelity boasts a top-notch cast led by the trio of Lemmon, MacLaine and MacMurray who are tremendous.

Wilder brilliant depiction of the average American office as a place of brutality, coldness, and alienation conjure up Kafka and Marx. The director seduces the audience into what appears to be an unusually frank sex comedy, but turns the tables in displaying the consequences of the executive's cold indifference. Lemmon and MacLaine both give career performances and MacMurray is memorable as the blandly smiling snake.

Have a view of The Apartment right here -

Monday, June 9, 2008

New Animation Podcast : Ken Duncan Part Two

Animartion Podcast has released the Part Two,concluding conversation with Ken Duncan. In this second part of the interview, Ken talks about some of the his earlier films at Disney. Then the conversation focuses on his personal approaches to acting and his general workflow for animating productively.

Get the MP3 here
(25MB, 54:20 minutes)

Or get the enhanced version playable only with Quicktime, iTunes, or iPods.
(Includes chapter breaks, pictures and links in addition to the audio.)
(26.4MB, 54:20 minutes)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Animator's Survival Kit Cover Animation - Simply Amazing

Nothing to say just see it for yourself !

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Blender Open Source Movie Released !!!

In a bid to push open source 3D modeling software Blender as a suitable environment for professional 3D animation, Blender has released the results of its second open movie project. The 10-minute animated short, Big Buck Bunny, was released free on the Internet last Friday. The movie is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license -- including all production files and the contents of the film's official web site. The project, which had been codenamed "Peach," follows up the successful "Orange" project which released the Elephant's Dream short in May 2006.

Big Buck Bunny
(code-named Peach) is a short animated film by the Blender Institute, part of the Blender Foundation. Like the foundation's previous film Elephants Dream, the film is made using free software. Work began in October, 2007 and the film was released in an April 10th, 2008 premiere in Amsterdam.

Quote from an article on FoxBusiness -
"The Big Buck Bunny movie project demonstrates that the barriers to entry in the 3D animation world can be lowered tremendously using on-demand computing platforms. Even though the Blender team did not have support of a big studio, they succeeded with the community support, an open source rendering software and an on-demand computing platform," said David Folk, Group Manager of Network.com Marketing, Sun Microsystems, Inc. "With a growing collection of applications, a host of new developer tools and worldwide availability, Network.com is attracting more developers and end-users to use, build and share new services for a wide range of industries."

Full Article

The short is the first project by the Blender foundation to be created by the Blender Institute, a division of the foundation set up specifically to facilitate the creation of open content films and games. The film was funded by the Blender Foundation, donations from the Blender community, pre-sales of the film's DVD and commercial sponsorship. Both the final product and production data, including animation data, characters and textures are released under the Creative Commons Attribution License.

Trailer of Big Buck Bunny

Movie Download options for the Big Buck Bunny Here.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Weekly Movie Recommendations : 31st May 2008 - 6th June 2008


Genre - Biography/Crime/Drama

Cast - Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci

Whats It About - Henry Hill and his friends work their way up through the mob hierarchy.

Why To Watch It - Martin Scorsese's GOODFELLAS is a wry, violent, and exhilarating film about the life of Henry Hill, an aspiring criminal who ends up in the FBI's witness protection program after testifying against his former partners. As a poor Irish-Italian growing up in 1950s New York City, Hill (Ray Liotta) rises through the ranks of his Brooklyn neighborhood's organized crime branch, and with money from the mob he begins living the good life, complete with a beautiful bride, Karen (Lorraine Bracco), a fancy house, and the best seats at the most exclusive restaurants.

Scorsese's film is a visual and sonic onslaught, featuring a brilliant pop-music soundtrack and stunning camera work--including the infamous Steadicam one-take that introduces the audience to the Copacabana's patrons. He uses the songs to infuse a breathtaking, invigorating rhythm into every scene. As the psychopathic Tommy DeVito, Joe Pesci delivers an unforgettable performance that is alarming in its cold-blooded callousness, helping to cement GOODFELLAS' place as a classic portrait of life in the mob.

Enjoy the trailer right here right now -