Saturday, September 27, 2008

Muppet designer Bonnie Erickson on puppet storytelling and inspiration

Good article. Whenever I get ready to pre-plan for animation, I will always get in front of a video camera, even if it is just my webcam, and act out several versions of whatever action or acting I'm going for. That instant feedback is important to me, and that is what I find appealing about puppetry.

Bonnie Erickson designed and built the inimitable Miss Piggy in 1974 for an early "Muppets" television special, produced by Jim Henson. Puppets, props and storyboards from Henson's prolific career are featured in the traveling exhibit "Jim Henson's Fantastic World." Anika Gupta spoke with Erickson.

You've been designing muppets and mascots for years. What attracts you to them?
The creation of worlds—the whole process of designing characters, putting together a back story, giving the characters an environment in which they can thrive and casting performers who can bring them to life.

Why do puppets appeal to adults as well as children?
They've been a tradition across the world for thousands of years as a form of storytelling. But, until recently, they have't been appreciated in the United States. Now, however, puppetry is finding a niche in the arts—dance, theater and even opera. I think people appreciate the performers' skill as well as the artistry of the puppets themselves. We owe a lot of that to [Muppets creator] Jim Henson's vision.

(full article )

Monday, September 08, 2008

Original Ghostbuster Harold Ramis Confirms Reboot | Wired

25th anniversary of the original 'Ghostbuster' movie next year, like anyone should be surprised that Sony wants to capitalize. I do like how they are being coy about it.
Original Ghostbusters scribe Harold Ramis has clarified rumors regarding the revival of the '80s paranormal franchise.

"Columbia is developing a script for [Ghostbusters III] with my Year One writing partners, Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg," Ramis (pictured, right) told the Chicago Tribune. "[Dan] Aykroyd, Ivan Reitman and I are consulting at this point, and according to Dan, Bill Murray is willing to be involved on some level."

Ramis also backed up rumors that Judd Apatow regulars like Seth Rogen, Steve Carrell and Jonah Hill could lend their star power to the third installment.

"Judd Apatow is co-producing Year One and has made several other films for Sony, so of course the studio is hoping to tap into some of the same acting talent," said Ramis. "The concept is that the old ghostbusters would appear in the film in some mentor capacity." (link)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

I think Youtube might be advertising Spore..

They are very subtle.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

VOLTRON movie in the works?

This definitely could be somewhere on the 'awesome' scale, please don't nuke the fridge!

(actually, don't think that phrase really works with the Voltron property, but I haven't used it in a while, suck it Indy!)

Bill Melendez 1916-2008 |

Man, I grew up tracing 'Peanuts' comic strips, love those specials. RIP.

(more at

Bill Melendez, the Mexican-born American character animator, film director, and film producer, best known for his animation for Warner Bros, UPA and the Peanuts specials and feature films, has passed away.

In 1938, Melendez was hired by Walt Disney to work on animated short films and feature-length films such as Bambi, Fantasia and Dumbo. Three years later, he joined Leon Schlesinger’s team at Warner Bros. studios, where, as a member of the Bob Clampett and Art Davis units, he animated on a number of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck shorts. Among the classic Warner Bros. shorts he animated on are Book Revue, The Great Piggy Bank Robbery, Baby Bottleneck, and The Big Snooze. UPA put him on their payroll in 1948 to work on many television commercials, as well as the Gerald McBoing Boing and Madeline shorts.

After a decade working on commercial and industrial films at studios like John Sutherland Productions and Playhouse Pictures, Melendez founded his own production company in 1964. Bill Melendez Productions helped produce the annually broadcast Christmas special A Charlie Brown Christmas, for which he won an Emmy Award and the George Foster Peabody Award despite having to work on short notice and with a tight budget.

Melendez has gone on to do over 75 half-hour Peanuts specials, including the 1989 miniseries, all with partner Lee Mendelson. In 1979, he directed a made-for-TV animated version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.