Friday, May 22, 2009

Latest Stories at

Here's what I've been posting over on the new site:
So if you haven't been over there yet, please go. This blog ain't gonna be around much longer.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Moving time!

To all readers:
This blog address will soon be going stale.
I've been getting things up and running over at, an address that used to be forwarded directly here.
I'll contiue to double-post at both locations for the next little while, but will be gradually moving all the resources over to the new address.
So please, head on over and get registered, update your bookmarks and links, and keep checking back.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Toronto After Dark Film Festival, Final call for entries

Got this in from the Toronto After Dark Film Festival. Act fast, deadline is tomorrow!

Call for Entries, Final Deadline: Friday, May 15, 2009!
This is the very last chance for you to submit your short or feature film to this year's Toronto After Dark Film Festival. Last year's event was attended by a record-breaking 8,500 rabid movie fans and over 100 film press and industry members. Filmmakers have been consistently delighted with the response we generate for their screenings. This year's festival runs 8 Thrilling Nights for the first time in Summer, August, 14-21, 2009 and we hope you'll enter your film for your chance to be a part of our thrilling cinematic event in Toronto, Canada!

But if you want to enter Toronto After Dark 2009, you'll have to hurry. To be considered, your film details must be entered online by end of day (11.59PM) this Friday May 15. As long as you make that deadline, the good news is that we will then fully consider your film as long as we recieve your film screener here in Toronto, by our May 29 submission package arrival deadline.

Full entry details including our festival's own fast online submission form are at the official Toronto After Dark Film festival website here:

If you are user of the Withoutabox submission system, alternatively you can quickly enter your film to our festival, logging into your account on this page here:

We look forward to your entry!

- Toronto After Dark Film Festival Team

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

official word on Fatkat closure

Well, as reported here last night, Fatkat Animation, of Miramichi, NB, is closed.
Word went up on the studio blog today from Gene Fowler. Here's some of what he had to say:
Alot of stuff has happened in the 10 years that the Fatkat brand has been kicking around, though mostly all in the last half. We've produced simply a ton of commercials and interactive spots. We've cranked out series such as Skunk Fu!, Chaotic, SuperNormal and of course the straw that broke the camel's back "Three Delivery". Don't get me wrong, all were good productions, but Three Delivery was the monster, some called it a studio killer (you were right Rick!), I just giggled it off, but I knew they were right. It'd be a miracle if we came out of that one alive. Though it certainly beat the hell out of us all, we made it though. With all 26 episodes delivered to YTV and the other broadcasters just last week. I thank the entire TD crew for that, you did what many could not, you survived the most demanding and torturous production I have ever seen and did it with a smile, albeit a few teeth are missing from your smile; my heart goes out and my hat comes off to you. I'm very proud of the work Fatkat produced and Three Delivery is an awesome show because of it. Extra big thank yoos to Robbie Anderson & Tavis Silbernagel for making it shine and staying committed through all of it. A massive thank you to Stephen Ashe and Carol MacKinley to cleaning it all up in finance, insuring that everyone was paid in full. It was no small task and you did it all with grace and humility. I thank you.

Gene gives personal thank yous to a huge list of people then looks to the future:
I have gathered a few close friends from Fatkat and will be starting a new studio here on the Miramichi. It will be called "Loogaroo" . We'll be reflecting on all we did right, but also all that we lost sight of or totally messed up on. Then retooling our new shop and providing the same great service that we did for so long with Fatkat but with some mighty big changes and improvements. We'll be looking to put the finest ex-Fatkat artists to work as quickly as possible. I urge you all to reach out early and often to keep top of mind. Thank you for staying in the area and for your loyalty to me and Miramichi. We're by no means done yet, as a matter of fact, we're just getting started! I'm off to spend some much needed time with my family, again thank you for 10 glorious years with Fatkat. I look forward to many more as Loogaroo.

Not really much else to add. Very sorry to see the company fold, but these things happen. It's business.
Fingers crossed and best of luck with Loogaroo.

original post here.

Troy Little presents: Angora Napkin!


Tonight! In Ottawa! One night only!

Fresh off his appearance at TCAF in Toronto, Troy Little is in Ottawa to sign copies of his various printed work… right now actually, at the Comic Shoppe on Bank Street. After that, rumour has it he’ll be screening a sneak peak of his Teletoon Pilot for Angora Napkin. Not sure if Nick Cross’ half of the show will be screned as well, but I’m gonna find out for myself in just a few hours. I’ll let ya’ll know how it turns out!



Fatkat closes doors

Gene Fowler posted to his LinkedIn profile tonight: closing down Fatkat and wramping up Loogaroo. Oh the life of an Entrepreneur!
Over on Facebook, his work info now lists him as Executive Producer at Loogaraoo, which he describes as:
a new start up company picking up where Fatkat left off. But with more deliciousness.
I tracked down Gene on MSN tonight and confirmed that yes, Fatkat is indeed no more.
The company had a very successful run over the past few years, but hit on hard times in 2009. With Fatkat done, Gene will be launching Loogaroo. The official word on the new startup will be forthcoming, but it appears that the company will be comprised of some of Fatkat's key players, but in a far more stripped down working model.
I'll post more information as it becomes available. For now, it's so long Fatkat. You had a good run, produced some excellent animation, and we had some laughs.
Good luck to all the Kats.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

changes afoot

Some of you may have noticed, depending on how you are linked here, that there are some changes taking place. I'm finally going to be consolidating all the various pages here under one roof. Work is underway on For the past several months, that url has simply been forwarded here to the blogspot address, but this address will soon be a memory. I'll make an official announcement when the new site has a proper launch and will encourage you all to update your links and bookmarks. I don't want to lose anyone!
Til then, keep reading, keeping commenting, and keep sending me tips and links and films and anything else that catches your eye!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Pixar-Vancouver update

Got a heads up over the weekend on what to expect out of Pixar-Vancouver. This is completely unofficial, know-a-guy-who-knows-a-guy, info.
There's pretty much zero official word on what the recruiting effort will be in Canada. We're being told to simply check out the website. It will likely be between 3 to 6 months before active recruiting begins. At that point, there will be info on the site, but more likely, the Vancouver shop will have it's own channels and identity. It looks like it wil be treated as an entity unto itself.
Word is the division will be handling ancillary projects, not the shorts we've traditonally seen supporting the theatrical features. Those will continue to be produced in Emeryville.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Pixar to open Vancouver Studio

For reals! Pixar is scouting locations for a new studio in Vancouver. The Canadian facility will be responsible for shorts production, a niche that is essentially the building blocks of the Pixar empire and has won the studio countless awards. Word is they will be employing roughly 75 to 100 animators and will be looking to hire mainly local talent.
Great news for Vancouver, a city that has seen it's animation community really struggle these past few months.
Full article at the link.
I imagine this news will be popping up elswhere today, so I'll try to update as we go.
Thanks to Kelly Irwin for the tip.
Update: links to coverage.
Vancouver Sun
Calgary Herald
the Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter has the most info. It seems that Pixar is looking for locations to BUILD a 20 000 square foot facility. Not much else to add for now.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Mr. Happy wins best short, Babelgum online film festival

Directed by Michael Patrick O'Hara, Mr Happy took home the "Professional Jury Award for animation" from the Babelgum Online Film Festival.
Michael has made a few other shorts, was assisted on this by his son Aidan, got judged by Spike Lee (seen in picture) and is brother to Catherine O'Hara of SCTV and various Guffmany movies. I'm sure Michael never gets tired of having his sister's name come up in his press.
Babelgum describes itself as a "A free, revolutionary Internet and Mobile TV platform supported by advertising". I've never heard of it before today, but they've got some kind of exclusive on the Gorillaz movie, which I didn't know was being released yet, so show's what I know.
Congrats to Michael.

From the internets...

NFB and Directors Guild of Canada sign "historic" agreement. This deal apparently recognizes the "central role a director plays in shaping the creative vision of a film" and, for the first time, "animation directors and assistant directors will enjoy the protection and benefits of a comprehensive collective agreement". This only relates to NFB folks, but still a step in the direction the rest of the animation community has been discussing. You can read the whole document at the link.
I'm going to give it a proper read later on.
To those whose lives are actually affected by this deal, congrats.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

New page: showcase your shorts!

Just added a new page on here: a showcase for short animations. It's pretty straightforward, if you have a short, get it up on youtube or vimeo or something similar. If it's any good, which I know is totally subjective, but I get to call the shots here, I'll post it up on the page. All the films will be labeled with the creator's name, so if you like someone's work, you can just click on their name for more. I may spotlight a creator here as well.
So if you've got a film, let me know.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Recruiting event , Starz Animation, Toronto

Thought I'd put this up here along with on the job board.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fatkat dealing with downturn

I've had a lot of links sent my way over the past day or so regarding the current situation out at Fatkat in Miramichi.
Here's a few of them:
First of all, full disclosure: I used to work for Fatkat. Gene Fowler is a friend of mine. A lot of my friends work for Fatkat. I like Gene, and I like his crew and his company. I root for them. Gene built a heck of a shop and right now they are suffering from a slump, as is common in this industry. I talk to Gene pretty regularly and have known that they have been struggling to land their next contract for a while. There have been a number of contributing factors, many of which are listed in the various articles. The economy as a whole? Sure. The provincial tax credits? Big time. Fatkat has laid off a lot of people. Is this news? Well, sure. Is this unusual? Not at all. This business is cyclical at the best of times. Most studios have the luxury of being located in large production centre like Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, and, to an extent, Ottawa. What usually happens in these places when one studio is between gigs is that the artists head over to another shop for their paychecks. It's called a talent pool, and studios draw from it regularly.
Out in Miramichi, Fatkat is the only game in town. So when they lay people off, there really isn't anywhere to go. This is tough for the artists and tough for the company. I know they've worked very hard to keep people on as full time empoyees in the past, something they did a great job at for a good long time. But sadly, that's a little unrealistic in this industry. Work ebbs and flows, that's the bottom line. Right now, for Fatkat, it's ebbing.
Local media has jumped on this. Some of those headlines are a little misleading and actually contradict the language in the articles themselves. I have a feeling the writers of these articles, for the most part, are unaccustomed to the nature of this industry, and hey, a story is a story.
I'm not going to specualte about the future of Fatkat. Here's what I know:
Fatkat has finished, or is in the process of finishing, the bulk of the work they have had running throught the shop for the last number of months. They have laid of most of their staff. They continue to seek out projects and are currently waiting for the financing to click on one in particular, a European production called Leo and the Pisa Gang. I have a piece on that very show that I wil run over the next few days. Fatkat has not closed and has not moved. Gene himself has said that they are holding on and working with their creditors (who have been very cooperative) to keep things going. That is all there is for now.
Things could change in either direction, for sure. But that's speculation. Personally, I would not count Gene Fowler or his crew out. Until I hear anything to the contrary, Fatkat is open for business.
Good luck guys.

From the internets...

  • Chad VanGaalen has some new films premiering at Toronto's OVER THE TOP film fest(via quietearth) : EBAY (Canada) - World Premiere BALD STATIC (Canada) - World Premiere Trying to summarize the latest animated shorts by Sub Pop recording artist, Chad VanGaalen is pointless, but expect a skateboarder jumping over a crucified Jesus’ massive erection in Ebay, and a sprawling abstract sci-fi story told with various types of animation (hand-drawn, stop motion, etc.) in Bald Static. Both films feature new music composed and performed by VanGaalen. I'll look around and see if I can find them online.
  • Cookie Jar is getting into the live-action game. With the success of Canadian cop-drama "Flashpoint", American networks are looking north for their next cheap hit. Traditioanlly a family-oriented toon-shop, Cookie Jar has launched a new imprint, "the Jar" and hired former Columbia TriStar and Paramount TV division boss Tom Mazza. But they're still making cartoons too. This really shows th scale that companies like Cookie Jar and Nelvana(Corus) are playing on. While what most of us would consider successful companies: Fatkat Animation, Atomic Cartoons, and the like, are struggling, these guys are diversifying, spending money to make money and really stepping up to what might be considered the "big leagues". Is this a broadening gap between the classes? It does show how well-positioned companies can capitalize on an economic downturn to increase their position.
  • Elan Awards. Congrats to Mercury Filmworks, Bardel Entertainment, Shane Plante, Algonquin College, and anyone else I might have missed.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Triumphant Campaigns of Captain Cudney, by Kyle Marshall

Look what's finally available in it's entirety!
Triumphant Campaigns of Captain Cudney from kmarshall on Vimeo.

Algonquin College, Grad Show and Sketch Nights

Spent a few hours out at Algonquin College yesterday catching up with old friends and seeing what the latest crop of grads have to offer. The same conversations keep popping up about the industry, but people are hopeful and most are still working. As far as the grads are concerned, this looks like another good year. I haven't had a chance to go through everything yet, but I have to take a moment to single out the work of three students: Collin Tsandilis, Mayrhosby Yeoshen, and Trent Correy. These guys pulled off a great little film called "Charged". Solid design, typical, but well executed animation, and great colour theory. I'd love to stick these kids with a seasoned mentor to work on a film together. The film does reveal their inexperience in small ways, but it approaches professional quality, at least on the level of, let's say, "Eight Crazy Nights". I understand it's been sent off to the Ottawa Festival, and submitted to Disney/Pixar for their intern program.
I really hope these kids get to keep working together and don't get lost in the grind of the TV industry.
Sadly, the other fine work on display was overshadowed by Charged. That's not to say that there isn't an excellent level of quality coming out of Algonquin this year. Solid portfolios full of good drafting and character work, some very promising 3D animation, and a growing number of actual films being completed by the students. Our hometown school has a great program, and everybody deserves a big congratulations on another successful graduating class. Good luck to everyone!

That being said, there's a Tuesday night Sketch group meeting at 7pm at Portable Feast, in the B building at the college. Tonight's the first night, so I'll wait to hear back how the turnout looks.
Rich Lauzon has a Facebook Group running to keep folks updated. Here's what he had to say:

We meet Tuesday nights to Sketch. Just for the fun of it. Bring Friends. Bring food. Bring books! All who love drawing and talking about drawing are invited. FREE PARKING!!!!!! You'll have access to my books in my office. It will be throughout the summer starting Tuesday, April 28th, 2009 up until College kicks in again in September. By subscribing to this group, you will receive weekly updates/changes as they come. Hope to see you there!


Hey guys, Thanks for joining the group!! This Week's Theme: None. We're just drawing, OK? But it would be great if you could post something on your blog/website/whatever and show us what you did. BTW, Bring a book or two that you bought from Labyrinth. We'll compare notes and I'll get to add titles to my book wish list. I'm already in deep trouble from last week... I now accept donations to the Rich's Library fund! For those of you that are new, the rules are simple: 1. Show Up and sign in. 2. Bring Sketching materials, food, books and friends (last three are optional). 3. Draw, eat and talk! 4. When you had your fill... you leave. 5. Don't for get to sign in!! We don't expect you to show up for every Tuesday. But if you can, that is awesome. Encourage others to come. We'll have recent PreAnim Grads, Animation Students, teachers and working artists... A great networking opportunity! PARKING IS FREE If you have any questions, feel free to ask. See you Tuesday!! Rich

Apparently parking is free.

These kinds of groups are great. We've also got a comic jam getting launched here in Ottawa by Sue Marsden. You can find info on that here.

So no excuse not to draw. Have fun everyone.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Kid Koala, Music to Draw to , heads for Toronto

Kid Koala, DJ and friend of animation, ran a very cool event in Montreal a while back. He spins tracks as backgroound music for an evening of creativity. No dancing. Just drawing, writing, I suppose macrame would be welcome.
Looks like he's taking the show on the road. Toronto, New York, Los Angeles. More info at the link.

From the internets...

  • More Bob & Doug coverage. I saw most of an episode last night. Meh. Simpsons wasn't any better though.
  • Cordell Barker gets quoted. CBC gets a good chat in here.
  • King of the Hill's Boomhauer will be making a trip to Canada on the series finale, May 17th.
  • Channel Frederator's compilation of Ottawa Festival signal films gets some interesting responses.

St. Clair College Grad Show, Windsor, ON, May 3rd

From Rose Bultman @ St. Clair College, in Windsor, Ontario:
If you are in Windsor, ON., Sunday May 3, 2009 be sure to check out the Annual Tradigital Animation Grad Show, featuring 2D and 3D student films from St. Clair College. The show is at the beautiful riverfront campus, St. Clair Centre for the Arts, doors open at 6pm, show starts at 7pm. Tickets are free and can be picked up at the college, room 273 or from any faculty member. Refreshments will be served; program DVDs, tee shirts and hoodies are for sale; come out and meet the students, check out their artwork enjoy the show.

I like the little guy in the snappy sweater, bottom right.

Cordell Barker premiering @ Cannes

This came in from Melissa Than at the NFB:

Cordell Barker's newest animation makes its world premiere in Cannes at Critics' Week! Info below.
For clips and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Runaway, go to
Clips also available on YouTube:
RUNAWAY 'Making of : Animator Cordell Barker' :
RUNAWAY 'Making of : Composer Ben Charest' :
RUNAWAY (Teaser 1) :
RUNAWAY (Teaser 2) :
RUNAWAY (Teaser 3) :

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Emily Carr Grad Show, May 16th, Vancouver

Anyone in Vancouver should head to the Vancity Theatre for the ECUAD Grad Show.
Would love a review if any readers are able to attend!

"Short Fuse" The ECUAD Media Grad Show

The Vancity Theatre will be selling tickets to the show in advance online at
May 16, 2009

Doors 5:30 pm

Awards 6:00 pm

A: Animation Program 6:30 pm

Intermission 8:45 pm

B: Film Program 9:15 pm

Show ENDS 11:30 pm
May 17, 2009
Doors 5:30 pm

B: Film Program 6:30 pm

Intermission 8:45 pm

A: Animation Program 9:15 pm

Show ENDS 11:30 pm

Each Program is $12. $12 to see Program A and another $12 to see program B

We're hoping the Red Bull Girls will show up...

Algonquin College Grad Show, Monday, April 27th, Ottawa

Grad Show is almost upon us, just a reminder to those who can attend.
Apparently, parking is free this year.

Monday, April 27, 2009
1:00pm - 6:00pm
The Observatory Pub at Algonquin College
1385 Woodroffe Ave
Ottawa, ON

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Animate wacked out little animals for Jessica Borutski

Here's the skinny:

Attention All Animators!!!

I need help to get this short finished for this years festival!!
Its a fun little piece, that is animated to the fun cute beats of LIGHTS. She is a girl from Toronto that just won a JUNO for best new artist!!The film is about a little bunny trying to make friends, but has a little trouble because of his physical aliment. (: Its a satire obviously....A SILLY SATIRE!

So if you enjoy animating wacked out little animals to fun beats, let me know.....Ill throw a scene or 2 your way. Please send examples of other work you have done.Just so I can make sure you are a great fit for this project(:

I can't pay but I can make you a sweet title card for all your hard work, like this one I made for LIGHTS....

Here's the link to Jessica's blog.

And here's Jessica's previous effort, I Like Panda's.

Monday, April 20, 2009

From the internets...

  • Ok, so I erroneously reported last week, that Bob and Doug had premierd LAST Sunday, when, in truth, it ran last night. I still didn't catch it. But here's some more coverage.
  • Teletoon shows on iTunes.
  • Bardel Distribution sells Zeke's Pad.
  • Jordan, of Jordan's really really awesome blog, has some questions for Fatkat's Gene Fowler. Gene?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Canadian Animation Directory

Normally I would post this over on the Directory page, or maybe in Features, but I wanted to make sure that it got as much readership as possible.
I had a chance to scan through a first draft yesterday of the Ottawa International Animation Festival's Canadian Animation Industry Directory. These guys are working hard to put this thing together and it will, as I've mentioned before, also be available this year in an online format. Hat's of to Kelly Neal and Patrick Cross at the festival for doing the hard work to get this together.
This publication is a valuable resource for our community, and one that doesn't exist elsewhere. AWN has a directory on their site, but it's dated and unwieldy. Playback recently started something called the Blue Pages, but the representation of the animation community is poor, much like their coverage of it. This is our resource. It gets distributed all over the world. Used properly, it's essentially our community's calling card on the international scene.
So why aren't you in it?
Now, to be fair, a lot of you are. But so damn many of you aren't! This thing should be a monster. Sadly, though, it just isn't. We're a huge community and there's no one place to go to find each other. This should be it. I really don't know what you're waiting for. It's free to register at the Festival's site. It's free to get listed in the directory. They've tried really hard to provide a variety of categories that will cover everyone out there, and I think they've done a good job.
Go and get listed! Each and every one of you. Be proud of your industry, your community, and your place in it. Are you a board artist? They've got a category for you. An animator? A producer? A director? A casting agent? They've got categories for you. Independent animator? Again, a category for you. Every one of you newbies out there should be lining up to get your name in here. Set up a blog, post some drawings on it, and get the url and your email listed in the damned directory today! And the studios. Why aren't you in here? I can understand the individual animators to an extent, but aren't you guys in the business of doing business? This is free marketing. FREE! For Pete's sake. You are backwards. Ass-backwards. I am tired enough of people out there whining about the latest downturn in the industry. But I promise you right now, the next person that does so, I will look you up in the directory. And if you are not there, I will post your name on a list entitled "People I Know Whose Asses Are Backwards".
This is the least you can do, the VERY least, next to doing nothing at all, to promote yourself and support your community. I'd love to see accurate representation in that book. A big fat tome that you can slam down on a foreign producer's desk and show, proudly, that this is who we are.
So turn you asses around. Right now. And be counted.
You've got til Monday.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Reminder, Labyrinth Store at Algonquin College today, Ottawa

From 3pm til 7pm today, Labyrinth Bookstore will be set up at Algonquin College.
The Animation Road Show blog is part of the Labyrinth Bookstore in Toronto, Ontario Canada. We specialize in books on illustration, animation, as well as thousands of graphic novels and manga. The Labyrinth Store will be part of the General Arts Open House Wednesday, April 15th!!

A better collection of hard-to-find art books, sketchbooks and graphic novels you're not likely to find.

If you have a few bucks burning holes in your pockets and can get out to the college, you won't be sorry.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
3:00pm - 7:00pm
ALgonquin College,Main Lobby, Building H
1389 Woodroffe Ave,
Ottawa, ON

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

From the internets...

  • Bob & Doug premiered last night. Anyone see it? Any thoughts? The previews I saw were funny. Mainstream press coverage here.
  • Lengthy post about the de-cartooning of Cartoon Network on Including this mention of the success of Canadian export, Total Drama Island: "the biggest show of the year for Cartoon Network was one they didn’t even highlight, a Canadian animated acquisition called Total Drama Island. And you know what happened? Cartoon Network had its best year-long ratings ever. Total Drama Island ruled the summer and much of the fall."
  • Great interview with Fran and Will Krause on Cartoon Brew. Not Canadians, but a good read. Upstate Four is an example to everyone working in Flash of what you can achieve. Plus it's a really great cartoon that someone needs to put into production.

Upstate Four 1 from Krause Brothers on Vimeo.

Upstate Four 2 from Krause Brothers on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009 animation contest

This came in from Another animation contest!

...thought I would update you about our latest contest. It opened on March 24, 2009 and will be accepting entries until April 27, 2009. This is the first contest we've opened internationally, so we're excited to see what the world has to offer and to see our Canadian contestants step up their game! Grand Prize is $2500.

I'm including a link to our contest page, which contains more information about the contest and includes our most recent entries. Judges for this contest include Kelly Neall, the Director of the Ottawa International Animation Festival and Jessica Borutski, the lead Illustrator and Animator at Fuel Industries.

Official Contest Page:

Go check it out!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Digital Henchmen Launch Party, Ottawa, Club SAW, April 9th

Digital Henchmen is a new studio opening here in Ottawa, and to celebrate, they're throwing a shindig this Thursday at Club SAW.
Here's the press release:

April 9th, 20009, Club SAW, 8pm: Digital Henchmen launch party and music video premiere for Amos the Transparent.

Upstart animation trio, the Digital Henchmen, will be unveiling their freshly-pressed animated music video for local musicians Amos the Transparent. Bands, businesses and arts patrons are all welcome to come to the SAW Gallery at 8:00 to enjoy the show, grab some refreshments, and share the love.

Performances by Amos the Transparent, Jesse Dangerously and the Centretown Cripplers. Tickets: $12 in advance or $15 at the door. Available at Invisible Cinema (Bank and Lisgar) and the Comic Shoppe (Bank Street location)


About Digital Henchmen:
Jordan Richer, Steven Sloan and Darren Bird are the Digital Henchmen. Three experienced animators setting up shop under one roof with the humble goal of lighting a fire in the Ottawa animation industry. The trio is staking their territory in the short form market, including: animated shorts, music videos, instructional videos, webisodes, and commercials/advertising. With a wide array of technical know-how, backed up by strong traditional training, the Henchmen can walk the walk.

Their first official collaboration, a fully-animated music video for Amos the Transparent, is the calling card that will show off the Henchmen brand: creativity, quality, and professionalism

Good luck to these fellas and see you there!

Kalamazoo Animation Festival, Kalamazoo Michigan, May 14th-17th

Got a heads up from Bryce Hallett regarding the Canadian presence that will be in attendance at this year's Kalamazoo Animation Festival. Here, I'll just let Bryce tell you:

Hey Michael,
Do you know about the Kalamazoo Animation Festival?
It's in Kalamazoo Michigan in May 14- May 17

I know it's in Michigan and not somewhere in Canada, but I just thought I'd bring it up because there are a lot of Canucks going to be in attendance there.
For example,
Janet Perlman is doing a couple of panels and discussions. One called "the Anatomy of a Funny Story" another on Music and Animation with Judith Bruber-Stitzer and some other folks.
Aubry Mintz, who is a Sheridan grad just a year ahead of me is doing one called "The Art of the Animatic" and one with Ellen Besen "Ridiculously Great Animated Sequences and Extra Special Storytelling Techniques".
He's also moderating a Panel with myself and Bruce Simpson on going the freelance route called "Bryce and Bruce: Careers Outside the Studio System.

Ellen Besen and I are also going to be doing a presentation related to her book Animation Unleashed. Where I'll be drawing live while she's presenting. It's improv drawing!. or sketch comedy!.. heh heh....ok bad pun.

Other presentations and talks by fellow Canucks, Ishu Patel, John Halfpenny (Angela Annaconda, Eek the Cat, Beetlejuice") Mark Glassman, Sharon Katz, Madi Pillar, Richard Reeves etc etc

Heck, even a group of students from Humber College are among the students competing in a 10 day aniamtion marathon to make 30 PSA's based on a theme. That's pretty cool.

(and there's a bunch of stuff by many notable and interesting American animators and animation producers too of course. heh heh like Gary Shwartz, Linda Simensky (PBS), Jennifer Oxley (Nick Jr.), Mike Mitchell ( Sky High, Shrek 4) Ed Hooks ( acting for animators) etc etc etc)

If you're interested in knowing more this is the list of guests:
and this is the list of panels and presentations:

I haven't looked through everything, but it looks like it will be a really great festival.
and it has a number of interesting screenings it seems as well.

Anyway I hope things are busy with you and going well.
Keep up the excellent blogging!

Bryce has done this live-drawing show before while Ellen chats. I've heard it's a great presentation, so if anyone can get to this thing it sounds well worth it.

Thanks to Bryce for the informative message.

Friday, April 3, 2009

slow news day

Very busy animation week for me. The usual stuff, plus some secret meetings, the Fuel Job Fair and a meeting of the Algonquin College advisory board. Lots of interesting , though I think off-topic, conversation. I'm trying to put finishing touches on a few pieces that I'll post next week, so please check back. Sorry for the lack of posts today.
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Algonquin College Grad Show 2009, April 27th, Ottawa

If you're in Ottawa on Monday, April 27th, that's the day that Algonquin College puts its latest graduating class on display for any and all.
Here's the details:
Monday, April 27th, 2009.
1 to 6 pm
The Observatory Pub at Algonquin College
1385 Woodroffe Ave
Ottawa, ON
613-727-4723-5821 (Neil Hunter)

There's a Facebook event page for any of you who're on there.

Monday, March 30, 2009

From the internets...

  • Stoked, animated sitcom from Fresh TV (the Total Drama folks) developed and produced for Teletoon, sold to Cartoon Network, Canal+ and TPS Jeunesse in France. "Blah blah blah tween market...blah blah blah quality kid's proramming...blah challenges status quo."
  • Portfolio and Teletoon unveil Hood, hoodie-wearing teen superheroes. Looks like Fatkat will have to retitle one of their shows. Sorry Gene.
  • Chris Williams doing PR for Bolt DVD release. Revelations: We're in a golden age for animated features, and Bolt is a movie about a dog. Congrats to Chris though on his success with Bolt, I saw it with my daughter last night and it did surpass my expectations.
Sorry, I'm a little snarky today.

Indieanimatornetwork, bump to features page

I just want to draw your attention to the left hand sidebar. Up at the top is a link to the features page. I mentioned this previously but added a post this morning. It involves a site I came across called indieanimatornetwork and my confusion over borrowed content. Please have a read and chime in.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hard at work

I'll apologize right off for any problems that may occur over the next week. I'm working on some upgrades and will be playing with the layout a bit, but will continue to post. So please keep checking back.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Stop-Motion Animation Workshop, Toronto, March 26th, 2009

Any Toronto folks with a jones for puppets can get their fix tomorrow night courtesy of the Toronto Animated Image Society.

Puppet building, puppet animation fundamentals, and a "How To" intro to independent Stop Motion. Sunday, April 26th, 2009. 10 am - 5 pm At the TAIS Studio, 60 Atlantic Avenue $35 members, $50 non-members (Pre-registration required) To register, contact the TAIS office at or by calling 416-533-7889

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Job Fair at Fuel Industries, Ottawa

I'm posting this on the job board too, but felt it was worth a little additional attention.
Fuel is looking to fill 30 positions including graphic designers, programmers, illustrators and project managers. Here's the link.

If I were in Miami... aw who am I kidding? South Beach Animation Festival

The South Beach International Animation Festival starts in a few days. A few months ago I received an invite to this event and deluded myself into thinking I might actually get to go. Well, maybe next year.
In their own words:

South Beach International Animation Festival will again celebrate animation film and other cartoon art forms from around the world in sunny South Beach, Florida.

This entertaining, family friendly location serves as host to SoBeIAF with screenings, parties and special events taking place at a variety of venues around Miami and the Beaches. In addition to film screenings, the Festival hosts art exhibits, hands-on demonstrations, seminars, and workshops about the newest technology and creative software.

The Festival runs from March 26 - 29 and April 5th, 2009, giving visitors mild springtime tempters in the day and balmy Caribbean nights. So, save the dates, book your trip and we'll see you on the Beach, because everybody loves the "Toons".

John Canemaker and Bill Plympton are the featured guests this year.

Noreen Legault Mendoza is the main organizer, and she seems to be doing a pretty good job. My only issue is with the judges. They've gone with local figures and media personalities. Personally, I'd like to see one judge with an animation pedigree, but the result could be interesting. Rarely do we get to see how non-animation folks sort out the variety of films they'll be exposed to. There does appear to be some Canadian representation, with the Triumphant Campaigns of Captain Cudney, The Urge, Wapos Bay, Malaise, Nothing Like Her and Perfectland all competing in a variety of categories.

Good luck to our countrymen, and congrats to Noreen on putting together this little shindig.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Animation Scene: Atlantic Provinces, March 2009

Following coverage of what's up in Ottawa, I'm going to cast my attention to the east coast of Canada, where the industry has grown considerably over the last ten years. My apologies if any feel that lumping all the eastern areas together is an injustice, but for now, that's how it's gonnna be.
I'm just getting to know a lot of the folks out east. I'll openly admit that, until working for Fatkat a few years back, I was pretty unfamiliar with the whole region (at least professionally, I did some schooling out in Nova Scotia as a lad). What I've got here is largely unconfirmed, and I invite anyone reading to contact me to corroborate or correct what I report. I will be following up this week as well, trying to get as strong a picture of what's up on the right hand side of the map as I can.
First, no report on the Maritime region would be complete without a mention of the closure of Collideascope last summer. It was arguably the most stable and consistent and well paying place in the region. Collideascope also represented the region on the national stage as an established place. Huge blow.
As far as the active studios go, I'll start with Fatkat, since I chat with these guys pretty regularly. According to Gene Fowler, Fatkat is in the home stretch on their 26 half hours of Three Delivery for Nicktoons, Canal+, and YTV (among others). The Space Knights Pilot is in post for Teletoon (no air date on that yet though). They're prepping a few other things, including 26 half hours of a german production that should start in the summer. They've been putting up some art from this one over on their blog, feel free to check it out here. There's also talk of a US production and a UK gig, also for spring summer. Once these are locked I'll update.
Cartoon Conrad: completed animation on 13 episodes of Razzberry Jazzberry Jam for Trapeze, in PEI, and CBC in 2008, hoping for season 2 . Maybe a late May start on that one. I've heard very good things about this place. They were good and busy in 2008, and I'm told Luke Conrad did a great job of people happy over there.
Copernicus: I have mixed reports. One report tells me they are ramping up on a copro with Dublin-based Kavaleer Productions on Garth and Bev. 52 11 minute episodes. May startup. The other, that they are in mid production on said production, which should be coming to an end late May or June. I'll try to follow up here.
Helix Digital: Again, unconfirmed, but apparently putting together a very major project for CBC. It would be very high end and long running and is looking to start in May/June as well to run for about two years. It's in the Budget/Schedule phase but will likely be fast-tracked into production. Helix is still angling for full series work on top of this project as well. So, likely slow at the moment, but sounds promising.
Huminah Huminah: Word is that they are turning more towards gaming, with representation by Fog Studios, a gaming agent out of New Brunswick. I'm told they've been managing to keep busy on odds and ends, but no major projects to mention.
Invisible Entertainment: These guys are still mainly supporting the region and servicing the other hops, so they're keeping their fingers crossed for everyone I mentioned above.
So, in a nutshell: it's been quiet, a little too quiet for a lot of people. Even with a big ole' tax credit and more experienced crews, the work isn't pouring into the Maritimes the way it was a few years ago. They've had their boom, which is part of the industry cycle, and now they're competing with everyone else. But there's a lot of talented folks out east and it looks like things will level out. The next few months will be crucial, as work needs to lock in to keep these shops going through 2009 and into 2010, when people think the worst will be over.
Fingers Crossed.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

From the internets...

  • Claude Robinson VS Cinar, plagiarism case valued at $3 million that dates back to 1996, started March 10 and will run for 3 weeks, via AWN
  • Because someone demanded it: Amberwood's Zeroman is coming to DVD.
  • Babar is going 3D. Apparently Nelvana is planning the same thing with Franklin the Turtle.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Animation Links and Resources, courtesy of Ron Doucet

Ron Doucet, over at Flooby Nooby, while claiming some small reaction to the last post here, has slapped an incredible amount of linkage up on his blog that will be of value to pretty much anyone who reads this. I'm having some technical issues with viewing his blog, and have barely scraped the surface of what's up there, but go and see for yourself.
He's got classic animation tips, clips for inspiration, advice on job hunting, portfolio preparation, salary analysis, just tons of goodies, some of which I may make room for on here as well.
For now, go visit Ron, and be sure to say thank you.
Job Hunting Post.
More info.

Friday, March 13, 2009

A Conversation With Mark Cappello

I had a chance to chat this morning with Mark Cappello, of Nova Scotia’s Invisible Entertainment. Mark is known for being a straight shooter, and some of you may remember him from his open letter to Nova Scotia Animators. Here’s what followed:

Michael: Hey Mark.
Mark: Hi Michael, how are you?
Michael: Busy, which is good. You?
Mark: Only a little busy, but I'm okay. What are you working on these days?
Michael: Mainly the blogsite. It's becoming my full-time job and I got some short-term money from the province for a bit to get it up and running.
Mark: Well that's awesome. It's funny I had tried to jumpstart a professional association a few years back. Basically a central online place with all the features you want to build, plus some more standard benefits as well. People were not terribly interested, of course times were better then...
Michael: Yeah, there is still a hesitation from people in the industry when it comes to committing to anything. ASIFA Cananda, for example, currently has no members.
Mark: I know, it's nuts. Especially when you consider the amount of people in this industry across the country AND the amount of graduates colleges pump out across the country every year.
We've really devalued our professional status, and no one seems to care or want to communicate.
Michael: It's getting a little better, but you have to practically trick people into it. I think the way to go, and I've been talking to a few people about this, is smaller, loosely-organized groups. Once they're up and running, tie them together for some actual industry representation.
Mark: What's funny to me is that every other profession that touches animation is represented. Writers with the guild, producers with the CFTPA, Directors with the guild, Voice actors with Actra, post and sound guys with their association... right down to the janitors that come in and clean the studio. But the artists are not represented. Is it any wonder that only our work gets sent overseas?
Michael: We're strange beasts.
Mark: I'm not a 'union' guy, I don't think a union would work at all, but a professional association? I agree with you, it may be best to form a template and start locally with the idea that these groups will eventually coalesce.
Michael: Toronto has a few different groups already: TAIS, Alexis Victor runs something called Industry Night and always draws a crowd, and now here's a new group started by Barry Sanders: Animatic TO. There's also been talk of something out in Vancouver, just an opportunity for industry folks to socialize semi-regularly. And I'm going to be getting a seasonal get together started here. Start it as event-based, a screening, a lecture, plus something social. No dues, no memberships. Just getting people into a room together every few months, then a year down the road, create a membership, but no dues. Raise some sponsorship to cover the events, then you tie the groups together.
Mark: That sounds great, but it will be amazing how few people show up in a large animation community for free! I think you're right, we're strange creatures.
Michael: Well, it helps to have an open bar, or at least free drink tickets!
Mark: Agreed, but the studios are very fearful when it comes to labour organizing. Booze would work though!
Michael: Yeah, but what you do is make sure they have representation on your advisory board, so the studio interest is represented. You're there to be their voice, as much as the individual. But you have to have the worker bees represented as well. Put them at the same table
Mark: I could see that, but what things would you eventually be going for, other than strengthening the community? What benefits come out?
Michael: A unified voice that can bring issues like the provincial tax credit situation to our policy makers, but for now, I'd be happy with just having more communication in the community, that would be a victory unto itself.
Mark: That's a major one. We need to strike down the laws that make it difficult for us to go where the work is, each province could have it's own rate knowing that when a worker is there his money and taxes are dropping right in the province.
Michael: Agreed. We're competing with ourselves.
Mark: I think we need to talk seriously about group health benefits, seeing as how so few companies offer them.
Michael: Also very important. Without treading into union territory, it wouldn’t be too hard to arrange a group benefits program that members would have access to. I have friend in the insurance business that I've been talking to about this very thing.
Mark: I think we really need every 6 months a wage survey, so people know what the 'going rate' is for services. No one forces you to abide by this, but you can see for every region what the standard rate of pay is and you will feel obligated to follow that.
Mark: We are competing against ourselves, but companies prey on the ignorance of the newbies.
Michael: That's always been the case, that's why all the seasoned talent ends up working in their guest rooms and basements doing boards or sheet direction. There's always someone who will do the job cheaper.
Mark: Haha, it's true.
Michael: Not necessarily better, but cheaper rules the day. The real tragedy is that the current studio model is actually incredibly inefficient. An older model, with the emphasis on a strong director who is also the show runner and experienced talent is much cheaper to run. You pay more for fewer people.
Mark: I find the 'veterans' are often the toughest to reach with this stuff because they have carved a comfy little niche for themselves. They don't see the next generation being taken advantage of as their problem.
Michael: True in many cases. They've been burned, so now it's someone else's turn.
Mark: I agree the current model sucks, there is so much waste.
Michael: And they're usually only too happy to see the snotty, cocky punk straight outta school get the entitlement knocked out of them
Mark: It's true, I just wish they saw those people as themselves when they were full of naive hope and animation industry ignorance.
Michael: Well, the current attitude coming out of the schools, and I'm saying this in the broadest sense, is a lack of respect and level of entitlement the likes of which I've never seen before. No one feels they have to prove themselves.
Mark: It's so true. I've hired at Sheridan for 8 of the last 13 years and it's worse EVERY year. They're talented, but every one of them wants a directing job, or a development design job. It's brutal!
Michael: Well, since animation became a "hot job" (and that's a direct quote from an issue of Entertainment Weekly circa 1994) it began attracting people who are essentially lazy, people who can draw, and think it would be an easy way to make a living. And there are so many schools out there, every one of them will get in somewhere, and be pumped back out into the industry , 10 months later in some cases, thinking they are animators.
Mark: The schools are a big part of the problem. There is one here in Halifax that charges $17,000 a head per year for two years, and I can't even think about hiring them. I've spoken to some of the instructors and they're told not to fail anyone. It's borderline criminal.
Michael: Nick Cross recently said to me that he's only just become comfortable calling himself an animator. And Nick has been making his own films for 10 years.
Mark: Nick is awesome.
Michael: Yeah, arguably the best independent animator working in the industry, and he only just started calling himself an animator. The school situation got bad 10 years ago. In some areas it settled down, but there's always some where else that opens and cranks out kids. I was in Vancouver when it happened there. Fly by night outfits that opened, took your money, and were sometimes out of business before they graduated their first class.
Mark: This is the kind of 'reporting' I would like to see for our industry. Articles about tax credit law, and where you're eligible (because most people don't know), articles about the education problem, articles about successful individuals who have maintained humility and respect for the industry like Nick Cross. Not fluff like Animation Magazine.
Maybe we can start an online news source and build the community and interest that way?
Michael: Hmm… You think?
This is the direction I'm trying to take the blogsite. It's tough. People don't talk too much, so getting those opinions can be tricky.
Mark: I don't know, we all have our routine on the computer, check CHF, check your site, check facebook, then get to work. It can be part of the ritual.
Michael: I hope so. I haven't really pushed the content on the site too much yet, but that's where it’s headed. This would be a great thing to post, this conversation. See if we can get people talking. There are rarely comments on the blog, which I find surprising.
Mark: It will be difficult, in fact it will be tough to keep it from sliding to mudslinging and conjecture. But real reporting is difficult. I think if you had some regional people that got a lot of this info together... you're essentially editing it at that point.
Michael: Yeah, it has to have teeth, and I don't mind REPORTING on mudslinging, but you have to be respectful of all the players in the community. People have to be willing to sit down and speak frankly
and stand by what they say though. It can be done without being offensive. Speaking your mind and being disrespectful are two very different things.
Mark: There are a lot of stories out there that need to be told. Reporting could be cool, going into a studio and asking why the decision was made to send a project overseas, pros, cons, etc. And report that unbiased to give everyone the reasons from that company's perspective. Approach Teletoon and ask why they only put a fraction of shows together last year. The editorializing can come when we discuss why the greatest and most fertile animation country in the world has 'Teletoon' as our official cartoon network. We can ask why the real creatives are not getting opportunity.
Mark: As far as the studios, it allows for them to advertise jobs AND proudly represent any awards, or production deals, or news that they have DIRECTLY to the animation artist community.
Michael: Sadly the reality is more likely just a place to fire off press releases.
Mark: For some. Others may take the opportunity to talk directly to the artists.
Mark: I don't know how to brew more commentary. You would think that if this thread was posted there would be lots of people who agree, disagree, and have ideas of their own, but very few people would comment I think.

From there the conversation devolved into mutual masturbation and appreciation. But I’m going to make this a regular feature and open the door to other members of the community to have some frank conversation, share their feelings about the industry, the larger animation community, and the blog itself. I’m not putting forth that Mark or myself have any answers to the questions of the day, but maybe these types of conversations can at least give us the questions.
Please feel free to chime in: tell us what know-it-all bastards we are, offer alternatives, opinions or links to get rich quick schemes.
Communication furthers our community and benefits us all.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Nerd Corps launches League of Super Evil with CN, YTV

Nerd Corps announced their new deal with Cartoon Network last week. Here's the press release.

US viewers should prepare for the coming of
Cartoon Network will unleash 26 evil episodes starting this March

VANCOUVER, CANADA (February 25, 2009) –Get ready to root for the bad guys, here comes the League of Super Evil, a brand new comedy series that will soon be unveiled on Cartoon Network.

Produced by the evil masterminds at Nerd Corps Entertainment, this hilarious comedy series follows a team of bumbling super villains in their ongoing quest for total neighbourhood domination, and will launch in March airing four times per week, with new episodes premiering on Monday evenings. The net has picked up 26 x half hours, which will be aired as two consecutive 11-minute segments. Additionally, Nerd Corps will be creating 30-second shorts tied to each episode for use as bonus on-air content of evil.

“The great thing about the League is that they always find a small, delusional victory where everyone else would see a defeat,” says Nerd Corps CEO and creative head Asaph Fipke. “And they tend to lose spectacularly. The fun is in the ridiculous and convoluted course they take in getting there, and the underlying parody in the heroes and villains that the town is full of.”

“Cartoon Network is the perfect home for a show like L.O.S.E.,” says Nerd Corps President Ken Faier. “They really understand the humor and parody in the show, and how it will appeal to their viewers, both in the core kids demo and beyond.”

Collaborating on The League’s plan for complete world domination is YTV in Canada , which will also launch the series in March, as well as the BBC’s children’s channel in the UK, CBBC, Jetix in Latin America and Canal +, Canal J and Gulli in France.

Armed with a whole new approach to badness, The League of Super Evil (a.k.a. L.O.S.E.) follows four Super Villains who have set their sights on nothing less than total neighbourhood domination! L.O.S.E. is helmed by the diminutive Great Voltar, whose grandiose plans are generally miniscule and child-like—and give new meaning to the term lowered expectations. Then there’s gadgeteer Doktor Frogg, whose evil genius is diminished only by his incredible bad luck. Bringing the muscle is fresh-faced former farm-boy Reginald “Red” Menace, who prefers to channel his energy into gardening, cute animals and bouncy castles. And we can’t forget the completely unpredictable Doomageddon, a pan-dimensional creature who brings the term “bad dog” to a whole other level. Between using a Shiruken anime robot to win a playground slam dunk competition, inventing a super-computer to protect Voltar’s sweet new evil BMX bike, or hosting a neighbourhood barbeque and not inviting ANY of the neighbors, L.O.S.E. struggles ever-onward to its goal of total mindless fun! Isn't it time the Villains got their due?

The images look good, hope the scripts can match the visuals. Nerd Corps has been getting things done and building a solid reputation. I haven't had any first hand contact with them yet, but will have to remedy that situation. Need to find out who the talent is over there, get us a peek at what else they're up to.

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