Monday, September 1, 2014

American Hand-Drawn

I'm aware of various hand-drawn projects that are percolating. Here is one:

... “Hullabaloo” is described as “a 2D (hand-drawn) animated steampunk film that hopes to help preserve the dying art of 2D animation.” It’s helmed by James Lopez, veteran Disney animator whose 25-year career has included credits such as “The Lion King,” “The Princess and the Frog,” “Pocahontas,” “Hercules,” and the recent short “Paperman,” among many others. He’s currently a teacher at CalArts and has also worked for other studios including Warner Bros. and Dreamworks.

Along with other notable current and former Disney animators including Bruce Smith, Rick Farmiloe, Minkyu Lee, Sandro Cleuzo, and Sarah Airriess, Lopez is fundraising to make his project a reality. ...

I've never completely figured out why hand-drawn feature animation died such a rapid death in the late nineties and early oughts. Obviously the towering success of CGI features and the conclusion of corporate chieftains that "audiences preferred CG" had a lot to do with it, but I always thought the content of late century hand-drawn features played a big role.

Disney's Atlantis and Home on the Range (among others) did not boost the format. DreamWorks Animation's decision to make their CGI animated films zany and comedic while keeping their hand-drawn projects in "Masterpiece theatre mode" (a DWA staffer's description) also didn't help.

Sadly, management's collective mind appears to be made up: CGI sells, hand-drawn productions don't. So it's nice to see independent efforts to revive hand-drawn movies. The more of them get made, the higher the odds that one (or more) of them will click with audiences.

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