Tag Archives: film

Paperm’n

The wife-o-tron and I went to see Wreck-It Ralph last night and the experience has stuck with me. It was a wonderful date night filled with film and food. But it’s not the feature itself that really resonated with me. Albeit Wreck-It Ralph is an incredibly good movie, carefully handled and lovingly crafted, it’s more the short film that preceded the movie that I can’t get out of my head.

The name of the short is “Paperman”, you can probably find stuff about it on Google or any of the other menagerie of search engines out there. But if you can’t, here’s a small taste of it:

Here’s a video of the director of the short, John Kahrs describing the look, which basically pares down to hand-drawn characters interacting with pre-rendered three dimensional backgrounds.  And you’re probably like, “Yeah?  So what?  It’s been done, who cares?”  Yes, it has, but it’s never been done quite this well, at least not that I can remember.  Usually when studios try that kind of integration, they do some cheap cel-shaded look which, in my opinion, looks absolutely godawful and kludgy a majority of the time.  But here it looks like the characters fit with everything.  There’s some subtlety to the way that the characters are animated, they’re fluid, they’re not stuck in some weird axial movement like CG rendered characters.

In this article Mr. Kahrs describes the expressiveness of the drawn line.  How just a few strokes of a pen here or there can change something so incredibly.  A shift from a zenith to a nadir can mean that the character is happy as opposed to sad, and yes, this is obvious.  But it’s not so much what’s relegated to the paper, but also the feelings of the person behind the tool.  A hard line might mean that the artist was upset with something, or it could mean that he was trying to convey that the thing he was jotting down was an impressive or imposing figure.  You can’t easily get that kind of nuance with CG animated characters at this juncture in technology.

Wreck-It Ralph does look incredible, fluid and wonderful.  It’s incredibly polished as a film, but why couldn’t it have been drawn in this style instead?  Ease of use?  Probably not, it still takes one and a half to two years to finish one of these productions with the same amount of manpower.  It probably has to do with the industry standard, Pixar and their ilk, much to their credit, has made it so that it’s incredibly hard to market a traditionally animated film, which I think stanches the overall output of animation, which I hold in incredibly high esteem.  In fact, I regularly wanted to do something in animation, though I never cared enough about my art to begin even trying.

I love cartoons, and anime, and 3D CGI stuff, but there’s room for all of these things in the marketplace.  I remember watching Kung-Fu Panda years ago and being really disappointed that more of the movie wasn’t done in the very fluid, traditionally drawn style of the opening sequence.  I thought it looked gorgeous, and I think there’s just something soulless to everything just being rendered out from a giant server farm in polygons, as opposed to done in some sort of Photoshop equivalent on a handful of drawing tablets.  We have the technology.  Let’s start doing something like that.

Let’s change the paradigm so that all forms of animation are openly accepted and released in the consumer space.  I’m game to start something if anyone else is.  It’s not like I do anything else.

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Another Thing I Wrote To Some Simp On Copyrights

Materials cost money, no matter what, and most people will opt to recoup the cost of their investments. Besides, tell that to the creators, showrunners and producers of television or movies or music. They may love doing what they do, but want to advertise it, or have a mixer that knows what they’re doing, or actors that aren’t awful at their jobs. That costs money. People often lend up their expertise at a craft in exchange for being paid.

It’s like… the people in favor of piracy assume that the only people that are getting paid is the person whose brain it came out of and these avaricious demons in giant buildings. How about the engineer in the recording studio, or even the person who built that hundred thousand dollar studio, or the guy holding the boom mic that gets paid minimum wage, you’d be taking away his job, or the grip, or the gaffer, or the writers, or the photog, all the cogs that work on that shit just as hard as the motherfuckers that get put up on the marquee.

Trust me on this. I’ve fucking been there.

If a TV show doesn’t do well in advertising money as figured out through the draconian Nielsen rating system here in the states, it gets cancelled, those people can be out of work for a long, long time, which sucks because the internet can be just as good and is honestly the future that TV is afraid of, they should embrace such a delivery system, because they can sell ad space through the streaming websites and get revenue and whatever, but people don’t even want to look at advertisements anymore.

Like, what do you assholes want to do in exchange for entertainment? Nothing? Tell me how that’s even fair? And that’s not considering that this current system is broken and archaic and stupid, it’s the current delivery system we’re under until someone makes a better one. We can’t make a better system by dismantling this one by not spending money for thirty fucking days, hell, even pirating it for a few years is a drop in the goddamn bucket and is negligible. What we need to do, as denizens of the internet, is get together and create a different deliver system that everyone in the business barring the RIAA, MPAA or any of those entities can get behind, and support, and still maintain with some integrity.

It’s not the spending of money that’s the issue, it’s spending it in the wrong fucking places. You’re on the internet, everyone is on here, everyone would like more fairness, find them, find the people that can do something and fix the issue rather than exacerbating it by doing some kind of ridiculous piracyfest that might serve to levy more bills against internet distribution. There are people that can change this with enough discussion.

I guess what I’m trying to get at is, yeah, music is easy enough to self-distribute, but if you can’t advertise, even on the internet, it won’t reach a lot of people as word of mouth can only go so far. Writing is also easy enough to self-distribute, but the same problem arises, and don’t even get me started on publication costs if you want to release a physical book. For TV or Movies? It’s nearly impossible to make something yourself and get paid for it. But it all points back to the same solution, if you don’t like how things currently work, move to fix the problems, don’t make them worse by doing stupid shit that makes it look like a bunch of the people that use the internet are thankless clods. That’s not going to get us anywhere. Piracy is enough of a problem since it’s a hot button issue, and that shows a lot of people are paying attention to it, but you’re not understanding that it’s viewed as problem. And, really, do you want to turn a problem into a bigger problem that pushes a awful, disgusting bill into ratification?