Background & Movement in TV

Since TV animation tends to have smaller budgets than feature animation, we are often times limited in the kind of animation we can do in terms of backgrounds.  Here are a couple workarounds I have to show movement in a background.  

The first is a tracking shot into cam where our Character is running without gaining away or from cam (but they could if you wanted) The foreground is the ground plane which is just a simple looping set of lines. The BG is actually a static image that would slowly drift down towards the horizon line imitating movement away from the background. 

The second is also a tracking shot where the character is more in profile. This one requires some soft focus and low detail background drawings (usually not a lot, maybe 3 looping images. I only used 2 here but the theory holds.

The last one only requires a single background layout, but we use the camera to imitate action as it pulls out over a static image.

This is all based on my own experience rather than hard rulesets, so you know as usual take it with a grain of salt.

  • *Watching Game of Thrones*
  • me: wow these special effects are fantastic
  • date: yeah
  • me: you know what else is fantastic?
  • date: *blushes* what?
  • me: the fact that Game of Thrones is a high-budget show featuring a main character with a disability, and said character, Tyrion Lannister, doesn't fall into the tropes many Hollywood shows do. He isn't "cured" and doesn't "overcome" anything, but he isn't seen as inspiring, tragic, or pitiful either, has a full fledged arch with his own flaws, ambitions, and 3 dimensional motives. They also did NOT cast an able bodied actor as so many shows do

There is a difference between simple animation and lazy animation. Same face in a cartoon? Annoying but understandable, cartoons have a fraction of the budget of a feature film and anime has a fraction of the budget of a Western cartoon. Same face in a movie (especially in a movie where the studio’s bragging point (animation wise) is their brand new snow generator which made every snowflake used in the film completely unique)? Lazy. As. Fuck.

Andre Lyon’s Top 10 Financial Tips.

You’ll want to write these down!

Even if you’re not on the verge of becoming a billionaire like hip-hop impresario Lucious Lyon, chances are you can still benefit from improving your personal finances. We sat down with Empire Entertainment CFO Andre Lyon and asked for his top ten financial tips for the average person. You’ll want to write these down and keep them close by!

This is your first step. Take it seriously. Budget realistically so you can see where all your money’s going month-to-month. You can’t map out a financial strategy unless you know where you’re starting. This will also help wean you off the bad habit of spending money before you get it.

Like the saying goes, “All the glitters is not gold.” I can’t tell you how many new artists I’ve seen get signed to Empire, only to blow through their signing bonus buying fancy cars and clothes, trying to create the impression that they’re living on the same level as my father, who’s sold millions of records. They end up spending themselves into a mountain of debt. So even if you’re not a singer or rapper who’s signed your first contract, take my advice: slow your roll. Don’t let money burn a hole in your pocket. Keep your eye on your long-term goals.

This simply can’t be stressed enough. A lot of people are resistant to the idea of saving, but I always think of it as “paying yourself first.” Even if you’re already in the habit of paying all your bills and other debts as fast as you can, it’s time to change your mindset. In most cases, paying everyone else first will most likely leave you with very little money left to set aside, and you’ll continue living month-to-month with no way out.

Years ago, when my father first started making some good money from his record sales, he started getting bombarded with pre-approved credit cards. And I don’t think it’s telling tales out of school for me to say that he took full advantage of them…until I sat him down and showed him that he was just throwing money out the window in terms of interest payments. So I’ll tell you like I told him: figure out which two – yes, only two – credits cards you truly need to live on. Cut the rest in half. Ironically, the more income you make, the more those pre-approved cards will keep showing up, but you don’t have to accept them. Steer clear of the trap.

You often hear people say, “live within your means.” I disagree. For the average person, living within your means gives you very little wiggle room in case of emergencies. So you should be living as far below your means as reasonably possible. Saving a good portion of your income is critical to long-term financial health.

Balance your checkbook. Put all your monthly bills in one place and pick a specific day out of the month to sit down and pay them. Create a filing system for your bank statements tax returns, and other financial paperwork. These small steps might seem like a waste of time, but once you get into the habit of doing them, you’ll find that they actually save you money. No more overdraft fees or interest charges on late credit card payments.

Making people think they have to be millionaires in order to get into the investment game is one of the most effective tricks Wall Street has ever pulled. But that’s jut what it is: a trick. Anyone can invest, and it doesn’t require a huge amount of disposable income. You’ll have to take some time to do your research on this one, but trust me, this is where you want to start directing your energy. A simple savings account is nice, and easy for everyone to wrap their minds around, but they yield pretty much no return at all. If you want to start building a legacy – or even just a comfortable retirement nest egg – investing is the way to go.

If you’ve ever gone on a diet and had to keep a food journal, where you write down everything you eat or drink each day, then you’re already familiar with this practice. A “money journal” is just like it sounds: a written list of everything you spend on a daily basis, be it cash, check, or charge. If you do this for just four weeks, I guarantee that certain spending patterns will emerge, and you’ll be able to step back and take note of just how much money you’re devoting to things like lattes, movies, and snacks throughout the day. It all adds up pretty fast.

It’s okay to have big dreams. We all do. That’s exactly how Empire started out: my mother and father’s dream. A lot of people think my only job at the company is running around and stopping different departments from spending too much money. And yes, that’s part of it, but the reality is, sometimes you have to take big steps if you’re going to grow. So if you’re fantasizing about owning a big house or traveling around the world someday, let that motivate you. Just stay focused on your goal every single day.

William Shakespeare said it best: “Neither a borrower nor a lender be, for loan oft loses itself and friend.” Now, this doesn’t mean you should never help anyone in need (nor should you be too proud to ask for help if you really need it), but it’s a situation you should strive to avoid. It’s usually a no-win situation for everybody involved.

Happy birthday to actress Ann Savage, born February 19, 1921 in Columbia, SC.  After her father died when she was four years old, Savage and her mother settled in Los  Angeles.  While in high school, Savage screen tested at MGM but was rejected, prompting her to take acting lessons at the Max Reinhardt workshop, which eventually led to a contract at Columbia.  She made her screen debut in One Dangerous Night (1943) and would appear in 16 more, mostly low-budget, features throughout 1943-44, including What a Woman! (1943) with Rosalind Russell, Passport to Suez (1943) with Eric Blore, and three films with Tom Neal: Klondike Kate (1943), Two Man Submarine (1944), and The Unwritten Code (1944).  The following year, Savage entered film noir territory with roles in The Spider (1945) with Richard Conte, Apology for Murder (1945) with Hugh Beaumont, and Detour (1945) with Tom Neal.  She made a handful of largely forgettable films for the remainder of the 1940s and early 50s, including guest appearances in various television dramas, before retiring in the mid-1950s.  However Savage’s popularity among film noir fans was about to explode in the following decades.  Because it fell into the public domain early, Detour became widely syndicated on television, and ultimately available on cheap VHS releases, all of which helped the film acquire a substantial cult following and immortalized Savage as one of the iconic femme fatales of classic film noir. This newfound appreciation resulted in frequent invitations for Savage to appear at film noir conventions and festivals, as she enjoyed a resurgence of popularity and admiration from younger generations of film fans.  She made her final film appearance, after decades of retirement, in My Winnipeg (2007).  Savage died of complications from multiple strokes in 2008 at age 87.

Three possibilities for this next webisode:

1. Featuring the Ballet line?
Ashlynn’s dress maes me think about this collection. So…?

2. Featuring the Budget line?
Personnaly, I wish not even I think this collection could be better in 2D animation. I just said that because the Holly’s hair makes me thinked about her Hairstyling doll…

3. Featuring the Birthday Ball line ?
Yeah, I think it will be that. The girls are in mode “OMG!!! If she/he not arrives, the party will be off!” and we see ballons in the background. We’ll discover all the girls with her dessert dress and also who is spellabrate his/her birthday?

all i want 2 do these days is make movies. like legit movies that will go on itunes or video on demand. edward burns has made feature length films on super low budgets, as low as $9,000 then he licenses the movies to itunes or whatever and makes like $300,000 in sales. i think i can get in on that action. i don’t have any ideas for a low budget feature, but i know a lot about them from running this blog, the 90s was the golden age of indie film, so i can just rip off a lot from 90s indie movies and copy their low budget storylines, and like make artsy indie faux-intellectual features for upper middle class suburban moms and dads sitting at home bored as fuck. i could make hella itunes video on demand cash money with a feature film. like i could retire with one hit film. i’ll do some Alejandro Jodorowsky art school nonsense imagery mixed in with Richard Linklater’s Slacker meets Hal Hartley’s “Surviving Desire” 

What I’ve Witnessed As an Unpaid PA

I’m in my mid-20s and I’ve been an unpaid PA on a couple shoots in LA for low budget indie shorts and feature films in the past two years. On the few occasions I’d PA I witnessed a couple situations that made me shake me head in disbelief and disappointment.

The first I can think of was a time that I was PAing on a low budget horror film. The script was terrible and had a lot of the same imagery and themes that horror films of the 80’s had—kill hot chicks. But I wanted the experience so I agreed to work on it. In one scene a busty woman was making out in a car with a guy. They were soon to be killed by a guy in a black ski mask. As the scene went through several takes, one of the producers at one point shouted to the DP and Director “You guys need to get a shot that shows her tits better. Get in there. That’s why we got this actress.” After he said this the actress opened up her shirt a little more and the DP uncomfortably got as close as possible to her chest. It was an awkward moment for me to see someone like me, another fellow woman, to be stripped down to just her cleavage and the Producer reinforced that, this was the only reason she was here or important.

On another shoot I PAed on a similar situation happened. A female producer was trying to shoot little bits for a sizzle reel about a show similar to “Alias.” She was shooting action scenes with the lead actress fighting off a couple of thugs. After a couple of takes the female producer looked the actress up and down and then went up to her and pulled her tank top down so that her cleavage was exposed. The producer then commented “We need to have a little cleavage in this so that the investors like what they see.” She obviously knew it was ridiculous because she laughed after saying that. She directed the DP to “Make sure you get a good shot of her boobs.” I wonder if male actors get scrutinized and objectified the way these female actresses did. I’ve never seen it happen to men on set, so far.

I have a male friend who is a DP and he was showing me some dallies of a short film he was working on. I noticed that in once scene the lighting that was on the female character was brighter than it was on the male character. I asked him what was going on with that and he acknowledged that it didn’t make sense but that “You always have to light your lead female in an attractive way. You always have to make her look good.” I wasn’t aware of this rule for DP’s, no one ever taught me this in my Cinematography class in film school—I always thought that you had to make things look realistic. Overall it made the lighting in the scene look disconnected and took me away from the story.

My friend who was a Script Supervisor for a couple years has shared with me some of her experiences on set. She mentioned how crew members on a couple shoots tried to make unwanted advances on her and were relentless. It made her so uncomfortable that she decided not to work in production anymore because it happened on almost every shoot. As a Script Supervisor she was called “Scripty” incessantly, which she felt was demeaning to her professionally. “It’s not like I’m calling the Director, Directy or the Gaffer, Gaffy.”

Even though these things are unsettling it shouldn’t deter women from working in the film industry. Every time I see situations like this, I vow to keep going strong and I hold on to the values my mother has taught me: to work hard and value the thoughts and ideas I have more than anything else. I think there’s more to women than cleavage or looking the most attractive all the time, which is what the media and these projects seem to value. I look forward to the day I get to work on set of a story that doesn’t objectify a woman but shows how complex the interior of her character is. If I don’t find that story soon, I’ll end up writing it someday.

Mimi Leder on the Struggles of Being a Female Director
Ms. Leder talked about her role in creating the look and feel of “The Leftovers,” the differences between film and television and the barriers for women in both mediums.
By Scott Tobias

Q: Do you feel the barriers for women to direct features are higher than the barriers to direct television?

A: I think budgets are higher [in features]. And it’s mostly males hiring. And they mostly hire males. That may sound controversial, but I can’t figure it out. Why aren’t there more talented women directing features? Why are women clawing to be directors when there are male directors who have made two or three $200 million failures and get to make another one? That doesn’t happen with women. Never.

Q: You had one movie that was not a success. That would not kill a man’s career.

A: No. They give a man three more movies and that’s the truth.

What I Did When I Found Out I Was Being Paid Less Than My Male Subordinates

I was working on a small budget feature film as an APOC (Assistant Production Office Coordinator). There were only male Production Assistants. I was dealing with time cards and saw that the male PAs were being paid more than me. Not by a lot but still, not cool.

I walked right up to the Producer and said, “Hi, something is wrong, someone has their rate confused. These should AT LEAST be equal. Though since I’m doing twice as much work as these guys I should really be paid more.” To which he responded, “Well, we didn’t really need an APOC on the shoot and we had already hired the PAs but we liked you and wanted to find a spot for you.”

He made all our pay equal, and by week 3 I was promoted to Production Coordinator.

I now work at an incredible production company. I had interviewed for two positions, which meant I had two interviews with two potential bosses. I got my job and my boss is incredible and I don’t think he realized how sexist his comment was but he told me: “[Name] downstairs really liked you but he wanted to hire a guy.” (!)

I have so many stories I could share and I’m only 24. It’s sad.