the animation archive

Walt Disney’s ‘Bambi’: The Making of an Animated Sound Picture

#tbt Walt Disney was one of the first donors to MoMA’s film collection, presenting the institution with the Mickey Mouse short Plane Crazy and several others in 1935. The Museum continued to acquire animation for its film collection, and in 1942 presented Walt Disney’s 'Bambi’: The Making of an Animated Sound Picture, which was timed to coincide with the film’s theatrical release. The exhibition explored the technical process of making feature-length animation; it featured the building blocks of the craft—animation cels, drawings, and background paintings—along with documentary photographs of the cast and crew at work on the film. MoMA would follow this effort with numerous exhibitions on the art of animation over the years, including United Productions of America: Form in the Animated Cartoon (1955) and more recent exhibitions by artists who employ animation, such as Tim Burton, William Kentridge, and the Quay Brothers.

See press releases, images of the opening reception, and more at http://mo.ma/2mEbf0C. 25 of #52exhibitions

Starset- My Demons


Originally intended to post at the debut of Arc 2, this Animatic/Animation hybrid video was started back in March, and VT planned on animating the entire second half of the video, but unfortunately ran out of steam and doesn’t plan on finishing it. You can still see the storyboard frames for the rest, along with what animation he did get done!

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Artists in Action!

Meet Ryan McFadden and Kevin Iwaki, two Coordinators in Nickelodeon Animation’s Archive and Resource Library! We can’t get enough of their super passionate personalities and the incredibly valuable work they do for the studio from cataloguing archives to curating art galleries. This is the epitome of the dream team, people!! 

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1) What is your role here at Nick? How long have you worked here?

Ryan: I am the Creative Projects Coordinator with the Nickelodeon Animation Archive and Resource Library. What my position really amounts to is a Treasure Hunter, Researcher, Historian, Caretaker and Gatekeeper to Nickelodeon’s vast collection of traditional animation resources. I have been with the company for about 4 ½ years. 

Kevin: I am the Collections Coordinator at the Nickelodeon Animation Archive and Resource Library and I’ve been here for about two and a half years. My role at the studio is to catalogue and preserve all the original production artwork from our classic 90′s animated shows like Ren and Stimpy, Hey Arnold! and Rock’s Modern Life as well as more recent shows like SpongeBob SquarePants, Fairly Odd Parents and The Legend of Korra.

2) How did you get started in animation?

Ryan: From a professional standpoint, I got my start as an intern in 2011 with the “Tape Vault”. At that point in time there was no Animation Archive as it exists today. The library was a small section of the Post-Production department and was responsible for cataloguing and storing the final master tapes of all the shows being produced at NAS.

From a personal standpoint, I got my start as an authentic 90′s Nick kid. I was obsessed with the shows that were on Nickelodeon during my childhood: Ren and Stimpy, Rocko’s Modern Life, Rugrats, The Angry Beavers, etc…Really, my career as a Nickelodeon historian began at that time. Nothing could have prepared me for this position than having lived through and experienced the phenomenon of Nick’s golden age in the 90′s. 

Kevin: Like how anything starts in this business, I knew some people who knew some other people so after I graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts I got a position at the Warner Bros. Corporate Archives. My project was to help support the archive with all of their projects from curating exhibits like Comic-Con and the Paley Center to archiving and preserving all of their historical assets like Michael Keaton’s Batman costume to original Looney Tunes production art by Chuck Jones and Maurice Noble. After two and half years of discovering more Warner Bros. history than any book published, it was time to move on, and I was ready for a more unique experience in archiving. That’s when I heard about Nickelodeon, and their project to build an animation archive and library. I knew this was a great opportunity to really make a difference, and I wanted to be one of the founders of this archive. I would say the rest is history, but my story at Nickelodeon is still being written.

3) What is your day-to-day like? Any interesting routines?

It’s always a bit different on a day-to-day basis. Some days we’re at a warehouse, digging through thousands of boxes of animation assets that have been untouched and all but forgotten for decades. On other days we’re meeting with members of the studio and providing them with art and reference materials. On other days we’re traveling offsite to setup and install art galleries. Really, our job is anything but routine and we enjoy that. Variety is the spice of life, as they say.

4) What continues to motivate you to work in animation?

It really boils down to our passion for this particular content. We feel personally responsible for the legacy and well-being of our artwork and history and we can see the value that an archive of classic Nickelodeon material brings to the studio and to our audience. It really reinforces the backbone of our brand and fuels the fires of creativity. It’s an honor to be in the position that we’re in.

5) What are the favorite parts of your job?

Our favorite parts of the job are the aspects that deal with people. We love meeting all of the various members of the studio and animation/entertainment community. They’re awesome, fun-loving people. We actually got the chance to go up to Skywalker Ranch this year and meet all of the Lucasfilm archivists. It was incredible! We’re huge fans of Star Wars and Indiana Jones. To get the chance to see their production assets was a life-changing experience. We saw the original Ralph McQuarrie concept art from Star Wars and even got to hold real lightsabers.

6) Tell us about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.

We’re very proud to have been agents of change in the studio and to have worked towards bringing our department from a humble tape vault to a thriving animation archive. Aside from that, we assisted in mounting a successful gallery exhibition at California State University Fullerton for the 25th anniversary of Nick Animation this past year. At the opening, several of the creators and architects of the early animated programs (Vanessa Coffey, Arlene Klasky, Jim Jinkins, Stephen Hillenberg, Mark Marek, Chris Viscardi) were in attendance and gave monumental speeches detailing their careers and experiences. It was surreal!

7) What/who inspires you?

We feel inspired and affected by practically everyone we meet and all of the art we come across, so it’s hard to pick just one person or thing. Above all, our families have always been very supportive of our efforts here. We’re both very grateful for the insight and support of our families and they certainly are an inspiration to each of us personally.

8) What is your advice for aspiring artists or people interested in entering animation?

There is a lot of cliché advice floating around Hollywood, but it’s often very true. It’s important to know/affiliate yourself with the right people and to be at the places where those people are. It’s all about being at the right place at the right time, and to be ready to seize the right opportunities. Be confident in your skills and abilities, but don’t get too cocky, and always try to be the type of person that people want to have around them.

9) Do you have a mentor or someone else who’s been an impactful person on your career?

Before we really started to build our own archive, we got the opportunity to tour several incredible archives: Disney, Paramount, Warner Bros., Sony, NBC Universal, The Writer’s Guild Archive, LACMA, The Japanese American National Museum and Lucasfilm. We are a very young archive when compared to these others, and the professionals that staff them graciously shared a lot of wisdom and experience with us on these tours. They really opened our eyes to the way things work in a successful archive and helped us figure out how to go about achieving our goals in our own archive.

10) What are your favorite hobbies?

Ryan: I am a musician. I love to play guitar, bass and also use software like Pro Tools and Ableton Live to compose all sorts of music.

Kevin: I love collecting high-end toys, and my office has some of my Marvel and Star Wars collections on display, which always starts a conversation with visitors. I’m also a Disneyland Annual Passholder and love going to Club 33 with my friends.

11) What is one of the most challenging aspects of your job?

We have a pretty small crew and are constantly spinning projects of all different kinds on all different timetables. Sometimes balancing all of them proves challenging, but we take it as a sign of growth and progress. We are hoping to expand our team in the not-so-distant future.

12) What is your spirit animal?

Ryan: Reptar.

Kevin: Something epic like Harry Potter’s Patronus Stag…

13) Favorite Nickelodeon show?

It’s a toss-up between The Ren and Stimpy Show and Rocko’s Modern Life. Both were such boundary-pushing shows and had such unique and powerful styles. We consider both to be examples of fine art. There’s a special place in our hearts for Hey Arnold!, SpongeBob SquarePants, and Avatar: TLA/Korra too, for the same reasons. You don’t even have to be a kid to really enjoy these shows…they have something for everyone and are really a commentary on the human experience. A lot of Nick cartoons have that kind of depth and, truthfully, we get very excited about all of the shows we’ve done here at Nick.

14) Favorite Nickelodeon quote or catchphrase?

Ryan: “I can’t see my forehead.”  -Patrick Star (Patty Hype)

Kevin: “You sick little monkey!” –Ren Hoek (Stimpy’s Invention)

15) Favorite snack?

Ryan: Probably pizza…I seem to have an addiction. I think I could eat pizza every day for the rest of my life and actually enjoy it. I think I could get along with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pretty well.

Kevin: It’s a tie between a Krabby Patty and a Scooby Snack.

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'Pinocchio' Video Glimpses Disney's Animation Research Library
Each of the meticulously drawn frames of an animated movie flashes by in a fraction of a second, but at Disney’s Animation Research Library they’re given the star treatment. In a recent…

Preserving the legacy of Disney animation. “In a recent behind-the-scenes video to promote next week’s Pinocchio Blu-ray release, manager of research Fox Carney pulls back the curtain on the facility where Disney’s vast collection of animation artwork is archived.”

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The Fascinating History of Animation

Long before Pixar and today’s CGI special effects extravaganzas, early animators of the silent era experimented and introduced new techniques into filmmaking. Mark Quigley gives us a tour of the silent animation collection at UCLA’s Film & Television Archive — one of the few places in the world that captures this rich history of early animation.