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Canadians, William Morris & the AWN/Acme Filmworks Oscar Party

By Dan Sarto | Friday, February 23, 2007 at 1:46pm

I’ve been to two previous Oscar functions at the Canadian consulate general’s beautiful house in Hancock Park and couldn’t pass up the chance to go again. The luncheon took place in the lovely courtyard in back by the pool. They were prepared for the rain and had tents and heaters set up, making it comfortable on the rainy L.A. day.


Katzenberg, Fox Lot, Mirren: Another Whirlwind Day on the Oscar Tour

By Dan Sarto | Wednesday, February 21, 2007 at 9:22pm

As we arrived back at The Little Theater for the screening, Ron introduced all the nominees to Vanessa Morrison, the new president of Fox Animation. It seems to me this screening will be hard to top. Tomorrow is yet another busy day with a screening at Disney and our first agency screening at ICM, which will be very interesting.



 First with drawing, we would explore very simple basic structure with basic shapes (although we really meant forms – more of a 3D approach) and then build upon these forms. Next, a drawn model sheet was created and from that the participants had to take their characters to 3D in the form of MAQUETTES.

The goal was to see what happened when 2D was translated into 3D.

Many students put a extraordinary amount of effort into their characters. They began with a base, built a wire armature, layered the supper sculpey around and there worked on the details and smoothing - before baking it in their ovens.


This endeavor was an excellent exercise for them since most were headed into 3D CG animation.


At a later time, I will show some layouts and model sheets.


Keep Animated!


Nominee Valentine’s Dinner Minus Four

By Dan Sarto | Thursday, February 15, 2007 at 9:55pm

In talking about the making of the film, Mike told us that the home entertainment department at Fox funded No Time for Nuts as supplemental material for the Ice Age 2 DVD. Mike’s use of the term “noise” succinctly summed up the home entertainment division’s thoughts on supplemental material.


Lion King’s Allers Talks About 1st Oscar Nod for Matchgirl

By Dan Sarto | Tuesday, February 13, 2007 at 10:01pm

Allers, who wasn’t even awake when the nominations were announced, doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who makes films to win awards, however, I still wanted to find out what the Oscar experience has been like for him as well as his feelings about making Matchgirl and his other work.


CATCH A FIRE (2006) (***1/2)

Of late, the plight of Africans has been providing ample inspiration for English language filmmakers. Along with African produced films like TSOTSI and YESTERDAY and documentaries like DARWIN'S NIGHTMARE, a great deal of light is being shed on the continent's dark past and bloody present. CATCH A FIRE tells a story set in Apartheid-era South Africa and delves into the blurry line between freedom fighter and terrorist.

Patrick Chamusso (Derek Luke, ANTWONE FISHER) is a mine foreman who doesn't want anything to do with rebels fighting the white government. He wants to live a simple life with his wife Precious (Bonnie Mbuli) and his two young daughters. Then when he plays hooky from work one day to couch his village's soccer team, a bomb is explodes at the mine. White investigator Nic Vos (Tim Robbins, MYSTIC RIVER) points suspicion toward Patrick, who is arrested and beaten. When his whereabouts seem to get even fishier, Vos brings in Precious and beats her. But when his story pans out, he and his wife are set free. Emboldened, the innocent man joins the rebels and sets out to bomb the mine he used to work at.


OVER THE HEDGE (2006) (***)

For the most part, DreamWorks animated features have been well animated and fun films, if not a bit disposable at times. OVER THE HEDGE keeps with that tradition.

RJ (Bruce Willis, LOOK WHO’S TALKING) is a raccoon who accidentally destroys Vincent the bear’s stash of food while in the process of trying to steal it. In the process, RJ wakes Vincent (Nick Nolte, THE HULK) from his hibernation. Vincent wants to kill RJ, however when the raccoon promises to replace at the food, the burly bear only gives him till the full moon to accomplish the task, which is about a week.

Verne the turtle (Garry Shandling, IT’S THE GARRY SHANDLING SHOW) has just awoken from hibernation with his family of various animals, which includes hyped-up squirrel Hammy (Steve Carell, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE), skunk Stella (Wanda Sykes, MONSTER-IN-LAW), older, dramatic possum Ozzie (William Shatner, STAR TREK), Ozzie’s teenage daughter Heather (singer Avril Lavigne), Canadian porcupine couple Lou (Eugene Levy, AMERICAN PIE) and Penny (Catherine O’Hara, WAITING FOR GUFFMAN) and their three tech savvy sons Bucky (Sami Kirkpatrick), Spike (Shane Baumel, THE ANT BULLY) and Quillo (Madison Davenport). The mixed family of animals discovers that while they were asleep a huge strange object that stretches as far as the eye can see has popped up in their forest.


2007 Nominee Don Hahn Talks About Oscars

By Dan Sarto | Friday, February 9, 2007 at 10:07pm

As a precursor to the tour, I had a chance to talk with Little Matchgirl producer Don Hahn about what the Oscar experience has been like thus far. He’s not an Oscar newbie by any stretch, having been nominated for producing Beauty and the Beast and the animated short Lorenzo. He was also behind mega-hits such as The Lion King and Who Framed Roger Rabbit.


THE KING (2006) (***1/2)

This tragic drama is part character piece, part revenge tale, part redemption story. How those parts weave together and the directions in which they go is what makes this film so fascinating and original.

Elvis Valderez (Gael Garcia Bernal, Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN) comes to Corpus Christi, Texas after he is discharged from the military. He finds preacher David Sandow (William Hurt, A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE) and introduces himself in so many words as his illegitimate son that he has never met. The pastor, who now has a new family and life, doesn’t want anything to do with Elvis. The young man then goes about seducing his half sister Malerie (Pell James, BROKEN FLOWERS) and ultimately bringing ruin to David’s family, which includes his wife Twyla (Laura Harring, MULHOLLAND DR.) and 17-year-old son Paul (Paul Dano, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE), who is pressed into being the dedicated gung-ho Christian when he seems to have more secular musical aspirations.


SHERRYBABY (2006) (***)

After you watch this film, you’ll wish there were a better way for the Academy to choose who gets nominated for the acting Oscars. Maggie Gyllenhaal (WORLD TRADE CENTER) elevates a fairly straight-forward drug drama to another level.

Sherry Swanson (Gyllenhaal) has just been released from prison where she was serving time for theft, which she committed to buy drugs. She moves into a halfway house and quickly gets in contact with her brother Bobby (Brad William Henke, ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW), who has been taking care of her young daughter Alexis (Ryan Simpkins, TV’s WONDER SHOWZEN). Bobby’s wife, Lynette (Bridget Barkan), who has become very close to Alexis, is reluctant to let recovering addict Sherry jump right back into her daughter’s life. Other key characters include Sherry’s dad (Sam Bottoms, THE OUTLAW JOSIE WALES), Sherry’s tough parole officer Hernandez (Giancarlo Esposito, DO THE RIGHT THING) and Dean Walker (Danny Trejo, FROM DUSK TILL DAWN), who Sherry meets at AA.



When any character is standing – an imaginary line runs vertically through to the feet. (fig. 1)

Because they are standing with their weight

equally on their two feet, the character is

centered or balanced

on those two feet.

The CENTER OF GRAVITY is that point that is also the center of the character’s weight. Most of the time the hips (or pelvis area ) usually carries the greatest amount of weight. (fig. 2)

Obviously, that CENTER point can be located either higher or lower in the character- depending on the body type. (fig. 3)

Notice above the differing center points on the body types.


GREY GARDENS (1975) (***1/2)

Albert and David Maysles, who directed the poignant Rolling Stones documentary GIMME SHELTER, were asked to make a documentary about the two Bouvier sisters, Jacqueline Onassis and Lee Radziwell. While in the process of experimenting with the idea, they discovered the Bouvier’s aunt Edith Bouvier Beale and cousin Edith “Little Edie” Bouvier Beale, who were living in a dilapidated mansion in East Hampton, New York. Vastly more interesting than the socialite Bouviers, the Maysles brothers found two fascinating eccentrics that live life uniquely.

Along with directors Ellen Hoyde and Muffie Meyer, the Maysles brothers virtually moved into the crumbling mansion, which has holes in the walls, no running water and raccoons living throughout the house. In the opening of the film, we see newspaper reports of the Beales fighting with the local government and neighbors over health code violations and the unkempt look of their property, which sits in the middle of other beautiful estates. The filmmakers just watch as the two women tell the tales about their lives and feelings — often bickering about every detail. It’s amazing to see photos of them when they were younger and lived life closer to the norm.


The Most Talented, Animated New Member of the Family

I just received this by email today.

This the new music site of Michelle Armstrong Lauria aka MI, a singer/ songwriter with unlimited possibilities. Michelle is our daughter-in-law, she and our son Matt were married in Laguna Beach this summer (2006).

What an event! Forget that MTV reality TV show - the wedding was beautiful and we had a blast the entire week. Daily parties, beach volleyball and body surfing...and art, were the order of the day.

MI is an amazing singer/songwriter and a wonderful person!

Here is a link to some of her music and a few music videos.


Always Animated!


Here we go!

I have waiting for this for a while- Now, I can do everything I have wanted to do for years. Somehow I have finally found a place to merge with technology.

The four areas I will concentrate on is: animation and artwork, commentary, animation lessons and workshops and last not but least a place reflect on my projects past an present.

I am playing around with a new banner for Larry's Toon Institute. The Institute is evolving as we speak and that in itself is pretty amazing...I will elaborate on that later...much later.

In the mean time, hereare few images from my next film CROSSING THE LINE

Always Animated!