Peter J. Schankowitz has been appointed Film Romans new president of television programming and development. Schankowitz will oversee all aspects of the companys TV development and sales, including developing live-action and animated series and specials. For the past two years, he has been senior development executive for Jonathan Goodson Productions where he headed the creation and executive producing of the companys reality and game projects.
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SGI announced that it would be providing Walt Disney Feature Animation with more than 500 of its Silicon Graphics visual workstations, which will include their new Silicon Graphics Octane2. Previously, Disney has used SGI workstations to create digital characters and special effects for their features GONE IN 60 SECONDS, MISSION TO MARS, DINOSAUR and the upcoming 102 DALMATIANS. The Silicon Graphics Octane2 has more visualization power, a high-performance MIPS RISC processor and new industry-first features.
Seattle-based Smarterville, Inc., a Web-based childrens media company, announced the launch of its Web site, smarterville.com. This is the first Web site to integrate ad-free learning for kids aged 3-7 safely with a revenue-generating destination for parents. Activities featuring animated characters are geared to the childs age, grade and skill level. A system of animated rewards encourages the child to return to the site. The activities are downloaded so children cannot jump to another location online, and no unauthorized people can send messages to the child.
Nickelodeon and HIT Entertainment PLC, a leading supplier of children's programming, have agreed to co-produce 26 half-hour episodes of a new Nick Jr. series entitled, OSWALD. As part of the deal, HIT Entertainment will control all international rights in all media excluding the U.S., which Nickelodeon will handle. The show tells the story of a blue octopus who lives in a whimsical city with his best friends, a pet hot dog, penguin and daisy. The animated series, which will be produced by Nicktoons, is based on characters created and designed by childrens book author Dan Yaccarino.
Digital Creative Development Corporation (DC2) announced that it has entered into a strategic distribution alliance with Heavy.com, a Web destination blending music, video and animation. Under the terms of the deal, DC2 will provide programming and various other business services to Heavy.com. In turn, DC2 will have access to Heavy.coms distribution pipeline that reaches over 135 million Internet users.
The WB TV network has decided to pick-up its newest toon, BABY BLUES, for a second season. The channel has ordered 13 more episodes of the series, which debuted in late July. The toon has preformed well in a tough Friday time slot for the WB and is one of the highest rated comedies the network has ever had. BABY could serve as the WBs quick replacement series if any of its new live-action comedy series dont work out. BABY is based off the newspaper comic strip of the same name and features the voice talents of Mike O'Malley, Julia Sweeney and Nicole Sullivan.
High Dynamic Range Imaging is quickly becoming a prevalent digital technique. The ability to light quickly to live-action footage with such accuracy and quality is unmatched by any other technique. Lightwave has already incorporated HDRI into its latest release. Which other packages will follow suit? Rendering with HDRI is time consuming, but will the strong points overcome the deficits? The high quality results of THE MATRIX work by Manex, and the James Brown project, FUNK BLAST by Digital Domain suggest much more work in HDRI will be created as CPU's gain speed and the software evolves.
Messiah, the plug-in softbody and character module for Lightwave, has developed a stand alone package, messiah:studio, that should prove to be strong competition to 3D software packages. With Renderman capabilities, a low price tag (US$1600), softbodies for creating cloth and realistic characters, inverse kinematics for simplified animation, and radiosity for realistic rendering, it will be interesting to see how other packages react to messiah's strengths.
The international box office this past weekend saw a strong debut by SCARY MOVIE in the U.K. and THE TIGGER MOVIE bounced high in its Swedish nod. Disneys orange idol landed in #2, with a gross of US$280,418. Slipping to fourth, CHICKEN RUN laid another $184,548, bringing its total take in Sweden to $589,026. THE PERFECT STORM sank from #2 to sixth with a gross of $146,588, raising its Swedish cume to $834,053. X-MEN fell from fifth to eighth, with a gross of $78,087, lifting its Swedish cume to $1.43 million.
iFilm has set up an online screening room specifically for agents to check out iFilm shorts before they are released to the public. So far agencies CAA, ICM, the Gersh Agency and the United Talent Agency have signed on to participate in the program. Even before the new "Screening Network" was established iFilm short, 405: THE MOVIE, by Bruce Branit and Jeremy Hunt, landed the filmmakers CAA representation. iFilm is a content destination site that contains its own shorts and links to various work around the Web.
* Thursday, October 12, 2000. Westwood, California, U.S.A.
Jeffrey Scott will be guest speaker at the Women In Animation Writers' Group Seminar Series at Saban Entertainment, 10960 Wilshire Blvd., at 7:30 pm. Jeffrey has written over 500 animation scripts, including the recent PBS DRAGON TALES. For more information and/or to RSVP contact Jean Ann Wright at: Tel.: (818) 360-8321; or E-mail: email@example.com.
BKN International AG, a childrens animated production, distribution and marketing company, has launched a new media division, BKN New Media Ltd. The division was established to help BKN better exploit its properties over the Internet. The first venture for the new arm will be the launch of its consumer-based community Website featuring THE ROSWELL CONSPIRACIES.
Columbia Pictures has optioned the feature film rights to Image Comics POWERS, created by writer-artist Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming. Financial terms of the deal were listed as the duo receiving low six figures up front leading to high-six figures following the films release. The comic follows the cases of two homicide detectives -- who live in a world full of superheroes and villains assigned to the "powers" division to investigate superpower-related murders. Bendis will either receive a co-producing or an associate producing credit on the film.
* Saturday, October 14 Saturday, November 18, 2000. Manitou Springs, Colorado, U.S.A.
Entry Deadline: September 15, 2000.
* Friday, October 6 Sunday, October 8, 2000. Saint Gely, France.
Objectif Image Saint Gely presents the 15th annual Saint Gely Short Film
Festival. The festivals categories are documentary, fictional-dramatic, animation and experimental. Past festival chairmen have been Jean Pierre Mocky in 1998 and Claude Pinoteau in 1999. For more information contact Jean Pierre Mas at: Tel.: ++33 4 67 66 69 69; or Web: http://perso.wanadoo.fr/herve.lebrouster.
Based in the Northern Arts Region of England, Animha Productions is an association of artists, writers, animators and filmmakers dedicated to independent film production and animation workshops. Animha has updated their web site. View clips and find more about Animha's workshops and other projects at http://www.awn.com/animha.
Do you have specific questions about how they do certain visual effects? A community member offers his advice on how to shoot background plate shots when intending to add CG elements. Hosted by Terrence "T-man" Masson, Creative Planet's Visual Effects forum is not about specific software packages, but about how to improve and educate yourself by asking questions and getting constructive and honest feedback from those who have gone before. Join the party and meet the visual effects pros.