The negotiating committee for Los Angeles Motion Picture Screen Cartoonist Union Local 839 has recommended that its 2,000 members vote down the new three-year pact with the studios. On a vote of 12-1, Local 839 cited problems with the negotiating process, unequal salary increases, artist testing, credit placement, late payments to freelancers and the definition of writers.
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French authorities, through INA (Audiovisual National Institute), have pulled their support of Imagina, the foremost European visual effects event. For 19 years, Imagina has served as the testing ground for new talents and technologies in Europe. In the past few years the event has drawn over 1,300 participants and 5,000 visitors. A group has been formed to save the festival. Anyone who wishes to sign the petition can on the Web.
On Tuesday, September 5, 2000, Pop.com laid off roughly 65 of its 80 person staff. Without additional comment the company released this statement: "Although the Internet continues to represent an exciting creative opportunity for us, the market has shifted dramatically since our original announcement, resulting in this being a less viable business for us. We will retain a small staff to support our creative endeavors.
After making big content deals with stars like Tim Burton and David Lynch, Shockwave.com has decided to change its focus from big celebrity toon deals to interactive games. Shockwave receives most of its hits in its game section. As part of the new move Shockwave has laid off 20 employees in its San Francisco and Los Angeles offices. Production on content in the works, such as programs from Oscar-winning producer/director James L. Brooks and game show host Ben Stein, will continue until the lay off becomes effective in October.
Discreet, a division of Autodesk, Inc., has named Paul Lypaczewski as its executive vice president. Based in Discreet's Montreal headquarters, Lypaczewski will oversee all aspects of Discreet's worldwide business entities including research and development, sales, marketing, operations and finance and administration. With 20 years of experience in graphics software development and management, he was most recently the COO for CyberWorld, Inc., a privately held Web-based software development company.
Al Shier has been promoted to visual effects producer at Venice-based Blur Studio, a 3D animation, visual effects and motion graphics design company. For the past two years at Blur, Sheir has served as a line producer and visual effects coordinator. In his new role, Shier will oversee the production of 2D and 3D visual effects and act as liaison between clients and the company's artistic staff. Shier began producing over a year ago, during which he received numerous producing credits.
Sideshow Motion Design has created 81 20-second promotional spots for NBC and Coca Cola to highlight the Summer Olympic Games. The ads utilize still photos of over 40 athletes in a moving fashion evocative of gold photo albums. Jie Shen designed and directed the commercials. "Our client, NBC, saw the importance of collaborating with Coke and wanted to do something with still photography and bring it life with an emotional wallop," said Sideshow president Scott Mantel. "This campaign shows Jies talents off beautifully.
Wildlife & Fugitive director Jay Torres created an amusement park world of rides using Sketcher shoes. Torres placed live-action kids inside shoes that served as the cars of the rides. "We had to shoot each element, be it the live kids or the stop-motion shoe elements separately," said Torres. "Since the amusement park wasnt meant to be realistic, we tried to create more of a surreal environment by using a combination of still frames, live-action and 3D animation. Its definitely a new look and a way to come up with ideas that fit into certain budget limitations.
With the live-action comedy, BRING IT ON still claiming the #1 spot, New Lines THE CELL jumped up a spot to second in the U.S. box office charts over the Labor Day holiday. The serial killer mind trek, with primary visual effects by Toybox, grossed another US$9.1 million, raising its cume to $46.4 million. Also moving up a slot to third, SPACE COWBOYS showed that old guys have box office pull with a gross of $8.3 million. The aged astronauts, with primary visual effects by ILM, have wrangled up a total of $74.2 million thus far.
With the special effects-light fall schedule starting, the top two spots were claimed by newcomers BRING IT ON and THE ART OF WAR, leaving THE CELL holding on to third. The stylized shocker, with primary visual effects by Toybox, grossed US$9.68 million, bringing its cume to $33.75 million. Meanwhile, SPACE COWBOYS continues to orbit around the top with a stop in fourth this weekend. After four weeks in theatres, the wrinkled space wranglers, with primary visual effects by ILM, lassoed another $6.51 million, raising its cume to $63.71 million.
In a snap, Pop.coms intended purchase by iFilm has crackled and faded by the wayside. No one at either of the two companies would comment on the negotiations. An iFilm memo to employees read, "As you know, we have been in discussions with Pop.com. Those discussions have ended and have not resulted in a transaction. The companies will continue to enjoy many overlapping shareholding and personal relationships." Whether or not some of the other suitors for the troubled Website will come knocking is yet to be known.
For feature films Martin Goodman is taking a look at this summer's
hits and misses. Gerard Raiti is figuring out why some cartoons don't
work as live-action adaptations and others do. Amid Amidi is
profiling feature films that have been released outside of the big
studios' theatrical machine. Plus, for a look into the Japanese
feature film market, resident expert Fred Patten is going to outline
the lay of the land of the rising sun. Plus, Larry Lauria speaks with
San Francisco, California-based When In Doubt Productions, Inc. is
looking for a 2D ANIMATOR/MOTION GRAPHICS for a hot-cool fusion of
storytelling, poetry, performance, music, drama and animation
project. . . Austin, Texas-based Digital People is looking for a 3D
ARTIST/ANIMATION MANAGER and a 3D ARTIST/ANIMATOR. . . Portland,
Oregon-based Will Vinton Studios, a leading animation studio
specialized in CG and stop-motion character animation, is looking for
Animation Foundation interviews Eric Armstrong, Animation Director at
Sony Pictures Imageworks. In the interview, Eric gives his insights
and thoughts about the role of the animation director, facial
animation and much, much more. An AWN affiliate,
is an Internet-based portal providing information about advanced
animation techniques and assisting student animators in developing
Plympton's new series of comics extracted from the comic book,
"Sleazy Cartoons of Bill Plympton," is for ADULTS ONLY...
Facets Video's fantastic animation inventory has been added to the
AWN Store! Over 3,000 new videos available worldwide! From popular
Disney titles and the Peanuts to surrealist animation from Eastern
Europe, from action-packed Japanese anime to animation created with
paper cutouts, sand, clay, puppets and computer technology, the
Facets Whole Toon Catalog is now available in the AWN Store. Betty
Boop, Fritz the Cat, Tex Avery, Looney Tunes Classics and more
Toon In is AWN's guide to what's new on the Net. This week's installment features an intriguing Webisode of sfON, a brand new Bill Plympton Flash toon, a humorous rant by Sister Randy and much, much more.
Get your Toon In: Web Animation Guide here!
Every week AWN's associate editor Rick DeMott highlights what he thinks is the top new toon in cyberspace in "Rick's Picks!"
Rick's Pick For Friday, September 1, 2000!
Electronic Arts (EA) has sealed the deal with Warner Bros. to give them the exclusive interactive rights to the HARRY POTTER book series and film franchise. No financial details were released. EA has the key Internet gaming rights which could bring POTTER games to America Online, where EA is the exclusive programmer of their game section. EA worldwide studios president Don Mattrick will work with author J.K. Rowling, film director Christopher Columbus and executive producer David Heyman on the game titles.
If Spielberg cant succeed on the Web who can? This is the question that has been buzzing around the long delayed launch of DreamWorks and Imagine Entertainments Webcaster Pop.com. On Wednesday, August 31, 2000, Netcaster iFilm.com confirmed that it is in final negotiations to merge with Pop. No details of the merger have been announced but Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is overseeing the deal. Allen and his Vulcan Ventures injected US$50 million into Pop in its beginnings. The billionaire is also one of the chief investors in iFilm.
Locomotion, a primetime cable animation network for young-adults, has now launched Locomotion.com, broadcasting animation to fans in English, Spanish and Portuguese. The site will initially produce three of its own series entitled EL SANTOS, TEEVY and RUDO BY NIGHT. SANTOS is based on the cult comic strip from Mexican artists Jis and Trino. TEEVY from British artist Robert Ramsden follows the illogical world of Teevy. From Australians Eddie Mort and Lili Chin, RUDO follows the crazy adventures of a wrestling night school. In the future Mort and Chin will work on three more series -- DR.
Soho, U.K.-based The Hive, a 3D animation company, has completed a series of idents to promote the launch of Flextech Interactives brand-new digital TV cable channel, SceneOne. Launched on July 5, 2000, SceneOne is the first-ever television channel to be developed from an Internet site, and focuses on music, film and entertainment. The Hive created three idents "The Club Scene," "The Film Scene" and "The Gig Scene" - to reflect the hip style of SceneOnes three main weekly review programs.