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Editor's Notebook

Editor's Notebook by Harvey Deneroff.

Harvey Deneroff

Theme Park Animation

Several years ago, when I started doing detailed profiles of animation studios for my Animation Report newsletter, it quickly became evident that theme park animation was showing up with more frequency than I had imagined in the filmographies of a number of companies. It was this realization that opened my eyes to the fact that this sort of production was a small, but increasingly important segment of the animation industry. And for anyone who has experienced such attractions as The Back to the Future Ride at Universal City Studios knows, it can also be a lot of fun.

We start our survey of animation in theme parks with Robin Allan's "Disneyland and Europe: Walt Disney's First Magic Kingdom," which details how the first of modern theme parks came about, and the influences of Europe and Disney cartoons shaped its character.

In "Something's Wrong With Our Ship: Animated Motion-Simulator Films in Theme Parks," Judith Rubin provides an introduction to the nature of animated ridefilms, along with a rundown of the latest productions from some of the leaders in the field, including New Wave Entertainment, Rhythm & Hues, Midland Productions, SimEx and The Works. Rita Street gets more specific with her profile of one of the oldest companies in the field in "BRC Imagination Arts," whose portfolio extends to films made for "World Fairs, aquariums, museums and visitors centers." Then, Bob Swain, interviews director Jim Cameron in "T2-3D" and how he and his company, Digital Domain, turned his classic sci-fi film, Terminator 2 into a 3D extravaganza at Universal City Studios, Orlando.

In "The Fremont Street Experience: No Glitz, No Glory!," Frankie Kowalski talks with Jane Baer, of The Baer Animation Company, about what it was like animating for the world's largest electric sign (and biggest movie screen as well) which towers over four city blocks in downtown Las Vegas. And John Canemaker recalls how animation pioneer Otto Messmer, of Felix the Cat fame, worked on a somewhat more modest scale for a sign in New York's Time Square over a half century earlier.

On a completely different topic, Jill McGreal, in her "The National Lottery: A Polemic," examines how Britain's policy of privatization of government activities might impact the country's animation industry. She sees hope, however, in an innovative plan to tap into the monies generated by the national lottery as a possible solution. Also, Nicolas Valluet examines the problems of "authors" in negotiation contracts for putting their works online in "Contracts for Original Works Published on Internet."

In this month's selection of reviews and reports on festivals and conferences, I start off with a brief look at Betty Boop: The Definitive Collection, a new boxed set of eight video tapes, as well as take a more extended look at the recent conference put on by the Society of Animation Studies, at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Also, Gene Walz reports in from the latest edition of the Ottawa International Animation Festival, the premiere event of its kind in North America, and David Marshall does the same for the first edition of the Brisbane Animation Festival.

Finally, Frankie Kowalski's Desert Island Series hears from several people involved in theme park animation at various levels, including Digital Domain's Scott Ross, Baer Animation's Jane Baer and BRC Imagination Arts' Bob Rogers, while John R. Dilworth presents the latest installment of his "The Dirdy Birdy" comic strip.

Announcing Animation Review

It is no secret that a number of the articles that we have presented in past issues derive from the work of some of the leading scholars in the field of animation studies. Their works are often presented first at conferences put on by organizations like the Society for Animation Studies and published in peer-reviewed publications like Animation Journal.

Needless to say, there are limits to presenting scholarly work in a publication like Animation World Magazine. There are certain limits to what one can present in a magazine aimed at a more general readership: articles may have to be drastically cut, the writing simplified and footnotes dispensed with. This, along with the fact that, outside of Animation Journal, there are no other peer-reviewed publications devoted strictly to animation. Thus AWN is proud to announce that it will be publishing a new online academic journal, Animation Review. I will act as Editor-in-Chief, although individual issues will be under the direction of one of several Associate Editors, which will include some our leading animation scholars.

We naturally invite submissions from readers, details of which can be found in the Call for Papers at the end of my report of the Society for Animation Studies Conference in this issue.

Call for Films & Videos

Animation World Magazine would like to expand its coverage of new independent animated films and videos. However, it is hard for us to keep up with what's new in this area, especially as many individuals and smaller studios lack the public relations apparatus that larger companies have. As such, we would invite filmmakers and companies to feel free to submit their works for possible review; material should be submitted on videotape; VHS tapes using NTSC format is preferred, but other formats are also acceptable. We offer no guarantees, but will try to give proper consideration to all titles submitted.

Harvey Editor-In-ChiefAnimation World Magazine