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How To Succeed in Animation

Table of Contents

How To Succeed In Animation
This new forward, revised in mid 2010, includes a new essay by Gene entitled "Animators Belong To The Ages. Where We Fit In."  As Gene starts this book, "Animation Rules, And Always Has!"

An Overview: What This Book Is All About
Everything you ever wanted to know about animation, but were afraid Gene might tell you - and it's basically all up-front in the intro stuff. So don't miss the governing Joke of this book, the Preview, and especially the ground rules for how to succeed in the business of animation.


Chapter 1: Win Some Lose Many
This first chapter lists everything the book covers. You can save a lot of time just by reading this chapter. If none of the topics interests you, ya don't have to read any further!

Chapter 2: Animation - What The Heck is it?
I like things to be clear, so just to be sure we're all talking about the same thing, I decided to work out a bullet-proof definition of animation; something that covers all forms and fashions of frame-by-frame endeavors. See if you agree with me. If not, we're off to a rocky start.

Chapter 3: Animation For Dummies
OK, here's where Deitch the teacher addresses a classroom of wannabes, laying down the basics. If you can't get this stuff into your head, you might as well go into another line of work.

Chapter 4: Animation Tech Talk
The technology of animation has changed somewhat over the past 35,000 years, when it was first attempted by cave men, but the basics remain. Here they are in specifics...

Chapter 5: The Great Footage Fallacy
Here is something that few animators seem to think about, but which has bugged me for years: Are we animating foot-long strips of film, or are we animating increments of time? If we are all into globalization, let's work in a global standard. I would like to foment an animation revolution in the dimension of time!

Chapter 6: The Long And The Short Of It
A short chapter about a long point. Contrast, Change-Of-Pace. That's the name of the game.

Chapter 7: Story - What's it All About?
No story - no movie. Here's how to tell if you actually have a story, and if not, how to make one.

Chapter 8: Make Luck Happen!
You need a lot of luck to make it in the movie business. How do you get lucky? Is success really just a matter of luck - chance? Or can you lure luck your way? Here are some tips.

Chapter 9: What's in a Name?
Creating the right name for a cartoon character can be a key to its success. A clever name can often lead you to develop a clever character.

Chapter 10: "We Hereby Agree. . ."
Most animation books I've read leave out one of the most important things an animator needs to know: How To Make a Contract! Do you really need a lawyer? Here are some examples of how you can Do It Yourself and retain your hide.


Chapter 11: My Talents Discovered
Proof-positive that I was a born artist.

Chapter 12: The UPA Experience
How at the age of 22 I lucked into the den of geniuses. Who they were. What it was like. Why they let me in. Why I left.

Chapter 13: Don't Give Your Right Name!
Fats Waller once said that, and another blues man sang, "It Must Be Jelly, "Cause Jam Don't Shake Like That!" There really was a man named Jam - Jam Handy - and he ran a 500-person studio in the then gloomy city of Detroit. It was an amazing adventure working there, in that most amazing, little-known but heavyweight studio. I directed my first film there, nearly had my tender career nipped, and discovered John Lee Hooker. 1949-51.

Chapter 14: UPA: Back To The Future
UPA again, and this time as creative chief! Bosustow beckoned and I was beamed to the Big Apple, the city of my youthful dreams. "If you can make it there?" etc. And I made it. Here are the vital statistics of that Golden Age studio.

Chapter 15: The Terry-fying Challenge

Chapter 16A: Terrytoonery

Chapter 16B: Tom Terrific 1958 Production Plan
Terrytoons. Here was my locale that most interests the animation historians. So now I finally have the chance to tell it like it really was. I name names - all the names, and print the pix. And all the production details about Tom Terrific. I tell you what I did and what I tried to do - a "renaissance" - a total make over - and I tell you why it failed.

Chapter 17: GDA, inc. Fate Comes Calling
Gene Deitch Associates, Inc. - possibly the most insignificant animation studio in the history of peg-holes, but MUNRO was born there, and it became my way-station to an entirely new life. Perhaps I am the first "Born-Again Animator!"

Chapter 18: Prague - A Change of Life
In 1959, the Prague animation studio was a barely-noticed smudge in the world map of animation. In fact it was one of the great studios of the time, but darkly closeted behind the Iron Curtain. I was just summarily dropped into it, and was totally unprepared for what I found.

Chapter 19: Why Prague, For God's Sake?
That was the question I constantly had to answer while isolated from my old colleagues, and hunkered in this distant and seemingly God-forsaken communist-gripped misery. This chapter answers the question. Was I a pinko? A spy? An enemy agent? A CIA man? Or did I just happen to fall into something too good to be true?

Chapter 20: Oscar Comes Calling
Who could have predicted this? I just read that Oscar winners live longer. In our case, the Oscar gave our life an instant boost, and a perpetual publicity handle. We managed five nominations, and have been living in the glow ever since. But was Bill Snyder able to melt that golden statuette down into real dollars?

Chapter 21: Tom & Jerry - The 1st Reincarnation
OK, OK. I know what you think of our Tom & Jerries. But do you know the whole story? Let me tell you about it.

Chapter 22: Spinach & Bricks
What do you do when you have to make a living diminishing true works of art? E.C. Segar's Popeye, and George Herrimans' Krazy Kat, have been mauled by others, so I don't need to apologize for my efforts at damage control. Here's what we did with them.

Chapter 23: Hobbitalized
We were first with this, but it became our most ignominious and unnecessary failure. Please weep with me as you read this chapter. I coulda bin a contendah...

Chapter 24: Self-Help For Nudnik
Our fun-films, and my personal best character. The 60s were probably our peak-Prague years.

Chapter 25: The Giants Win and Lose
A whole new area of work opened up for me just as the Soviet forces were breathing smoke around the borders of Czechoslovakia, and I made a film called "The Giants" that the communists banned for 20 years. For me, it was a point of pride.

Chapter 26: Into and Out of The Woods
Weston Woods, that is. I feel that my best films are the least known. My greatest fans still are teachers and librarians, and I spent 25 years of creative fulfillment in pleasing them.

Chapter 27: Krazy Klients
Peeing in the soup continues. The bladders of producers seem as continuous fountains. Here are a few hairy tales.

Chapter 28: A Tangled Web
The great writer, E.B.White became my friend and regular correspondent until his death. That was my main reward from a spidery web of deceit that squashed a literary spider. Here, and in the next chapter you can read the never-before published letters that reveal the true story.

Chapter 29: The Charolotte Papers
Here is the complete documentation of possibly my greatest creative loss. But my loss was nothing compared to what befell E.B. "Andy" White. Letters from him and his wife indicate the depressing effect the debacle had on his health. I know one thing for sure. No one ever saw the storyboard we created. No one rejected it. It was irrelevant to the powers that ignored it.

Chapter 30: Charlotte's Web Graphics
See for yourself. No one before has seen these drawings.

Chapter 31: My Loving Fans

Chapter 32: The Last Word - Iris Out
A Terrific utterance.

Chapter 33: Added Feature Attraction
This is the kind of animation movie I've been talking about in this whole book!

Chapter 34: After-Word
Well, no one is perfect.

Chapter 35: Big Thoughts
Animators Belong To The Ages -- The Da Vinci Daze

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