Dec 102014
 
Le-Petit-Prince-musique-Lily-Allen-dans-la-bande-annonce-300x200

We are presented with the rare opportunity to behold magic. Today, we present our discovery of the international trailer for The Little Prince. It’s a story within a story. An aviator writes of crashing in the desert and discovering a lonely little boy from a small planet far away, but keeps the secret to himself, until one day a lonely little girl is drawn into his world. The movie, to be released in France on October 17, 2015, is based on a novella, the most famous work of the French aristocrat, writer, poet, and pioneering aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It’s not the story of the book directly, but a story about the book, and the man who wrote it, and a little girl desperately in need of an adventure and a friend.

The film is directed by Mark Osborne, who co-directed Kung Fu Panda for Dreamworks.

It was director Osborne’s idea to make use the cherished book as the basis for a movie. He knew the story of Le Petit Prince, as his wife had given it to him at age 18, when they first met. His idea was simple. He wanted to capture its spirit, and its important message.  “One sees clearly only with the heart,” he told reporter Gael Golhen of the French magazine, Premier. “The essential is invisible to the eye.” 

Osborne knew that Orson Welles had originally optioned the book to produce The Little Prince, and he wanted to take Welles’ script and built on it. Unfortunately, he discovered that Welles’ idea was a simple telling of the story with Welles narrating. To solve this dilemma, Osborne came up with the idea of making it a story within a story. The book itself was really too short to be the basis for a movie all by itself, so they began with a question: what if they aviator had never told his story? And what if, though older, he had never mentioned the little prince he met to anyone?

The screenplay is written by Irena Brignull. Leonardo DiCaprio is the executive producer of the film. It stars Marion Cotillard, James Franco, Rachel McAdams and Jeff Bridges, and released in France on October 17, 2015. We don’t know about any planned release dates in the U.S. yet.

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Nov 142014
 
jimmystones
Bill Schultz, the Emmy-winning producer of The Simpsons, is our guest on The Event Horizon this week. His new project is Jimmy Stones, a new half hour animated adult fantasy comedy. The upcoming episode of The Event Horizon with Bill Schultz debutsexclusively on Krypton Radio, this Saturday, November 15, 2014,  at 9:00 p.m., Pacific.

Jimmy Stones  is about a man who has had so much go wrong with his life that he has decided to actively give up. The trouble is that the talking animals of New York aren’t going to let him off the hook. From a cranky squirrel with rabies, to a pair of proselytizing pidgeons, to a suicidal horse, Jimmy’s world is populated by unconventional and unexpected characters who just won’t leave him in peace.

Bill Schultz and fellow Emmy-winning writer and producer James Manos, jr., creator of the hit cable series Dexter,  took their idea for Jimmy Stones to every major comedy network there is, but each needed it to be changed to fit their brand. That’s why they’re taking the road-less-traveled and crowd-funding the show themselves.

This episode of The Event Horizon airs again on Sunday, November 15, 2014 at 4 p.m. Pacific, and at various other times throughout the coming week.  Consult our What’s On When page for showtimes in your area.

The Event Horizon – it’s Sci-Fi for your Wifi.

Emmy winning producer Bill Schultz

Emmy winning producer Bill Schultz

Bill Schultz

Bill Schultz is a four-time Emmy-award winning Animation Producer and Studio Executive with more than 25 years of experience in the entertainment industry, producing such well known shows as The Simpsons, King of the Hill, Garfield, Clifford the Big Red Dog, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and Hero:108.  In 2010, Bill launched Home Plate Entertainment as a new animation studio, creators of Rob Dyrdek’s Wild Grinders for Nicktoons.

James Manos, Jr.

James Manos, Jr. won the Emmy Award for the College episode of HBO’s The Supranos.  He created and produced Showtime’s Dexter, and is presently Show Runner on South of Hell, a one hour dramatic series slated to air on WETV next year.  Mr. Manos produced the award-winning movie The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom, starring Holly Hunter and Beau Bridges, for HBO. The movie was nominated for six Emmys and won three. He also produced the critically acclaimed tele-films, Apollo 11 and The Ditchdigger’s Daughters.

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Oct 032014
 
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korra (1)by Gene Turnbow, station manager

In a world where movie ideas are derived from computer games that have no plot whatsoever, such as Tetris  and the recently announced movie about Microsoft’s new acquisition Minecraft, it’s refreshing when something actually worth watching happens.  Tonight we get a double feature!

First, it’s The Legend of Korra, the animated series follow-on to the wildly popular Nickolodeon series The Last Airbender. Unfortunately the series has been cancelled, meaning it’s lost its air time schedule position on Nickolodeon. However, in a strange twist of fate, unlike what Cartoon Network did with Green Lantern: The Animated Series and Young Justice, by the time Nickolodeon Animation Studios got the word that their show had been cancelled they were already most of the way through production on Book 4: Balance. Instead of just flushing all that work, they decided to put it all online instead, one episode per week.  Perhaps online viewing really is replacing cable television – this is newsworthy in and of itself.

The first new episode appears today, and it looks very intriguing. Three years have passed since the last season. The kids have grown up a lot, and Korra has cut her hair.  There are winged suits that make airbenders resemble flying squirrels.  But that’s all superficial, and you’ll just have to watch it to see what happens.

star-wars-rebels-premiere-1536x864-428036123048The other show that it seems like half the geek world is buzzing about is the new animated series Star Wars: Rebels which debuts at 9 p.m. on the Disney Channel this evening.  The Star Wars universe is broadly expanded in these new tales of what happened after the Clone Wars, but before the Rebellion.  Gone is the grand sweeping story arc of the old Republic versus the Jedi, to be replaced with very personal stories about a band of misfits who have their own battles to fight.  It’s well written, blends well with the rest of the Star Wars universe, and it is probably the single most squee-worthy thing to happen on television this year other than the new CW series The Flash series that premieres this coming Tuesday.

And now if you don’t mind, there’s a pile of Fig Newtons, a couple of tall glasses of milk and a couple of brand new shows waiting for us in the living room.

This is gonna be good.

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Sep 302014
 
Chris Jone's 'Ed'
Say hello to Ed the Head. Ed is an animation project by accomplished Lightwave animator Chris Jones of Australia. He got his degree from Swinburne University of Technology and began as an illustrator of children’s books, before becoming an animator for the game company Infogrames.

Ed started as a rigging experiment, but Chris couldn’t resist adding textures and detailing.

The danger of animating human beings is two-fold. First, it’s hard to do it convincingly, because we are so familiar with what human beings are supposed to look like that even the slightest error will be spotted. Getting this close to the illusion is just begging for trouble. Fail in any respect, the appearance, the fine hairs on the skin, the way it moves, and the viewer becomes suddenly aware of being deceived, and what seemed magical becomes creepy. Secondly, it raises the question of what happens to the human actor in the equation if a simulacrum can be created in such convincing precision.

Is the time of flesh and blood actors over? An actor is still needed to deliver a performance. In the case of Ed here, that actor happens to be the animator, but we’re talking about the traditional plank-and-a-passion kind of acting here. To be honest, we don’t think there’s that much to worry about. While an animator can create a performance, it’s a tedious, laborious process, and it depends on somebody with a very high degree of technical ability that few possess in addition to fine acting ability. Surprisingly few animators have the kind of ability that Chris Jones demonstrates in today’s video. No, acting still requires, for the most part, actual actors.

It does not necessarily follow that acting will still require that the actors look good on camera, though. Actors will still be needed, but their voices and performances can now be lent to computer animated creations. Of course, getting a human being on screen acting is still going to be most easily done by pointing a camera at an actor. The difference between doing that and executing the technical incantations necessary to join a human’s performance with a computer animated avatar will still heavily favor the human actor, and probably will for a very long time to come.

That said, what Chris Jones did here is still shockingly cool to watch.  With some care, it’s clearly possible to avoid a visit to Uncanny Valley.

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Sep 252014
 
Big_Hero_6_(film)_poster

We realize this probably won’t be the last trailer we see for Disney’s Big Hero 6, but we’re looking forward to seeing this so much that we just can’t resist sharing it with you. It’s based very loosely on a relatively obscure Marvel Comics title from 1998, with nearly the entire storyline being rewritten. Purists will be disappointed, but there’s little ground for grumbling, really, because this treatment has almost nothing to do with the original book. The story revolves around a 14-year-old robotics prodigy named Hiro who lives in the fictional city San Fransokyo. It’s still about a team of superheroes, though, and in this new trailer we get to see them suit up, and we learn a little more about Beymax, a medical robot created by Hiro’s elder brother.

It’s also the first collaboration between Disney Animation and Marvel Studios since Disney bought Marvel in 2009. While every bit as bright and light hearted as other Disney films, it does deal with some rather heavy emotional themes. It looks like nothing Disney has ever done before, and separates itself even further from the usual Disney fare by not being a musical.

If you want to listen to the theme music for the movie, go to the official web site. It’s about as epic as the score for The Avengers.  

Ryan Potter plays Hiro Hamada. Beymax is voiced by Scott Adsit. Big Hero 6 releases in the United States on November 7, 2014. U.K. residents don’t get to see it until January 15. We have no idea why they have to wait that long, and a delay like this between the U.S. release and the U.K. release is very unusual.

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Sep 132014
 
Monstro

Today at 9PM Pacific, tune in to Krypton Radio to hear veteran animation director Christopher Dante Romano speak with us about his new short subject, MONSTRO!.

Written and directed by Christopher Romano, MONSTRO! is a 10 minute, computer animated film starring Pili Montilla. The film was created using the advanced visual effects software called Houdini. Rigging and animation; hair, cloth, water, and smoke, lighting and rendering were all done in Houdini. In fact, every shot was rendered using Houdini Mantra in one pass, with depth of field and motion blur calculated at render time. All with a small crew that never numbered more than 3 animators at any moment.

Romano studied painting in school, but fell into the emerging world of computer animation shortly after graduation. He worked on The Amazing Spider-Man, X-Men 2, Serenity, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Tron:Legacy,  and many other films as animator, lighter and FX artist.  His first independent films appeared on MTV’s Cartoon Sushi, on retail video, and in multiple film festivals. As a commercial director at DUCK, his anime-style spot KCRW Timebomb grabbed the attention of development executives. When looking to create MONSTRO!, Romano turned to Side Effects and Houdini to help facilitate his vision.

“I wanted to create a film with an adorable, stop motion feel. Something that looked smaller in scale and felt nostalgic. Very tilt-shift. And I wanted the production to be top notch. Using Houdini was a no brainer,” says Romano. “I’m very familiar with Houdini’s tools and procedural workflow. Once the edit came together, I knew I could easily keep adding more – more cloth, more hair, more water and more smoke. I could do whatever I wanted.”

Watch the trailer.  MONSTRO! is a sort of love letter to cheesy sci-fi of the 1950’s as well as stop motion animated classics like Mad Monster Party.  It’s is a love story of monstrous proportions.

 

Oh yeah, Chris.  I went there.

 

Monstro has already one a cluster of awards in animation film festivals, and is making appearances in more festivals and at major pop culture conventions all over the country.  Digital distribution is planned.

Susan Fox and Gene Turnbow host.

Chris Romano runs an animation company called Toonlet Animation:

If you miss tonight’s broadcast, it airs again on Sunday at 4PM Pacific, and at additional times throughout the week.  See our What’s On When schedule page for details.

The Event Horizon – it’s Sci-Fi for your Wifi.

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