CalArts Character Animation Producers’ Show

With so many animations out there, it takes a lot of work to make sure they don't go unnoticed. The annual CalArts Character Animation Producers' Show was hosted by the Directors Guild of America on May 2 this year to show the "Best Of" from the school year.  Students, faculty, friends, family, industry professionals and fans were all invited to attend watch 192 student films that were screened in late April. It was narrowed down to 22 films that were in the running for the following awards: 

 

1. The Peer's Pick Award

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Goodbye Galaxy Girl took "The Peers Pick Award", which is voted on by the students themselves.  In this animation, the loneliness of a women becomes a dreamlike, yet heartbreaking, escape into the world of cartoons.  Animation comes a long way for Yden Park in her fourth year at CalArts.  Though her style is similar through the years, her progress is evident to her peers. 

Watch Goodby Galaxy Girl here!

 

2. The Vimeo Award

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Little Bandits by Alex Avagimain takes home "The Vimeo Award".  This one is juried by Vimeo for Outstanding Student Achievement in Animated Filmmaking.  This animation is a classic "coming of age" film where a young boy is convinced that killing a bird will make him a man.  Based on a true story, this animation shows great development throughout the students years at CalArts. 

Watch Little Bandits here!

 

3. The Walter and Gracie Lantz Animation Prize

"The Walter and Gracie Lantz Animation Prize" is chosen by the CalArts Character Animation Program faculty and how they have noticed the students' progress.  This one was a tie between two animations.  One by Anchi Shen for Barry about a baby goat who goes job hunting. 

Watch Barry here!

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Gabrielle Capili is also awarded the "The Walter and Gracie Lantz Animation Prize" for Dennis the Dinosaur. The interaction between the animation itself and a live performance shows the humor of a pilot taking the wrong turn for a children's TV animation. 

Watch Dennis the Dinosaur here!

 

Not only did this give students a chance to showcase their work, but they were also able to network with many companies and well respected individuals from the animation industry. Don't worry if you missed the screening, you can check out the list of the animations showcased here

 
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Eric Miller Animation Studios is dedicated to crafting heartfelt stories and compelling visuals through 3D computer graphics, offering design and VFX for advertising, gaming, TV & film production.  We work with the best animation talent in the industry to deliver visually stunning imagery. Big or small, we can bring any character or story to life.

 

Palm Springs International Animation Festival!

The 1st annual International Animation Festival started November 9, 2017 in Palm Springs, CA and will go on until November 11, 2017. There will be 250+ shorts, 6 animated features, along with panels, seminars, and awards for 35 different categories. Highlighted below are a few examples of the different style animations shown, or talked about, at PSIAF!

 

1. Fantasmagorie

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Directed by french artist Émile Cohl in 1908, this film is considered to be one of the first hand-drawn animations. With 700 drawings created in about 3-4 months, the animation consists of the transformations of objects. The drawing process of the main character has the artists hand in the actual film is what makes it a little different than modern hand-drawn animations.

Check out part of the film, Fantasmagorie,  here!

 

2. Teheran Tabu

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Directed by Ali Soozandeh, this German-Austrian animated film was created using rotoscoping, in which animators trace over motion picture footage in each frame where realistic action is required. It's a 2017 film that tells the story of women in Teheran, the capital city in Iran, and their attempts of going against their strict laws.  

Take a look at what rotoscoping looks like in the Teheran Tabu trailer here!

 

3. Tokri

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Tokri was directed by Suresh Eriyat, founder of Studio Eeksaurus. This claymation was inspired by beggars Suresh comes across in India, and one particular one he felt guilty about for shooing away. He decided to turn this experience into an animation that would help his team and the viewers to see the beggars in a different light. 

Watch a clip from the Tokri animation here!

 
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4. El Apóstol 

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This was one of the fiirst feature length animated black and white silent film from 1917! Quirino Cristiani directed, wrote, designed, and animated El Apóstol, with character designs by Diógenes Taborda. The stills and and posters for this political satire were lost in a fire.

El Apóstol, along with other classical and traditional animations, will be talked about at Palm Springs International Animation Festival. Watch a little bit about it's history here!

 

5. Virtual Actors Chinese Opera

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Hong-Kong based designer Tobias Gremmler created this non-traditional animation using motion capture. Instead of using actually people to portray the Chinese Opera, he wanted to recreate their movements using only lines and color. 

Wondering what that would look like? Check it out here!

 

Read more about how the Palm Springs International Animation Festival came together here!

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Animation is Film Festival Highlights!

The Animation is Film Festival is this weekened, October 20-22, 2017, for it's very first time in LA! It is produced by GKIDS in collaboration with Annecy International Animation Film Festival, Variety, and ASIFA Hollywood to showcase animated features from all around the world. We are highlighting only a small portion of what will be playing this weekend at the festival, but glad to have the opportunity to have tickets to many of the features!

 

1. The Breadwinner

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Based off a book by Deborah Ellis, The Breadwinner is about a young girl, named Parvana, from Afghanistan. When her father is unfairly put in prison, she had to appear as a boy in order to take care of her family. She experiences life in a new light and realizes what it meant to be a girl in Taliban-controlled Kabul. This becomes a journey of strength for her and those around her. 

 

The Breadwinner will be showing on October 20, 2017 @ 7:00 pm, watch the trailer here!  

 

2. Birdboy: The Forgotten Children

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Based of a graphic novel that is set in a post-apocalyptic world, a teenager named Dinky and her friends try to escape an island in hopes to find a better life. She sets off her search not knowing that her old friend, Birdboy, is in hiding because of a deep secret he cannot let out that can change the world. 

Birdboy will be showing on October 21, 2017 @ 4:15 pm, watch the trailer here!

 
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3. Lu Over the Wall

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"A genre-mixing-mystery" about your basic mermaid who falls in love with mankind. Her adventure differs in that she joins a middle school rock band when she arrives ashore! Lu Over the Wall is one of the two animations Masaaki Yuasa has on the program, Night is Short, Walk on Girl being the second. 

Lu Over the Wall shows on October 22, 2017 @ 2:15 pm, watch the trailer here!

 

4. Mary and the Witch's Flower

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Mary and the Witch's Flower is an animation based on a children's story called The Little Broomstick! Mary lives a normal life until she decides to follow two mysterious cats who lead her into the forest. She lifts off into the night on a broom that comes to life soon after she finds it stuck in a rare tree, and there her adventure begins. 

Mary and the Witch's Flower shows on October 22, 2017 @ 5:15 pm, watch the trailer here!

 

5. Songs of Love and Death

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With love and death being the themes, Women in Animation and Animation is Film co-present eleven adult oriented short films. Their mash up include both a thoughtful and funny outtake on these two subjects. 

Songs of Love and Death shows on October 22, 2017 @ 8 pm!

 

Check out the full list of what will be showing at the Animation is Film Festival here!

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2017 Annie Awards

Eric Miller attended the 44th Annie Awards last Saturday night, the award show which honors excellence within the animation industry. He shared with us some of his overall thoughts and experiences from the ceremony, read more to hear about Eric's night first hand! 

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The Annie Awards are one of my favorite award shows that I attend.  How often do you get to see the creative people in the animation industry dress up?  It is an evening where you get to celebrate the achievements of your peers, and unlike other award shows, I actually personally know many of the people attending.

The night was filled with a few memorable moments, for example, before the show even began I was waiting for my wife in the lobby and stroke up a conversation with a man standing next to me, I soon found out he was Bradley Pierce, the voice of Chip from Beauty an the Beast.

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After we found our seats I noticed behind me was Henry Selick, so I decided I would go say hello.  I have seen him at many events before, but never had an opportunity to introduce myself. He was a very nice man, and we had a nice little conversation.  My wife even snapped this photo of us talking.

eric miller + Annie awards

The award show was not without some mishaps.  For example, when comedian Stephen Kramer Glickman and actress Chelsea Kane were presenting, the wrong winner card was brought out. Luckily Stephen was smart enough to realize it was not correct before reading it out loud. Chelsea went to get the correct one, and came back and once again she was given the wrong one.  I guess as they say the 3rd times a charm.  The other mishap was when the winner (I won't mention her name) dropped her Annie Award and broke it.  The top part of the statue was like a limp noodle flopping around while she gave her acceptance speech.  Even though her speech was powerful, I felt bad because I could not focus on what she was saying, as I could not stop laughing.

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eric miller + Annie awards

John Musker and Ron Clements, the directors of Moana, are always entertaining together, they presented several awards at the show. They have been at Disney for such a long time and I typically only see them together, excluding the first time I met John Musker, he was with Jerry Rees, and I went up to talk to Jerry not realizing at the time who John was. 

eric miller + Annie awards
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Glen Keane, presenter of a few awards, is another super star in our industry.  He was later joined on stage by Kobe Bryant. The media made a big deal out of Kobe attendance at the show, but in my opinion I would much rather meet Glen Keane over Kobe any day.

eric miller + Annie awards

Another really awesome presenting duo was Paige O'Hara (voice of Belle in "Beauty and the Beast") and Auli'i Cravalho (voice of Moana in “Moana”). I thought it was so neat them pairing those two together.  Auli’i is such a cute girl, and she had such a youthful excitement to be a part of the magic of both Moana and this evening.

After the event as I was walking out the theater to head to the dinner I noticed I was next to Bill Plympton, so I said hello.  We had a nice little conversation, and he talked about his recent visit to DWA.  His work is a little different then the studio's mainstream, but he is an extremely talented artist. Check it out here - http://www.plymptoons.com.

After dinner I got to talk to some more extremely talented people. The first was Mark Osbourne (Director of The Little Prince, Kung Fu Panda, and a few others).  I previously met him at the World Animation and VFX Summit last year when I ended up sitting next to him.  The next person was Travis Knight who I also met at The World Animation and VFX summit.  He is the CEO of Laika, and most recently directed Kubo and the Two Strings.  He is also the son of Phil Knight who co-founded Nike.  Lastly I got to talk with Jorge R. Gutiérrez who directed the animated movie “Book of Life”.  Really funny, and happy guy. I have heard him speak before at CTNX, but never met him in person.  

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I also got to see a lot of my animation friends, some of who I have not seen since I left DreamWorks Animation.  Overall it was a great evening, and I’m looking forward to going again next year.


As always, if you are looking for some Award quality animation work done then head over to our Client Projects page and let us know how we can help you and your company shine! 

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CTN Animation eXpo Recap

This past weekend The Creative Talent Network hosted their 8th Annual CTN animation eXpo in Burbank, California. The expo, which gathers animation professionals is a meant to bring inspiration, employment, and business opportunities to attendees. The expo event has artist panel/interviews, special exhibits and demos, speed talent recruiting mixers, privileged access networking, leaders of the industry discussions, and one on one critiques. Eric Miller attended the expo last weekend and was able to share some insight from the event.

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Overall, Eric noted that the expo was fantastic and largest he's ever seen in size. Although he mainly attends for the screenings, presentations and panels, he also enjoyed meeting talent as he walked the exhibit floor. Below are photos from the event.

 Photo from only one section of the exhibit floor which completely filled a tent.
Photo from only one section of the exhibit floor which completely filled a tent.
 Photo of the Lobby where there are live demonstrations where artists can learn advanced skills from professionals.
Photo of the Lobby where there are live demonstrations where artists can learn advanced skills from professionals.
 Photo from After Dark, where models posed for artists to draw them.
Photo from After Dark, where models posed for artists to draw them.
 Presentation from Tonko House.  The founders are the two on the end. Henry Selick (seen in the black shirt), is a Disney animation legend who has done a great deal over the years.

Presentation from Tonko House.  The founders are the two on the end. Henry Selick (seen in the black shirt), is a Disney animation legend who has done a great deal over the years.

  Talented artists who worked on Beauty and the Beast in the 25 year celebration.  They went through and spoke about the interesting behind the scenes of the production.  Many pictured above are animation legends!

Talented artists who worked on Beauty and the Beast in the 25 year celebration.  They went through and spoke about the interesting behind the scenes of the production.  Many pictured above are animation legends!

 Andreas Deja with Ted Thomas (the son of animation legend Frank Thomas) went through and looked at some of the amazing animation work that Frank Thomas did while he was at Disney.  The techniques of Frank and Ollie, who wrote the book “The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation”, are what many animation students train by.

Andreas Deja with Ted Thomas (the son of animation legend Frank Thomas) went through and looked at some of the amazing animation work that Frank Thomas did while he was at Disney.  The techniques of Frank and Ollie, who wrote the book “The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation”, are what many animation students train by.

 Eric Goldberg, an amazing animator who recently did the animation of the tattoos (little Maui) on Maui in the movie Moana.
Eric Goldberg, an amazing animator who recently did the animation of the tattoos (little Maui) on Maui in the movie Moana.
 Jason Scheier, a friend of Eric Miller's. Scheier illustrated the ship sailing into the moon illustration on the company website!

Jason Scheier, a friend of Eric Miller's. Scheier illustrated the ship sailing into the moon illustration on the company website!

 This is Floyd Norman introducing the  documentary  recently released about himself. Norman was the first black animator that worked at Walt Disney Animation, his first movie was Sleeping Beauty (1959).

This is Floyd Norman introducing the documentary recently released about himself. Norman was the first black animator that worked at Walt Disney Animation, his first movie was Sleeping Beauty (1959).

Thinking about attending CTNX next year? We'd recommend it!

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The 5th Annual World Animation & VFX Summit Recap

Earlier this week Animation Magazine hosted the 5th Annual World Animations & VFX Summit at the California Yacht Club in Marina del Rey, California. Attendees were able to listen in on entertaining speakers, listen in on panels, join in on discussions, and network with other Animation executives. 

The Summit aims to connect creative animation execs together to improve and expand the animation industry. The summit also honored six artists and animation executives, including, Betty Cohen (founding President of Cartoon Network/Adult Swim/Boomerang), Butch Hartman (Emmy and Annie nominated creator of The Fairly Oddparents, Danny Phanton, and T.U.F.F Puppy), Michael Hirsh (co founder of Nelvana, Cookie Jar Entertainment, and Teletoon Canada), Travis Knight (CEO and President of Laika)*, Ellen Poon (VFX Artist, Supervisor, and Producer), and Pierre Sissman (Chairman, CEO, and founder of Cyber Group Studios).

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Eric Miller attended the Summit and clued us in on some of the inner happenings at the event, check out the photos below!

  The Challenging Face of the VFX Industry Panel

The Challenging Face of the VFX Industry Panel

 So You Want to Make an Animated Hit Series Panel - Here are some big players in animated series.  They discussed what they thought were the best ways to create a successful animated series.

So You Want to Make an Animated Hit Series Panel - Here are some big players in animated series.  They discussed what they thought were the best ways to create a successful animated series.

 Guide to Successful Streaming 2.0 Panel - This panel they discussed how animation is changing, and more and more opportunities through sVOD(Streaming Video On Demand).  Networks like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime, etc. 

Guide to Successful Streaming 2.0 Panel - This panel they discussed how animation is changing, and more and more opportunities through sVOD(Streaming Video On Demand).  Networks like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime, etc. 

 Annual Oscar Contenders Round-up Panel - This panel each panelist talked about the movies they recently working on.

Annual Oscar Contenders Round-up Panel - This panel each panelist talked about the movies they recently working on.

 Travis Knight and Mark Osborne on the Oscar Contenders Round up Panel

Travis Knight and Mark Osborne on the Oscar Contenders Round up Panel

 Eric Miller with David Andrade, Co Founder of Theory Animation.

Eric Miller with David Andrade, Co Founder of Theory Animation.

Eric also attended the Animation Summit Gala at Casa del Mar in Santa Monica on Tuesday Night. At the Gala he ran into Gale Anne Hurd, who he had met before through the Producers Guild. She's very well established and has worked on many projects, such as The Terminator, Aliens, The Abyss, Armageddon, and she's currently producing The Walking Dead. Gale also introduced Eric to Betty Cohen, who founded The Cartoon Network and Adult Swim. For those of you who follow us on social, you'll know that Eric also got to meet Travis Knight, the CEO of Laika. 

 Eric Miller at the Gala

Eric Miller at the Gala

  Sir Ben Kingsley presenting award to Travis Knight

Sir Ben Kingsley presenting award to Travis Knight

 Travis Knight and Eric Miller

Travis Knight and Eric Miller


See what Eric wrote about last year's World Animation & VFX Summit on his blog

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Eric Miller Speaks at Dreamworks Animation!

Eric Miller spoke about his journey as CEO of Eric Miller Animation Studios to a packed room at Dreamworks Animation Wednesday afternoon. His talk covered the learning curves of starting your own animation company, the triumphs he's had so far, as well as the specifics of major client successes. 

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Eric explained to the crowd how his first client project with Toys R Us came with ease thanks to a friend, and how at the time he believe landing client projects would be simple! He soon realized landing great client partnerships takes strategy and persistence. Since Toys R Us, Eric's team has also successfully partnered with The Future of Play on MagicMeeMees. Jared White, the Director of the MagicMeeMees webseries also spoke to the DWA crowd about his experience with the project. He explained that although the project had a tight budget, he believes that "creativity thrives on limitations" and felt they were still able to deliver.

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Eric also spoke to the crowd about the company’s own IP, Bink. With the help of Eric's hand selected team (some in attendance, and pictured below), Bink, our favorite little yellow creature took a year and half to create! And although Eric admitted that client projects typically take priority in his workflow, he hopes to release more videos of Bink soon!

  L to R: Graham Cunningham, Linda Kurgpold, Jared White, Eric Miller, Violette Sacre, Valerio Fabbretti

L to R: Graham Cunningham, Linda Kurgpold, Jared White, Eric Miller, Violette Sacre, Valerio Fabbretti

During the Q&A, there were a lot of really great questions, and many of them were directed at Eric on starting and running his own company. Eric explained how the company is setup as a virtual studio meaning there is no actual studio location.  His entire team works remotely from their own homes using email, phone call, Skype, Dropbox, and Shotgun to perform dailies, and other reviews.  Eric also explained his current plan of bringing in more client projects to help pay for the creation of their own content like Bink.  Eric was very honored to be invited back to the DreamWorks Animation’s campus to be able to share what him and his team has been work on. 

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Bink has Arrived!

Our new favorite character Bink has been released online. We are excited to have worked on such an exciting project that has received so much love these last couple days. The crew is very proud of the work they did on Bink to bring him to life, and they hope everyone continues to support him. The best part of any animation is the spark, the idea, which can grow into so much more if nurtured. 

Our CEO Eric Miller hosted a Screening & Wrap party for the Crew and their invited guests the Sunday before Bink's release. He dedicated the party to the crew to celebrate the hard work everyone put into making Bink come back to life. We are all humble for the tremendous response we have received from our first Bink short. It was viewed and shared with animation enthusiasts all over the world. 

 Bink: New Arrival Cast & Crew Screening & Wrap Party

Bink: New Arrival Cast & Crew Screening & Wrap Party

There is one response that has been very clear, you “want more Bink!.” We will continue to do our best to bring you more as soon as possible. We really want Bink to become a household name, but we can't do it without your help. Please share his story with your friends and get the word out there! Like, Comment, and Subscribe to our YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/c/Milleranimation 

We would love to hear your thoughts about Bink and speculate where his story will go next. So many unanswered questions, such as; Where did he come from? What kind of testing are they doing? Is Bink on the 'brink' of danger? Subscribe and find out!