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David Silverman wins Animation Feature Award

This year’s NCS division award for Animated feature goes to David Silverman for his work on The Simpsons Movie. David was the director of The Simpsons movie as well as The Road to Eldorado and worked on Pixar’s Monster’s Inc.

Community Comments

#1 Larry Levine
@ 4:23 pm

Congrats to David Silverman–it’s great to see hand-drawn animation being honored!!!

#2 Malc McGookin
@ 4:22 am

Nothing against David, I’m bringing up a point of principle:

An Animation category has no place in cartooning awards, imho.
Cartooning is (or should be) a celebration of individual effort, the only exception being writer/artist collaborations.

Animation is a team effort, and just as the ATP or PGA don’t give out awards to Football coaches, cartoonists shouldn’t hand out gongs or trophies to animators. Animation is NOT cartooning.

I speak as a former Key Animator and animation director. A cartoonists association giving an award to an animation director is akin to the Citrus Growers Of America honouring Jack Lemmon.

#3 Larry Levine
@ 8:06 am

Malc, I have to respectfully disagree with you regarding hand-drawn animation. 2D animation, unlike the trendier CG cartoons, is very much a part of cartooning.

Team efforts of gag writers, letterers, inkers have long been part of comic stripping. The medium’s first superstar Mutt & Jeff was a team effort, Bud Fisher only drew Mutt & Jeff for the first few years. Al Capp used ghost artists & writers, as did Chic Young, Chester Gould, Ham Fisher (who was a friend of my uncle), George McManus, & Jim Davis. Comic book creators like Bob Kane had a full staff writing & drawing Batman under his byline.

On the other hand, animation director Chuck Jones drew 300 well detailed pose drawings for his 6 minute shorts, what we see on screen is very much his artistic style, poses, timing & expressions. Was he any less a cartoonist than Schulz?

With CG animation commercially overpowering the art of hand-drawn, it’s more important than ever to recognize & honor those keeping this classic art form alive. Plus–lets not forget who created hand-drawn animation, comic strip artist Winsor McCay!

#4 Malc McGookin
@ 3:53 pm

Larry, I’m not decrying the skill and artistic ability of animators, I repeat that animation has nothing to do with cartooning.

Most of the animators on my teams in the past wouldn’t know how to cartoon if you held a gun to their head.

Yes, Chuck Jones was a great illustrator in the cartoon style and a great cartoon character designer, but cartooning is about writing, and being (as much as possible) and auteur -someone who conceptualizes on their own.
Yes, we have writer-artist teams, and that is as watered down as it should get.

We have other categories within cartooning for graphic illustrators and the like, so the Reubens caters for the various allied disciplines, but animation is too much of a team sport for one person to receive an award.
If every animator worked like Bill Plympton, I would think differently.

#5 Garey Mckee
@ 6:39 pm

I have to agree with Malc on this one, who incidentally, I believe, worked on one of my favorite animated cartoons, Count Duckula. A very bizarre Danger Mouse spin off.

Having had some experience in traditional animation I can say that it definately can help a cartoonist’s style and ability to lay out a scene. But Malc is right, it’s the writing that makes or breaks a comic strip.

Larry’s point has some validity as well with many comic strips being churned out by full staffs, like Garfield and FBOFW. The key difference is that only ONE name goes on those creations. The title reads Garfield by Jim Davis, not Garfield by Paws, Inc.

#6 Malc McGookin
@ 9:07 pm

I also take Larry’s pint regarding factory-produced strips, which is why I wouldn’t advocate giving Jim Davis anything other than a Lifetime Achievement award.

Yes, he says he writes the day’s gags, but apparently writers are employed too, so how can we judge anything from that?

The same may apply to Lynn Johnson, as I do believe a team of people pitches in on FBOFW. Nothing against Lynn or Jim Davis, I just think their names should not be put forward for gongs which celebrate individual creativity. They have their reward already, and I’ve gone on record as saying Lynn should be allowed to retire gracefully.

It’s against these other phenomenal successes that Schulz’s great achievement should be measured. He was entitled to receive awards right up until the end.

#7 Larry Feign
@ 2:33 am

As a cartoonist-turned-animator, I have to agree that while there is much overlap between 2D character animation and cartooning for print, cartoonist societies shouldn’t be handing out awards for animation. But, then, I also don’t think cartooning societies should be giving out awards for book or magazine illustration either, unless the artist also wrote the text.

I have never figured out where the idea originated that cartooning is a pictorial art, a cousin of drawing or painting. To me, cartooning is closer to literature than to painting or illustration. It’s primarily a narrative medium, a hybrid of words and pictures. In that sense, animation a lot has more in common with cartooning than illustration has.

To me, NCS started trying too hard to become an all-encompassing body way long ago. It was founded of, by and for comic strip, comic book and gag cartoonists, and that’s really all it ought to be about.

#8 Malc McGookin
@ 4:51 am

“I also donâ??t think cartooning societies should be giving out awards for book or magazine illustration either, unless the artist also wrote the text.”

That sentence contains a couple of blind alleys. I’ll go along with the “I donâ??t think cartooning societies should be giving out awards for book or magazine illustration” if those illustrations are not cartoons. In other words if someone used Photoshop or Painter to re-create the interior of the WTC prior to 9/11, I don’t see that it has much to do with cartooning, and that opinion wouldn’t be swayed by the fact that the artist also supplied the text.
On the other hand if the illustration was a cartoon exaggeration of the building of the Eiffel Tower, it would be kosher, in my book.

That said, magazine illustration is an established category and I don’t want to re-invent the wheel here, just to establish what cartooning actually IS and why we shouldn’t celebrate what it ISN’T.

#9 Larry Levine
@ 8:13 am

My opinion is strips & animation have long been intertwined and are both forms of cartooning regardless of how many people work on it. One cartoonist can produce a crummy strip & a full staff can turn out a great animated cartoon. Long as the awards are given for merit, it shouldn’t matter if someone draws on bristol board or 16 field animation paper, writes it him or herself or has assistants/animators–the only issue should be if it’s good & deserves the honor.

Here’s the follow-up question to kick-off the day: Is a comic strip a comic strip if it’s based on animation? Was Al Taliaferro’s Donald Duck strip (which was studio signed by Walt) a true comic strip or a licensing spin-off?

#10 Garey Mckee
@ 2:32 pm

” Was Al Taliaferroâ??s Donald Duck strip (which was studio signed by Walt) a true comic strip or a licensing spin-off?”

Pretty much everything Disney puts their name on is a licensing spin off. However, I feel that some things like the Taliaferro’s Donald Duck strip and those wonderful Carl Barks Scrooge McDuck comic books take on a life of their own and earn merit all by themselves.

#11 Tom Richmond
@ 3:32 pm

Being a magazine illustrator myself, I can definitely vouch for the fact that most jobs constitute as much writing as they do artwork. Not all writing contains words. A typical job might consist of a layout, the text to an article and the instructions to “fill this space with a funny illustration that reinforces the story’s main points of subject”. That’s a far cry from being sent a photo reference of a lawn tractor with instructions to draw it and color it red. Some jobs do not give the artist the freedom to create their own humor and visuals, but most art directors hire a humorous illustrator/cartoonist as opposed to PhotoShopping a picture for a reason.

#12 Malc McGookin
@ 6:04 pm

“it shouldnâ??t matter if someone draws on bristol board or 16 field animation paper, writes it him or herself or has assistants/animatorsâ??the only issue should be if itâ??s good & deserves the honor.”

Larry, that’s not the point. It’s WHO gets the honour that’s at issue here. Cartooning is a solitary profession, not a team effort (once again I make the exception for a single writer working with a single artist).

If you’re getting an award just because your name happens to be above the door or your name appears last and largest on the credits, that’s not right or proper.

Yes, it happens (Disney holds some kind of record for Oscars received) but cartoonist organizations shouldn’t be doing it.

#13 Charles Brubaker
@ 7:58 pm

“If youâ??re getting an award just because your name happens to be above the door or your name appears last and largest on the credits, thatâ??s not right or proper.

Yes, it happens (Disney holds some kind of record for Oscars received) but cartoonist organizations shouldnâ??t be doing it.”

Have to agree with you on that. Believe it or not, the Oscars for “Tom and Jerry” cartoons were NOT given to Hanna/Barbera, but rather to Fred Quimby, because he was the producer. Quimby never even liked cartoons in the first place.

These days, however, the award for animated shorts are given to the director(s), although this may have to do with directors functioning as a producer, among other things.

#14 Phil Wohlrab
@ 9:15 pm

In 2003 Sponge Bob Square Pants won the award for TV animation.

When I think of the brilliance of that show and how much it dwarfs even the biggest newspaper comics of today in terms of sales and popularity, I can not imagine barring it from recieving an award. I love that show. It’s not a kids show. It appeals to more people and their kids then any of todays newspaper comics… combined even. To ignore it at a cartoon awards ceremony because it was done by a team is nuts.
Sponge Bob doesn’t need an award from a cartoonist’s club in order to validate it’s greatness. It’s actually the other way around. If the show didn’t get some kind of NCS recognition during a time of immense popularity I’d question the sanity of the award distributors.
As long as it’s designated an animation award, I don’t see the problem with it.

#15 Malc McGookin
@ 9:42 pm

Phil, You’re talking with your heart, not your head.

I ask again -WHO should get the award? Not only that, but WHY?
Yes, Spongebob is tremendously popular, I’ve always loved it, but the animation is a very low standard, so why give it an animation award?

If anything it should receive an award for the writing, which is very good, yet the writers are ignored. Is that just?

#16 Steve McGarry
@ 9:42 pm

It might be worth pointing out that the NCS animation award nominations are given for a specific contribution to a project … so this year, for example, Stephen Silver was nominated and won for his Character Design on “Kim Possible” and David Silverman was honored for his work as Director of “The Simpsons Movie.”

This has been our practice for many years now. The feature animation jury is specially convened in Los Angeles to include a number of animation professionals with the remit to acknowledge outstanding personal contributions, and we defer to their specialist knowledge of who actually does what before the final nominees are determined. A glance at the television animation nominations this year will confirm that we seek to honor outstanding artists of great ability.

For that reason, Silverman, rather than Matt Groening, has been honored previously for his Simpsons work … and the likes of Eric Goldberg and Tom Sito, rather than Walt Disney, have been nominated for both character design and direction on different occasions. For example, Glen Keane won his 1991 award purely for his work on the Beast character from “Beauty and The Beast,” as I recall.

We have been giving out animation and illustration awards for over 50 years now – and the Society is only 62 years old – so I think that the categories were probably established before my friend Larry Feign was born. We have also been honoring comic book artists for the same amount of time, and while we have honored the likes of the self-sufficient Jeff Smith and his Pogo-esque “Bone,” other recipients have ranged from “Archie” artist Don De Carlo to the photorealistic superstar Alex Ross.

As to whether or not animators are cartoonists, anyone who has watched Gary Baseman or Tom Sito or David Silverman or Scott Shaw Or Glen Keane, or any of the other animators who gravitate towards us, drawing live at an NCS event would undoubtedly beg to differ.

There are a plethora of animators and illustrators within the ranks of the NCS, and to not recognize their branches of the profession would be very bizarre. (We are also called the National Cartoonists Society, but we are not pedantic enough to excude non-Americans.) We celebrate many disciplines under the generic “cartoonist” term, and most of us, I would imagine, are delighted that we do. Our mission is to promote and celebrate the artform, in all its many guises.

So the notion that we might exclude the brilliant cartooning work of a magazine illustrator such as Tom Richmond or an Arnold Roth on the technicality that they didn’t write the accompanying article is, quite frankly, mind-boggling. These are graphic storytellers of the highest order. (And to underscore Tom’s point, Roth is famous within the profession for refusing to take art direction. He insists on illustrating whatever facet of an article appeals to him.)

Finally, as to the suggestion that one has to be completely autonomous to merit respect, the lines as to just how solitary a profession we are engaged in are increasingly blurred. In the digital age, many artists use inkers, colorists, gag writers, assistants, collaborators, etc., and the “purists” are invariably none the wiser.

Steve McGarry
NCS President 2001-2005

#17 Malc McGookin
@ 11:57 pm

“Finally, as to the suggestion that one has to be completely autonomous to merit respect…”
Nope, didn’t say that. I do, however, believe that you should have a degree of autonomy to merit a trophy.

I was an animation director, scriptwriter, etc, and it’s a hundred times easier than directing live action. You are in total control of every scene, not a frame is allowed to escape your scrutiny, there are no days lost to cloud or rain, and you don’t have to put up with temper tantrums from the actors.

An animation movie is actually “directed” by a number of people, including the writer, (who can sometimes give copious directional notes, as I did) the storyboarder, the layout artists and finally the director. If a cartoonist organization was seriously interested in giving awards to cartoonists in animation, let them go talk to the storyboarders, or the layout artists. They are cartoonists working in the animation business and are routinely ignored.

Groening would have been a more fitting recipient of the silver T-square than an animation award, though yes, he did create animation jobs – all for Koreans.

#18 Steve McGarry
@ 12:58 am

Ah, yes … now I remember why I don’t bother with cartooning boards anymore. Perhaps you skimmed through my post without actually reading what I wrote, Malcolm.

The NCS does consult the “storyboard artists and layout artists” â?? which is why we convene a specialist jury in Los Angeles. We ask working animation professionals to advise us on who is doing the outstanding work.

And, again, I refer you to Stephen Silver’s award as an example of the way NCS determines nominees. He won purely, simply and specifically for his Character Design on “Kim Possible,” as opposed to the NCS honoring the show’s creators, or the director. By your own criteria, you should be congratulating us for our diligence.

In Silverman’ case, he practically created “The Simpsons” singlehandedly, taking Matt’s original sketches and creating the look of the series from day one, back when it was a short on the Tracy Ullman Show. I can’t imagine that there are too many who would begrudge David’s award, particularly if they are familiar with just what a gifted artist he is.

While its true that we are extremely unlikely to honor the inbetweener or the storyboard artist – in the same way that we are unlikely to honor a comic book colorist or letterer, even though they are an instrinsic part of the process – we obviously go to great lengths to try and ensure that we honor outstanding creators and artists who have demonstrably earned our respect and admiration, rather than figureheads or directors who have simply inherited someone else’s feature, for example.

As far as I recall, I don’t think the NCS has actually given Matt an animation award.

He has won the Reuben Award … but you would be hard-pressed to make a case for the NCS not honoring the creator of one of the biggest cartooning successes in history. The comicbook line alone has provided work for a platoon of cartoonists.

I actually only popped onto the cartoooning boards tonight to congratulate Jeff Keane on a phenomenal Reuben Weekend in New Orleans, so I’ll make a point of doing so … and now toddle off to bed.

Good luck with putting the NCS to rights,


#19 Malc McGookin
@ 7:14 am

Steve, Note the title blurb of THIS thread, which is where I posted my comments, not on the Stephen Silver thread.

Here it is to save you scrolling:
“This yearâ??s NCS division award for Animated feature goes to David Silverman for his work on The Simpsons Movie. David was the director of The Simpsons movie as well as The Road to Eldorado and worked on Pixarâ??s Monsterâ??s Inc.”

I did look at the content of the other awards and didn’t have an opinion to give. Not trying to put the NCS to rights, just stimulating debate on THIS issue – a cartoonist society giving awards for animation feature direction.

Oddly, on the one hand you laud how David Silverman “practically created â??The Simpsonsâ? singlehandedly, taking Mattâ??s original sketches and creating the look of the series from day one”. Not sure how Groening would take that, but it illustrates precisely how in animation it’s very hard to pin down one person for accolades.
To be blunt, Silverman merely did what every animation director does – takes lemons and makes lemonade. It’s why you get the job.
The Brits gave Groening an “Outstanding Contribution To Comedy” award, which I think is far more fitting and deserved. Neither Groening nor Silverman have advanced cartooning or animation, but they’ve certainly changed the face of comedy.

#20 David Silverman
@ 2:22 pm

OK — I guess I’ll chime in! In no particular order!!

1) I was at the start of The Simpsons, animating on every Tracey Ullman short, and then directing some of the first episodes. OK, 23 in all. I consider myself one of the guys who helped shape the show. ONE of the guys. But Matt and Jim Brooks and Al Jean give me a fair amount of credit, so I will leave it at that. Ask them.

2) There were about 300 artists working here in Los Angeles on the movie. The bulk of the animation was done stateside. The listing in the credits of “character layout” refers really to animators doing the key acting and action poses. On the Korean side there were 150 artists. So I take GREAT OFFENSE to the remark about jobs “all for Koreans.” (Notice how I used caps? See the offense I take?) The Simpsons is the last show standing that still does the bulk of the animation in LA. Sadly, no longer the case with King of the Hill, Family Guy. There are more US artists on The Simpsons than any other animated show airing. By a considerable number. Myah, see? Myah. Get your facts straight, see?

US animation has been outsourced since the late 60s. We didn’t make up the rules. But we do keep more of it stateside and out of Asian and Australian hands as possible. Especially Australian hands — oops — did I say — BAHAHA!!!!

3) My work on the movie involved me doing lots and lots of drawing, figuring out staging and blocking, coming up with a design approach, recording, rerecording, going to lots and lots of meetings, working with a lot of artists, working in the writers room and contributing jokes — I wrote the gag lyrics to “Spider Pig,” wasn’t that a hoot? — and a massive amount of drinking. More than you could possibly imagine. OK, take that amount and double it. Add ten. Now divide.

Anyone here who has an opinion about what I did – well, I don’t recall seeing you at the studio. So, I guess you’re free to invent whatever you want! Whee, playtime! Be creative! Use crayons! But I will check for spelling.

4) I don’t mind the discussion about whether or not animation should be in one of the awards, but it’s been there since 1957. Now you bring it up? Why didn’t you say something in 1957?? Ya BIG dummy!! TOO LATE!! BAHAHAHAHA!!!

5) I am not sure how I’ve offended some here as they feel a need to take shots at me, or those I work with. Well — I may find you to be demeaning, yet I am not demeaned. Nyah. Take a burn! In your FACE!!!

5A) You all getting enough to eat? I do worry.

6) Thanks awfully for all your heartfelt congratulations!!! So touching!!

(exit left, giggling and drinking, slips, breaks arm. sfx: glissando tympani)

#21 Alan Gardner
@ 2:38 pm

Thanks David, for chiming in.

BTW, I enjoyed the music last Sunday. “That’s some nice flutin’ boy.” – I mean tuba playing.

#22 Phil Wohlrab
@ 4:02 pm

I first discovered the Simpsons on the Tracey Ullman show actually. I was eleven or twelve years old. Then when it blew up my parents didn’t want me watching it because Bart supposedly cursed. Same thing occured with Bevis and Butthead. That didn’t fly well with the rents either. It wasn’t till I got older and my Dad started watching Simpsons when I was watching it, that he realized how hilarious it was.

#23 Mike Lester
@ 4:19 pm

Show me the guy who wrote Homer eating a chocolate crucifix and then muttering, “Mmmmm, sacrilicious…” and I’ll show you a guy who deserves whatever award they’re giving away.

#24 David Silverman
@ 5:26 pm

Um — yeah, I wrote that . . . (Eyes darting) . . . yeah . . . wrote that . . . Oh look at the time I gotta run!!

#25 Malc McGookin
@ 6:01 pm

David, I’m not sure you’re being a hundred per cent straight as far as figures for animation done in the US is concerned.
I’m talking about the work done on the series, not the movie.

RDS was formed in Glendale but as far as I know now farms out everything after layouts to Korea. Why would they do that? To create jobs for US animators?
So they animate the Simpsons in the US? In Glendale, hopefully. I’d love to have a contact name, because I have many animator buddies in California and they’ve been looking for work for the last few years. Not one of them has ever mentioned the possibility of getting work on The Simpsons

There is another, deeper malaise here that is possibly of interest only to animation professionals, and that is the way the unholy alliance between Asian animation houses and autocratic directors works to export work overseas which could be kept onshore.
How many talking heads are there in every Simpsons ep?
Does Korea animate them every time and charge you for it? Do you have a library of talking heads and stock poses that could be re-doped for new scenes, saving money to employ US animators on the enjoyable stuff?

I’m honestly interested in this and would like to know.

Is there any of this sensible cost-saving in play? I’ve done the stats many times and the cost savings due to pre-planning are enough to keep more and more work on the US mainland, but would that mean the wrong kind of hard work?

#26 David Silverman
@ 6:58 pm

?? — I thought you were on about the NCS and animation, now you need a course on how animation is done?

The Simpsons TV show is produced at Film Roman. In Burbank. RDS Korea and AKOM are the two studios used overseas. (We split the shows between the two studios.) You should read the credits more carefully, genius boy.

So — that’s the first big clue for you that you have no idea what the hell you’re talking about.

On each show there’s a team of 8 animators/character layout artists, and 2 BG layout artists. (This can expand at different points in the production, especially for the more difficult shows.) There are seven teams. There is also a pool of artists to do retakes. There are about 10 designers, 10 board artists, and 5 color artists. Several directors, assistant directors (always a top artist), and timers. All the directors draw — really really well. Everyone works crazy hours, especially the directors, because it’s their job on the line.

All the layout and acting is done here, genius boy. We shoot a pencil test (we call it an animatic) of all the animation, and then there will be a rewrite. 5 weeks to board, 6 weeks to layout, and 8-10 weeks after the animatic.

We pose out everything, and many scenes are fully animated. Usually all dancing scenes, and big, histrionic Homer scenes.

And we have a full staff at the moment.

No, we have no library, genius boy. If you’d ever watch the show, you’d see a variety of shots, angles, and very acting specific performances.

To repeat what I said before: Animation has been outsourced from the US since the late 60s. We inherited this system. So, we were able to convince FOX to at least let us do it this way — which is more than any other show does. And, we’ve expanded our artist staff over the years. Read this twice, maybe you’ll understand it.

FOX calls the shots when it comes to the budget. Not me, not Matt, not Jim Brook’s Gracie Films. Got that? FOX. They don’t want to pay for the inbetweening, clean-up, and digtal coloring being done stateside. Now — FOX is owned by Rupert Murdock. He’s an Aussie, like you. So — why don’t you tell him to give us more money? Hell, we’ve tried, but maybe you’ll have better luck, because you’re a genius boy.

And when RDS did Futurama, they actually had a larger animation budget than The Simpsons at the time, and they did most of the animation in Glendale. All posed out, much of it done fully.

Now — have a drink and calm down.

#27 Phil Wohlrab
@ 9:11 pm

I worked on a TV show for a short 4 month period in NYC called “Word World” on PBS. I was an assistant story board artist (clean up mostly). I loved the non stop drawing but in the end I was never so relieved to be let go. The commute to and from the city each day left me so drained I could barely function.

Those guys did work crazy hours. They pretty much lived at work. I was considered a slacker and I’d stumble off my train at 10:30 some nights.
They did full animatics just like you guys to the point where it looked like you were watching key frames, not a story board. Unfortunately the character expressions where lost in 3D animation, which was done in India. I found the animatics to be more entertaining.

Animation is not a job, it’s a vocation. And it’s hard to break into unless you know someone. (at least that’s what they told me) I doubt I could do it again.. or would want to.
I hated the coordinator. Nice lady, but, her job was to make me and everyone else work faster to try to reach some insanely tight deadline. It’s hard to draw when you’re in a state of panic.

#28 Dawn Douglass
@ 9:30 pm

Oh Phil, quit whining. Everybody knows animators have a cushy job where everybody else does the work and they get the undeserved rewards.

(Just kidding, of course.)

#29 Malc McGookin
@ 9:44 pm

“?? â?? I thought you were on about the NCS and animation, now you need a course on how animation is done?”

I hardly think so, buddy, and your tone is half desperate and half sneering. Just answer the questions in a civil manner (befitting an award-winning director) and I suspect you’ll come out of this with some kind of integrity intact.

To be quite honest you would probably have been better remaining aloof not answering at all. I’m certainly not impressed.

#30 Malc McGookin
@ 9:58 pm

Oh, and using your figures alone, projecting wage and production costs, I’m certain I could reduce your costs by between 30% to 45% with no loss of US jobs and no compromising of quality.
Rupert would be VERY interested in that, and he’s now an American, by the way.

You re-animate every talking head? Absolute madness. The Simpsons is a success because of the scripts, not because you slightly alter the angle of Homer’s head each talking head scene.

No wonder you have people working overtime. Do you have your cleaners sweep the carpet with toothbrushes too?

#31 Larry Feign
@ 1:24 am

Sorry to have offended the cartoon illustrators. I wasn’t thinking straight when I made my comments above. Of course cartoon illustration is a fine (and difficult) art.

I will say one thing, which this whole conversation underscores: all awards are a bunch of hooey. Far too many editorial cartoonists, for example, have a calendar hidden in their drawers with lists of every association and lobbying group that gives out press awards, so that they can do cartoons timed just right to win them some prizes. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but it a complaint that is voiced often at the AAEC get-togethers.

It’s nice to be recognized by one’s peers, but even NCS awards are a little bit too much popularity contest rather than awards given purely for artistic merit.

This sounds like sour grapes, but it isn’t. I’ve received a few awards you’ve never heard of, and it feels nice. One even came with enough money that I could buy a camera. But I don’t at all see the value in any of them, except as PR for the organizations who give them or as gee-whiz entries in a resume. I might feel differently when NCS names me Cartoonist of The Year, but that’s hardly likely until I’m already so successful and wealthy that such an award won’t make any difference to anyone except my mother.

#32 Rick Stromoski
@ 5:06 am

>>>No wonder you have people working overtime. Do you have your cleaners sweep the carpet with toothbrushes too?


There’s an old saying…”When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.”

#33 Terry Lopes
@ 5:14 am

Did anyone else go deaf from the thundering applause after someone finally slapped Malc Macgookin’s smarmy face with the cold glove of enlightenment? Nothing’s better than when the bully gets punched in the nads.

Bravo, Mr. Silverman, you’re a true talent. And don’t pay any heed to Magookin’s comments. For the past several months, he’s been spitting venom at any tourist who walks by his cage with a better-looking snack bar than his. Petty is as petty does.

You deserve every award you get.

#34 Malc McGookin
@ 5:37 am

Our friend David says he’s been after more money from “Rupert Murdock” (who he?) for years. It might have helped had he spelled Roop’s name right, but when Rupert Murdoch finds out someone has been wasting millions a year re-drawing and animating the same talking heads, you’ll see who’s in a hole.

To put it in layman’s terms, it’s the equivalent of not copy-pasting huge chunks of text, but instead choosing to type it all out again.

Gosh, I hope the URL of this thread doesn’t make its way mysteriously to Mr Murdoch’s Inbox.

#35 Malc McGookin
@ 5:46 am

I’ve never heard of you, but it gives me a great deal of pleasure to know that I p*ss you (and anyone unfortunate enough to be like you) off.

So now anyone who stands up and espouses an opinion is a “bully”? You’re living in a country that invaded and murdered hundreds of thousands of innocent people on the premise of a lie told by a President you voted in to office twice. I would venture to suggest you don’t know what a bully is.

#36 Phil Wohlrab
@ 6:20 am

I don’t know just how well an animation library would work. I could see it being used in the Jetsons when rosie the robot babbles mindlessly. But when a characters head doesn’t move for a timea and lips are flapping… If I caught the simpsons doing this, I’d think it was a gag about cheap animation.
How long is the close up of a talking head going to last, on say Homer, before something new happens? If his expressions aren’t directly related to what he’s saying, I bet it quickly starts to look like crap in under 3 seconds.

Could it be that looking though all the different talking heads, trying to find the right one might take longer than just drawing it?

#37 Malc McGookin
@ 7:23 am

If it’s done wrong, yes you’ll spot it, but it isn’t hard to do it right.

No, you don’t go “looking though all the different talking heads, trying to find the right one”.

In the old days of cel animation we kept all the talking heads in boxed titled by character (DMR = “Dangermouse Facing Right”, for instance). Pre-animating them ahead of time (sometimes months) meant that more time could be put into making the animation smooth, and the head tilts, subtle twists, dips, extremes and settles were all coded so that the person writing the dope sheet simply used the code supplied via a model sheet – they didn’t even have to see the cels, they knew what each letter meant and could split off mouths and eyeblinks to order.
This became a specialist job given to someone who understood animation but perhaps couldn’t draw or animate. One person could do a whole half hour episode themselves in a couple of days to a week, depending on how many talking heads were storyboarded. These scenes were used not only on an episode but throughout a whole series.
The dope sheets (camera exposure charts) then went to rostrum camera and the cameraman did his stuff, shooting as required.

Nowadays with a totally digitized system such as Toonboom, Animo, USA, whatever, the process is infinitely more easy, the talking heads (or mid shots, or whatever) are archived on a drive, with hard copy reference for compositors to use. No new layouts, no storyboard pics needed – an animation director can cut 20% of animation and costs at a stroke by going through a board and redlining code names for scenes which the boarder had originally planned new animation.

Only if a character’s appearance is changed during one episode will he/she need to be animated from scratch

No-one wants to see a whole episode of talking heads, or even two characters standing face to face blathering, but South Park does fine even though it contains vast amounts of jiggling heads and acres of dialogue and virtually nothing else. The funny scripts and entertaining voicework carries TV animation, NOT the animation itself.
Pre-planning the talking heads frees the animators up for doing the broader animated, more enjoyable work.
The Chinese studios we used rejected the concept of pre-planned animation. They would insist on re-animating EVERY scene, no stock scenes or library work. Why? because they wanted to make sure their animators were WORKING for the pittance they were paid. They slept under their desks, they were working so many hours, and the next shift guy would slot into the seat above him to keep on working.

It doesn’t have to be that way, and you seriously question the minds that can’t, or won’t see a way round it.

#38 Dawn Douglass
@ 7:49 am

“For the past several months, heâ??s been spitting venom”

Make that years.

And, yes, I’m sure the laughter and applause were deafening.

Don’t take it personally, David. If you knew the source, you probably wouldn’t even have bothered to respond.

#39 Malc McGookin
@ 8:05 am

I’m sure they’re thrilled to have your support, Dawn. ;-)

#40 Rick Stromoski
@ 8:07 am

“So now anyone who stands up and espouses an opinion is a â??bullyâ?? Youâ??re living in a country that invaded and murdered hundreds of thousands of innocent people on the premise of a lie told by a President you voted in to office twice. I would venture to suggest you donâ??t know what a bully is.”


Just thought I’d help along the complete digression of this thread. We’d have eventually gotten there anyway…

#41 Alan Gardner
@ 8:35 am

I think all that needs to be said has been said. Comments closed.

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