Friday, January 31, 2014

Nickelodeon Opens Their 2014 Animated Shorts Program

Last year, (before I started the blog) I learned that Nickelodeon was starting this thing called the Nickelodeon Animation Shorts Program.  Which is a contest for creative persons to create a pitch for a possible Nick show, and the prize is a job ("your show" creator/director) and you'll go to Nick and produce your show.

Last year they received over 1,000 pitches worldwide!  Essentially you are encourage to present to them any type of animation including 2d, Stop Motion, 3d, and Mixed media for the design of your show.  In your pitch you should include storyboards, scripts, character designs, ect. of the ideas of a possible show.  They explain the program like this to us like this:

"We are always looking for new creative talent, innovative concepts, funny character ideas, and original designs. Most of all, we are thrilled to hear your ideas. 

Animated shorts must be: comedic, character driven, and have kid appeal.

We look for ideas that feature an original, funny lead character with about 2 or 3 characters in total. Be prepared to show either through designs, thumbnail storyboards or script, how funny and unique your characters are.
Characters must be relatable to kids ages 6 - 11 and appeal to both boys and girls.
If the characters are human, we recommend that they be a kid around our audience’s age. If non-human their mindset would be like a kid and they should encounter situations that are relatable and comprehendible to our kid-audience.:"

They're are looking for the next Stephen Hillenburg, and want the next SpongeBob Squarepants.  My advice for those who are interested in developing a pitch is this: Study SpongeBob, The Fairly Odd Parents, and other successful Nick, Cartoon Network, and Disney shows.  It doesn't need to be Shakespeare!  Sadly, TV series for children these days talk down to kids; they [children's shows] are absurd, ridiculous trash!  I would say that 95% of kid's shows are not worth watching, at all!  Though I will make an exception to say that Cartoon Network made a brilliant decision in hiring Pen Ward (Adventure Time, Bravest Warriors) and J. G. Quintel (Regular Show).  Although those shows of course feed of the milk of Matt Groening's The Simpsons, by far the best animated show!

The deadline is March 4th.
Nick's website:

Breadwinners (one of last year's winners).

Breadwinners: "Meet Buhdeuce and SwaySway"

Wednesday, January 29, 2014 Interview With Mikey Please

Mikey Please, is by far my favorite internet Stop Motion director/animator making films right now.  His shorts include The Eagleman Stag, Seven Legs, The Rabbit Lover, and the upcoming Marilyn Miller.  I'm am stunned that he hasn't won an Oscar yet.  Below, is a great profile interview with the man behind the camera and we may get to see some sets from Eagleman Stag...

It's all very cool stuff so check it out along with the other great links!

Mikey's website:

Profile: Mikey Please from Submarine Channel on Vimeo.

Be sure to check this awesome site too! -( it's interviews with creative persons like game designers, animators, directors, and a ton of other goodness!

"Transmission" & "Golden Age of Insect Aviation: The Great Grasshoppers"

Guys!  I've been finding so many amazing shorts on Vimeo lately its hard to keep up!  So just expect a lot more posts about Shorts in the upcoming weeks.  Also, there probably won't be much that I'll say about the films like a description or what I thought of it.  Just automatically accept that if I've posted them, they are totally worth watching!

These two flicks are both hand-drawn 2d animation.  Which, I have to admit, I like just as much as Stop Motion; if it's done right.  And both of these are done completely right...


Transmission from Jared D. Weiss on Vimeo.


Golden Age of Insect Aviation: The Great Grasshoppers from Wayne Unten on Vimeo.

Friday, January 24, 2014

"Cicada Princess" & "Sasquatch Rides!"

I'd like to say first of all, this is SMG's 200th post!  So happy 200th everyone!  I'd share my celebration cake with you but it doesn't share, Google +, post, or another type of virtual sharing very well...

My first [short flick] internet find is this really awesome music video entitled Cicada Princess.  It has a Short of The Week award [].  Which you can find the webpage here:  The film's composition was by Jesse Solomon Clark.  Fantastic soundtrack!  I will say with the utmost certainty, Clark's performance has a certain brilliance in the music, it just speaks to your heart in a weird way.  Cicada Princess, and I'm just going to say it straight: is a beautiful epic.  Also, it's not Stop Motion!  It's puppetry!  Some of the most beautiful puppetry I've seen since Jim Henson passed anyway.  The film has a very beautiful and poetic narration, which is by Stephen Fry.  Princess includes magnificent lines like:

"Most folks, spend a lifetime looking for something.  Cicadas have but two days... two nights..."


Cicada Princess from Jesse Solomon Clark on Vimeo.
For a list of the full credit's go to

Next short film pick is Sasquatch Rides!  Now this short is actually Stop Motion, and has some of the best charter animation I've seen in a music video.  It would seem that every two years or so we will get a great, interesting, slightly obscure video for slightly obscure music.  Stop Motion is... appropriate, in the case of this film's storytelling aspect.  I also think that the harry eyeball with eyes is one of the coolest puppets with fur that I've seen in a while.  The puppets were made, and the film was directed by Lars C Larsen.  Dragon frame blog reports:

"Lars was a set-builder for Coraline and is currently a rigger on Boxtrolls."

Which I find to be very intriguing and, promising.  Lars just might be the next Phil Tippett!

Music video:
Sepia Tones website:

Sasquatch Rides! from Lars C Larsen
Music and Production Design By: Tobin Robinson
Animated By: Suzanne Twining
Directed by: Lars C Larsen
Produced by:
Scenic elements: Charles Daniels
Puppets: Tobin Robinson and Lars C Larsen
Compositing: Suzanne Twining, Lars C Larsen
Drums and Track: Andrew Hodgson at the Shire
Mix: Antreo Pukay at Tell Tail Recording, Portland, Oregon
Super Big Thanks to: DOA, Anne Mueller, Mighty Pug, Heather Henson, Mark Mueller, Morgan Hay, The Achiever's Board, Rob Shaw, Molly Grebens, Omphemetse Olesitse

Monday, January 20, 2014

"Robot Jox" (1989)

Robot Jox Theatrical Poster
With the upcoming RoboCop remake I though it only necessary to discuss the 1989 action flick Robot Jox.  Now, RoboCop was Robot Jox's predecessor, but both films were in production at, or near the same time (principle photography on Robot Jox started in early 1987, before RoboCop was released), so to say that Robot Jox stole anything from RoboCop would be blasphemy!  Robot Jox was the first massive project for David Allen Productions, and to watch the movie shows you that with $10,000,000 and a devoted and passionate crew, you can accomplish a magnificent final product; just look at Star Wars: A New Hope, for example, which was made for only 10 million just like Robot Jox, and Star Wars happens to be one of the most box-office busting flicks of all time (although it was fantastic).

Robot Jox, full film:

According to Ray Harryhausen, the gigantic Stop Motion puppets were, "The robot puppets for Robot Jox were so heavy that they often needed to be supported by tungsten wire sliding along overhead rails while walking."

Saturday, January 18, 2014

iStopMotion 3.5 Review

Now, obviously my favorite way of reviewing software is to get to the dirt n' grit of it all.  And by that I mean shoot a Test Animation and export into a GIF.  (GIF is a new format that you can export your project in).  Though I wanted it to remain high-res so I uploaded it to Vimeo.  I'll email it to you in GIF form if you really want to see it though, email me at  Now the definition of a GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) is, and I'll quote Wikipedia here:
"The Graphics Interchange Format (better known by its acronym GIF; /ˈɪf/ or /ˈɡɪf/) is a bitmap image format that was introduced by CompuServe in 1987[1] and has since come into widespread usage on the World Wide Web due to its wide support and portability.
The format supports up to 8 bits per pixel for each image, allowing a single image to reference its own palette of up to 256 different colors chosen from the 24-bit RGB color space. It also supports animations and allows a separate palette of up to 256 colors for each frame. These palette limitations make the GIF format unsuitable for reproducing color photographs and other images with continuous color, but it is well-suited for simpler images such as graphics or logos with solid areas of color.
GIF images are compressed using the Lempel-Ziv-Welch (LZW) lossless data compression technique to reduce the file size without degrading the visual quality. This compression technique was patented in 1985. Controversy over the licensing agreement between the software patent holder, Unisys, and CompuServe in 1994 spurred the development of the Portable Network Graphics (PNG) standard. All the relevant patents have now expired."
  • "GIFs can be used for small animations and low-resolution film clips."
Pretty cool, and great for sites like Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, and it emails well also.

I made this short animation in a matter of 40 minutes of messing around with my Christmas tree and clay...

Clay Figure Animation from SMG on Vimeo.

I gotta say, sorry for the shakiness, I was using the remote camera

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Stop Motion Deprived 86th Academy Award Nominees





None of the shorts/feature flicks that were nominated were Stop Motion.  For me, I think it's sad to have just written a post on these incredible shorts that are Stop Motion, any of which should have been nominees!  Though, it's a new year and more stopmo will come our way so no worries!

Though, I do think that Feral did deserve, and got, a nomination.

Feral trailer from Daniel Sousa on Vimeo.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Best of 2013: Most Awesome Student & Studio Short Films

First, when writing this I thought that I would rate about 10 short flicks, but then I came to the revelation that 2013 brought so many shorts that I decided it wouldn't be right to have just one number 1 on the list.  So, everyone is #1 on this list, flat down.  Also, happy new year everyone!  My hope is that this year will bring us even better Stop Motion goodness.  And hey, The Boxtrolls comes out in September!

Goodbye mister de Vries from Mascha Halberstad on Vimeo.

Nick jr Id bus from Ronda on Vimeo.