Saturday, September 4, 2010

Influence Map--Part I

I just discovered this. The link contains the template and numerous examples of people's maps. Some of my favorite artists/bloggers have made them:

Saskia Gutekunst

It was fun making mine. I hadn't really reflected on my influences before. It was an enlightening exercise to boil it down to the essentials:

I numbered the panels for an explanation of my choices. I originally intended this to be a single post but my explanations are turning out to be long. I'll explain numbers 1-8 today, 9-15 tomorrow:

1. Classic Warner Brothers cartoons: Bugs Bunny is the reason I wanted to be an animator. I was fascinated by his adventures and honestly believed that he was alive. When I learned that a bunch of guys brought him to life, I knew immediately that that was what I wanted to do with my life.

2. Star Wars: Yes, I know it sounds cliché, because EVERYONE'S been influenced by Star Wars! But for those of us who saw that movie in 1977 (I was 8-years-old), it was nothing short of mind-blowing. I had never seen space like that, or spaceships like that, or creatures like that or worlds like that. As I once tried to explain to a colleague who was born in 1977 and who was eager to see the Star Wars prequels (I just threw up a little…in my mouth), then it was new, now it's old hat. A New Hope (which will always be Episode 1, as far as I'm concerned. I don't give a crap how George Lucas chose to number the damn things!) was a genuinely unique movie experience. I'll never forget it.

3. Battle of the Planets: My first favorite elementary-school-age, after-school treat was watching Battle of the Planets. It was my introduction to anime and I was completely fascinated by it. It was exciting and action-packed, qualities I like in my anime to this day. Alex Ross's recent comic book covers for this property take it to a whole other level. More on him later.

4. Star Blazers: My second favorite elementary-school-age and junior high school after-school treat. I even liked the theme song! This was a seemingly endless soap opera set in space (hmm, kind of like the recent Battlestar Galactica) that mesmerized me.

5. Akira: Another mind-blowing movie experience. I recall my jaw dropping the first time I saw it, it was so unlike anything made in the US. I returned to the theater a second time to see it AND bought a poster which hangs in my apartment at this moment. The music, the backgrounds, the emotional intensity. An anime classic.

6. The Incredibles: You know an animated film is good when people who don't usually like animation feel it's one of the best movies of the year. I saw it at a theater in Maui and immediately fell in love. I'm not a fan of the buddy/kiddie/lots-of-heart movies made by Pixar (I'm part of the minority that preferred Ants to A Bug's Life) but this one was such a standout for its story and execution. I study the DVD extras regularly. And speaking of DVD's,…

…[here comes a rant!]…

…The Incredibles DVD is one of the few animated feature DVD's that does NOT interview ANY of the voice actors, except for Brad Bird. I HATE animation DVD's that don't bother to interview the director or the animators…but interview the f!@#ing voice actors! People who get paid millions to stand in front of a microphone in their pajamas?! (20 of those millions to Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz and Eddie Murphy EACH for f!@#ing Shrek. And how much of that did the f!@#ing animators get?!?!)

[rant over. back to influence map.]

7. Cowboy Bebop: Man, I'm glad I learned about this one! It was made in 1998 and as far as I'm concerned, no anime series has come close since (not even Bleach.) Two of my criteria for liking a story are if I believe the characters exist and if I'd like to meet them and spend time with them. Both criteria were met with Bebop. I LOVED this group of characters and was sad when my time with them ended. It looked great, the characterizations were fantastic, the music wonderful (bebop, of course), the stories exciting and the emotions real. It serves as a model for what I'd like to create.

8. The Godfather: Again, a potential cliché choice but, hell, it's a great movie. I rarely like movies about criminals but this is one of my few exceptions (the others are Goodfellas and Pulp Fiction.) Watching Michael Corleone go from war hero to ruthless thug is fascinating. And that last scene…wow.

Come back tomorrow for the rest!

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