Monday, January 31, 2011

Kevin Smith Returns to His Indie Roots

Kevin Smith—writer/director of "Clerks" and "Dogma,"among other films—is returning to his indie roots with the self-distribution of his latest movie, "Red State." He talks about his motivations here. An eye-opening read.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Amazing Animation—Nick Cross's "The Pig Farmer"

Nick Cross's bio from the ASIFA-Hollywood site: Nick Cross is a self taught animator/independent filmmaker who also works commercially. His professional credits range from music videos to television. While working a full schedule, Nick is able to animate short films entirely on his own to a standard higher than most. Some of his films include "The Waif of Persephone" and "Yellow Cake." 

He recently completed "The Pig Farmer" which is can be viewed here. All I can say is that he's an inspiration.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Changed Twitter Name to @Rochelle_Krause

I changed my name on Twitter to read "Rochelle_Krause" instead of "rochellekrause." I knew I couldn't use spaces in the name but I didn't know I could just use an underscore. It looks better that way, more intuitive.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Animation Oscar Nominations

CartoonBrew has the animated short and feature Oscar nominations here with links to info about the shorts. I feel for Bill Plympton, he said on his blog that an Oscar nomination for "The Cow Who Wanted to be a Hamburger" which surprised me considering how long and successful his career has been. Maybe he meant that a nomination would give his career a boost.

Plympton also said that all of the short nominations are "computer films." I'm not sure if that's accurate. Teddy Newton's "Day and Night's" characters are—according to this explanation—2-D animation with 3-D animation existing inside of them that reflects the characters's emotions. This video gives an explanation.

Based on the clips I've seen of this film—and the Academy's alleged preferences for both West Coast animators and 3-D animation—I believe Newton will walk away with the Oscar. I'm also intrigued by the idea of this film and its execution and look forward to seeing it in its entirety (haven't seen Toy Story 3.)

The only other short film I have any familiarity with is "Madagascar, A Journey Diary." I saw this still from the film that blew me away. I've also seen scenes of the film and it not only looks like a watercolored travel diary but it includes some great technical shots. I can definitely see why this was nominated.

After a quick search, I found the film for download here. This is surprising because I thought films online were ineligible for Oscar consideration. Plympton said his "Santa: The Fascist Years" —one of his recent best films, I think—wasn't eligible for Oscar consideration when it was completed. 

The other short nominations:
"Let's Pollute"

"The Gruffalo"

"The Lost Thing"

Best of luck to all of the nominees!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I'm on Twitter @RochelleKrause

I set up a Twitter account to share my short bursts of DIY animation brain farts! You don't want to miss that!

Monday, January 24, 2011

American Film Industry Declining Like Japanese Anime?

Yutaka Yamamoto holds up a poster of a new anime series, "Fractale," at his office in Tokyo.
(Yoshiyuki Suzuki)

This recent article discusses the now two decades decline of Japanese anime. One producer, Yutaka Yamamoto, places most of the blame on "the domestic industry [becoming] glutted with similar anime styles." He also laments the "the priority has been on quantity." This isn't surprising to any fan of anime.

I have only three favorite anime series: StarBlazers, Battle of the Planets and Cowboy Bebop. It could be argued that these series look distinct from each other but they do resemble other anime series. This is most likely why I watch little anime; I feel that I'm watching remakes of other series full of generic characters.

I fear this is the path that American live-action filmmaking is taking. With such a heavy reliance on tentpole and superhero stories that focus on the angst of their protagonists, American films are chasing away some their audience.

I also believe that the focus on quantity (otherwise known as "greed") is what killed Disney's hand-drawn animation business. After "The Lion King," Disney became greedy and started producing more theatrical and straight-to-video films and labeling them "instant classics." They were anything but classic. Instead, they were poorly-developed pieces of disposable art.

Additionally, Yamamoto criticizes himself and others for focusing on creating cutesy characters that they thought would be sure things instead of focusing on originality.

Sound familiar?

Hello, Transformers!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Final Animatic Update 1—

I am now officially working on the final animatic for my film. Usually there's just one animatic made. But since I want this to look as good as I can get it, I made a quick, down n' dirty version before making the clean one.

I've just started with the opening titles and am making myself giggle with the sound effects I'm using! Currently I use one source for sound effects, What I love about this site is it's ease of use. You type in what you're looking for in the search box; a list appears with prices and descriptions; you click on the file and listen to it; you download it and use. SIMPLE!!!

I used Sounddogs for my Plympton School film and it was a breeze. I highly recommend their site. Of course, if you know of a site that's just as good or better, please share. Thanks!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Studies from Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol. 6

I bought the Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol. 6 for ONE cartoon, "Rocket-Bye Baby." I won't go into the quality of this collection too much—I think it's lacking—but this is the sixth volume; maybe the preceding five are better.

I spent almost four hours yesterday watching this collection for the first time in its entirety (most via fast forward) becasue these 1940's cartoons are the reason I fell in love with animation. With the help of John K.'s analysis, I've learned why I prefer those cartoons to the dreck on t.v. today. It's a matter of the characters being drawn as three-dimensional forms, not 2D, angular cutouts. And, of course, the animation is superior to anything on t.v. today. If these classic cartoons are what excite me, then watching and studying them will inspire me to emulate their skill. I saw a lot of the dry brush "zip" effect. I saw some great acting. And I saw some beautifully rendered backgrounds.

Some of the studies I did from these disks are below. I was particularly concerned about how I was going to draw the brick facade and windows for the first pan shot. Why reinvent the wheel? By going to this source, I found several examples of both and now know how I can approach it.

FYI, the notes on these pages are written in both my left and right hands (hence the difference in clarity). I'm right-handed but am training to write in my left to save the right for drawing. When Frank Frazetta had his stroke, he had to paint with his left. You never know when you might need a particular skill.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Practice Drawings

Based on Lesson Four of the John K. curriculum. Copied from "Advanced Animation" by Preston Blair. Also a copy from MAD Magazine No. 2, Jack Davis.

More copies from MAD Magazine No. 2, Jack Davis. I love the way Davis does expressions and hands!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Man vs. Art Episode 30—Unleash the Cartoonist Within

Commuting on my LONG-ASSED bus ride to work this morning (an express bus takes one hour and 35 minutes to go the 14.6 miles from the Bronx to Tribeca! WTF?! I could ride my damn bike in the same amount of time!), I finished listening to Episode 30 of Raul Aguirre, Jr.'s Man vs. Art podcast. I know this episode dates from 9/8/10 but his podcasts are so full of helpful information that I'm listening to each carefully AND taking notes.

This episode's title is "Unleash the Cartoonist Within." I'll summarize what I think are the highlights. I strongly suggest that you listen to the podcast in its entirety to get the full effect (especially Aguirre's badass voice!):

1. The differences between cartoon drawing and illustrating. Cartooning suggests, simplifies, exaggerates, distorts, indicates, interprets, expresses and favors visual clichés. Illustration reproduces, mirrors, specifies and represents.

2. Simplicity allows the audience to project their own imagination on to the drawing thereby creating a personal involvement. Gaps are left for the audience to fill with their own imaginations.

3. Copying is a good thing, especially for beginners. Copying your favorite artists contributes to developing your own style. (I was glad to hear this because I've been copying the early Will Elder, Harvey Kurtzman and Wally Wood MAD Magazine art. And it HAS helped improve my drawing!)

4. Learning to cartoon begins with constant doodling. This allows for technical practice and learning plus it stimulates the free association process which is integral to successful cartooning.

5. ONE Man vs. Art rule: cartoon characters should NEVER laugh at the situations in which they're participating. (I can understand that one.)

6. Doctors in cartoons should always be male and nurses always female to communicate quickly and clearly. (I disagree with this one. I think the white robe and stethoscope are the visual clues to communicate a doctor regardless of gender while scrubs communicate nurse or surgeon.)

7. People communicate non-verbally with body language, facial expressions and hand positions.

The podcast additionally contains exercises to put these ideas into practice.

Man vs. Art nails it again!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Useful Thumbnailing Exercise from Temple of the Seven Golden Camels

Mark Kennedy at his Temple of the Seven Golden Camels blog describes an exercise he does in thumbnailing while watching a DVD. I've read elsewhere that it's a helpful practice to draw while watching tv, especially if it's something you don't want to pay attention to.

Practice, practice, practice!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Are Values Missing From American Films?

Politically, I am a left-leaning person. I don't consider myself an ideologue; I occasionally agree with non-left views. I limit my exposure, however, to opposing views because I find them poorly argued, hyperbolic or unnecessarily insulting. Ultimately, I don't think most people's minds change unless they, or someone close to them, has a personal experience that forces them to see things differently.

In my humble opinion, Andrew Breitbart's BigHollywood blog too often resorts to the negatives I listed above. I believe reducing films to "liberal" or "conservative" is inaccurate and pointless. I did, however, come across this piece—by Lawrence Meyers—whose content I wholly agreed with despite being initially turned off by the last sentence.

But the more I thought about that last sentence, the more I began to realize that the author may have a valid point. Here's the last paragraph in question:

"In a way, however, it almost doesn’t matter what the reason is [for decreased box office admissions]. The numbers speak for themselves. In the face of declining admissions, Hollywood should be improving its product, not relying on higher ticket prices for 3D and IMAX (which I believe are fads, anyway). I’ve written extensively on why this doesn’t happen, and BH [BigHollywood] readers know that Hollywood repeatedly refuses to create content that reflects the values of much of America."

So I was nodding in agreement during the entire article until I hit that last sentence and was like, "Values?!" I have a knee jerk reaction to that word since it's often used by the Right to flaunt their phony superiority to the Left.

Then I calmed down (LOL) and thought back to Robert McKee's book Story, pg 17:

"The final cause for the decline of story runs very deep. Values, the positive/negative charges of life, are at the soul of our art. The writer shapes story around a perception of what's worth living for, what's worth dying for, what's foolish to pursue, the meaning of justice, truth—the essential values. In decades past, writer and society more or less agreed on these questions, but more and more ours has become an age of moral and ethical cynicism, relativism and subjectivism—a great confusion of values. As the family disintegrates and sexual antagonisms rise, who, for example, feels he understands the nature of love? And how, if you do have a conviction, do you express it to an ever-more skeptical audience?

This erosion of values has brought with it a corresponding erosion of story. Unlike writers in the past, we can assume nothing. First we must dig deeply into life to uncover new insights, new refinements of value and meaning, then create a story vehicle that expresses our interpretation to an increasingly agnostic world. No small task."

Now, Meyers and McKee may be defining values differently; they apparently occupy opposite ends of the political spectrum. But I do think they're both saying the same thing. Hollywood doesn't create content that reflects the values of much of America because American values have become so dispersed and disparate that filmmakers don't even know what those values are.

In addition to the values problem, I believe that the handful of white, middle-aged men who greenlight ALL of the movies we see live such a limited, privileged lifestyle that they honestly just don't know nor understand how other people live. Why are there so many movies about drug abusers, prostitutes, bank robbers, other criminals and the dregs of society? Do people really curse as much as characters in movies?

If we take the time to dig deeply—as McKee suggests—we can provide value-based entertainment that appeals more than the current batch of crap.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Rough Animatic 100% DONE!

Whew! That was a challenge, figuring out the shots while learning Storyboard Pro 2.

But it was worth it. I'm completely satisfied with my shot selection. I now have a clearer idea of what's happening when and the staging. Now comes the new challenge: making a presentable, final animatic. This is the version I'm going to be showing people, particularly my Plympton Film School classmates. This is the version I want to be judged. Here's what it's going to need:

1. Improved, consistent drawing. This includes designs of Honey and Luthor that I will maintain throughout the project. Also includes appropriate expressions. I predict this step taking the longest since I'll have to creatively search—through thumbnails—the best poses and expressions for each scene.

2. Tone. I've noticed that many professional storyboards contain gray tone. I'm going to remove all of the color from the final animatic and use just black, white and gray.

3. Final sets. I need to be consistent and logical about the placement of furniture in the bedroom and the placement of the bathroom fixtures.

4. Sound effects and temporary music. This final animatic will be used by the composer to create the music. I'll add temporary music to give myself an idea of what I want and what works. The sound effects will transfer to the final animation step.

This is a lot of work especially with my still-evolving skills. But a deadline's necessary so here it is:


That gives me approximately 7 weeks. I'll create a new bar graph to chart the progress.

Let's get it started!

Practice Drawings

Friday, January 14, 2011

Rough Animatic 91% Done!

Wow, this doing-a-little-every-day approach really works! Between 2 days ago and today I completed 11% more of the scenes for the rough animatic. Way ahead of schedule to complete this step. Woo hoo!!

Business Advice from M dot StrangE

M dot StrangE first gained national attention in 2007 when his feature-length animated film, "We Are the Strange," premiered at Sundance. Since then, he's chronicled the making of his second film at his blog. I find that he regularly has words of wisdom like in this post.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Framed Ink Review

Another Christmas gift from my parents (love you guys!) is Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers by Marcos Mateu-Mestre, visual concept, animation layout and graphic novel artist whose credits include "Balto" and "The Prince of Egypt." I was so eager to absorb the information in this book that I opened it before Christmas.

I read it in one sitting and highly recommend it to filmmakers and comic artists. It's not a huge book but it's hugely packed with visual explanations of the text, each image clearly describing the principle being discussed. I especially liked the opening chapter, "General Thoughts on Narrative Art." He listed these priorities when approaching one's visual story:
1. What are we trying to say in our narration as a whole?
2. What mood do we want our audience to be in throughout the story and at any given time within a specific sequence or shot?
3. What is the function of this moment within the story?
4. How are we going to take our audience there?
5. What in our drawing is contributing to the general statement?
6. What can we leave out without changing what we are trying to say?

I'll be sure to keep all of the above in mind as I work on my film.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Rough Animatic 80% Done!

I'm at the end of the rough animatic now with only 9 out of 45 scenes needing to be completed.

At this rate, I will finish before my Sunday, January 23, 2011 deadline.

Then I make a NEW deadline for the NEXT step!

Keep it moving, folks!

Mark Kennedy's 3 C's of Story

Storyboard artist Mark Kennedy breaks down story to three C's: Clarity, Character and Conflict. He includes examples of Chef-Boy-Ar-Dee commercials to make his point. A helpful read.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Inspiring Read About the Creative Process

THIS article totally lit a fire under my butt! In the immediate aftermath of reading it, I completed almost six hours of work on my film's rough animatic, more than I'd done in the last two weeks.

Pen Densham—writer of "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" and writer/director of "Moll Flanders," among other accomplishments—describes how he gets past the self-doubt to allow the creative process to flow. Some highlights:

• Ignore advice that interferes with your natural process. What works for one may not work for another.

• Find your own "music": create from who YOU are instead of trying to be someone else.

• Recognize that the creative process is not a straight line; it often takes diversions to get to the final place you've envisioned.

• "Try to see your writing [creating] as adventure, imaginary play. Surrender to your instincts. The ideas will flow more easily." In other words, you can't force creativity and ideas.

• Don't worry about being totally original. There are only about seven plots from which all other stories are derived. "Creativity reinvents the world."

• Ignore your doubts, the internal critic.

Densham quotes copywriter Andrew Cavanagh's terrific advice about dealing with writer's block, advice that can be applied to any creative process.

These articles really spoke to me because I regularly allow too much self-doubt to creep into my brain. It's those doubts that push me away from my computer or drawing table to other activities like watching endless amounts of tv and movies, anything but creating. Too often I think that I'm going too slowly with my project or not doing one of the steps correctly…or something. What I'm slowly beginning to understand and internalize is that there's rarely one right way to be creative. Whatever process works for me is the process I should follow. There's always room for more efficiency but aside from that, I'm sticking to what WORKS.

More importantly, I'm training my brain to not care if "others" don't understand why my project is "taking so long." Every person who feels that way is NOT a creative person. They're not making something out of nothing, I AM! How would a non-animator possibly know how long it "should" take to make an animated film?! C'mon, man!! I tell them how long it takes, NOT the other way around!

Let's keep going!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Gag Cartoons

I've always entertained the idea of being a gag or editorial cartoonist. The idea of telling a story in one panel was an alluring challenge. I admire those who do it well.

I inadvertently created an opportunity for myself to create a weekly cartoon at my job. At first, I rejected the the idea of doing the cartoon myself despite my companion enthusiastically suggesting otherwise. I thought it would be too time-consuming during a period when I wanted to concentrate on improving my drawing and make films.

Then I started reading "The Art of Harvey Kurtzman: The Mad Comic Genius of Comics" by Denis Kitchen and Paul Buhle. It was a Christmas present from my lovely parents (thank you, Mommy and Daddy!) that I hated having to put down. Not only is it full of wonderful Kurtzman art—roughs and finals—but the story of Kurtzman's professional career is fascinating.

I was struck by all of the different types of work Kurtzman did—posters, magazines, comics, advertising. He just kept drawing. It suddenly struck me that I need to do the same, just keep drawing. And doing a gag cartoon that requires no approval from anyone else is a GIFT! By giving myself a deadline of one finished cartoon per week, I'm forcing myself to stretch my creative muscles.

How silly of me to have almost passed on this tremendous opportunity! Although the cartoons I create are for my paying job and are therefore the property of my employer, I can still put them in my portfolio. So everyone wins!

Below are my original rough layout, where I was figuring out how to place all of the elements in the space so it communicates clearly. Below that is a rough pencil drawing that I will refine for the final. The text of the sign was typed in Photoshop.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Jerry Seinfeld's "Don't Break the Chain"

I downloaded this pdf file via the Writer's Store although I had to go through the motions of "purchasing" it (probably so they can collect information about me.) Technically, you can create it yourself easily in any page layout program or maybe even Word.

It's based on a productivity idea of Jerry Seinfeld's. Here's the blurb from the Writer's Store:

Years ago, when software developer Brad Isaac was performing stand-up at open mic nights, he received his best advice ever from the already-famous comedian.

Seinfeld explained his method for success: each January, he hangs a large year-at-a-glance calendar on his wall and, for every day he wrote new material, he had the exquisite pleasure that can only come from drawing a big red "X" over that day.

Drawing those Xs got to be pretty fun and rewarding, so he kept doing it. Eventually, he began to create a chain of red Xs.

The idea was to never break that chain.

Not only does this approach program the body and mind to sit down and write [or any other creative activity] daily – it also motivates you to continue that beautiful string of big, red Xs. If you don't write/draw, etc. one day, you don't get to draw the X.

It doesn't particularly matter what you write/draw, etc.. It can be anything, as long as you're actively and routinely pushing yourself.

The calendar pdf download is simply boxes numbered 1-365. I decided to use green check marks instead of red X's, it just feels friendlier. I might also use red X's to indicate the days I don't accomplish any work.

I still haven't decided if I'm going to do this for just the film, for a combination of the film and drawing practice, or separate ones for the film and drawing practice. When I decide, I'll post them so you can see the progress.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Acting in Animation—Part II

Another helpful article about acting in animation, written by Doron A. Meir, can be found here. It astutely explains the primary elements for creating believable and interesting acting in animated characters. Having taken Robert McKee's screenwriting seminar and read his book, Story, (a book I HIGHLY recommend if you're interested in being a storyteller) I was fascinated by the similarities between McKee's and Meir's comments regarding inhabiting a character. It's this inhabiting of character that allows the creator to truthfully depict the choices and reactions that each individual character would have in that specific situation.

It seems that regardless if one is writing a character or drawing, the same concepts should be kept in mind. Creating is THINKING!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Acting in Animation—Part I

I recently discovered an article called Pulling Faces: as cartoon characters get more sophisticated, how do animators keep pace?" by Chloe Veltman that appeared in Sight & Sound, January 2003. It makes some really helpful observations about acting and animation that definitely got ME thinking! Here are some highlights:

• Walt Disney is credited for discovering in the 1930s that thinking leads to action and emotion. Cartoon characters, in order to be believable, had to move based on what their brains directed them to do.

• Animator Bill Plympton: "acting is the most important skill an animator can have with draftsmanship second and design, storytelling and entertaining further down the list."

• Animator Andreas Deja seconds Plympton's ranking of animation skills. My favorite quote from him is, "But at the end of the day, people respond to acting. They do not respond to a beautiful thing that doesn't have a soul." 

• Konstantin Stanislavsky is credited for being the first who "outlined a technique for harnessing inner impulses to motivate outward actions. The transference of energy between thought and movement is what separates a believable, immersive performance form plain, bad acting."

• Animators have a fundamental difference  from actors when creating a character; actors usually work from the inside out while animators often start with something outward—a voice track or storyboard—and build a character around it.

Ultimately, it's about inhabiting a character's head. The article ends with concerns about the acting skills of animators decreasing along with the decrease of nurturing young artists and mentoring.

After reading this article, I began to understand why I've been distant from my project for several weeks. I realized that I wasn't genuinely feeling the motivation of all of the characters in my film. I was approaching them too outwardly and not individually inhabiting them to truthfully communicate their emotions. I was focused on staging the scenes clearly—which is important—but I was losing the feeling.

I'll direct you to another article about animation and acting in another post.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Rough Animatic—Dry Brush Blur

I have a scene in my film where Luthor—relaxing in bed—is frightened by a sound. I needed to get him from his seated position on the bed to a kneeling position behind the side of the bed. At first I couldn't figure out how to move him smoothly. I had already used zip pans earlier in the film and didn't want to repeat that solution.

Then I recalled seeing in classic cartoons another possibility. I'm not sure what the technical name for it is, but John K. called it a Dry Brush FX. Using paint and brush, the cel painter created a blurry speed effect. I love the way it looks and it's the perfect solution for my problem. Below is the rough animatic version of the dry brush blur:


It's possible that there will be a filter in Animate Pro that will allow me to quickly and easily create this effect. If, however, it doesn't look the old school way, I'll do my best to recreate it manually. If I can pull it off, it'll look badass!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Toon Boom Storyboard Pro 2 Tutorial #5—The Closeup

Ah, the closeup! A very sensitive area for me.

Why? Because starting some time in the late 1980's or early 1990's, American film directors (and their non-American imitators) suddenly forgot that closeups have a purpose. They started using closeups CONSTANTLY! As a result, it's purpose has been undermined. Watch any movie or t.v. show today and you'll see what I mean.

Getting a camera all up in an actor's face should be done in only one situation: to show the audience the power of that moment as it registers on the person's face. Think about Vivian Leigh in "Gone With the Wind" when she walks into the triage. As the camera closes on her face, we feel her disgust and horror as it registers on her face. Then camera pulls back to reveal to the audience why she's reacting that way. Now that's filmmaking. The tension and power of the moment was heightened by using closeups sparingly.

Below is a closeup from my rough animatic:


Sherm Cohen's explanation of closeups in storyboards is here.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Work for the Sake of Work?

In the December 2010/January 2011 issue of "Animation Magazine," I noticed this quote from the animation director of the "Yogi Bear" 3D movie extravaganza, Alex Orrelle, in response to a question regarding rebooting classic characters: "Look, we all roll our eyes every time a classic brand reboot is announced, but after we finish grumbling, we [the animation community] are happy for more opportunities to work in our craft. Ask the 80 animators [from Rhythm & Hues] who worked on Yogi Bear!"

I'm not sure how to feel about this. This dilemma exists in numerous fields: should one do crummy work for the experience and the resources to pay one's bills OR does one refuse to participate. I remember a quote years ago from Jodie Foster regarding her dearth of film roles after graduating from college. She said, "I decided not to do dreck." Not everyone is in the position to select that option. I'm personally torn. There is a value in getting experience even if it's in something crummy. I also wouldn't begrudge anyone making a living that doesn't involve criminal activities or negative results. Ultimately, the audience will determine if poorly created 3D reboots of classic characters is worth doing. To date, the Yogi Bear movie cost $80 million (not including marketing) and has earned $66 million. It could become a financial success once released overseas. But it seems to me that this did NOT capture people's imaginations. Which brings me to this next quote from the same article:

"As kids were very naïve, there was plenty of magic in watching two bears talking for seven minutes back then. In today's war for audience attention, that's not enough. Kids expect Yogi to be photo-real and reach out of the screen and poke them in the eye. The old Yogi and Boo-Boo of the 2D limited animation sitcoms don't automatically translate into a live-action family film, both in story and animation."

I find several things wrong here. First, if Yogi enthralled people in 2D back in the day, why would it not continue to enthrall in 2D today? Kids watch LOTS of 2D animation on t.v. Why is there this notion that something so basic needs a hugh technological updating? This isn't Logan's Run, a story set in the future therefore requiring technology to adequately realize the vision. Yogi was a hand-drawn cartoon. If it doesn't "automatically translate" outside of its original incarnation, why try to force it to fit this new form?

Second, notice he says "audience attention" not "audience engagement." Are we so "modern" that we require all of our visual entertainment to be in stereoscopic 3D? When watching t.v. or a movie, one doesn't look around oneself in 360 degrees. Instead, one sits in one spot (a chair) and stares straight ahead, focused on the action in front of us. It's not possible to swivel 360 degrees in a movie theater. If you look behind you, you'll miss what's going on in front of you! Who wants to spend their movie experience looking all around; we want to focus and to be engrossed. The images before us already have depth. Having objects fly out at us into our faces does NOTHING to enhance the experience. Zero, nada, zip, nilch.

Instead of these 3D movie-makers focusing on giving us a great story well-told, they give us a crummy, half-baked story combined with a vomiting of special effects.

The masses are speaking. Movie attendance was down in 2010 from 2009, which was down from 2008, and so on.

Let's focus on producing the best possible work instead of pooping out more cinematic crap! If we want long careers in the film industry, we have to consider the long-term implications of creating crap today that will convince audiences to stay home tomorrow. I've already put in place a personal moratorium for 2011; I'm not stepping foot in any theater for any movie. For the sake of the film industry, let's hope that others do the same.