Archive for May, 2011

Some films get better with age, some get worse and some keep impressing you. Watching a film years after you first saw it can be a surreal experience. You remember a great movie, what you watch is dreck. This is true of animated films as well. There are a few that I have watched recently and have been amazed at how bad they seem to have gotten, and how much better a rare few are. And some impress me all over again. Let’s start positive with today’s post!

Lilo and Stitch has aged well. I loved it when it came out, and I still enjoy it. I watch it with my daughter quite a bit and it has some wonderfully rich and emotional beats in the story. And a great sense of containing a unique, personal, perspective even though it was produced by the studio-film-factory. Some scenes are incredibly moving the 10th time or the 200th time you see them. Even the action oriented opening is a pacing and structure oddity that I enjoy.

Treasure Planet. Well, I disliked it when I saw it. I thought it was boring and predictable and took too many easy ways out. But I’ve watched it a few times lately and it’s grown on me. From a story perspective it’s a bit clumsy with its adherence to the original story and the whole ‘ships in space’ thing can push the creative license a bit too far, but overall I like it. When I first saw it I thought they went overboard ‘Disney-fying’ it, in an attempt to be cool, to have the kid do ‘cool kid stuff’ or at least what a room full of middle aged writers thought was cool-kid stuff. It felt like it tried to hard to be ‘hip’ instead of being sure of itself. It was a teenager at heart, as were many of the films Disney made in that decade. A little too nervous about who they are to just relax and -become-. But the film has a half dozen wonderful moments and some truly inspired alien imagery and characters. Still not in love with the 3D they incorporated into it. That seems to stand out even more now than it did when I first saw it. (And the 3D in Lilo and Stitch is still hard to spot. Very cleverly inserted and inconspicuous.)

I find it surprising that my perception of a film’s quality can change so much. Maybe there should be a 3-srtike rule, before one calls any film a disaster and waste of time. Watch it three times over a few years. If it still smells ripe after that, then it earned a trip to the Never Watch It Again list.

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I received all my copies of So You Want To Catch Bigfoot?, and it’s a relief to finally see your completed work in a stack of books. For some reason I always think the book I worked on will be cancelled, postponed, buried, burnt, I don’t know, but something will stop it from seeing the light of day. Part of this insecurity is based on how much work goes into the finished artwork that no one sees. There is a sense that the finished work really isn’t complete, or is part of something – but not all of it.

This is true for any creative/art project, be it a film, book or video game. All the thinking that sets you in the right direction, the sketches that were no good, the designs that get tossed out. The false starts…So when you actually see it in print, it’s beautiful and wonderful, but truly it is only the polished coating on all the work. The final, printed drawings are like the casing stones that formed the smooth surface of The Great Pyramid of Giza.Underneath it’s not so pretty. I could say it’s like the whip cream on a sunday, but then I’d have to run out to Dairy Queen or Baskin Robbins…Actually it’s sunny and in the seventies here today, and ice cream sounds like a good idea!

The movie lands June 10th.

One more Bigfoot drawing to enjoy.

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At long last the Cave Bear and Duck read-to-me comic book is due in Apple’s App store for the iPad shortly – for FREE! What exactly is it? It’s an all ages appropriate funny animal comic book presented with finger friendly iPad page swiping as you’d expect, with pop-up thumbnail navigation and a soundtrack that can be turned on or off with the voice acting talents of Tom Kenny!

It’s a great little e-reader that Good Dog built from scratch so we can keep adding more good stuff to it.

Thanks to the wonderful work of the engineers at Good Dog Publishing, an amazing composer, Joe Toscano who wrote the catchy theme, Mr. Wallin our copy editor and corrector of spelling and tons o’ thanks to Tom Kenny for bringing both characters to life. Tom is better known as the voice of that sponge guy – Spongebob Squarepants. He’s also a versatile actor (I recently spotted him in the very much not kid intended but amazingly dark and funny Robin Williams film World’s Greatest Dad) and musician who brought a ton of energy to the project from the very first moment, literally. And that was without touching any of the donuts and sugary treats that were sitting in the recording studio.

I also have to thank Vicki Arkoff who helped put the pieces together on this project. Good Dog is wagging its tail just for you! And Ken Min for providing security.

Good Dog Publishing is already working on several interactive projects that explore new ways to navigate a story so we can turn the idea of a ‘page turn’ on its butt and take advantage of the unique technology and the close reader relationship the iPad offers. We want to stay focused on great narrative experiences that can be expanded with the technology. Not generating work geared at the technology.

In addition to pushing boundaries with narrative structures, we also plan to expand on the fun that comes from adding new dimensions of sound,  music, animation and voice acting to ‘reading’ a comic book.

And the Good Dog in the Good Dog logo below? That is my dog Angel. A good dog indeed.

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