Quotes: Animation Age Ghetto
"From my first day at Terry Toons to my last, which was by the way about 15 years, the conversation by animators always revolved about anticipation, squash and stretch, holds, timing, etc., etc. Two more frames here would make that hit funnier, two more frames there would make that hit slower. Disney did this and that and not only this but that too. On and on and on and on and on... It was fun at first, but then it got old. Very old. Wasn't there anything else to this business besides this? Oh, yeah, there was. This Disney studio kid was saved by merchandising, do you know that? Yeah, so make sure everything you do has a doll in mind. Because even if you blow it at the box office, the doll will save the studio. So then you can go on to do another picture that blows it in the box office, but the coloring books will save this one. We all had to animate 50 feet a week, plus layout our own animation to stay on budget. With no pencil tests — that's right, no pencil tests, you learned what you did on the final print three months later or not. That was Terry Toons. That was reality. We weren't allowed to finesse the animation like at Disney, so why talk about it endlessly? There had to be another way to beat them. (This stays true today. I just saw Tarzan and the animation is incredible. I think it is the best film Disney has ever done.) As my hero animator, Jim Tyer, used to say, "Hey Ralph, stop worrying. Everything moves, so put it down, have fun and go home." Yeah, Jim had fun, more fun than any animator I knew at the time. He distorted, he drew off model — yes, off model, and threw shapes around like he was Jackson Pollack, the animator. He had fun. The rest of the guys stared at Disney and cried, "If we could only do that, boo-hoo." Jim would walk around the inking department — yes, hand-inking with Crokille pens — telling the inkers, "Don't worry about where my line is, don't stiffen up the animation, keep it loose. The color will hold it together. Have fun. It is just cartoons." This, compared to another guy who would scream, "You wiggled the nose on that cel! What are you doing ruining my animation that way!" To do whatever you want; to make statements like Bob Dylan marching down South for voting rights and integration; to hit a note like Miles Davis and John Coltrane; to be free like Rock 'n Roll taught: that's what was blowing in the wind during my youth, whether we realized it or not. On Fritz the Cat, Heavy Traffic, Hey Good Lookin, Wizards, we had no pencil tests. What I did have was the brilliant golden age animators on my side. Who loved what they were doing — finally. Virgil Ross, Irv Spence, Manny Perez, Bob Carlson, John Sperry, Ed Barge, Tex Avery (he was Irv Spence's best friend and used to come in and hang out a couple of times a week until he left the planet), John Vita... These guys loved what we were doing. They were free to create, to say anything and man, could they animate. Not the slick, boring, perfect stuff, but the "I really feel this scene" kinda stuff. I believe in what I am drawing. I believe in what I am drawing. What adult animation means to me is not tits and ass, but the right to animate any subject or idea you have and let the ratings fall where they may. All I wanted to do was animate the things I thought about and not the dolls they thought about."
"During the span of years from 1914, I have made efforts to retain the 'cartoony" effect. That is, I did not welcome the trend of the industry to go "arty". It was, and still is, my opinion that a cartoon should represent, in simple form, the cartoonist's mental expression. In other words the "animated oil painting" has taken the place of the flashiness and delightfulness of the simple cartoon. In my opinion, the industry must pull back. Pull away from the tendencies toward realism. It must stay in its own backyard of "The Cartoonist's Cartoon.". The cartoon must be a portrayal of the expression of the true cartoonist, in simple,unhampered cartoon style. The true cartoon is a great art in its own right. It does not need the assitance or support of "Artiness." In fact, it is actually hampered by it."
When are you too old to be watching cartoons? Answer: whenever I feel like! I deserve to watch whatever I feel like. You know why? Because this
, it's just a TV show.
Maybe you'll learn something from it
, but just for enjoying a TV show
, in the privacy of your home doesn't define you. It won't make you an inferior or superior person. You say cartoons are for kids
because of that age rating
in the same way a PG-13 movie
is made for 13-year-olds and no-one else is allowed to watch them, no-one. The age rating doesn't mean it's made
for kids, it's that it's appropriate
for kids. Choosing to only enjoy stuff rated for an older audience doesn't at all make you more mature
, it just means your insecure about what others think of you over such trivial things. If it was any good, it shouldn't matter the age rating. The adults who make these cartoons typically write them based on what would interest them. Pen Ward:
We just write it to make us laugh, and luckily, other people laugh at the same things we do. J. G. Quintel:
We're makin' it for ourselves, like, everybody on the show, we're, like, a fan of the show and we just, like, try to make each-other laugh.
When you write what you think is funny or interesting, someone out there is bound to feel the same. Craig McCracken:
We never really made the show for kids. We always made it for us. John Lasseter:
But you never know whether it's gonna hit or not. We just trusted our own instinct, and made the kind of movies we wanted to see. Stephen Colbert:
Why write for children? Maurice Sendak:
I don't write for children. Stephen Colbert:
You don't? Maurice Sendak:
No, I write, and somebody says, "That's for children."
From the beginning, cartoons were always made for everyone. Since The Twenties through Sixties
, animated shorts like the Looney Tunes
were played in movie theaters and drive-ins before films. Generally, it was for all ages. Occasionally, inappropriate stuff was snuck in.
TV later became more prominent. Hanna-Barbera
's studios made animation more and marketable towards children, since they felt adults wouldn't get past their more Limited Animation
, and that's were the stigma came to be. Multiple attempts have been made to make more mature
, theatrical animation
, but never did that break into mainstream success. At most, people accept animation as comedy, and they think there's only comedy in animation. It's, it's not.
Then there's people who think a cartoon can't have a good story. If a story was good, it shouldn't matter if it's animated. Stupid. If anything, that should value it more. Can you do this
? I don't think so! Hang on let me push the "Make a Cartoon" button on my Mac Intosh
. Animation is a massive group project. Every single object has to be designed. Basic stuff you take for granted requires far more effort than you's expect. People spend their whole life learning to art. No-one's born being a good draw-er. Animation is for everyone, sometimes not appropriate for everyone. So, hopefully, this video changed someone's minds. If not, then they're stupid. Cartoon Network Promo: The cartoon audience is a whopping 44.6% adults,
and why not? We grew up on cartoons! These characters are like members of our family.
Animation is art. If someone makes you feel bad solely for watching cartoons, it just means that person thinks he's superior because of the TV shows he watches, and that means he ain't got nuthin' worth bragging about!
"Do you see any Teletubbies in here? Do you see a slender plastic tag clipped to my shirt with my name printed on it? Did you see a little Asian child with a blank expression outside in a mechanical helicopter that shakes when you put quarters in it? No? Well that's what you see at a toy store, and you must think you're in a toy store because you're here shopping for an infant named Jeb! Now one of us has made a gross error, and wasted the other person's valuable time. This is an art gallery, my friend, and this is a piece of art."
"OK, we're back. You grown-ups can leave the room."
CNN and news media in general... if you're going to write a story titled "Biff! Bam! Kapow! Comics aren't just for kids anymore!" please rename it to "Patronizing Thoughts On A Medium I Only Know Stereotypes About Which I Happened To Acquire Decades Ago".
You're dead if you aim only for kids. Adults are only kids grown up, anyway.
"I do not make films primarily for children. I make them for the child in all of us, whether we be six or sixty. Call the child innocence, although buried deeply it might be. In my work I try to reach and speak to that innocence, showing it the fun and joy of living; showing it that laughter is healthy; showing it that the human species, although happily ridiculous at times, is still reaching for the stars."
"We knew adults really didn’t care about the quality of animation. With children, if you had something brightly colored and moving, you could make it go. But with adults, they become bored pretty quickly with the dancing brooms unless it’s exceedingly well done. From the start, words were more important than pictures."
"Critics who treat "adult" as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adults themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence....When I was ten, I read fairytales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man, I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."
"A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest."
"Both those who make cartoon films and those who love them tend to have a certain immaturity to them"
Animation and film in this country really started back in the day with two different styles of performing: Melodrama (if you look to your classical black-and-white silent films, The Birth of a Nation, D.W. Griffith stuff) and vaudeville (Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin); and if you look at animation, it's pretty similar. The Warner Bros. , Looney Tunes stuff tends to be the vaudevillian, Daffy Duck-fall-on-his-face kind of thing, and Disney tends to be the melodrama. But Disney was obsessed with doing childhood fantasy, and that became sort of the dominant theme for animation. So, animation in this country sort of got equated with one genre; the entire medium of animation in America kind of got associated with this one genre- "for children," and that's pretty much because of Disney. The only alternative, then, is the Looney Tunes sort of "irreverent animation", which then turns into South Park, Family Guy, and The Simpsons, where it's going to be very adult, Satire sort of storytelling, and there's a wasteland in the middle.
"There has been a notion in recent years that animated films are only for kids. But why? The artistry of animation has a clarity and a force that can appeal to everyone, if only it isn't shackled to a dim-witted story."
"I know in Hollywood there is a perceived hierarchy of movies and doing something live-action is somehow better than an animated movie. It is why AKIRA can never be left alone and every year we get the "
AKIRA is being made live action!!!" news headline. But in an age where movies like Finding Nemo are crushing other live-action movies (or in the case of an already existing franchise, The Simpsons animated movie) I don't get what the fetish is. People just haven't learned. There are things you can get away with in cartoons that you just can't in real life. The real life Scooby gang looks friggin' stupid, The Flintstones looked hideous, and a real life Homer Simpson would be a wide-awake nightmare."
"This isn't the first time this sort of thing has happened. People or properties more commonly associated with famous movies, books, birthday card messages, et cetera, decide to grace the video game industry with their presence and everyone's all like, "Oooh! Show us how it's done, great sensei, because we've honestly
been guessing up until now!" It belies not only the endless disrespect video games receive, but also gaming's collective self-esteem problem."
"Saying that anime is for kids because a lot of animated movies are made for kids... is like saying that the entire state of California should be given to children because there are a lot of children in California."
Cartoon Network. All cartoons, all the time. The TCI survey notes that the channel offers "the best-loved cartoons for kids of all ages." Translation: Adults watch this stuff. In fact, a third of the audience is over 18. They think they're over 18; they ran out of fingers to count.
— John Carman
, in a San Francisco Chronicle article
on a survey by cable provider TCI
"Grownups — and this includes those of you who work as film critics — must stop watching children's movies and pronouncing them entertaining for adults as well."
"When people make an animated movie, they know that they're making it for kids. They wouldn't be making an animated movie otherwise, because they know adults wouldn't see it. So obviously they are aiming for a young audience."
"There are shackles with the budgets and the profit margins. You want to compete with what they’re doing at Pixar
. There’s a price tag with that just in terms of achieving that quality level. What happened to the Ralph Bakshis
of the world? We’re all sitting here talking about family entertainment. Does animation have to be family entertainment? I think at that cost, yes. (...) What I’m saying is we could make animation that’s not for the kids to see, too. I don’t think you want to say, “Hey, bring your family to this movie that’s inappropriate.” But animation can be so much more if we let those boundaries loose."
"The thing I really hate the most is the total immersion that some anime fans get into — "dedicating" every corner of their lives to it by buying all manner of posters, books, magazines, studying Japanese just to be able to read the comics or understand the videos, buying Japanese versions of popular video game systems just to play anime-oriented video games, and intellectualizing the plot of a cartoon as though it had some deep, heady philosophy imbedded into it. If you are doing almost all of these things listed, and not just one or two, you have a serious problem. I can't stand people like that, because being around them is like being around a mentally ill person who is trapped in their childhood.
Let's face it. Japanese animation is juvenile, insipid, and endless in it's [sic] artistic, thematic, and storyline incestuousness. Every character looks like they came from the same artist - an artist who himself is obsessed with impossible body figures and puppy-dog eyes. The plots are always borrowing from each other — I swear I saw over 100 different anime shows that had the same plots, characters, and sound effects. I mean, what makes a 35-year-old adult want to watch shows that are intended for a 12-and-under audience is beyond me..."
"The site prides itself on covering as broad a range of fiction as possible, emerging as a sometimes fascinating form of populist, open-access media scholarship. In theory, this would make it the perfect place to cover lost gems of animation, but in practice it has many blind spots. There is little discussion about (Jan) Svankmajer or Yuri Norstein, while juvenile mediocrities such as Disney's Gargoyles are treated as masterpieces on a par with the television dramas of Dennis Potter and David Simon. TV Tropes has a page devoted to what it calls the Animation Age Ghetto, which gives a reasonable if scattershot overview of the subject. The page's "examples" section, however, consists in large part of people filibustering about how their favorite superhero cartoons never caught on. The main reason that most of these cartoons never attracted adult audiences, of course, is that they are simply not for adults. That's not to say that there's anything wrong with having guilty pleasures. The humorist Stephen Fry summed things up well: a fan of Doctor Who, he commented that "every now and again we all like a chicken nugget." As he continued, however, "If you are an adult you want something surprising, savory, sharp, unusual, cosmopolitan, alien, challenging, complex, ambiguous, possibly even slightly disturbing and wrong. You want to try those things, because that's what being adult means." The ever-enthusiastic geek demographic certainly does not see animation as being merely for children. But it suffers from an inverted snobbery, with more inventive or experimental animation dismissed as "pretentious" or "arthouse", and from a view of the medium that is built largely on nostalgia for beloved childhood cartoons. Even dedicated animation enthusiasts can overlook much of the best work which is out there: perhaps it is in human nature for audiences to stick to the films which they think they might enjoy rather than try anything new."
"We showed them five of the old 'Tom and Jerrys' and they laughed so hard, they had tears in their eyes. Then they said 'We can't use them. If we put those on, we'll get killed.'"
Kobayashi Sachiko: "Hey, what's you guys' dream?"
Kobayashi: "Wow, that's the same as me!"
Little Boy: "Eh!? But you're a grown up! How weird..."
"I feel if there weren't people taking the animation industry seriously, this is what it'll become. This here is the worst stereotype of cartoons: Stupid, juvenile jokes, horrid colours, attempting to gross you out, no plot, no characters, just barely moving pictures... It believes that it's pitifully attempting to distract is disgusting, has the barest breadth of intelligence, and that it's only parenthesis for entertainment is that it's schlock needs to be animated, provided that this could be called animation. This is the end-all result on believing that animation is 'just for kids', and the creators not knowing the slightest thing about children."
"But before taking a step in any direction, I sugest that the reader take a long look at the field from the standpoint of its history and its restrictions. It is only after seeing twenty or more animated films from the so-called Golden Age
in one evening that one begins to understand that American theatrical animation, at its best, had a very narrow scope from a literary point of view. This may be lese majeste, but as a writer I find very little difference between Mighty Mouse
and Mickey Mouse
. A pratfall by either rodent is still just a pratfall, even if the DIsney
version is far better written and animated. To make the constriction even more disturbing, all the studios of the period, without exception, used the cel system. Can the humor in these cartoons compare in diversity with the writings of Aristophanes
, Mark Twain
, Will Rogers
, and Anatole France
? The answer is a resounding NO! Is it restrictive to the creativity of an artist to have to draw and think as everybody else in a group in order to be a useful filmmaker? The answer is a resounding YES! Just think of the impact on Western art if artists such as Picasso
, and Matisse
all had had to work within a group; had had to paint in oil; and their subjects could only have been baskets of fruit. Van Gogh
would not have been the only one to commit suicide. It is shocking to realize that this simile is not as farfetched as it might seem at first glance. The reason that I bring up this doleful subject is that you may elect to work in one of the studios but at the same time begin to make independent films, as well. In the television business on the west coast, there is usually a period of several months when there is no work. This time might be used to produce a film of your own, or perhaps work on a co-op venture. The only place on this continent where filmmakers working on staff can make pictures using any technique that suits their fancy, and produce any type of story they choose, is the National Film Board of Canada
. The Montreal branch is divided between English-speaking and French-speaking filmmakers. There are additional branches in Toronto, Winnipeg, Halifax, Edmonton, and Vancouver. The National Film Board was created in Ottowa in 1939, and Norman Mc Laren
was asked to head the animation department in 1946. There could not have been a better choice to lead a group of young filmmakers. During his long career in animation, scarcely a year went by in which Mc Laren did not explore new ground
, and he encouraged the staff to do the same. They made films for information, education, and entertainment, and in the doing, broke with the traditional ink-and-paint-on-cel approach whenever it suited their purpose. Pictures were made using underlit sand; colored pencil on frosted cels; underlit cutout silhouettes; pixillation (which is moving live people exposure by exposure); scratching images into black leader; drawing on clear leader with a pen; animating beads and building blocks; painting on glass; puppets; pastel; watercolors; and combinations of these techniques. I suggest that every person interested in animation do the following experiment; Screen a dozen or more animated cartoons from all the studios that were operating in the 1940s and 1950s, or record them from television. Arrange a screening of all of them in one long session. As soon as possible after that, attend a screening session made up solely of National Film Board Pictures. It is only by this juxtaposition that one can realize how narrow the scope of the former and how diverse the approach of the latter. The following is a suggested list of NFB pictures to see; (Hors d'Oeuvre, I know an old lady who swallowed a fly, Walking, Cat's Cradle, Hen Hop, What On Earth?, Why Me?, Bead Game, Hot Stuff, The Street, Big Snit, Every Child, Sandcastle, Special Delivery, The Great Toy Robbery, The Sweater, Getting Started, The Owl Who Married A Goose) It is only after one has made this direction comparison that the enormity of the deprivation becomes apparent. The wealth of ideas, techniques, and styles in the Canadian animation compared to the sameness of technique and style in the so-called Golden Age films makes the loss incalculable. The real Golden Age started in 1941 with the National Film Board of Canada, when the studio was based in Montreal."