Archive for the ‘storyboard’ Category

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Story: The Greatest Cartoon Writer Of All Time

Warren Foster

The other day, a discussion on cartoon writing erupted in response to recent posts on the subject in John Kricfalusi’s blog. One of John’s main points is that the golden age cartoons that we all regard as the greatest cartoons ever created were written by cartoonists as storyboards, not written in words as scripts. In support of his argument, he presented video clips of Walt Disney and Walter Lantz discussing the qualifications of the people who wrote their cartoons. (See also, Page 5 of the 1938 Disney Training Manual).

typewritertypewriterThe scriptwriters in the comments dismissed John K’s points as old fashioned and irrelevant to the current scene, while expressing respect of a general sort for the classic cartoons of the past. They claimed that it was just a matter of John’s personal tastes, not a reflection on the effectiveness of the process itself. They never seemed to address the fact that prior to 1960 stories for cartoons weren’t created and developed with words in script form- they were drawn. In listening to these arguments by current cartoon scriptwriters, I began to wonder how much they really knew about the process used to make the classic cartoons they expressed respect for. I posed a simple question…

Who was your favorite golden age cartoon writer?

It’s a fair question- one that I’ve heard animators discuss and argue about on many occasions. Surely current cartoon writers would have golden age writer heros, just like animators study golden age animators like Milt Kahl or Grim Natwick

Disney Story Dept

Disney story man, Joe Rinaldi

But none of the scriptwriters participating in the discussion could name a single golden age cartoon writer. The only names they could mention were other current scriptwriters, or novelists, journalists and live action screenwriters who worked in totally different media. They had no idea who pioneered their profession and the process these people used to create cartoons for nearly half a century. To be fair, this sort of ignorance of the history of our craft isn’t just limited to writers. I’ve heard the same sort of admissions of ignorance from producers and directors, as well as artists and animators.

Here is an example of a story by my favorite golden age story man… Warren Foster.

Warren FosterWarren Foster Warren Foster is responsible for writing many of the greatest cartoons ever made… He started as a gag man on Fleischer’s Popeye series in New York, and moved West in 1938 to join Bob Clampett at Warner Bros. He wrote a string of classic cartoons… "Coal Black And De Sebben Dwarfs", "Birdy And The Beast", "Falling Hare", "Baby Bottleneck", "The Great Piggy Bank Robbery", and perhaps Bugs Bunny’s most shaded performance, "Tortoise Wins By A Hare".

After Clampett’s departure from the studio, he wrote for McKimson ("Gorilla My Dreams", "Easter Yeggs", "The Foghorn Legorn") and Freleng ("Ballot Box Bunny", "Bugs And Thugs", "Birds Anonymous"). Freleng said that Foster was the best story man he ever worked with. In the TV era, Foster wrote episodes of Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Quick Draw McGraw, The Jetsons and The Flintstones.

Here is a storyboard by Foster from his days at Hanna-Barbera. This is a model of clarity and simplicity, designed to meet the stringent economics imposed on TV animation at the time. This is a board from the pilot episode of The Yogi Bear Show.

Warren Foster
Warren Foster
Warren Foster
Warren Foster
Warren Foster
Warren Foster
Warren Foster
Warren Foster
Warren Foster
Warren Foster
Warren Foster
Warren Foster
Warren Foster
Warren Foster
Warren Foster

WHAT ABOUT ADVENTURE SHOWS
AND COMIC STRIPS?

In his article, "Detour Guide For An Armchair Marco Polo", master comic strip storyteller, Milton Caniff writes…

There has been a tendency recently for artists to automatically assume they cannot write their own stories because they see so many double by-lines. I contend that any man who can invent pictures can invent situations and dialogue. In fact, it should be easier for the artist to pilot his own action because he is not likely to write himself into one of those undrawable dilemmas in manuscripts about which illustrators have complained for years. –Milton Caniff

Sound familiar?

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Animated CartoonsAnimated Cartoons

This posting is part of the online Encyclopedia of Cartooning under the subject heading, Animation.

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Story: Terry-Toons Storyboard by Jim Tyer

Jim Tyer Storyboard

Archive supporter, Wynn Hamonic shared a real treasure with us today. This is a complete storyboard by Terry-Toons’ most unique animator, Jim Tyer. It’s a great batch of drawings. Terry-Toons art is very scarce, and complete storyboards are even scarcer.

Around 1959 Tyer did storyboards for at least three films in the format of Paul Terry’s early Aesop’s Fables cartoons. The first one, “The Tiger King” (1960) was released, the other two were unproduced. This storyboard, titled “Blood is Thicker Than Water” is particularly interesting because it includes both finished panels and roughed out ones. This gives us a chance to examine Tyer’s working process and see how he planned out his compositions. At Terry-Toons, storyboards were done on full sheets of animation paper and attached to the wall by binder clips. You can see Carlo Vinci and Connie Rasinski pitching a board at Terry-Toons in this photo…

Terry Production Process

It appears that Tyer swept through the board quickly with blue pencil first, roughing in the basic compositions and poses. Then he (or his assistant) went back and began to tighten up the drawings in black pencil over the top of his roughs.

Jim Tyer Storyboard

The cartoon was evidently designed for fairly limited animation. It would even have worked well as an animatic in the style of the earliest Crusader Rabbit cartoons. The story is told primarily in voice over narration- see the breakdown of the VO script at the top. Tyer’s amazing expressions and fun designs make the whole thing work beautifully.

I’d like to thank Wynn Hamonic for giving Animation Resources the opportunity to digitize this important piece of Terry-Toons history for our permanent collection. Enjoy the genius of Jim Tyer!

Jim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard
Jim Tyer StoryboardJim Tyer Storyboard

Stephen Worth
Animation Resources

Animated CartoonsAnimated Cartoons

This posting is part of the online Encyclopedia of Cartooning under the subject heading, Animation.

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Story: Louise Zingarelli’s Cool World Storyboards

Louise ZingarelliLouise ZingarelliRecently, there’s been a flurry of posts around the blogosphere about development executives and the impact they have on the cartoons you see in theaters and on television. See John K’s post, Why Rock Stars Should Be Animation Executives and the shocking AWN article he links to, Development Execs: Who They Are And How They Got There. It’s an eye-opening read.

Today, we digitized a section of storyboard from one of the biggest flops in recent times, Ralph Bakshi’s Cool World. This film could be the poster child for devastating executive interference. Paramount bought a hard-R, gritty, sexy, noir horror/thriller from Bakshi and proceeded to revise it into a low-rent Roger Rabbit aimed at teenagers. By the time the film was completed, it bore little resemblence to Bakshi’s original concept.

But I’m not going to talk about that sorry story today… Instead, I’m going to tell you about an artist who worked on Cool World who you might not know about, but should… Louise Zingarelli. Louise was a very good friend of mine, and I’d like to share my personal take on her along with this section of storyboard that vividly illustrates her amazing talents.

Louise Zingarelli
Louise Zingarelli

Louise Zingarelli was the toughest individual I’ve ever met… and one of the sweetest. If she loved you, man! she REALLY loved you. If she hated you, Boy! you better watch out.

"Hate" isn’t a strong enough word for what Louise felt if she didn’t like someone. She had a special word for it… SKIEVE. To skieve something was to hate it to the point of physical revulsion. Louise skieved REAL GOOD. She skieved lots of things… parking tickets, Canadian animators, dentist appointments, Jesse Jackson and even Charles Soloman.

Louise Zingarelli
Louise Zingarelli

Charles made the mistake of criticizing Louise’s scenes in The Chipmunk Adventure in the L.A. Times. He wrote that they were "heavily dependent on the crutch of rotoscoping". When she read that, Louise flew into a rage. She hollered, "There wasn’t a single frame of roto in the whole goddamn picture! I didn’t use a CRUTCH! I used my HEAD, which is more than I can say for Charles friggin’ Soloman!" Louise brewed and fumed about that article for years, and finally got her chance for revenge at Grim Natwick’s 100th birthday party. When Charles got up to speak, Louise made a noise like a leaky radiator. The Canadian animators on the other side of the room picked it up, and pretty soon she had the whole place going. Charles never knew what hit him.

Louise Zingarelli
Louise Zingarelli

Louise always reminded me of the tomboy girl in Our Gang- the one who was small, but when her big brother got picked on by the neighborhood bullies, she would roll up her sleeves and wipe the floor with them. Louise was short, but if she was coming at you with THAT look in her eye, you’d swear she was ten feet tall.

Louise Zingarelli
Louise Zingarelli

Louise hated a lot of things, but she saved special hatred for "The Business"… those words would come out of her mouth dripping in vitriol. "THE BIZZZZZZNESSSSS!" You would need a rug doctor after she said it to clean up all the slime. If Louise knew I was writing about her here in a blog read by people in "the business", she would kick my ass all the way to hell and back.

Louise Zingarelli
Louise Zingarelli

Now I don’t want to make Louise sound like an unpleasant person. On the contrary, she was one of the most thoughtful and considerate people I ever met. I spent many evenings at her house, sharing in her gracious hospitality. She made the most amazing chicken in her Weber grill, and she taught me the value of keeing a bottle of good Russian vodka in the freezer, "just in case". If Louise loved you, you never had the chance to doubt or forget it. She loved just as passionately as she hated.

Louise Zingarelli
Louise Zingarelli

Louise was a great artist. She could paint with Prismacolors like nobody else. She would build up layers of colors that glowed on the paper. Her characters had an indefinable sense of "ugly-cute"… never cloying, always real. Some animators complained, saying her character designs were unanimatable, but by the time they ended up on the screen, her unusual shapes and true to life personality gave them extra life.

Louise Zingarelli

Louise was the fastest artist I ever met. On Cool World, she single handedly laid out all the girl scenes, keying out the poses until they almost animated. Her average footage on layout was over seventy feet a week.

At Bagdasarian, we shared an office. I think I was the only person who ever survived sharing an office with Louise. One day, I gave her an incidental character to design. She sat around sipping her coffee and smoking casually. I finally asked her if she was going to get around to doing the drawing, because the deadline was looming. She said, "Here’s a good bet. Get your watch out. I’ll design this character in one minute. You take the sketch to Ross for approval. I betcha two bits he not only approves it, he says he LOVES it." "You’re on!" I said.

So looking at my watch, I called out, "Ready… set… GO!" Louise just sat there smiling at me. I said, "Time has started." She nodded and set her cigarette down… smoothed out her paper… "Twenty seconds." I called out. She sat down and set in to work on the drawing. Her pencil flew over the paper- beautiful sweeping lines, completely original shapes. She finished the character with time to spare and tore it off her pad. I took the sketch next door to Ross’ office. He was on the phone, so I left it on the corner of his desk and went back to Louise. She was smiling like a Cheshire Cat. A couple of minutes later, we heard from the other side of the wall, "FAAAABUUULOOUSS!" Louise casually raised an eyebrow and quietly said, "Pay up."

Louise Zingarelli

After Cool World wrapped, Louise moved back to her hometown of Chicago. I heard from her a couple of times, but we lost touch. I later found out that she had moved back to Laguna Niguel and was undergoing kemotherapy for cancer. She fought it as bravely as all of her other battles, and for a short time it seemed like she had licked it. But it came back hard. She was very ill at the end. For weeks she lay in a coma. She was so private about her battle, her best friends didn’t know she was gone for a month afterwards. She chose to spend her last days quietly with her cats painting at the ocean.

I owe Louise big time. She championed me when I was just starting out in animation, and she never wavered in her faith in me. She was a great friend and I miss her a lot.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Animated CartoonsAnimated Cartoons

This posting is part of the online Encyclopedia of Cartooning under the subject heading, Animation.