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Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020

Why Is An Animation Archive Necessary?

Why An Animation Archive

Several people have emailed me to ask for copies of the speech I gave at the ASIFA Lion King Reunion event back in 2004 where I announced the establishment of the Animation Archive project. This event was a long time ago, but the points are still relevant today. Please feel free to print it out and share it with your friends.

Hello… My name is Steve Worth and my passion is the art of hand drawn animation.

For the past ten or fifteen years, I’ve been a member of the Board of Directors of ASIFA-Hollywood, and I’m currently serving as the Director of the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive Project.

Before we get started, I’d like to give you a little background on the archive project, and let you know how it relates to the panel discussion you’re about to hear tonight. Most of all, I’d like to share with you why this particular project is so important… perhaps more important now than at any other time in the history of animation.

Sir Isaac Newton was quoted as saying, “If I have seen further, it is because I stand on the shoulders of giants.” It’s all too easy to become so involved with what we’re doing “here and now”, that we forget what came before us. Los Angeles is often spoken of as “a town with no history”. Compared with cities like Athens, London or Paris, that may seem to be the case. But in its short period of existence, Los Angeles was the place that nurtured and developed one of the greatest artistic achievements of the 20th century, the art of cinema… and most importantly to the people gathered together in this room tonight, the art of animated filmmaking.

This sketch was given to me by an artist who knew that I was interested in the history of animation…


He found it in the trash dumpster at FilmRoman, obviously thrown out when someone cleared his desk. The animator that gave this to me had no idea who this was. No one else he showed it to at the studio knew either. In fact, 99.9% of the general public wouldn’t even recognize his name, much less his image.

This is a self caricature of Ub Iwerks, the man who designed and animated Mickey Mouse… The man who invented process photography, enabling live action and animation to co-exist side by side… The man who revolutionized the industry with the invention of the multiplane camera and animation xerography. There are few people in the history of animation who have done more for us as animators than Ub Iwerks did. Yet his picture ended up in a trash can… completely unrecognized… at one of the most important TV animation studios in town. I’m not picking on FilmRoman when I point this out. The same could have happened at any studio, even the one this man made billions of dollars for over the years.

Think about that for a second and let it soak in.

How can we as artists “see further” like Isaac Newton if our collective memory is so short, we don’t even recognize the pioneers who made everything we do possible? This is the sort of shortsightedness that’s led to stories in the press announcing that hand drawn animation is obsolete. Hand drawn animation is no more replaceable by computer graphics than drawing and painting are replaced by photography. Cartooning is an irreplaceable artform, not an expendable technique.

Tonight, we’re here to honor the creative achievements of a team of artists who pulled together to make one of the most successful hand drawn animated films of all time. I would bet that just about all of us here tonight have pretty much the same question on our minds… How can the art of hand drawn animation return to the creative peak it enjoyed just a few short years ago?

Again, I’m going to give you a second to think about that question and let it soak in.

I’ve been thinking long and hard about that question. It’s time for me to build something that ASIFA-Hollywood’s founders, Bill Scott, June Foray and Bill Littlejohn envisioned as a goal for our organization nearly forty years ago… a museum, library and archive devoted to the art of animation… an institution dedicated to documenting, preserving and promoting those broad shoulders we all stand upon.

Why An Animation Archive

The first step in achieving this goal is the establishment of something the founders of ASIFA could never have imagined… a “virtual archive”… A computer database containing hundreds of thousands of digital files representing animation drawings, model sheets, pencil tests, background paintings, book and magazine illustrations, cartoons, voice over reels, interviews, information and movies… all searchable by keyword. In short, the ultimate artist’s clip file. We all know that the major studios in town maintain their own archives to preserve the documents related to their particular productions, this digital archive will be unique, because it will be dedicated to documenting and serving the people who actually make animated films… the artists. We is in an unique position to be able to pull together a wide range of material for its archive… a much broader scope than any corporate archive could ever hope to encompass.

Tonight, the Animation Archive is just a concept with only a few presentation boards here to represent it… but next time we gather together for an event like this, you’ll see equipment and material on display… a functioning archive, instead of just presentation boards.

We realize that this is a lean time for animators. Money is tight. But we aren’t asking for a great deal from any one person. What we are asking for is for the animation community to pull together to do something of great value for the artform. ASIFA has always been all about recognizing the achievements of individuals… whether through its screenings, events like this, or the Annie Awards. The Animation Archive will be no different. It will be a resource that documents the history of people like Ub Iwerks, and the people who will be speaking to you in a few moments. Best of all, the archive will provide inspiration and education to a new generation of animators, acting as the shoulders for them to stand upon. This is *exactly* the sort of project that will prove conclusively to the world that hand drawn animation isn’t dead.

If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.

Note: In 2011, ASIFA-Hollywood decided it was unable to continue to sponsor the Animation Archive. The volunteers of the Animation Archive pulled together and created Animation Resources, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to continue work on the project. Many thanks to the members of ASiFA-Hollywood and its President, Antran Manoogian for helping to get the project off the ground and onto a firm footing as its own organization.

Stephen Worth
Animation Resources

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Tuesday, February 18th, 2020

NEW! Quarterly Dues At Animation Resources!


The Animation Resources dues are a bargain when you think about all the incredible reference material you can download each year. But we understand that coming up with the dues for a whole year can be tough for some people. The Board of Directors has decided to institute a quarterly billing option to help you get started as an Animation Resources member.


When you sign up for the Quarterly Membership, you will pay $25 for three months of dues. At the end of the three months, your PayPal account or credit card will be automatically charged for the next three months. You can discontinue your membership at any time by visiting

25 Dollars

For the low price of $25, you will become a full member of Animation Resources, and you will be able to access the Members Only page to download our Reference Packs, chock full of e-books, still-framable videos of rare animation, and podcasts on a variety of subjects. You can download this valuable material to your hard drive and amass a useful personal library that will serve your self-study needs for your entire artistic career.

Animation Resources dues levels are “grandfathered in”, which means that as long as you remain a member, your dues will never increase. Since we have been providing bigger and more elaborate Reference Packs lately, we plan a dues increase in the near future. But if you join today, your dues will never increase.

Animation Resources membership is one of the biggest bargains in animation. You owe it to yourself to be a member of Animation Resources. We want to help you become a better artist… and all it costs to join is $25.



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Monday, February 17th, 2020

RefPack032: Chuck Jones Bar Sheets- Musical Timing Rediscovered!

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Every other month, members of Animation Resources are given access to an exclusive Members Only Reference Pack. These downloadable files are high resolution e-books on a variety of educational subjects and rare cartoons from the collection of Animation Resources in DVD quality. Our current Reference Pack has just been released. If you are a member, click through the link to access the MEMBERS ONLY DOWNLOAD PAGE. If you aren’t a member yet, please JOIN ANIMATION RESOURCES. It’s well worth it.

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Chuck Jones Bar Sheets

Chuck Jones Bar Sheets
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“How The Grinch Stole Christmas” (1966)

Animation Resources is proud to share with its members our most ambitious project to date— an e-book, video and podcast detailing the timing techniques used to make the Chuck Jones television special “How The Grinch Stole Christmas”. Chuck Jones was a master at controlling the pacing of the action for every single frame of his films. The method of timing cartoons in the golden age of animation is nothing like the way it is done today. We think you will learn a lot from this research, and perhaps discover some techniques to improve the timing of your own projects.


One of the biggest mysteries about the way cartoons were made in the classic era is musical timing. The number of frames an action would take to perform was planned along with the music that would accompany the movement. This synergy of timing and music is a big part of why golden age cartoons are so much more rhythmic and synchronized than modern animation. The tool the director used to plan the timing of the action was the bar sheet. Every action was charted to follow a musical beat and structure right alongside the music composed to accompany it. Bar sheets ensured that the pacing was flexible, making it easy to accordion the timing in or out to accommodate specific overall running times. The accents in the animation were designed to fall in line with the musical form of beats, bars and measures. And if the action played a little bit too fast or too slow, it still felt correct when it was viewed because it matched the beat of the music. This allowed for maximum flexibility, and complete control over how the music and action were synchronized. With the advent of television and computers the process of timing animation has changed, and today the generation who knew how to time to a beat have long since retired or passed away. Musical timing has essentially become extinct.

Chuck Jones Bar Sheets

In the mid 1970s, Chuck Jones visited the UCLA film school to speak to the students there. He made a gift of a batch of production material to Dan McLaughlin, the head of the animation department, to use in his curriculum. Included with this collection were the bar sheets for “Grinch”. Dan passed away last year, and his successor at UCLA, Doug Ward was charged with inventorying and finding a home for Dan’s collection of research materials. Doug is a member of Animation Resources, and was familiar with our previous research into musical timing, so he arranged to have the bar sheets donated to us for use in this project.

Davey Jarrell For the past six months, animator Davey Jarrell and Animation Resources President Stephen Worth have been formatting, breaking down and analyzing Chuck Jones’s bar sheets to reverse engineer the secrets of musical timing. The result of this research is now available for members to download. First of all, we have produced a PDF e-book, with high resolution scans of the bar sheets themselves. Covered with notes by the musical director of “Grinch”, Eugene Poddanny, and action notes by Chuck Jones, this document details the first pass of planning for how the storyboard should be edited to time; and it outlined the basic structure of the featured songs and underscore. Also included is a widescreen video which sets the finished animation right next to a scrolling timeline of the bar sheet notes. You can still frame through the video and count frames and see exactly how the planning formed the foundation for the final film. Lastly, Davey Jarrell and Stephen Worth have recorded an hour long audio podcast, where they explain in detail how the process worked and what we can take from it to inform modern day animation technique.

Chuck Jones Bar Sheets

We understand that the material we are presenting here is quite dense and technical. It may not all sink in on your first perusal. We encourage you to download and save this e-book, video and podcast, and archive it all on your hard drive, so you can absorb it at your leisure. The research is still ongoing and if you discover things in here that we may have missed, please let us know so we can share your discoveries with our members. It would be fantastic if today’s animators could learn from the example set by great directors of the past like Chuck Jones. Building on a solid foundation like that is what is needed to take modern animation to a new level.

Animation Resources would like to thank Doug Ward and the family of Dan McLaughlin for sharing this important set of documents with us.

REFPACK032: Chuck Jones Bar Sheets Podcast
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