Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Storyboarding the Gang Cartoon

Seventy years ago you could do a cartoon with nothing but a rabbit and a hunter and everybody loved it. No more. Something about modern life requires many people on the screen at the same time. A frame with only two characters in it now seems empty...desolate...icy...loveless. At least that's what employers believe.

If you're dismayed by this then cheer up! Help is on the way! Theory Corner offers you this lesson in storyboarding what I call the gang cartoon (gang = ridiculously crowded). The panels are unrelated, there's no story being told here. I'm just putting up suggestions for organizing the kind of crowd that modern cartoons require.

The organizing principal in a gang cartoon is fairly simple. In each set-up the crowd confronts a single speaker. I call that speaker (my term) the "solo confronter."

In panel "A" we see a flying (i.e. downshot) perpendicular doublet/triplet wedgie (i.e. group} facing a reverse (back shot) solo confronter. In panel "B" we see two flanking triplet wedgies, also both facing the forward solo confronter.

In panel "C" a triplet wedgie confronts a reverse solo confronter with a few neutral "pawns" present as a sort of garnish.
Panel "D" shows two flying doublet wedgies facing a reverse solo confronter. Got the hang of it now? If so, you're ready for the grand finale in panel "E" below....

Panel "E" shows a cascading, right to left flying tsunami octet facing a forward solo confronter. Now THAT'S professional staging!

Monday, May 27, 2013


Younger women have obvious assets, you don't need me to point them out. Older women have assets too, but they don't get discussed very often. I thought I'd take a minute to examine what those assets are. 

Let's face it, young girls haven't seen much of life. They don't have...depth. They lack....

...they lack "gravitas."

They're always lost, always spilling things, always tripping over curbs, always getting their fingers caught in drawers.

Older women (abvove) on the other hand, are confident and worldly. They see life from the lofty heights, from the eagles' point of view.

Not only that, but older women get the joke. They're more hip....more with it.

Younger women are always playing hard to get. How wearisome!

Older women know the score. They're not afraid to take the initiative. 

Younger women are only attracted to men with animal magnetism. A few chick magnets (above) get all the girls.

Older women (above) have no need of chick magnets. They're tickled to death to live with normal men. They don't care if their husbands leave their BVDs on the sofa. 

Now, I admit that not all older women (above) have gravitas.

I also admit that some older women take...well, a bit of getting used to. Give me time. I'm stll working on that.


One more thing! You MUST see this video Steve Worth showed me last night! Watch the whole thing, from beginning to end. It lasts about 40 minutes.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013



MILT: "Hi Eddie! Am I late?"

EDDIE (VO): "No, no. Have a seat."

MILT: "What's the matter? Why so glum on this wonderful day Mother Earth has given us?"

EDDIE: "Glum? Do I look glum? I'm not...I'm not......"

EDDIE: "...Oh, what's the use of hiding it? I've had a bad day!"

 MILT: "A bad day? Really? What happened?"

EDDIE: "Well, this morning my wife and I were standing there at the barbecue, nibbling on bits of hamburger..."

MILT: "Say no more! I see the problem. Burgers are full of cattle steroids."

EDDIE: "Weeell.... there's more. My wife leaned too close to the coals and caught fire so I reached for a bucket of water and threw it on her. Only it wasn't water. It was battery acid. She was reduced to brain, a lung and an eyeball."

MILT: "Eddie, Eddie, often have I told you....meat effects your senses, including your vision."

EDDIE: "That's not all! I scooped the brain and guts into a shoebox and ran for the hospital. On the way I fell into a manhole and dropped the box. The contents were immediately chewed by vicious dogs."

MILT: "That means the dogs got some of the steroids. See how that stuff spreads through the ecosystem?"

EDDIE: "Wait, wait, there's more! A tanker truck came by and its cargo of lemon juice and pepper splashed onto the still-living brain. It was horrible. The brain twisted and writhed in pain.

Me, I crawled out of the manhole but my legs were shattered. I had to crawl here over gravel and broken glass. It took hours."

MILT: "Well you can't expect to make good time if you insist on eating things like cattle steroids! I mean, geez!"

MILT: "Look, how 'bout we get a couple of salads, then you'll feel better."

EDDIE (VO): "Yeah, a salad! You're a wise man, Milt. I'm starting to feel better already!"

Monday, May 20, 2013


I had a great Saturday! For one thing I got to hand out the coveted Theory Corner "Percy" Award, named for Percy Dovetonsils. The Percy, for those who've forgotten, is an award for excellence in comedic animation by a student in the LA area.  This time it went to a really funny guy, Mike Pelensky (above) at the Laguna School of Art and Design. Will somebody please hire this man?

Incidentally, if you're not familiar with that school, you will be. The new leadership takes  animation very seriously, and they're located near a spot so beautiful that you'll think you're on the French Riviera.

It's a pleasure to look at Mike's work. The guy has a knack, no doubt about it. He also has some of the world's nicest parents.

Here's the Percy (above) as it is now. Later versions will include a gold frame around a somewhat smaller Percy Dovetonsils, and cartoony white writing near the base.

Later in the day I made arrangements with a friend to pick up my copy (above) of the new IDW Mad Magazine book.

 Here's (above) one of the inside covers.

If some of the pages look yellow that's because the originals photographed for the book turned yellow with age. Speaking as a collector, I value that. I also value the printer's notes, white out splotches, and coffee stains. The pages here are the same size and state as the originals.

Later that night I went over John's to watch the latest UFC fight. Wooooow! If you tuned in then you saw what the announcer called the best kick delivered in the history of the UFC.

Before going to bed I took a close-up picture of my face in the bathroom mirror. I feel silly for posting this, especially since it calls attention to what looks like a really bad shave and to skin covered with mange. What I like about this picture is the inherent drama in close wide angle facial shots. Geez, what you can accomplish with ordinary snapshot cameras these days is nothing short of miraculous!

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Or rather I'll comment on the villain in that movie, King Candy. First, a disclaimer: I've only seen the first half of "Wreck-it Ralph" so I'm in no position to judge the entire film. King Candy (above) didn't appear til the second half, and I've only seen the character in YouTube fragments like the one above.

Anyway, Candy doesn't seem destined to be one of the great screen villains. He has an appealing character design, and some of his animation is nicely done, even so.....I can't understand why the filmmakers didn't come up with a stronger bad guy. Some good people worked on this film so the absence is hard to explain.

My guess is that the filmmakers were seduced by the nuanced acting possibilities presented by Ralph so they gave him all the screen time. I have to admit that it was hard to take my eyes off Ralph. He reminds me of the gentle giant in the Disney version of Jack and the Beanstalk. I love that giant, but.....BUT.....he was the villain in that story and that's where the most artful nuances belong in animated the villain, not the hero.

While we're on the subject of villains I'll mention that My two favorite favorite Disney villains were the witch in Snow White and Captain Hook. Hook was an egotistical fop who was alternately silver-tongued, and over-the-top maniacal. You can get good set pieces with a character like that. I'm guessing that he was the inspiration for my favorite modern animated feature villain, The Blue Meanie.

The Meanie (above) would have been a perfect fit for Wreck-it Ralph. He was funny and imaginative, and the audience would have had fun impersonating him. He was a terrific counterpoint for the laid-back Beatles and might have set off the partially laid-back Ralph as well.

But I'm not suggesting that the Ralph crew should have stolen the Blue Meanie. He's been done. I bring him up because he illustrates what the best animated villains do...they provoke the audience to talk about them in the office and the schoolyard the next day. I don't know about you but I was imitating the Meanie for years after I first saw him. Ditto Darth Vader.

Come to think of it, I'm still imitating Hook.

Monday, May 13, 2013


Er...change that to read, "My LUNCH With Mike." I didn't get any photos of Mike because he wouldn't co-operate.

Anyway, the lunch was this Saturday and we both had a recent acquisition to show. Mike brought a totem pole he just got off the net. Nifty, isn't it? It's hard to get a good totem pole for anything less than a king's ransom. He also brought the rubber chicken that used to be on top of his refrigerator. He said it was mine if I wanted it because he's had it for ten years now and it's all dry and cracked. For a moment the thought crossed my mind that it might make a good Mother's Day present but I thought better of it.

Oddly enough, the rubber chicken attracted a few people to our table, including a guy dressed in a pricey black body suit and black cap. He looked like an agent of Spectre. When he left I remarked to Mike that he dressed like someone famous, someone very Beverly Hills. Mike said I missed the Ralph's Supermarket emblem on his shoulder. Mike recognized him as the guy who stacks the produce. That's how they all dress there. Holy Cow! Ralph's employees get to look like secret agents!

Mike also showed me his new slapstick. I had no idea what it was. It turns out that it's what clowns used to hit each other with. It's a paddle that makes a big "Whack!" noise without really hurting anyone. It's where the term "slapstick comedy" came from. 

For my part of the Show and Tell I brought out the dainty black hand I just bought for a few bucks at the local craft store. I told Mike I was thinking of buying a few and giving them out as Theory Corner awards in a ceremony celebrating excellence in student comedic animation.

The fingers would hold a picture of the world's funniest man, Percy Dovetonsils (above), and that would give the name to the award: The Golden Percy. I thought it was a great idea but the whole thing mystified Mike. He wanted to know why I was calling it "Golden." It's black so it ought to be called "The Black Percy." He suggested that I have other awards called "The Hairy Percy" and "The Shaved Percy." 

Yikes! I didn't realize.....honestly, I....well, now I can't call it a Percy anymore.

BTW: The book I'm reading in the photo at the top is by R. L. Stine, a popular author of horror novels for eleven and twelve year-olds. I've never read anything he's written but the library put some of his books in the give-away bin and I thought I'd try one. Does anybody here have an opinion about this guy?