Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Question: Do you make shorts for films?

Question for the Emperor: Do you make shorts for films?

Like when they play the shorts before the movies? No, but that's an interesting market. That actually used to be a real market back in the Loony Tunes, Mickey Mouse, Oswald (also by Disney), Felix The Cat days (not to mention Goofy, Donald Duck, Silly Symphonies, Betty Boop, Koko the Clown, Popeye, Superman, etc.). They played short cartoon serials (the live-action serials are what Star Wars and Indiana Jones were based on) before the movies, and the makers of those took cuts of the profit (this was before TV). This is why Disney had their success with their serials on Wonderful World of Disney (the show had many names) when TV got rolling.

Because movies never really got worse than PG-13 (by today's standards) they were always accessible by kids. So, as a result, many of these cartoons were shown before movies that were much more oriented toward adults. They were aiming at adults and kids. It was a completely different audience than Saturday cartoons today that aim so specifically (such as boys 9-13).

When TV came out, all the cartoons and such went to TV instead. The pre-cartoon and serial market dried up at the movies. Why go to the movies to watch a cartoon short when you can get it on TV (and currently on the Internet) for free?

To probably more closely answer your question, we're working on cell phone distribution and video distribution. We've got two cell distribution deals, but we're still just starting out with it. We got close to video distribution, but we're starting over on that.

To dig a little deeper in this topic, John Lasseter (the Pixar dude) just took over Disney's animations as CCO (Chief Creative Officer). He thinks Disney has made mistakes in moving away from 2D animation and from stopping the animated shorts that play before movies (Disney made a brief attempt during the Roger Rabbit craze by releasing three Roger shorts and a Mickey short).

So Lasseter set 2D animated movies back in motion (the next one is the Frog Princess, made by the Aladdin team), and he had his team do a new short, Goofy in How to Hook Up Your Home Theater, which was distributed before National Treasure: Book of Secrets (so it's still out in theaters). I saw it. It is hilarious, just like the best of the Goofy "how to" and sports shorts that Walt Disney himself used to produce. Go see it.

Goofy hasn’t had a short in the theaters since Aquamania in 1961.

- The Emperor

"How To Hook Up Your Home Theater is a 2007 theatrical cartoon from Walt Disney Pictures, directed and written by Kevin Deters and co-directed by Stevie Wermers-Skelton. This is the first theatrical Goofy solo cartoon short (other than a few educational films) made since Aquamania. Being 50% paperless, it was also used as the premiere testing ground for the paperless 2D animation technology which has been included at Disney, the first major change in how to produce hand-drawn animation since the introduction of CAPS, and was also an attempt to see if the new tools could be used to produce a short with the same graphic look as that of a 40's cartoon. Instead of paper the animators worked on Wacom's cintiq together with software such as Toon Boom's Harmony software.

"The short was released with the Disney film National Treasure: Book of Secrets on December 21, 2007."


I can't wait to see their next short...


"Kevin [Deters] moved on from animation and became a story artist for several miscellaneous Disney projects. Kevin's idea for a new hand-animated Goofy short was green lighted, developed and produced with Kevin as the creative force and he co-directed the project with Stevie Wermers-Skelton. The Goofy short (How to Hook-Up Your Home Theater) opened nationwide with National Treasure 2 on December 21, 2007. He was also a co-director on another Disney short currently in production (December 2007) about the Lochness Monster titled The Ballad of Nessie, an idea conceived by his partner Stevie Wermers-Skelton. They also co-directed The Ballad of Nessie."

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